IBM aims for Microsoft-Free PCs
IBM has announced a new initiative, partnering with Red Hat, Novell and Ubuntu, to create what it calls the Microsoft-Free PC. At the core of the plan is IBM's Open Collaboration Client Solution (OCCS), which includes Lotus Notes, Lotus Symphony and Lotus Sametime. IBM is working with the Linux distributors to make the OCCS software available through their software distribution mechanisms so that the Lotus applications would be available to users and systems integrators.
IBM is hoping that the wider availability of OCCS will allow systems integrators to go into corporations with a full software stack, and it points to OpenReferent, as a model. OpenReferent, from Austrian firm VDEL, pulls together Red Hat Enterprise Linux and IBM software to offer a Microsoft-free desktop which VDEL has been pushing into eastern European businesses such as Post of Russia. Novell has pursued a similar integration path with SUSE Linux Enterprise, working with Avnet UK.
While this initiative is typical of enterprise Linux vendors such as Red Hat and Novell, Canonical's Ubuntu is often thought of as more of a community-based Linux. Canonical is planning to distribute Lotus Symphony through its repositories, with Symphony 1.1 available by the end of August and Symphony 1.2 by end of October. Malcom Yates, Canonical Vice President said ""Open Collaboration Client Solution powered by Ubuntu … gives us the opportunity to deliver a complete Microsoft desktop alternative to our customers."
IBM's director of Linux, Inna Kuznetsova said "The idea of Microsoft-free personal computing has been in the air for a while, We're just partnering with Linux distribution vendors and hardware vendors to make it happen." Targeting at Microsoft's Small Business Server, IBM are also assembling a middleware toolkit which will generate customised ready-to-run Linux appliances which can be dropped into a companies infrastructure,