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Lotus is opening with v6

Andy Favell
E-mail and knowledge management software supplier Lotus is moving away from its proprietary development environment to more open standards with its latest product launches.

Introduced this week, Lotus Domino and Notes version 6.0 - the server and client versions of the company's messaging and collaboration suite - show closer integration with IBM's Websphere application server. A free version of Websphere will be bundled with the products for Lotus developers to test on.

The new releases also show closer ties to both the J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) development environment and Web services standards.

This heralds a "new perspective" for Lotus and for the vast Lotus development community, said Eric Woods, research director at analyst firm Ovum.

It is unclear yet whether Lotus' roadmap will diverge for those companies that want to take the fast track to Web services and those that wish to stick with the traditional Lotus environment.

The company's strategy should become more apparent when Lotus releases details of Domino and Notes version 7.0 in 18 months' time. The new versions are expected to be fully J2EE-compliant.

The Lotus customer base is demanding three things, according to Mark Latchford, Lotus vice-president for EMEA. On the strategic side there is interest in J2EE and Linux. On a day-to-day level, users are interested in speed and ease of deployment and rapid return on investment.

"Both Lotus and its customers are taking these products more seriously," said Woods.

Lotus is currently briefing customers at four meetings across the UK.

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