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IBM Bets Big On Open Source In Next Release Of Lotus Notes

IBM is betting big on open source technology in the next version of its IBM Lotus Notes client, due out in a public beta release this fall. The new version of Notes will include support for the open standard, XML-based OpenDocument Format (ODF), IBM announced today. In addition, the new Lotus Notes release will be the first major commercial collaboration client based on the Eclipse open source framework.

The Lotus Notes client will include office productivity editors including word processing, spreadsheet and presentation capabilities, and will enable Lotus Notes users to create, edit and save documents natively in ODF. The new editors will also integrate with file formats used by Microsoft Office and previous versions of OpenOffice.

The new version of Lotus Notes, using the IBM Workplace Client Technology, will be server-deployed and server-managed. It will allow IT staff to dynamically configure and reconfigure the client interface without having to "touch" the desktop. IBM claims that by integrating server-managed client capabilities into Lotus Notes, it is delivering a new model for 'composite applications' that extends IBM middleware from servers to the desktop.

The next version of Lotus Notes will allow enterprises to combine disparate desktop applications into reusable services. Users will also be able to work with their composite applications when not connected to the server.

In addition, Lotus Notes will add a new concept IBM calls "activity-based computing," which allows content such as email, meetings, documents, chats, and notes to be associated with specific projects or processes. IBM claims this will create a shared repository which allows team members to have the same, up-to-date view of all aspects of the activity or project.