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Lotusphere hit Adelaide today – or what was left of it after a three-week trip from Florida. I’ll probably post a few more thoughts after I’ve digested the info a little longer, but here are some impressions:

Notes & Domino 8: client looked pretty slick, and they bragged about some stuff I’m used to seeing in Outlook and Thunderbird already. This part of the morning wasn’t what I was there for, plus my (admittedly brief) experience with Domino apps in the past was not happy. For the rest of the session, the Notes client featured as a vehicle for getting to a lot of the other stuff, and that made it look very together. The new client is an Eclipse “rich client” app (branded as Lotus Expeditor) which was about the best example I’ve seen so far (you sort of hope that IBM could put together a reasonable demo …).

Websphere Portal/Portal Express 6: one of the things I’m interested in. Nick was worried my next post was going to be another crack at IBM, because the supposed 45-minute install has taken over two weeks so far – but I suspect that the issue is more the environment and what was installed (and maybe not completely uninstalled) before it. Besides – IBM support don’t “know” that I have WSPortal Express yet, because the upgrade order is taking longer to get processed than the software download! Back to that next week. We have been playing with the predecessor Workplace Services Express, (it’s interesting to see how IBM seems to be changing the branding). The new version looks pretty good – more Ajaxy stuff, obviously good integration with the Lotus clients as well as browsers, and simpler portlet wiring. There is/will be integration with MS Office/Outlook (need to check whether it’s already there or on its way). There are more templates out of the box, but team spaces are no longer a feature – mainly because of …

Quickr: the behind-the-firewall, “Web2.0” collaboration thing. This was one of the things I really wanted to see – and I wasn’t disappointed with what I saw – team blogs, wikis, document management/sharing (with versioning etc), discussion forums – none of it individually earth-shattering, but put together very nicely, with good integration with Sametime (IBM’s IM) – I want to dig further into this one.

Connections: The other thing I wanted to see – the behind-the-firewall “social software” – blogs (Roller – how come IBM does more with Sun’s blog engine than Sun?), tagging (Dogear), profiles; but as Cote mentioned – no apparent wiki. It WAS touted as being complementary to Quickr, so maybe that’s where IBM sees the wiki – as a team-based thing, which may be valid. I recommend Steve’s posts here and here for his Q & A’s on Connections and Quickr … these and Cote’s post are what got me interested in the first place.

To me it seemed that the distinctions between Portal, Quickr and Connections were more arbitrary license-based considerations, rather than any significant differences at the code level. In fact I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t a lot of overlap in the codebases of these products. One of the reasons for the license structure may be the large installed base of Notes/Domino and Quickplace (Quickr is the upgrade path for current Quickplace customers) that IBM doesn’t want to p*ss off.

Some final things:

  • This strikes me as validation for Andrew McAfee’s Enterprise 2.0 meme (maybe Wikipedia will allow his article now?) and confirmation that social software behind the firewall has legs.
  • IBM has effectively resurrected the Lotus brand, and provides MS Sharepoint with some powerful competition.
  • While it isn’t exactly open-source, IBM’s use of Eclipse (which is), support for ODF, Java Content Repository, JSR168 etc. is far more “open” than say Sharepoint, because it gives customers  better options for swapping software without losing control of their data.

 

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