Linux gets the thumbs up

Linux gets the thumbs up

Despite long-standing professions of indifference, it turns out that Lotus Development loves Linux after all.

CEO Jeff Papows drew vigorous applause during his Lotusphere '99 keynote when he told conference attendees that Domino Server will be made available on open source Linux sometime this year. The company offered no other details about the planned release, such as which commercial brand or brands of Linux will be supported or a more precise ship date.

As recently as last fourth quarter, Papows and other Lotus executives downplayed their interest in Linux, arguing that Domino was already on enough platforms and did not need to support another variation of Unix. Papows attributed the change of heart to a groundswell of "market input" and told reporters to "take this as our ability to admit that we were wrong.

"It got to the point where I couldn't leave my house this year before somebody would accost me in my driveway and ask whether Lotus would provide support for Linux," Papows says.

A few conference attendees suggested the move was more of a public relations concession to all the recent Linux hype and perhaps a bow to parent company IBM, which has also announced its support for Linux.

However, the prevailing view among those interviewed was that Domino on Linux makes sense, and that Lotus was acting wisely in recognising a growing market appetite for another alternative to Windows NT.

Domino also supports Hewlett-Packard's HP-UX, Sun's Solaris and IBM's AIX, OS/2 Warp Server 4, AS/400 and S/390.

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