Cost-conscious enterprises that are keeping a watchful eye on the Linux desktop market will certainly want to take a look at the new Linux version of Notes announced today by IBM. But the real decision point for many large shops may come next year, when IBM plans a major overhaul of Notes that will include word processing, spreadsheet and presentation features.
In other words, Notes will become an enterprise-class rival to Microsoft Office on the Linux desktop.
Most open source and Linux rivals to Office stack up well in basic productivity functionality, but have long lacked the integrated server-based collaboration and messaging functions powered by Exchange Server. Notes is all about server-based collaboration; its Domino backend has been running natively on Linux for years.
IBM concedes that emerging markets in Asia and South America are the most promising for its current Linux Notes offering. But a productivity suite that can compete feature-for-feature with Microsoft Office-plus-Exchange may be the tipping point Linux desktop advocates have been looking for, at least in the enterprise.