IBM just announced Lotus Connections. According to this article in Business Week, Lotus Connections wraps five social networking technologies up into one integrated package: profiles, where employees post information about their expertise and interests; communities, which are formed and managed by people with common interests; activities, which are used to manage group projects; bookmarks, where people share documents and websites with others; and blogs.

Microsoft was quick to reply with a press release announcing new tools that will help IBM Lotus Notes users migrate to Microsoft SharePoint 2007.

So we have Microsoft SharePoint 2007 versus IBM's Lotus Connections. But how is IBM going to compete with SharePoint's many third-party hosted service providers? Or with Google for that matter (think Google calendar, Google spreadsheets, Google's Blogger, Google search, Google pages, Google wiki/JotSpot, ...)?

With that in mind, now consider this. Many organizations have been experimenting with Drupal and see real benefits from using it. They are begging for reliable support. One or two years from now, they'll be begging for better integration with their existing tools and platforms.

It doesn't take a whole lot of IBM'ers to get Drupal to talk with Lotus Connections, to get Drupal up to par with SharePoint, or for IBM to become the world's premier Drupal support company. It is a small investment for a win-win situation.

IBM embraced Linux so they know how to do this, and they know how well that worked. It helped IBM turn around some of its business and strengthened their position in the server market. The battle has since moved up the stack and Lotus is to Drupal what AS/400 was to Linux. It will be interesting to see if IBM is going to repeat history and embrace an open source alternative.


bertboerland (not verified):

Having dealt with the 7 headed drake IBM multiple times (and I even like them!), I can say that this is not likely to be happening. Sure IBM is sponsering Drupal and they are fine with it as long as Drupal is positioned as something next to their growing Tivoli suite.

I am afraid however that IBM has too many products of its own that compete head to head with Drupal (at least from their PoV) to let IBM see the light and walk through the tunnel to the promised Drupal land.

Unless they start a new movement: Peace, Love, Drupal ...

ben_ (not verified):

Oh man, I loved IBM since my first AT and they never lost this image from my childhood. Actually IBM's in depth report on Drupal was an highly important reason to make a decision for Drupal, and my Company would be extremely happy to have IBM Support on Drupal. Get things going that way, please!

chx (not verified):

Despite closely following IT news for many years (I was a columnist for Hungary's biggest computer magazine) I can't say I understand what IBM does and why. So whether they will do this or not is completely unpredictable.

Linda (not verified):

I don't want to turn the discussion in another direction but I have to admit, too I can't understand the changing directions of IBM. The company is probably too big, looking for further business models. I even have problems to understand the sense of their TV Advertisements.

Lisa (not verified):

The fact that IBM is anouncing something, doesn't imply they already have a solution for this topic. First of all IBM is Marketing driven instead of solution driven. They anounce it, this means they have noticed there is a market, let's shout it out and make a solution out of the bundles they already have. If they miss one topic in their bundle, they will call in a business partner. That's my understanding so far.

Amy Stephen (not verified):

Great vision, as usual. Not only do I think this is possible, but I expect it will happen sooner than people realize.

I started with IBM 25 years ago in IT (well, we called it Data Processing.) They ‘get’ quality application development and they have much to bring to the table in terms of process and testing and industrial strength solutions. It is apparent, they got the memo that open source solutions are here to stay and they intend to stay here, as well.

Good. We could use their involvement.

Having said that, I attended the SF LinuxWorld Conference last August and sat in on an IBM presentation about “communities.” The basic message from this particular speaker was - sure - when Linux started you all had to do it alone, and look what you accomplished. pat, pat. Don't get us wrong - we value your input, so, feel free to use the feedback page. However, you are busy people running your own businesses, and, we are, after all, IBM. You can trust us to take it from here.

No. We are not returning to that market.

We are here to stay as involved open source community members, too. IBM is welcome to join us and we can benefit *greatly* from their gifts. But, let's also guard our community voice and keep the barriers to involvement low so that everyone can contribute their gifts and open source solutions are available to the world.

Preaching to the choir, I know. ;)

Keep visioning for us, Dries. It's a strong gift you have.

Daniel Schiavone (not verified):


Working on a Drupal project right now with IBM.

I transitioned from a Lotus Notes to Drupal four years ago. There are a surprising amount of similarities between the two; community based collaboration, workflow, abstraction from code & database, modular development to name a few.

Like many other people I was often confused by IBM's strategy. Once you realize that to a multi national corp emerging markets markets are far more fruitful than mature markets it makes sense. In the U.S. the pie has been divided up and fighting for other people's clients is too costly and less rewarding than going after new markets.