IBM believes Linux on the enterprise desktop is finally ready for widespread adoption. To meet future demand it is preparing to deliver its next versions of Lotus Notes enterprise collaboration software and Lotus Symphony office productivity applications for the first time with full support for Ubuntu Linux 7.0.
The roll out will occur sometime in the second half of this year.
In an announcement this week at the Lotusphere 2008 conference in Orlando, IBM said that it will provide full support for Ubuntu Linux with Lotus Notes 8.5 and Lotus Symphony using its Open Collaboration Client software, which is based on open standards.
Antony Satyadas, chief competitive marketing officer for IBM Lotus, said the Ubuntu support for Notes and Symphony were a direct response to demand from customers. Lotus Notes 8.0.1 has limited support for Ubuntu Linux, but customers have asked for broader capabilities, he said.
"We're doing pilots with customers now," Satyadas said. "Some of the requests came from big companies" with as many as 100,000 users that are interested in moving to Ubuntu Linux on the desktop.
"The other thing we are seeing is some interesting patterns evolving here," he said. "It starts with a very small company looking at Linux, and then there are really large companies that are starting out small with 500 [Linux desktop] users, then moving up to 2,000 or more. That is the pattern we are seeing."