Users get Domino 5, but the boys in the back e-room get a bit more

This year the furry one got his fill of Mickey’s minions, not to mention Lotus
Development Corp.’s publicity antics. Next year he’ll let his Web browser do the
walking.


The trade show paraded a pair of Canadian mountaineers who had scaled Mount Everest to
plant Lotus’ flag at the summit—and demonstrate the power of collaborative
computing, naturally.


This time the shills were Apollo 13 skipper Jim Lovell and the head of mission control
for Lovell’s trip, Gene Krantz. Their theme was how much collaboration it had taken
to bring the Apollo 13 crew back safely and how much easier it would have been if Lovell
and Krantz had collaborated via Lotus Notes. The Rat almost lost his complimentary
continental breakfast.


That’s not to say the Orlando expedition was a total waste. The cyberrodent got to
watch Lotus chairman Jeff Papows eat his words on stage and promise a Linux version of
Domino by year’s end.


“I guess I can stop spamming him now,” the Rat murmured.


The IBM Corp.-Lotus union finally is producing offspring. Lotus will bundle IBM’s
WebSphere Java application server with Domino. It also will ship a developer’s bundle
that includes IBM’s Visual Age for Java. And of course, one of the hottest platforms
for Domino is IBM’s AS/400 midrange server.


Lotus got oohs and aahs from demos of the cool new Internet capabilities of Domino 5,
due out this month. A lot more oohs and aahs came from behind closed doors, where Lotus
showed some of its partners the latest additions to its bag of collaboration tricks.


While Lotus was publicly showing off SameTime, the real-time chat server that
integrates with Domino, it was quietly demoing a Web collaboration server with functions
similar to those of eRoom from Instinctive Technology Inc. of Cambridge, Mass. The
Rat’s sources said they could make and edit interactive Web sites with rich text and
images, using nothing more than a Web browser.


The cyberrodent expects to see thousands of GeoCities competitors spring up overnight.


There was no such good news for ordinary Notes users, especially those who have
something other than Microsoft Windows as a client. Notes will support only Windows and
Power Macintosh clients from here on—at least with anything more substantial than a
Web browser.


The Rat understands the economics of Lotus’ decision, but that doesn’t mean
he has to like it. Nor does he approve of the Baltimore Ravens’ selling the name of
their publicly funded stadium for more than $100 million to an Internet provider, PSInet
Inc. of Herndon, Va.


The Ravens have something in common with Internet companies: They’re highly
overvalued, based on their success. And, like some PSInet users the Rat knows, the
Ravens’ quarterbacks cannot seem to connect reliably on a regular basis.


Of course, they could always turn to Notes and SameTime to communicate better in the
huddle, grins the Rat. 


The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad
packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at rat@gcn.com.

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