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IBM Opens Workplace For Linux Apps

IBM is continuing its march towards heterogeneous software deployments across Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.

Big Blue's latest multi-platform software initiative is called IBM Open Client, an effort that builds on IBM initiatives that have leveraged the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP) to deliver applications across multiple operating systems.

Open Client includes Websphere Portal 6.0 and Lotus Expeditor, which contain foundational elements for building out cross-platform application availability.

IBM also said that Open Client supports Lotus Notes and Lotus Sametime, which is not a new thing for IBM. In July IBM first announced that it would be rolling out Lotus Notes for Linux using Eclipse RCP.

And in August, IBM said Lotus Sametime would get the same treatment and be supported via Eclipse RCP for Linux.

Eclipse RCP is one of the fastest-growing Eclipse projects. It enables developers to create applications that will run across multiple platforms.

The Notes and Sametime efforts were outgrowths of an even earlier IBM effort called IBM Managed Workplace Client, which also offered Notes prior to the release of the standalone Linux client.

IBM is hoping Open Client will help enterprises overcome a barrier to Linux adoption.

"The barriers to adoption are the applications that you want available on multiple platforms, which is the problem that Eclipse RCP solves," Adam Jollans worldwide open source and Linux strategy manager at IBM said.

Though Eclipse RCP and Open Client are Java-based, there is a negligible performance difference between running an application natively versus running it through the Open Client, Antony Satayadas, chief strategic officer at IBM Lotus, told internetnews.com.

But ultimately it's about enabling a multi-operating system enterprise.

Jollans noted that just as server heterogeneity is now comment, desktop heterogeneity is now becoming common as well.

"Maybe a company wants Macs for the design department, maybe thin Linux clients for front office or tellers and Windows for something else," Jollans said. "They haven't been able to do that in the past because they all have different applications. This provides a unifying layer on top."

Eclipse RCP also has an embedded project related to it, which Jollans said will expand the potential of multi-platform applications even further to multiple devices.

"Business partners will need to take this Open Client and add applications on top of it," Satayadas said. "I think that will be the next phase."