Notes client for Linux?

Monday, May 16th, 2005
Earlier this year, Robert Peake (a client and colleague of mine at The David Allen Company) shared his thoughts on a Notes Client for Linux.

I particularly liked his idea of a diskless workstation, booting Knoppix and a Notes client.
Imagine hundreds of diskless Linux workstations booting into the equivalent of Linux Terminal Server or Knoppix for Domino. In fact, many different types of workers could handle all of their day-to-day tasks in this environment with substantial savings not only on the overhead of operating system licenses, but everything that goes with a complex user environment -- like viruses, malware, and (worst of all) the myriad of operator errors that go with giving users too much latitude.
Back in the early 90's the entire ICA network on diskless workstations, booting DOS and Win 3.1 across ArcNet. The workstations in the offices as well as those at my home (up the street, connected via WaveLan) were all diskless.

Worked great! I could upgrade the entire network in a manner of minutes. Of course, our reasons at the time weren't security or convenience as much as it was the high cost of disk storage. Once we got used to how applications behaved in a diskless environment, it worked quite well.

Robert's makes a good point. I'd like to see it happen.

Discussion/Comments (4):

Jon Johnston ( 5/16/2005 1:18:44 PM
Notes client for Linux?

Actually doing quite a bit of work lately with a product called Ardence that provides for imaging and boot of Windows-based workstations. We can do linux, but I haven't been asked to do this yet.

It definitely has it's advantages - one of them being mobility, another security, and ease of administration.

It takes less than you'd think to boot a network of XP-based workstations..... which is probably the biggest question I get.

Robert ( 5/16/2005 2:29:19 PM
Notes client for Linux?

@Jon: "Very very very few people would champion this process within the enterprise."

I think the reality is that many people use these kinds of approaches already in the enterprise. I had the pleasure last year of touring a medical records company whose entire patient management system ran off the Linux Terminal Servier project, wherein headless workstations booted from a central server into a very light X-11 client that ran Mozilla (and only Mozilla) and took them right to the URL of the web-based application. Very slick, thin, client-server model in a box, handling very sensitive, highly regulated data in a fashion that makes most network admins drool at the ease of maintenance.

This stuff frankly just doesn't get enough exposure. People are doing it. Just not talking about it.

Jon Johnston ( 5/16/2005 1:54:27 PM
Notes client for Linux?

Sorry for the multiple comments... I keep getting pulled into and out of network issues.

We are potentially going to be doing some work with a school that is deploying laptops to students using Lotus Notes. We're going to be looking at how we image the laptops, w/Notes, Active Directory, with folder redirection and synchronization.

During a normal "imaging" process, i.e., Ghost, this would be very difficult if not impossible. In this case, we'll be examing if we can deploy image updates to the machines themselves when they connect to the network. This would allow us to keep the images up to date, in working order, etc.

The issue of linux-based diskless workstations is pretty slick. Unfortunately, there's still a lot of fear with regards to being responsible for a negative user reaction (as in, mutiny, rebellion). Very very very few people would champion this process within the enterprise.

okay, someone's screaming again.....

jag (): 10/1/2005 12:44:11 AM
Notes client for Linux?

This is too bad again.

IBM - are pretty much good at taking from the Open Source Community - and never contribute. If IBM wishes to compete with anti-competitive M$ - then application support for Linux Distributions and *BSD is a must.

i have no doubts that _techinically_ IBM could beat M$ any day. Sadly corporate methodogly and process limitiation will stiffle initiative.

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