Standard spin

by Volker Weber

IBM announces integration into Microsoft office:

"With today's announcement, we are giving Microsoft customers the choice to join the open standards world and avoid being locked into closed solutions," said Michael Rhodin

Which open standards? Sametime uses a proprietary protocol. Or has IBM decided to move to XMPP?

This I find interesting:

Location-based Awareness: Lotus Sametime 7.5 is the only enterprise instant messaging platform to offer advanced location awareness.

How does this work? I assume the user says where he is, and this information is displayed on other Sametime clients. Does it discover known locations by itself, like Plazes does?


Sametime 7.5 does use make use of XMPP (albeit not as the "core" instant messaging protocol) though doesn't it? Otherwise, how does it link with Google Talk?

Ben Poole, 2006-06-26

Oh, you mean a gateway to other messaging networks. Right. Microsoft LCS has that as well, don't they?

Volker Weber, 2006-06-26

Well, actually we can see at least traces of two integration points. A gateway would be an centrally administered way of connecting to the outside world (i.e. outside of Sametime). If you look at the "Add community" dialog, at the top you can choose the "community type". Yes, so far there's only the choice of "Sametime" but I interpret this choice as an integration point where, in the future, you can choose between multiple protocols.

To me, not discarding the old Sametime protocol but allowing to integrate with others on an organizational (i.e. administrative) as well as individual basis sounds like a pragmatic solution.

Ragnar Schierholz, 2006-06-26

Of course it is, Ragnar. But would you call this "join open standards"?

Volker Weber, 2006-06-26

Re locations, I don‘t believe the client looks up known locations like Plazes does, but it “remembers” locations on a client-by-client basis. For example, the first time you fire up ST in a location it doesn’t know about, the client prompts you for a name for that location. This is then tucked away for future reference.

As for one’s whereabouts, this is displayed in the panel about that person in the Sametime window (this panel may also contain contact details, status, etc.)

Ben Poole, 2006-06-26

No the server keeps track. When I connected my latop to the network from the IBM in Buccarest for the first time, it already knew about this location, and was able to update my location accordingly. So it works like plazes, and it's more reliable. (Plazes has a lot of difficulty with the transparent proxies we use at large IBM locations in EMEA).

Joel Demay, 2006-06-26

Mike Rhodin is refering to giving Microsoft users a choice of client platform and server operating system, as well as access to the open community building on the Eclipse framework. Sametime will be running on SIP in a future release (and in the mean time will be offering interoperability with SIP systems with Sametime 7.5 as part of the Real-Time Collaboration Gateway that is included in the release.)

One addition on the location capability - when Sametime 7.5 ships, location will be something that is set locally, and it will remember the places you've been so that you don't need to keep defining the same locations over again. What we're looking to deliver at some point in the near future - and what Joel is refering to in his comment - is that inside IBM we're already testing work that our research team is doing to have server-side locations (so that if I go anywhere an IBMer has been already, for example, it will recognize my location.)

Adam Gartenberg, 2006-06-26

Adam, Microsoft users have made their choice of client platform. It is Windows. And the choice of client or server operating systems has nothing to do with open standards. "Will be running on SIP" translates to "does not run on SIP". Eclipse is also not an open standard, but rather open source. I guess Sametime is neither.


will remember the places you've been so that you don't need to keep defining the same locations over again

Does this mean I have to select the location manually? Or does the client discover the location all by itself?

Volker Weber, 2006-06-26

The client discovers it by itself. As Joel described, the first time I logged into Sametime 7.5 from IBM Kansas City, Sametime already knew where I was. however, it has the mechanism to define new locations, such as a wifi hotspot or airport or home office.

I believe Adam is saying that this specific feature (automatic server-based locations) might not be in the shipping 7.5 code, but will follow shortly after release.

Ed Brill, 2006-06-26

I think saying that Microsoft users have already standardized on Windows and would therefore never want a Mac or Linux client is a bit overstating things (and taking a rather fatalistic view of the future). If we don't build it, no one will ever have a choice beyond Windows. How many of the Mac users out there work for companies (especially enterprises) that have standardized on Mac? We've found a lot of interest from companies that may be 99% Windows but are coming to us because their PR or graphics dept., for example, use Mac and therefore a Mac client is a requirement.

For the location functionality when Sametime 7.5 ships - the first time you sign on from a location, you will need to manually define that location. When you return to that location in the future, it will recognize that you've been there before and will automatically display that location for you.

Adam Gartenberg, 2006-06-26

Adam, I am the last person to argue against Mac or Linux clients. It just has absolutely nothing to do with open standards. Open standards has become an empty phrase when used in IBM press releases. Enterprise-strength bla-bla.

Thanks for the clarification on the location functionality.

Volker Weber, 2006-06-26

Adam said: "If we don't build it, no one will ever have a choice beyond Windows."

Gosh, where's the OS/2 version? (I couldn't help myself.)

--Esther, former OS/2 goddess

esther schindler, 2006-06-26

Better yet, if it were an open standard, you could use any client.

Volker Weber, 2006-06-26

Good thread. From my understanding of the communities in ST 7.5, the admin will be able to allow/disallow certain public communities. If that community is available from the server, then the user should be able to choose it from the Add Community dialog. I haven't been specifically told that this is what happens, but this is how I would imagine it working.

See also some Q&A here:

Chris Whisonant, 2006-06-27

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