What makes Traveler special?

by Volker Weber

When IBM announced Traveler, push services for mail, calendar, todo, names and journal in Domino 8.0.1 at Lotusphere, everybody was excited. Finally Domino would have something like Exchange ActiveSync in the core product. It then turned out that Traveler would not be in the core product, but would be procured as a separate download. Lotus set up a new process, where customers would prove their entitlement, and then were supposed to promptly receive a download link. That did not work as well as designed, but has eventually been improved. Business partners still were unable to legally obtain the code until IBM set up a separate process through the Business Partner Forum.

Surely there must be a reason why IBM had to design a separate process for this piece of code. I asked whether IBM had licensed somebody else's product and was told that it was developed by Lotus but contained some third party technology. Today I asked whether IBM needed to track the code because they had to pay royalties and received this answer:

I don't think there's any value added to the discussion by explaining -why- IBM needs to track, simply that there is a requirement to track. IBM hopes to remove that requirement by the time of 8.0.2 or 8.5 releases, but it is too soon to know.

This is probably the best way to make me curious. Ed would not tell me, so I assumed he could not. Time to investigate. And that turned out to be quite easy. You just have to run the "strings" command on everything Traveler installs and you will find the pieces of this puzzle.

It appears Traveler utilizes the TrueSync server that IBM integrated into WebSphere Everyplace some six years ago. TrueSync was developed by Philippe Kahn's Starfish, then part of Motorola, now part of Nokia. Interesting quote:

"WebSphere Everyplace Access is a natural extension to e-business," said Mike Rhodin, vice president of IBM's Pervasive Computing Development. "As they did with the Web, enterprises are now looking for ways to leverage their existing technology and data with the onslaught of pervasive computing devices in order to get to market quicker and move information around the organization more efficiently. Having a flexible, open infrastructure built on WebSphere Everyplace Access with Starfish software protects the assets customers already have in place and doesn't limit what they'll be able to do tomorrow."

This is the same Mike Rhodin who now runs Lotus. I guess we have found the reason why Traveler is special. IBM uses technology that Nokia owns. This is a good reason to track usage of this code. What the nature of the agreement between IBM and Nokia is, remains a secret, that I don't even want to know. Case closed.

Regardless of the technology and everything else, Traveler seems to be working quite well, so the customer will be happy.

Comments

And even though Nokia owns the code (seemingly) they still couldn't / wouldn't supply a Symbian client :-)

Dag Kvello, 2008-03-22

I don't think Nokia owns the code, just the technology. Traveler is apparently built (on Windows) from a source tree called bluefish6. That suggests a blue (IBM) implementation of the Starfish TrueSync server.

Traveler installs its own JRE (1.5) and contains mostly Java code. It also uses Apache Derby as its relational database. That all points very much to an IBM implementation. I am still scratching my head why it only runs on Windows servers.

Lotus is very fond of having roadmaps. I wonder what the roadmap for Traveler is. The core of the product is not new.

Volker Weber, 2008-03-22

-I am still scratching my head why it only runs on Windows servers.

have Lotus ever published their share of windows/nonwindows domino installs my guess would be first version out of the door to as many as possible and then look at the request for other platforms in the real world.

if a shop with non windows really wanted this couldnt the just setup a replica of a users mailbox on a windows server and still run the day to day stuff on nonwindows , aint pretty but it dont take many users to even out the license cost vs buying 3rd party applications.

Flemming Riis, 2008-03-22

Flemming, imagine you just bought a Canadian company offering Linux appliances with Domino as an alternative to MS Small Business Server (which already has the Traveler capabilities built in).

Domino customers on i5 have also made a deliberate choice not to run on Windows.

Volker Weber, 2008-03-22

-Flemming, imagine you just bought a Canadian company offering Linux appliances with Domino as an alternative to MS Small Business Server

Right hand dont always talk with left hand, but again that company had a install base of 10-15000 servers as i remember from the press release so it will take some time for them to kill SBS.

It dont really make sense but in the real world its proberly just down to resourses or lack there off.

Or its just a notch in the old feature war :)


Flemming Riis, 2008-03-22

Hi,

I have one query, Using Lotus Notes Traveler can we able to access lotus notes application or Web base application.

Nil Jhon, 2008-07-28

Nil:
No, IBM Lotus Traveler is a simple Push Mail implementation (with Calendar and Todos). It has no native Notes (TCP port 1352) access and no HTTP Client. However, the Push-Mail uses HTTP 80 or HTTPS 443.

Andy Brunner, 2008-07-28

Volker - Most i5 shops are running some Windows server for one reason or another. If Traveler is a way to keep Exchange out, I would think an i5 Domino shop will suck it up and run a Windows server to run Traveler while we wait for an i5 port (knowing full well that it may never come). We have several WinMo users; they are all very excited about us moving to 8 so we can put up a new server and start running Traveler.

Mike Eovino, 2008-09-27

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.

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