Forgot your password?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Review Of Small Business Suite for Linux

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    1-2-3 had its time in the late 80's. Unfortunately, it hasn't evolved much since then.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Could Slashdot posters adopt a new convention:
    any user posting unabashed admiration for MySQL,
    could you please also post some disclaimer that
    you are of consenting age, and actually a
    *professional*... Thanks.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes a good part of it is.
    DB2 isn't but most of websphere is, so are the admin gui's.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    i can't compare it to gnumeric, because i've never used gnumeric, but...

    i am an IBM employee. lotus products are the bane of my existence. lotus insists on breaking every UI convention ever, and they do it badly. their products are unstable, their support is terrible, and they don't integrate well into a business environment because they refuse to provide working (and non-braindead) format translators. ie, to convert from powerpoint to freelance, freelance imports everything as metafiles. if you try to ungroup them to edit them, everything flips upside-down, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

    IBM understands good software. lotus does not. beware.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't think they will ever do a notes client for linux. I work for IBM and notes is implemented accross the company. Notes version 4 was the last release they did for AIX, their own operating system! When they moved to the R5 client they had AIX users use citrix metafram to login to a Windows server to use notes.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The NT 3.1 documentation bragged that the "LanMan Server" service (aka the SMB server) was a straight port from OS/2 Lan Manager with 100% compatiblity.

    CMD.EXE looks a little familiar too. NTFS was admittedly based on (Microsoft's) HPFS code.

    Other than that, I'd agree. NT got rid of OS/2 braindamaged 286-based kernel, has a different system API, has a different GUI api. There's not much of OS/2 left, but there's a little.

    (The folklore I heard was that the NT team ported the Presentation Manager GUI to NT 3.x. That was scotched, first in favor of the Win 3.1 GUI, and then again in favor of the Win95 GUI, apparently from orders of Gates himself.)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I work with db2 daily (on windows, linux and as400) and evaluated websphere breifly on windows. $499 for DB2 is a deal, websphere was a ram gobbling pig on windows so dont have much use for it. The HTTP server is a modified apache, which I also looked at briefly but gave up on when I had problems with getting PHP to work. However it does have a nice admin GUI. I dont know much about the other products. I would choose DB2 over any other database as long as the price fits the budget.
  • by Anonymous Coward
  • Besides spray-painting graffitti in SF, this product promotes SPAM.

    Task automation
    Enhance office productivity by automating tasks such as replying,
    forwarding or sending mail and distributed mailing.

    How charming
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Linux already has a zillion server products. Why doesn't
    IBM wake up and port over their client products, like
    Smart Suite and Notes?

    Papows is a d0rk.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes, it's highly contagious, I strongly recommend you have your testicles removed at once. Preferably with a Clever

    Okay, I give up.. a clever what?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    it isn't written in java, moron.

    doubly so for the idiot that up-modded this.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, at least the articles lately should be the best-moderated ever.

    The posts lately get moderated to either -1 or +5. I don't call this "best-moderated".

  • by Anonymous Coward
    note to moderators -

    it isn't INFORMATIVE if it's fucking WRONG.

    fucking idiots.
  • Scale, my ass. Most businesses in America are small- really small. From the civil engineering firm with 12 employees to the mortgage broker with 3, to the auto mechanic and his wife/accountant, this is America, and this is Microsoft's market. If you don't believe me, check the Dept. of Labor statistics. Big companies and government organizations get all the press, but most of us are little guys, or work for little guys. Most of us are more familiar with Windows than Linux, only from having used it for years. And we do it all ourselves because we have to: there is no IT budget. Calling in a tech means no eating out for a month, or a missed car payment.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have Notes working under Wine too but I have trouble with the shortcut buttons on the left side of the desktop. This means I can't open my Favorites or Databases windows since there is no other way to get to them (that I have been able to find).

    The buttons actually trigger the subwindow like they are supposed to but the window opens "underneath" my desktop view. There is no way to close the desktop AFAIK so it just looks like the button didn't do anything.

    I have to go search the server for the right database and open it everytime which is getting really old. I've tried the last four versions (not including the one released on 2001-04-16). I've tried native and builtin dlls and nothing seems to fix the problem.

    It also complains about internet explorer everytime I start it, the window is "sticky" on my virtual desktop, and it will crash if I accidently click on a URL.

    Well, I guess what I'm trying to say is: it works but not flawlessly. A native version would be so much better.

  • ?! Umm, did you read the article? This is not an Office Suite, its Lotus Notes, DB2 and a web server.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2001 @10:56AM (#255383)
    Enhance office productivity by automating tasks such as replying,
    forwarding or sending mail and distributed mailing.

    Yeah, I sent an e-mail to my friend just before turning on my "I'm on vacation" auto-reply software. The next thing I know, for 2 weeks my mailbox was exchanging "sorry but I can't answer your mail for the moment, here's what you said" messages with the auto-reply software of my friend (which happened to be on vacation too). 2.7 GB of mail to delete when I get back. Thanks for the enhanced office productivity.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2001 @11:26AM (#255384)
    I just got thru doing a marathon week of installing and testing the latest Linux distros of: SuSE 7.1, RedHat 7.1, Mandrake 8.0, Corel LINUX OS Second Edition. IMHO the two best are SuSE and Mandrake. I was most impressed with Mandrake 8.0 and will probably settle on it as my desktop and SuSE on the servers. HOWEVER, one *big* glaring roadblock is in the way of me wanting to roll out a Linux desktop to replace Windows in my "MS Exit Strategy". StarOffice52 is good enough as an office suite. It gets the job done just adequately with one big exception. All the on-screen fonts displayed in any word processor... StarOffice, KOffice, Abiword (which blows up left and right) all these fonts are ugly as hell, They suck. What the heck do I have to do to get the on-screen fonts to look as clear as on a Windows box? Right now they look like they're drawn with big crayons and missing pixels all over the place, and looks like a complete lack of anti-aliasing. As long as the on-screen appearance of any of these office apps continues to look so damned crude, Linux will continue to fail to push Windows out of the desktop stranglehold.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2001 @11:40AM (#255385)
    The trouble with all the office suites for Linux is that they're all just half-assed clones of MS Office. How about forgetting that whole MS Office paradigm, and starting afresh? We should rethink what we really need to do in the office, and how we should do it; and then create new apps and suites around that. Too often, work and workflow is centered around the features and functionality of existing office suites, when it should be the other way around.
  • Gee, can you do development or administration with this client?

    Thanks for coming out, einstein. It's not an equivalent client.
    Change is inevitable.

  • You're right... they don't know they can download pirated versions... that's why the ssame disc gets passed along for several machines. :)
  • by Python (1141) on Monday April 30, 2001 @11:58AM (#255388)
    Ugh... this is the tired old "its cheaper to run Windows because you don't need to hire a sysadmin" argument. Its simply not true. The average user is not capable of running anything more than a desktop computer poorly. Once you start to add in things like mail servers, print servers, proxy servers, firewalls and so on, you have to hire some that knows what they are doing no matter which OS you are running. So in any small business where they have a couple of servers, they end up hiring someone to run the servers anyway.

    And I'm sure someone will trot out the anecdotal example of someone that knows of a company where the users are so clueful that they can run the whole show without any of those pesky sysadmins. In everyone of those cases you still need at least one person with not only the technical skill to solve problems but the time to do this while still doing their real job. Once a company starts to scale, you simply can't afford to live without dedicated resources to delegate sysadmin tasks to.

    In short, there is no TOC savings with Windows because even though its easy for users to use (not nearly as easy as a Mac though) its not easy for those users to do anything other than install the simplest of software, and follow very simple instructions from the help desk(s) they will always end up calling.

    So, the tired old argument about needing a sysadmin for Linux vs. Windows is very very misleading. Its the rare business that doesn't have a sysadmin or someone to call on for this task already.

  • That never stopped the spread of DOS, despite the fact that this attitude that you attribute to Linux is just as prevalent among WinDOS users.
  • Take a reality pill, Gnumeric doesn't yet even do simple things that some 10 year old non-PC spreadsheets can manage. It's NOT a drop in replacement for 1-2-3 yet. It's not even a drop in replacement for StarOffice or Applix.
  • ...wasn't there some company trying to make money from selling shiny happy tools for the monster known as sendmail?
  • Your false dichotomy is hollow.

    Rejecting a canyonero doesn't require rejecting a real jeep or even a grand cherokee. If you aren't going to use it, why bother paying for it?

    This isn't about Office 2010 vs. vi but about Office 2010 and office '93.

    Your attempts at cuteness don't address why a 1993 version of AmiPro is not suitable to the vast majority of WinDOS users at large. Any criticisms of it are still EMPTY.
  • I would seriously doubt the firewall "solution" included would be of much use if they do not have the a system admin capable of properly securing a Windows NT/2000 box. (Plus there is already a flaw discovered with that ISA product 600, heck knows how many will be discovered in the future)

    An SMTP server is pretty much a default on any Linux system (Sendmail/Qmail), an IMAP server would be definitely useful though.

    MS SQL is definitely not low-maintenance software. I can imagine what kind of disaster some badly written ASP code in Frontpage by an using sa privileges on SQL can do...

    You CANNOT get away from having a competant system admin - I had to recently deal with a company running some core business software on Interbase. One day the database crashed and when I asked for a backup the sysadmin (if you can call the monkey that) gave me an Windows 2000 backup file, which contained all the files but the database file (because Interbase must have had it in some exclusive access mode or something while running and when I mentioned that you need to either stop the DB or do a online backup using th DB admin software, the guy didn't have a clue what I was talking about...). So there has been no effective backup of the DB for months. I can imagine these small businesses using the MS software finding out the same thing if they think copying the database file for MS SQL will give them a backup :)

    But just think... all those shinny new boxes with SQL running ready to be hijacked for other purposes...
  • as an aside, ksh is the default shell in AIX. In fact, at least thru 4.3 sh was a symlink to ksh.

    Your Working Boy,
    - Otis (GAIM: OtisWild)
  • Why port the Notes client to Linux? Domino's web interface lets you get at any clean R5 application you write. You can read and edit messages with rich text and all, too.

    The only big reason--and it is a big one--to have a full Notes client these days is if you need to work disconnected, which generally means a laptop.

    Linux accounts for less than one percent of all client PCs. The only folks who need replication are the ones on laptops, who are a small fraction of that one percent. And the only ones who *really* need it are the ones on laptops who neither run dual-boot nor have something like VMWare or at least WINE to run the Windows client.

    So that's what fraction of one percent?

    Now, how many of those people are in Notes environments? A couple thousand? Is it even that many?

    On the other hand, Linux accounts for a large and growing share of the 1-4 CPU server market. It's in fact becoming one of the leading server OSes. That's why IBM offers DB/2, Domino and WebSphere for it.

    We will probably see a native, replicating Domino client for Linux in the next year or two, but it might not be Notes. It may be easier for them to implement iNotes, their client encased in a "personal web server", which replicates Notes databases to the local machine just like Notes, but uses your web browser as the means to access it. It's pretty neat, and the nice part is it gives users what they need (replication and offline use of Domino resources) while using the proven web interface instead of yet another native one for the client.
  • Your company has "at least a thousand" Notes users on Linux laptops?

    Didn't think so. Read, next time.
  • by alsta (9424) on Monday April 30, 2001 @11:31AM (#255403)
    I just got off the phone with a friend of mine who said that they are working on a client for RNext.

    This will be made available after the release of RNext and its associated Windows/Mac clients.

    But what people need to realise is that the reasons for the client taking so long, are good.

    1) Lotus uses a widget set which is based on MFC. Bitch to port to Linux.

    2) IBM sees little corporate strategy at this point to maintain a client for Linux, since, despite what everybody says, Windows is very dominant on the PC desktop.

    3) iNotes is being pushed to be used more and more. This means that local clients may become obsolete soon. Right now the iNotes client is built on top of a bunch of MFC code, such as Windows DLLs and so forth, so it's not usable in Netscape/Linux quite yet. But it will change in the near future.

    4) IBM/Lotus wants to put more effort into developing the server, rather than the client. Reason is that some people like Outlook. Others like something else. The point with Notes and especially RNext is increased interoperability for "BYOC" (Bring Your Own Client).

    Just thought it might be interesting...

  • by malkavian (9512) on Monday April 30, 2001 @12:58PM (#255404) Homepage
    Oh, c'mon...
    I've admined both NT and Linux.
    I've found Linux upgrades far far easier (due to things such as ftp updates, apt-get, so on, so forth.
    You could teach a newbie to keep Debian up to date.
    Log in, apt-get.
    Takes a little more teaching, going to each machine and doing tweaks and fiddles.

    If you can't expect ports while giving source away for free, just give free binaries. That works nicely, don't you agree?
    Nothing to stop that happening.
    Plus, if someone ports, and tries to give it away, they're effectively copying an IBM program (same source, it's copywrite).
    Giving away someone else's code as yours is a big no no in ALL licenses.

    As for time to learn.. To do the job properly, an NT admin takes just as long to teach. It's not teaching them which buttons to press, it's teaching them WHY they need to press buttons/type things in in the first place!
    If you don't know what you're doing, you shouldn't be doing it.
    A good admin is competent on ALL platfroms necessary to get a job done.

    As for businesses having to hire a Linux admin.. Learn before you preach.
    I'm a consultant (used to be full time, now part time) to many small businesses. I've installed Linux boxes for FAR less than NT licensing would cost.
    The IT support techie on site gets a crash course in how to use the admin tools provided, and my phone number in case of emergencies.
    And ya know what? They never call. They have a list of Linux sites, they have the books, and they learn darn fast.

    However, in the main part, I work for a small company, which is one of the largest European based Web companies (yes, it's weathering the .com crash very well, thanks).
    We managed a nice round 250,000,000 page VIEWS (about 5x that in hits). This was done on a pleasant 50 Debian boxes (dual pIII 500s).
    They are spread out around the world in places such as India, Pakistan, USA, UK, South Africa, Australia, Newzealand. Essentially, they are administered by two people. There are guidelines to make sure that all the rest of active maintenance staff for 24x7x52 support know what to do when things go strange in any server.
    All in all, there are about 7 people maintining and developing these machines, along with other projects. That includes a 24 hour support in three different shifts.
    They are updated just about weekly, with the latest tested versions of various tools and so on.
    One person does the updates around the world.
    I'd sorely love to see NT do that, without thousands of dollars worth of extra software and configuration.
    As for default installations. Do check out apt-get, and rpm installs and uninstalls.
    Please, please get a clue before posting.
    NT does a good job in some arenas, Linux does well in others.
    I find Linux better for the tasks I have to achieve.
    When you've learned both, and you're EXPERIENCED with both, please comment again.
    But, learn your subject first.


  • Heres a paragraph from the review: Companies looking to move to Linux may find that the Small Business Suite is just what they're looking for. The pricing is certainly right. The Small Business Suite runs $499.00 for a one-server license. Each user requires a license as well, which runs between $86 per seat and $133 per seat. If you don't need the whole suite, you can buy the individual components instead.
  • by PD (9577) <> on Monday April 30, 2001 @10:33AM (#255406) Homepage Journal
    Come on big blue, we sure could use WordPro and 1-2-3 on Linux.

  • The point is that it is written in Java and works on Solaris, AIX, and Windows. Linux support is a side effect as much as a profit making venture.

    Bad Mojo []
  • by MSG (12810) on Monday April 30, 2001 @01:14PM (#255408)
    I think your math is off, and doubt that you've dealt with MS servers recently. Let me give you my take on the situation:

    - Lets say your "entrepeneur" wants support for his Linux, so he buys Red Hat Linux Professional Server. For $180 bucks he can provide file sharing, printer sharing, domain logons for Windows, mail service, etc for all of the users in his office.

    - Windows 2000 professional might make a fine desktop (still crashes too often for my taste), but it will in no way provide you with a server. For that you will have to buy Windows 2000 Server with client licenses for each user. If this is a *really* small office, you might get away with 10 CAL's, and pay around $1000. You're a lot more likely to need 25 for even a small office and pay closer to $3000. On top of that, you still have to buy Exchange for email, and probably MS SBS, too. Throw in a few thousand more dollars. The cost difference for the OS is not insignificant. It could easily pay for several visits from a consultant.

    - IBM's SBS isn't free, but neither is Microsoft's.

    - A linux box can be set up in short order by almost any technically apt person. You probably have one on staff if you work with any number of computers, but you may not if that's not your feild. So you hire a consultant to set it up. Once done, Linux installations rarely need baby sitting. A configured box can usually be left on its own to do its job.

    - Windows is not easy to "use and administer", and if you think it is, you haven't used MS SBS. For instance, adding users in SBS will create users with a default login script. However, that login script will be overwritten every time you add a user. Managers want to use MS SBS because (this is a quote from a customer) "I don't have to do things the NT way, this is simpler". What's that I hear? The NT way is too complicated? However, when working for this particular customer, we had to do most things the "NT way" because the SBS way screwed them up. Overwriting the default login script meant loosing any local changes they'd made. The only option was to add users with the standard NT user manager. I have other examples, but listing them would take so long, I'd never finish this post. And as an aside... I've *never* seen an RPM install hose a system, so I don't know what you're referring to in your "user error" comment.

    - Whether Windows or Linux, your need for a dedicated admin will depend on the number of users and tasks handled by the system. It's about the same for both, and most small businesses can get by with outsourced support. The difference is that Windows will need it more often. Having serviced customers with Windows and Linux boxen, I am qualified to make that statement, and I have the experience (as opposed to your speculation) to back it up.

    - It's easier and faster for me to install PostgreSQL or MySQL on Linux than MSSQL on Windows. And don't forget that MS's default installation was responsible for *many* hacks in the last several months, including Wells Fargo.

    In summary, people don't buy and use MS because it's better. They buy and use MS because of FUD like yours. Them that have consultants that they *trust* frequently choose Linux.
  • by gorgon (12965) on Monday April 30, 2001 @10:38AM (#255409) Homepage Journal
    From the review:
    You may be able to install SBS on another distribution that supports RPM, but folks running Debian or Slackware are probably out of luck.
    Hasn't this guy heard of alien? Using alien, rpms can be turned into debs and tar.gzs. You may have have to mess around a little to find the correct libraries to meet the dependacies for IBM's Small Business Suite, but I'd be very surprised if you can't get it to work with Debian.

    I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations ...
  • So what about them sucks? What do you think they suck in comparison to? "They suck" isn't a very useful message.

    As I said, I've actually used older versions of those products, and for the most part they didn't seem to suck too badly. In fact, I'd rather have used them than the competing products from Microsoft at that time.

    Can you give any kind of comparative analysis as to how they stack up compared to other products out there like StarOffice 5.2, Word Perfect Office Suite 2000, KOffice or are you just some sort of troll?

    Your message is so lacking in detail I can't even tell what kind of troll you might be -- rabid Microsoft fanatic, or rabid "everything must be free" fanatic...

    I feel like I shouldn't be feeding the trolls here, but maybe someone else has some real answers.

  • Well, at least I know what kind of "troll" you are now... :-)

    That being said, if you really feel that way then why be worried if IBM was to enter the market with Lotus SmartSuite? I don't see more options and more competition as a bad thing.

    I haven't looked at Abiword recently, but I have to say I've been pretty favorably impressed with Gnumeric the last couple of times I've used it (mainly to open .xls files people have sent me and to edit and print some expense reimbursement forms).

  • Hey... I use vi all the time. Although I generally use Perl instead of awk these days.

    That being said, I wasn't implying that evolution in software was necessarily a bad thing, rather that it isn't mandatory for a port of a peice of software to be a good thing. If a package was good at one time, it is probably still useful now, and having it available is better than not.

    I'd also like to think that as software evolves, it should get better, and I am not sure that always happens. Sometimes I think that when things are just added and added and added, that a product can become worse rather than better.

  • by SoftwareJanitor (15983) on Monday April 30, 2001 @10:59AM (#255418)
    What is funny about this?

    I'd actually not mind seeing those products on Linux. While I haven't used them recently (since 1996 or so), they seemed like fairly reasonable products as far as commercial product go. More options for Linux productivity software could only be a good thing.

  • by SoftwareJanitor (15983) on Monday April 30, 2001 @11:53AM (#255419)
    Does it really need to? I dunno about anyone else, but from what I see out there in the business world, most of the users barely know how to use a tiny fraction of the software they have. Most of the features in the popular software is dead weight for most people, most of the time. When it comes right down to it in general office productivity software, I'm not completely convinced that there really has been a lot of improvement in the overall capabilities of software in the past several years, and this is true of most of the big commercial vendors, not just Microsoft. Almost all of the new features I see touted in newer versions of office suites seem like they are mostly fluff to me.

  • by SoftwareJanitor (15983) on Monday April 30, 2001 @12:20PM (#255420)
    we're two different trolls, moron

    Uh, yea, like it is real easy for us to tell when you are both anonymous cowards.

    - and i wasn't trolling.


    lotus 1-2-3 is no competition for even gnumeric, and if your product can't stand up to a half-ass beta written by a bunch of whiskey addicted 17 year olds, it doesn't belong on the market.

    I say let the market decide. And can you bother to give me more details on how 1-2-3 is inferior to Gnumeric, or am I just supposed to take your word for it. Not to belittle you, but I have no idea who the heck you are, so I can only judge your arguments by their merit or lack thereof. And your across the board assault on the character of the Gnome developers does little to lend credence to your arguments.

    i don't want them to release it because i don't want some sentimental idiot like yourself getting all misty eyed over his supposed 1-2-3 l33t-4ss scripting skillz0rz and asking me to install and maintain it on a perfectly-well running linux network.

    Sheesh. Who urinated in your dry breakfast cerial. Like installing a little software is such a big freaking deal for someone who obviously thinks they are cthulu's gift to sysadmins. And I've got enough experience with Linux not to believe that merely adding a piece of commercial software is going to suddently make it not 'well running'. And I'm not very sentimental about Lotus, I never really used their products that heavily.

    if they did release it, it'd be closed-source anyways and therefor worse than useless.

    Ah... the "everything must be free" argument. Well, I would like that in a perfect world, but in reality, life isn't so simple, and sometimes you have to deal with commercial products.

  • I take it that you're referring to the moribund OS/2 and not the still-living AIX...
  • Some one who would say "I'd use this if it were free" probably aren't very serious about using Linux (or any OS) for business purposes. For me at least, Linux is pretty much a hobby. I don't run a website or an "e-business" or anything; tasks that Linux is well suited for. People can, though, use Linux and know that there are enterprise level solutions for their real-world needs. And us geeks get a cool OS to hack at that actually works. Everyone wins, right?
  • by JabberWokky (19442) <> on Monday April 30, 2001 @02:26PM (#255425) Homepage Journal
    Well, the one seat license is $499, so it's hardly as if they're giving it away--not that that isn't a fair price.

    No, the one server license is $499. I'm interested in the WebSphere Hompage Builder... if it puts out standard html, it's the first WYSIWYG deticated webpage designer on Linux. It supports CSS, dhtml and other nice things in a program designed for people who buy "...for Dummies" books.

    At $69, I can think of plenty of people I would recommend this to, most of whom use FrontPage right now. You know - the guy who has one Geocities site with three pages about the summer drama camp he runs, the guy who has a few pages on the RC model airplanes he builds - people who don't want to (amd shouldn't have to) learn html. It's also a nice example that WineLib is making it easier to port apps over.


  • by toofast (20646) on Monday April 30, 2001 @10:34AM (#255426)
    The package looks quite complete. I wonder how much they sell it for.

    It's pretty hard to beat MySQL, Sendmail, pop3d and inn when it comes to price, and often when it comes to performance also.

    I only hope the big companies start making some serious money on server (and desktop) apps for Linux. Maybe then we'll see many more.

  • by DenialS (21305) on Monday April 30, 2001 @11:47AM (#255427) Homepage Journal
    Make the following change and most URLs open up just fine:
    1. Click location on bottom right corner of Notes Client window
    2. Select Edit current...
    3. Select Internet Browser tab.
    4. Change Internet Browser: field to Notes to use the Lotus internal browser.
    5. Save and close.
    6. Browse with pleasure.
    By the way, you get a half-decent document viewer for things like Word & WordPro documents, 1-2-3 spreadsheets and Freelance presentations, etc if you view them as attachments in your Notes messages.
  • by IsleOfView (23825) <slashfu AT mugfu DOT com> on Monday April 30, 2001 @10:42AM (#255428) Homepage

    Helps if you actually read the article/press release. IBM isn't releasing any client software for Linux--just Notes/Domino Server, WebSphere and DB2.

    Unfortunately, IBM/Lotus dropped support for Solaris with the 5.x series of the Notes client, so it is unlikely that they will now port to Linux. Anyway, I have the 5.04 Notes client running quite well under Linux with WINE []. It's pretty feature-complete--the only problem I have at this point is launching URL's, since it tries to launch either IE, or a Windows version fo Netscape. A "real" ported client would be great (even better performance and integrated/launchable web browser), but I'm pretty happy with what I have right now...

  • While I was at LWE back in Feb. I asked several of the IBM'ers at the show what the chances of getting a native linux notes client would be.
    He, (I forget his name, sorry) told me that IBM didn't feel that linux had enough of a in-road onto the desktop to warrant a port to linux.
    Notes will run under wine just fine, a little slow, but fine enough to do the job. And there are instructions on the Lotus website on how to get it running under wine, so I think that we can forget getting a native client.

  • The boss-man doesn't care about things like technical quality, unless you can explain it in terms that are meaningful to him.

    Have him contact a head hunter and find out what the going rate is for somebody who can admin an NT 4 net. When he recovers from sticker shock, remind him that the cost of these services doesn't go away just because he decides to do it himself -- they just steal from other priorities, such as (in his case) growing the business. This would be a good time to ask for a raise.

    Of course it's expensive to hire a Linux admin too, but that's not the point. The point if he thinks he can do it himself it's wishful thinking. (1) He can't and (2) he shouldn't, unless the business runs itself. Another way of putting this is that of the two entities -- the computer network or the business, which is more likely to be able to more or less run itself?

    Complex, large, or rapidly evolving networks simply don't run themselves; and they're not for amateurs to run. Simple, small, or stable networks are easy to admin either way, if you have somebody who knows what they're doing set them up and you don't get too cocky.

    I don't think there's much to choose between MS and its open source alternatives in terms of TCO in this kind of environment, with one exception. You are forced to perform upgrades in the closed source world, even if you are satisfied with what you have now, because the owner of the sofware can simply refuse to license it to you.

  • You can get the domino server at, but there is no current Linux client for Notes. You can run the Win version in Wine (or VMWare, which defeats the purpose)... but it's not quite the same thing as a native client.

  • by Peter H.S. (38077) on Monday April 30, 2001 @02:06PM (#255434) Homepage
    windows is not free, but a Windows 2000 Professional license costs about $200
    W2k Pro? Thats the desktop version of MS Windows, right? While the desktop version might be used as a server, a much better comparision would be MS SBS (Last version I installed was a NT 4.5, but it is probably in a 2k version now).
    Now MS SBS is quite "cheap", but it is hardly 200$. So I don't think your math add up;-)

    IBM's SBS is roughly comparable with MS's SBS.
    DB2 vs MS SQL
    Lotus Domino R5 vs Exchange.
    etc, etc.
    IBM's SBS isn't free, but at 475$, ex. clients, it is quite cheap. (Check for prices, and features).
    Don't know the US prices, but it should be significally cheaper, than MS-SBS.
    What really makes IBM-SBS interesting, is iNotes. According to IBM, you should be able to use MS-Outlook as a groupware client, instead of the usual Domino client. If that works as advertised, that's a killer feature.

    A Windows box, which takes very little time to learn to use and administer.
    I agree, and disagree. It all depends. Eg., if a person has no knowledge about what a "user" and a "group" is, no GUI in the world is going to help that person setting up a server.

    Installshield installations are uniformly bad, but rarely go wrong and trash a system or application due to user error.
    I strongly disagree here. I do think that rpm is way, way superior regarding installing, upgrading, downgrading, and removing software, especially on servers. In my experience, almost no Windows programs ever uninstalls without leaving funny registry keys and dll's. That most config files are text, and easely identified, and backed up, gives me great confidence in upgrading, and if neccesary, downgrading Linux software. It also helps, that it is very easy to browse the rpm-archive (using eg. MC). So even if it is a closed source rpm, it is very easy to see what goes where and what changes are made.

    Many business owners, when faced with the task of maintaining a computer system for the first time, would likely have to hire a Linux system adminsitrator for $30k-80k a year for even a single Linux system.
    That is a ridiculous assumption, especially in the SBS market. I used to be a consultant in a IT shop which targetet that segment: Most small buisiness's are non-tech companies, meaning, that IT is just a tool; law firms, accountants, production companies /factories etc. They are good at what they do, and earn their money by their trade, and not IT. When they need an IT solution, they would nornmally not hire a dedicated "IT-wizard", but outsource it to consultants. So the consultants will do the network design and set up the server to the clients wishes. The company will then make a couple of employees "super users", who does mundane IT tasks (adding users, changing toner), as a small part of their work day.
    This is the most cost effective solution for most SB's, and the smartest too.
    Even a fat consulting job like setting up a server, is nothing to the cost of having a regular employee, all year round.

    IMHO the difficult part about setting up, even a very simple network, is the basic, conceptual knowledge. If the concept of dhcp is totally alien to a person, it does not matter, that this is an easy thing to set up in MS-w2k. On the other hand, if people are well versed, in the concepts of tcp/ip etc, designing, and maintaining a network, is easy, regardless of OS. (for varying definitions of easy).

    All in all, I think your analyze is wrong. Everything else being equel, the TCO would probably be lower using Linux with IBM-SBS, than MS-SBS. Linux is a really good OS, easy to maintain, and with a lot of flexible options.
    But TCO's are not everything (or else, Linux would be much more dominant). Buisiness applications, like accounting, trade journal cdroms, etc, are a much more deciding factor.
    MS is clearly leading on that front (except perhaps for web-oriented shops), however, Linux keeps improving on that side too, as this IBM-SBS package shows.

    Take a note, Linux developers.

    Linux will slowly start to get a significant share of that fat & rich buisiness server market. Take a note of that, windows developers;-)
  • by Peter H.S. (38077) on Monday April 30, 2001 @04:04PM (#255435) Homepage
    It also offers signifigantly more than the IBM Linux distro: e-mail, firewall, SQL.
    Redhat sells the IBM-SBS. And come on, regarding extra features, and application, nothing beats a Linux distro; compilers, editors of choice (vim /emacs), a huge amount of different scripting languages, network monitoring (Netsaint is way cool), MTRG, log analyzers, OpenSSH (and even VNC), NTP servers, industrial strength email servers like Sendmail, Qmail for the paranoid etc. And regarding mission critical software like "Solitaire" and "Freecell", Linux wins hands down with xpat2.
    All Linux distributions contains a firewall solution (kernel 2.2 =ipchains, kernel 2.4= iptables). Iptables is a statefull inspection firewall, which I guess is more than w2k's (mostly screening, portfiltering, right?)

    Apparently you can go up to 50 clients, but then you hit a hard block.
    I could swear MS had upped that to 100 clients with MS-SBS 4.5, like IBM-SBS.
    There used to be other limitations in the MS-SBS package, like hard limits for the MS-SQL database size, etc. In short MS-SBS was quite, not entirely, unlike MS-NT+MS-Exhange, with small limitations (and sometimes its own service packs/hot fixes).
    MS-SBS is a "good" and cheap solution for a small buisiness, but it seems almost like MS is trying to hide it away(too cheap?). The y2k fixes came way after the regular NT fixes, and it almost seemed like MS had abandonded it. Again, when Win 2000 started to arrive, there where some hinting, again, that there would be no upgrade path for MS-SBS users.

    $1,499 for server and 5 CALs then $299 for 5 more CALs or $999 for 20 more CALs

    So, figure for a business of 50 employees, you're talking about $3,800 total for the software.

    Red Hat sells a RH 6.2 Linux server, with IBM-SBS for 475$.
    A five pack CAL should be 175$ (90$ for one user)

    So a comparable, dare I say, superior;-) Linux solution, should be around 2225$ (compared to 3800 for a similar MS-SBS). Now what to do with that saving: How about almost 2 years of Red Hat "Network System Response" support (unlimited incidents), when you have a question about configuring that firewall or DNS server. (biz hours), and 24/7/365 "emergency" support. (the DNS stopped working, and won't come up again).

    Mind you, this isn't including hardware, support, etc., but it's signifigantly lower than the $8000+ mentioned earlier. And the IBM Linux offering doesn't offer an e-mail or firewall solution that I could tell (at least not from the review.)
    The review was way to short; IBM-SBS includes email /groupware by Lotus Domino /Notes, and Red Hat Linux contains similar, perhaps even better firewall support, than MS-SBS. (that said, I would always run the firewall on a separate box).
    Judging by price and features alone, Red Hat+IBM-SBS is a winner combo. whether this Linux combo is the right one, for a particular biz, is of course another matter. It all depends.
  • by brucet (42348) on Monday April 30, 2001 @12:57PM (#255437)
    Check out the "XFree86 Font Deuglification HOWTO" []

    It led to an huge improvement the fonts on my desktop.

  • The problem you are describing is why Gnumeric has adopted the motto 'A close to MS Excel as necessary, but no closer'. There have been complaints that Gnumeric is replicating too much of Excel's behavior. In my opinion these people are being short sighted. Free office applications are not limited to supplying ONLY Microsoft compatible features. However, they are requried to supply a significant subset, and excellent import capabilities. A person using an office application does not want, and should not need, to waste their time converting from one application to another. Notice the huge number of '1-2-3 compatibility' features an flags in MS Excel. They made sure that a lotus user lost an absolute minimum when transitioning. The trick was that it was a one way path :-) Export filters have never been a high priority for Microsoft, for obvious reasons.

    The beauty of having the source code for things like Gnumeric is that we're not locked into the feature tread mill of Microsoft. The planned 1.0 release this summer does not attempt to match every feature in MS Office. It's goal is to provide a stable sufficent platform for people to get things done. As we build market share, and gain resources, we can begin improving functionality.

    Embrace, Extend, ...

  • But then, let's be realistic. In the past year I haven't been aware of anyone who likes Caldera, especially since they tried to reinvent their dying distro as an "eDesktop". I suppose part of IBM's contract with Caldera is to pretend they still matter.

    If there is someone out there who actually uses Caldera eDesktop, by choice, please correct me here.
  • by phutureboy (70690) on Monday April 30, 2001 @11:53AM (#255448) Homepage
    It's pretty hard to beat MySQL, Sendmail, pop3d and inn when it comes to price, and often when it comes to performance also.

    Yes, but they are godawfully difficult to administer, especially sendmail. I set up a mail server the other day for an NT manager, and he was just rolling his eyes as I tried to teach him how to handle adding users, maintaining virtusertable, aliases, .forward files, simple mailing lists, etc. He's like "this is absolutely nuts." And I have to say that I agree with him.

  • A Linux server takes some time and effort to learn to use and administer. It's designed for developers and people who value control and power over ease of use. RPM and apt-get have made installations a little easier, but still difficult when you compare them to...

    This argument is often used to compare linux to windows migrations and that it might not be worth it. But I haven't seen anyone yet bring up the point that the upgrade to linux, or bsd, is primarily a one-time burden. After this, the systems can be upgraded to better versions of linux or bsd relatively easily. THere is no additional price charge, and also not much additional cost in terms of time or training. In winXX, however, each newer version will cost more and more $$$ anyway, which will eventually overshadow the linux/bsd switch.

    Each version of windows/linux/bsd will have some differences which will have to be explained. but once businesses make that initial jump into the unix/bsd world and live, then they're in for much smoother sailing.
    __ __ ____ _ ______
    \ V .V / _` (_-&#60_-&#60

  • I worked for an organization with a massive Lotus Notes install base. Currently, they are migrating everything to NT, in the mistaken belief that a single desktop will reduce support costs....

    When they get their heads out of their asses, something like this will definately appeal to the more rational minded within the organization. Mmmmmmm. Uptime. Mmmmmmmm.
  • by barneyfoo (80862) on Monday April 30, 2001 @04:25PM (#255454)
    ...then move all your fonts from a Windows box onto the Linux box, and you'll find that using Linux is a much more pleasant experience.

    To be more precise, follow these steps.

    1: Move your windows .ttf fonts to /usr/share/fonts/truetype.
    2: Edit your /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file to include: FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/truetype" (In the appropriate section)
    3: run 'mkttfdir' in /usr/share/fonts/truetype
    4: restart X, or if your fontpath was already set to that dir, run 'xset fp rehash'

    This is the short version of the font deuglification HOWTO. The other things in that are about making your non ttf fonts look better, and technical hacks like changing your dpi.
  • I'm sure I'll get mod'ed down on this, but why bother buying this? You can get VMWare for Linux workstation for 99 bucks, run Windows 98 and MS Office, for less money per seat (at the and small business level of purchasing) than this Small Business Suite for Linux.

    I'm not a Microsoft shill by any means (the more I use RH 6.2 the more I realize I'm in love with Linux). And, I'm a HUGE Java advocate (and MS has done *nothing* but make my life difficult there. But Corel Office AND MSOffice appear to be far better solutions than this (especially for small business) and it's easy to make them work in Linux (thanks to VMWare).

    Wanna go even cheaper? StarOffice is outstanding.. even tho Sun owns it now...

    perl -le '$_="6110>374086;2064208213:90<307;55";tr[0- >][ LEOR!AUBGNSTY];print'
  • - Many business owners, when faced with the task of maintaining a computer system for the first time, would likely have to hire a Linux system adminsitrator for $30k-80k a year for even a single Linux system.

    Does that same small business hire an auto mechanic full-time to care for its delivery van? Even when the business needs help, they're more than likely to have a consultant support them occasionally if they just have one or two machines. And my experience is that a Linux machine doesn't need a lot of support; it just hums along doing its job.

    I also haven't found Window boxes to be quite as easy to deal with as you've claimed. I have had a user-friendly install-script trash my machine, so that it wouldn't boot. In fact, the Windows98SE upgrade, which seemed to go so smoothly, left me with an unbootable machine!

  • by GPFCharlie (98543) on Monday April 30, 2001 @01:55PM (#255467)
    FYI - Your math is slightly skewed. Microsoft offers a small business solution [] highly similiar, that's priced signifigantly lower.

    It also offers signifigantly more than the IBM Linux distro: e-mail, firewall, SQL. Apparently you can go up to 50 clients, but then you hit a hard block. But the pricing is much different than outlined above:

    $1,499 for server and 5 CALs then $299 for 5 more CALs or $999 for 20 more CALs

    So, figure for a business of 50 employees, you're talking about $3,800 total for the software.

    Mind you, this isn't including hardware, support, etc., but it's signifigantly lower than the $8000+ mentioned earlier. And the IBM Linux offering doesn't offer an e-mail or firewall solution that I could tell (at least not from the review.)

    Food for thought...

  • Kudos to IBM. This is bound to be a bit controvercial, but I believe that IBM is the most socially open of all the closed software houses.

    Oh, for god's sake! Shit for brains! What is "socially open" exactly? Somewhere some IBM marketing intern is reading your post and laughing so hard he's got Evian up his nose.

    Please deal with your cranio-rectal insertion issues somewhere else. (And read this [] and this [] while you're at it.)

  • And that is exactly why no big company realy wants to port to linux...

  • by tjwhaynes (114792) on Monday April 30, 2001 @11:13AM (#255470)

    In order for non-commercial operating systems to succeed, they must deliver competitive software in the following areas:

    1. Single User applications (mail readers, etc.)
    2. Games
    3. Content delivery daemons (apache)
    4. Group-oriented corporate programs

    The first 3 fields are being actively conquered. Sure, there's much room for improvement, but hey -- we've come a long way, baby. The fourth segment is the most crucial for truly capturing the corporate market. Apps like Outlook still remain essentially untouched by the open source movement. (I believe /. did a story on this some time ago). It's still the area which needs the most improvement.

    Yes - for corporate adoption, groupware is critical. But tings aren't as bad as you make out. From the commercial side, Lotus Notes Domino server runs on Linux - while much villified and hated, it does fulfil the needs of collaborative groupware. On the Outlook/Outlook Express front, take a look at the abilities of Evolution (GNOME project) - this is getting close to a 1.0 release and has the integrated email/calendar/timekeeping tools needed for groupware.


    Toby Haynes

  • This is just want I was thinking when I read the parent post. I have a saying: "If it ain't available through apt-get, then it ain't worth installing." Of course, people who haven't used apt-get for their main operating system will never understand.

    Also, for the free software purist, Debian is OS utopia. Worrying about installing non-free RPMs is the least of a Debian admins worries.
  • by Jagasian (129329) on Monday April 30, 2001 @02:39PM (#255473)
    True... true... I recently installed a Libranet system, and I am amazed with apt-get and the Debian package system. Installing software on a Debian box is easier than installing software on a Mac or Windows machine!

    Of course, I am on dialup, but still, apt-get resumes downloads and all that stuff. All Debian needs to do is get their installation as easy to use as apt-get. Of course, I know that installing an entire operating system is a bigger deal than installing software for an operating system... but... well, its always nice to have an "idiot install" option that partitions stuff for you and has complete and total auto-hardware detection.

    Note that I am not saying that installing Debian is difficult. Its just not as easy as doing an "apt-get install mysoftware".

    Every day I continue to use my Debian computer, I understand more and more why Debian zealotry exists and why Debian is the one true Linux distro.
  • Not profitting hasn't stopped companies like


  • They [IBM] are enthusiastic Linux supporters.

    No they aren't. They are enthusiastic shareholder supporters. Reducing costs by not being beholden to one OS provider is just good business. Next, they are enthusiastic customer supporters. If customers want Linux apps, they'll deliver. Serving the customer is their business and ties in closely with the goal of serving shareholers.

    I doubt Linux is high on their real priorities, if it's even on the list. It just so happens that Linux serves the means to their ends right now. When it ceases to do that, they will no longer support it, nor should they.

    Blind allegiance to the Free Software ideology wouldn't serve stockholders or customers in the long run. There are some very obvious examples of this, but I need not mention them...

  • by CptnHarlock (136449) on Monday April 30, 2001 @11:53AM (#255476) Homepage

    It's just a minor glitch in the matrix.. ;-) .. It's just a minor glitch in the matrix.. ;-) ..

    $HOME is where the .*shrc is
  • I'm something of a jack-of-all-computer-trades at the small bussiness I work at, and that includes system administration.

    Our one file server is currently a GNU/Linux box (Debian), but the PHB wanted to move it to Windows 2000. Why? "Because it's stable and I can take care of it if you're gone" he said (I'm still in college and do this work part-time). My boss knows just enough about Windows to shoot himself in the foot.

    And so he goes and gets a consultant to put Win 2000 on it, who shows my boss the price tag for Win 2000 Server (for the number of users we need, it costs more then the server itself orginaly cost). When my boss saw this, he said "um, lets get Win NT 4.0 instead". Great idea! Get an OS even the Microserfs say is a piece of crap!

    So we see here how much support can be important. My PHB was willing (for better or for worse; probably worse) to put up with an inferior server OS just because of support. I hope he knows that, because he'll be needing that support with NT 4.0!

    IMHO: I have quite a bit of background in trying to get Win9x systems to work (I'm not yet willing to give up gaming). I found myself constantly having problems getting somethings to work on Win 2000 (little things, mostly; setting up network settings, installation, driver support, etc.). I've never worked with it before in any detail, but from what I've heard, NT 4.0 would be even worse in this regard. For someone like my boss, who only what I would consider basic knoweldge of Win9x, these diffrences are bound to make support through him much more difficult.


  • by ILikeRed (141848) on Monday April 30, 2001 @12:26PM (#255481) Journal
    That's pretty poor math:

    - Windows is not free, but a Windows 2000 Professional license costs about $200.

    -Windows 2000 Pro is for workstations - you can not run server software on it. Here are real prices from CDW:

    Windows 2000 Server - 5user ~$860
    Windows 2000 Server - 10user ~$1,290
    Windows 2000 Advanced server - 25 user ~$3,400
    Additional Client access - per 10 users ~$1,100

    Next... you need backup software.
    CA Arcserve 2000 Backup - $507
    Now... The backup addition for MS SQL
    CA Arcserve SQL Agent - $580
    Now... don't forget the defragmentor - you want to compare Windows with Linux after all...
    Diskeeper v6 - $290

    So, figuring for a company of 50, you would need 2000 advanced server + 3 X Additional client access licenses + backup software + SQL Agent + Diskeeper v6
    for... $8077 That is a bit more than $200 you glossed over.

    \ Now that company could invest that, plus the consultant fees to install, and figure it will last ~2 to 4 years before they will be forced to upgrade by Microsoft, plus the cost of support over a phone, the bosses time talking to some idiot on tech support that treats him like an idiot, the cost of downtime, and if we want to do a true comparison, how does this guy ever upgrade? How do you test a new system. You have to buy a complete second server, with all the licensing. With Linux, you can install multiple copies, and just give them different ports for testing. I have had 4 copies of Apache running on a single Linux server. One was my production system, the 3 others were new versions with different options. I never had to restart the server to set it up, and when I found and tested the version I liked best, I deleted two copies, put the version I liked into production, and changed the port number of the previous working copy and kept it around for a few months until I felt even more confident about my choice. How do you do that with Windows and IIS? You buy 4 servers!!!

    That is why I can not figure out how this got modded up to 5. And why the smart business owner will not invest money in renting software that will not be around for very long, but instead will invest in the salary of a good employee or invest in a business relationship with a consulting company that will help his company for years to come.
  • The current versions of XFree86 support TrueType fonts, and in my experience, TTF on Linux look wonderful...Try downloading the newest version of XF86 and compile it, then move all your fonts from a Windows box onto the Linux box, and you'll find that using Linux is a much more pleasant experience...
  • by Srin Tuar (147269) <> on Monday April 30, 2001 @10:26AM (#255483)
    I'd buy a copy it is was Free.

  • I wonder if its even possible for an alternat office suite to gain a foothold in the market place. ... but also its mindshare and what people are used to using.

    I don't think so. Take MS Word for example. This is a pretty sophisticated product. There's nothing that even comes close. Eveything else is a cheap imitation that when examined for more than 5 minutes reveils just how shollow the features are. I do not believe the mind share argument. I believe if your product is truely good it will eventually succeed. There are many features that by themselves seem trite but together they make the difference that leaves competitors in the dust. Someone could write a word processor that could beat out MS Word. It may be a pretty sophisticated program but in many ways it's very broken.

    The problem with open source office products is that something like a word processor demands a very serious design and great code to make it happen and there just isn't enough critical mass to get a serious product out.

    In general there are two ways open source projects develop. One is when one person quietly writes it alone. This can result in a pretty good program because they aren't distracted with "talkers" and they have a good focus and singular vision. The other way is when you have a loosely associated bunch of people working on the same codebase. This is a pretty good way to write crappy software. No one knows how the whole thing works so they add their little bit and try not to change anything they don't have to. This doesn't work because sometimes refactoring of something that transcends the entire codebase is required.

    I'm speaking in general terms of course and there are exceptions to every rule(the Linux kernel has a pretty decent development model going but notice everyone is totally dedicated and sobordinate to Linus and it's being funneled into his codebase; there's no CVS).

    So given the above, the problem with developing an open source office product is that no one person is willing to put the tremendous amount of thought and time(years) into something that could be competitive with something like word.

    What I'm hoping will happen is people will develop libraries with well defined interfaces that abstract the components of such applications in a way that will allow the constructions of such enourmously complicated programs. But that's another area of weakness in open source projects. No one thinks too much about librarifying thier code and when they do other developers always think that re-doing it themselves from scratch would be better; how many ftp clients are out there?

  • by ErikTheRed (162431) on Monday April 30, 2001 @06:14PM (#255488) Homepage
    IBM has gone out of there way to impress me, as an IBM shareholder, that they are extremely committed to Linux and the concept of Open Source software in general.

    To quote Louis V. Gerster, Jr., Chairman and CEO of IBM, from the "Letter to Shareholders []," part of the 2000 Annual Report to Shareholders []:

    Now, the astounding adoption of the Linux operating system - and the broader Open Source movement to which it is a part - are pushing standards over the top (which is why IBM has made such a huge commitment to Linux). Standards are a reality of our industry today. There's no going back.


    In servers after years of investment and invention, we transformed our products from the inside out, integrating our offerings with common technologies, common chip architecture, a common development platform in Linux, interoperability with dozens of leading applications - and took them to market as the IBM eServer family. Customer reaction has been swift and enthusiastic.

    Additionally, in the "New Fronts" (a.k.a "The Plot Thickens") section of the annual report, the first article [] is entitled "Why I believe Linux will fundamentally change the information technology industry" by Irving Wladawsky-Berger, VP of Technology and Strategy, IBM Server Group, which sums itself up with:

    So, we're going to invest $1 billion in Linux, and we've dedicated 1,500 programmers to enable every IBM hardware and software product for Linux. Our strategy is to accelerate its adoption as a platform that can support heavy-duty, enterprise workloads--such as those already in production with customers like, Shell International Exploration and Production in the Netherlands, and Telia, Scandanavia's largest telecommunications company. We think that, at the end of the day, the operating system that provides the most flexibility to customers is the one that is going to end up winning. We're voting with our customers on this one. We're betting a big part of IBM's future on Linux.

    This isn't some hype being served up by some marketing hack to the faithful at a trade show. This is the frigging CEO and VP talking to Wall Street. IBM clearly sees why supporting Linux benefits their customers (and therefore benifits their shareholders). They're not doing this out of altruism. It's a business decision. Linux is good for business, and IBM Gets It.
  • by revelation0 (164235) on Monday April 30, 2001 @10:33AM (#255489)
    IBM has spent a lot of time getting their apps in the door on linux, I just wish now that we have the lotus notes server on linux, we could also get a port of the client as well. The groupware suite is one of the killer apps, and what I notice half of everyone's time is spent in at the office. Notes is already well recognized in the corporate environment, so when can we get it already???

    Revelations 0:0 - The beginning of the end
  • Thats just simply not true.

    I am trying to find a decent replacement for Word 9x, and Abiword has nowhere near the level of functionality that word has.

    For thing, the most recent copies I have seen do not support much for tables, advanced positioning, advanced paragraph wrapping, decent bulleting/indentation, grammar checking, etc etc.

    AbiWord is an interesting product, but lets not kid ourselves and say that the functionality is on par with Word 95. Its not true, in my opinion. I look forward to throwing out my $100 copies of Word for AbiWord, but that day isnt here yet.

  • by firewort (180062) on Monday April 30, 2001 @11:35AM (#255493)
    IBM has a required number of languages to translate for: this grab-bag of distros includes the two IBM has contracts with (Caldera and RH), and includes the other two that support many other languages (SuSE = germany, Turbolinux = Chinese)

    Now, when you charge $500 to $20,000 for Software (when I pay that much, the S is capitalized, and the 20,000 number comes from some of the WebSphere stuff) there darn well better be support.

    If this means they have to rule out a few distros as being on the support list, so be it. EVERY IBM linux software goes through the IBM Linux compatibility testing, to see that it works on other distros, and what sys requirements and dependencies exist. These Software can probably be made to work on Debian and others, but if they don't, or if they break, don't expect support. If you're spending $500 on this, you probably can also spend the bucks on a machine to use just for that software with a supported distro, if you don't want to move your main machine to that distro.

    This will probably dissolve into a good old fashioned distro flamewar on /. but I think it ought not to- there are four distros to choose from that are supported, if you can't pick one you like out of four just because it isn't your favorite one at home, lump it.

    A host is a host from coast to coast, but no one uses a host that's close
  • by Nakoruru (199332) on Monday April 30, 2001 @11:53AM (#255495)
    I wonder if its even possible for an alternat office suite to gain a foothold in the market place. It't not just Microsoft Office's incredible market share on both Windows and Mac computers, but also its mindshare and what people are used to using.

    It seems to me that in order for another office suite to truly succeed, it will have to be almost exactly like Office, just like KDE and Gnome became popular by copying all the best stuff from Windows. Thats not flamebait, its just that one thing that Linux needs to survive is familiarity to those who would switch.

    The problem is just how to make Linux friendly and familiar without just ripping of all of Microsofts good ideas (which many would argue that they ripped off from someone else, but thats not my point).

    My point is that its a vicious circle. You can't get people to use your software if its not familiar (meaning, just like MS), but if its just like MS then why bother (and don't tell me because its free as in beer, no way could you make an office suite as comprehensive as Office without paying someone)

  • I'm curious what toolkit they used to develop this. It would really suck if it was yet another StarOffice-like resource hog that uses java or some such crap. Seriously, why are companies coming out with these suites that don't integrate with anything else on the desktop?

    Also, since this is a proprietary application that requires licensing fees, what advantage does one gain by running it on Linux over Windows? Really, what's the point?

  • by OblongPlatypus (233746) on Monday April 30, 2001 @12:23PM (#255500)
    It took quite a bit of guessing -- and cursing -- before I found the step that I had missed. Unfortunately, the errors the Installer generated weren't too helpful, and seemed to indicate that I had run out of disk space - with 8 GB to spare, I knew that wasn't the problem. Once I had figured out the real culprit, everything worked like a charm.
    Reviewers do this way too often. Describe a big messy problem in the install process, but fail to add the short line pointing out the mistake they made. Way to go, now everyone gets to make the same mistake!
  • I've been thinking about this, and I beleive that one should seriously consider the benifits to this software before installing:

    Let's do the math, shall we?

    - Linux itself is free, depending on how you got your distribution. If you downloaded it, or got it from a friend, then yes, it didn't cost you anything. Otherwise, you paid a nominal fee for manuals and packaging from one of the for-profit vendors. I've seen these run anywhere from $7 - $75, depending on what you get.

    - Windows is not free, but a Windows 2000 Professional license costs about $200. I think that's an upgrade fee. This may become quite a bit more expensive with the .Net-style leasing program that Microsoft wants to introduce.

    - SBS is almost certainly *not* free, if I know IBM. Even if it is free, they'll have to make it free for all platforms since you can't really realease source without expecting ports.

    - A Linux server takes some time and effort to learn to use and administer. It's designed for developers and people who value control and power over ease of use. RPM and apt-get have made installations a little easier, but still difficult when you compare them to...

    - A Windows box, which takes very little time to learn to use and administer. Installshield installations are uniformly bad, but rarely go wrong and trash a system or application due to user error.

    - Many business owners, when faced with the task of maintaining a computer system for the first time, would likely have to hire a Linux system adminsitrator for $30k-80k a year for even a single Linux system.

    - This probably would not be the case with a Windows system. Even MSSQL server has a default installshield installation which makes it usuable by most off-the-shelf applications which require database connectivity. Here, I'm thinking about the basic helpdesk and inventory packages I've seen. Trackit-Pro and McCafee helpdesk both install on default MSSQL installations if I'm not mistaken.

    It looks like our Windows-based small business may pay more initially for a small-business type solution, but probably won't have as high a total cost of ownership as our Linux-based small business, assuming low, but equal knowledge of computer systems and operating-systems.

    Assuming that our entrepeneur is also a Linux hacker, he could probably make this work, but the bottom line here is that most small business owners will probably have an easier and less expensive time in the long run if they set up Windows-based systems.

    This boils down to the fact that most Linux distributions are still geared toward development purposes while Microsoft has been busy making sure that the business world gets what they need and want from Redmond.

    Take a note, Linux developers.

  • by abcbooze (245097) on Monday April 30, 2001 @10:35AM (#255502)
    IBM has been known to look for alternatives from MS. They've develeoped their own OS before that died a horrible death. I want to see some of the other prefabs offer linux solutions such as gateway, compaq, HP, etc.
  • by markmoss (301064) on Monday April 30, 2001 @12:09PM (#255506)
    I don't agree with "A Windows box, which takes very little time to learn to use and administer." True, the Windows PC comes out of the box more or less ready to run -- but then you've got to get it hooked into the corporate network, load applications, and download updates to Windows and the applications. And there seem to be many different ways to cause a program to start itself up, so if the computer vendor or a stupid user gets something undesirable launching itself, it can be quite a job tracking it down and eliminating it. So it takes 2-4 hours to bring a new box up to the corporate standard here -- except now and then something weird happens and it takes days.

    But you aren't done! Windows systems mutate themselves. Sometimes users are to blame, but I have seen my own system repeatedly go from one set of network drivers installed to three, without me ever telling it to load anything more. Then there are the really strange bugs that make permanent settings changes so well hidden that even MS tech support often can't figure out how to restore them. And those lovely MS undocumented features... For instance, every few months Outlook freezes here. It hits one person at a time, but eventually gets everyone. First couple of times, tech support told us to reformat and reinstall. Finally, someone discovered that you could fix it by logging on to each box as administrator, opening each address book in Outlook, and scrolling through them from top to bottom. This includes both locally stored personal address books and the corporate address book on the server. WTF?

    So, at best Windows requires re-installs twice a year, or 4-8 hours a year per box. That's with the best users, who don't ask stupid questions, don't change system settings or install strange software on their own, and don't open executable attachments until they are sure about the source. And not too many users fit into that category -- engineers have to install all sorts of CAD and image-processing software, which often conflict with each other, while the salesmen somehow repeatedly put viruses into the e-mail system in spite of the best virus checkers. I don't see how I could get a virus in if I _wanted_ to, but these idiots do it every few weeks...

    I don't know much about Linux, but I'm pretty sure you can get the setup correct and then lock the system down so neither naive users nor malfunctioning software is going to do lasting damage. And Linux can be hit by viruses, but Windows and Outlook seem to have been designed to multiply the possible entry points...

    As for training, I don't know how hard it is to train Linux users, but if you've got a good, stable GUI and set of applications installed, how much harder can it be to teach that than explaining to a 55 year old clerk that you click Start to stop? Windows looks intuitive only to those that have been using it for so long they forgot what it took to learn the ropes in the first place.
  • by tyrr (306852) on Monday April 30, 2001 @03:07PM (#255507)
    Sorry, but you give bad examples.

    It is quite easy to beat MySQL when it comes to features, though most of the small busnesses will most likely love it.

    Sendmail is better then Exchange but can you say Postfix or Exim? Sendmail is no joke to configure and in the end you still get poor performance and potential security problems. Postfix has solid secure design, easy configuration and rocking performance.

    Pop3d is what? WUimap, qmail, qpopper, courier?

    If you don't mind spending time configuring software the best solution IMHO is Cyrus.

    Also check out Communigate Pro [] if you are looking for a cheap easy email solution.

  • by gus goose (306978) on Monday April 30, 2001 @11:31AM (#255508) Journal
    Kudos to IBM. This is bound to be a bit controvercial, but I believe that IBM is the most socially open of all the closed software houses. They have stated their intentions, and have clearly started a concerted effort to deliver. They are enthusiastic Linux supporters.

    Most of the components of their Suite have been released before in individual parcels, but the real news here is the delivery mechanism. Bundling them together with an installer is the key point. If there is an easier to use installer for packages, including remote distribution of packages, this is a GOOD THING.

    The other newsworthy piece I get from the links is the inclusion of server hosted applications. These have been available for a while in Unix environments with remote X servers, but this brings the actual processing to the client, and reduces server load while at the same time allowing for central software control.

    As an administrator, this is attractive.

    As a side note, this just re-inforces Linux in it's role as a server rather than a desktop.
  • Lotus Notes 5.0 runs quite well under Wine on Linux. IE browser integration is broken for obvious reasons. It also doesn't exit cleanly, but there is a workaround for that minor annoyance. Complete step-by-step instructions are available several places on the web, including Lotus' own site (below).

    Yes, I know, I'd rather have a native port too, but I have work to do and this lets me use Linux to do it. The alternative is far less appealing. llpublic/2D96D32F0ED19D26852569DD0067B3D0?opendocu ment

  • Seriously, why are companies coming out with these suites that don't integrate with anything else on the desktop?

    Perhaps they're afraid to offend users of the rejected desktop suite (ie. perhaps they're afraid KDE users won't use a Gnome app, Gnome users won't use a KDE app...)
    Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.

  • by Chakat (320875) on Monday April 30, 2001 @11:17AM (#255511) Homepage
    You're probably getting worked up for nothing. DB2 simply needs the scripting features of the Korn shell, don't have the program so I don't know why. The P(ublic) D(omain) Korn shell is simply the shell program they decided to throw in. Nothing evil about it
  • by head-explody (327880) on Monday April 30, 2001 @11:58AM (#255512)
    The key component, at least in my mind, is how interoperable it is. How does this office suite handle things from Office for Windows? Like it or not, most of the business desktops in the world use Office 97 or 2000, and if you can't easily open Word files (Let alone Excel, Powerpoint, and Access) then this office suite will fail. Opening in text-only is no good, since then you'll lose all the nice formatting that some poor cubicle drone put together. (and if you don't think the look and feel of a document isn't more important then the content, then you should try working support in an corporate office!)
    Anybody have any thoughts? I really want this to succeed.
  • Also don't forget that there is also a groupware client for KDE that looks to be coming along nicely. It's called Aethera and currently at version 0.9.1. From what I've read it's a fork of a very early version of Magellan, which is more of a KDE PIM application.

    The link for Aethera is: []

    And for Magellan: []

    I've never used any of the programs mentioned, I've just been reading all the talk about them. But everyone seems to be focusing on GNOME and Evolution without any mention of KDE or Aethera or Magellan. So I'm mentioning them here. :-)

  • The font they use (as rendered on my machine) makes it look like two of the key features are "sewer administration", and "sewer access".

    This seems fitting to me considering the enterprise, emarketing, ecrap they're spewing forth.

    IBM Small Business Server for Linux delivers an integrated, full-featured web solution designed for small businesses seeking to put their business on the web.


  • Well, sign of things to come.
    More and more commercial companies will package their products using RPMs and unwillingly
    ( or willingly) contribute to growth of RedHat and related distributions.
    Not that there is anything wrong with that, companies hate uncertainity and increased costs of customer support.
  • You've got it all wrong -- here's how those small businesses operate:

    A) They limp along with a bunch home computers they bought at "The Good Guys" and their AOL accounts until that doesn't scale any more.

    B) They call the local computer store on the corner. For about $5000, the guy sells them a box running "Microsoft Small Business Server" which is a bundle of Exchange, Proxy Server, and SQL Server. He also sets them up a domain and maybe gets DSL installed. He installs a nightly reboot script and sits back waits for them to get hacked or otherwise have him rebuild the whole thing.

    Now imagine if the computer guys specs out and sells them a Linux server for $3000. It runs the usual firewalling, MTA, IMAP server, HTTP server and so on. For $100/month, he'll telnet in and remote administration and upgrades. This kills Microsoft's 'entry market' solution

    But of course, just about the only thing worse than a bundle of Microsoft crap that you could drop on a small business would be Lotus Domino running on some form of Unix. Not only is a product purely designed for large businesses with in house developers, it costs $100/seat. Leave it to IBM to find a way to do that and screw a great market opportunity.
  • Look at KOffice? I mean, that's an impressive clone for KDE 2! Staroffice is another good one. (go SUN)
    People hype new applications way too much .There are many GOOD alternatives to Microsoft Office.
  • In order for non-commercial operating systems to succeed, they must deliver competitive software in the following areas:

    1) Single User applications (mail readers, etc.)
    2) Games
    3) Content delivery daemons (apache)
    4) Group-oriented corporate programs

    The first 3 fields are being actively conquered. Sure, there's much room for improvement, but hey -- we've come a long way, baby. The fourth segment is the most crucial for truly capturing the corporate market. Apps like Outlook still remain essentially untouched by the open source movement. (I believe /. did a story on this some time ago). It's still the area which needs the most improvement.

"The Mets were great in 'sixty eight, The Cards were fine in 'sixty nine, But the Cubs will be heavenly in nineteen and seventy." -- Ernie Banks