Can we do it all with the IBM Client for Smart Work? Yes. We Can.

Mat Newman  July 27 2012 20:24:26
Just over 2 (two) years ago today I first wrote about The Alternate Reality.

After seeing an excellent presentation from Ray Davis (IBM Malaysia - @Rayd123) that demonstrated the IBM Client For Smart Work - and following yet another terrible experience with a well known operating system - I was motivated to give the IBM Client for Smart Work a try.

And I haven't looked back.

What is IBM Client for Smart Work?

Take an open source operating system (Ubuntu Linux) and install IBM Lotus Notes and IBM Lotus Symphony to create a complete office productivity environment.

For those who might cry that I'm an exception as an Uber Tech (Yeah - I'm the first to admit I'm a geek) I counter that 2 of my children (16 and 9) now run Ubuntu Linux as their primary desktop operating system.

And. It. Just. Works.

With the availability of IBM Lotus Notes and Symphony across all the major operating system platforms, I should not have been surprised.

When I began it was with an aging Thinkpad T61P that found a new lease of life on a lighter, faster OS, which has made it's way from Ubuntu 10.04 through 12.04, joined in the journey with IBM Lotus Notes 7 through 8.5.3 and IBM Lotus Symphony v1.0 to 3.0.1.

12 months ago the T61 was joined by the "Aircraft Carrier", the mighty Thinkpad W701ds.  Similarly, the Aircraft Carrier has made it way through Ubuntu 11.04, 11.10 and 12.04. Unlike the T61P, the Aircraft Carrier has always run the x64 versions of Ubuntu.  A word for the wise: the x64 version of Ubuntu Linux presents some - shall we say - 'unique' challenges when it comes to installing and configuring IBM Lotus Notes and Symphony.  If you are really motivated to run the x64 variant, please ensure you visit the usable software blog to read all the steps required to get the software installed and running.

Another note: the x32 PAE versions of Ubuntu quite happily run more than 3GB of RAM.  I discovered (after much cursing, remembering what I had paid for) that the T61P actually had 4GB of memory on board after installing the PAE Ubuntu Linux kernels.

The other big development - which I'm sure everyone is aware of - has been the rise of Mobile clients, generally smart-phones, but more specifically Tablets.

IBM Lotus Traveler has matured and expanded the reach of IBM Lotus Notes to a multitude of mobile devices, which in my family include a gaggle of iPods, iPhones, an iPad, a Thinkpad Android Tablet and the venerable Nokia E7.

And of course, no commentary on the developments during this time would be complete without mentioning the new star in the IBM camp - IBM Connections.

Being primarily a browser-accessed application, IBM connections easily slides into the IBM Client for Smart work, although I do sometimes look with envy at those of my colleagues running Lotus Notes who have the IBM Connections Files side-bar plug-in available to them.  Some consolation is the ease with which the IBM Connections mobile site plugs into the Lotus Notes client as a widget, which has been one of my more popular blog-posts, and still enables me to easily work with my IBM Connections files, even without the native plug in.

Of course, this period has also seen the rise of Xpages, which one of my favourite applications - the Lotus Notes Teamroom - benefited from a major update with the release of IBM Lotus Notes 8.5.3.  We still use a Team Room to manage and share information within the family - especially important dates in the IBM Lotus Notes Team Room Calendar - which is now much more mobile friendly due to the Xpages treatment.

And last - but definitely not least - IBM Sametime is available on all devices thanks to the improvements and developments in the Sametime family.

What the IBM Client for Smart Work has clearly demonstrated is that it is entirely possible to be productive, to connect, communicate, coordinate and collaborate effectively without a Window in sight.

The only exception being my requirement to continue writing applications, which necessitates running a Windows VM as a platform for IBM Domino Designer.

Considering that actually creating applications is beyond the purview of a vast majority of knowledge workers the final question has obviously been answered:

Can we do it all with the IBM Client for Smart Work? Yes. We Can.

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Mat Newman

THE Notes (formerly IBM/Lotus Notes) Guy. Productivity Guru. Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. Former IBMer. HCLite. Views are my own.

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Mat Newman

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