IBM said on Monday that it will provide Linux versions of its Sametime instant messaging client and server. With the release of Sametime 7.5 later this summer, IBM will offer a version that runs on Linux desktops. In the first half of next year, IBM plans to introduce the Sametime server on Linux.
IBM has developed the Linux editions as a result of customer interest, said David Marshak, senior product manager for real-time collaboration. "One of the key questions to implementing a Linux desktop is whether the applications are there," he said. With Sametime 7.5, IBM has rewritten the client around the Eclipse Rich Client open-source software, which will allow third parties to write plug-ins that work with instant messaging. For example, a mapping plug-in can show a person's location. Sametime 7.5 will also allow people to use instant messaging from Microsoft Office applications.