Lotus releases beta of Domino 6

Lotus Software Group bucked its recent trend of tardy software delivery on Thursday with the public release of the next beta of its forthcoming Domino 6 server.

The company promised at last month’s Lotusphere conference that the Pre-Release 1 Beta would be delivered in 30 days. Some beta testers began receiving code nearly two weeks ago, but Thursday was the first general public release of the software.

While the actual time for the public release was 32 days since the Lotusphere announcement, it hardly seems worth noting since Lotus has not shipped a major upgrade to Domino for more than three years.

Domino 6 and Notes 6, the client companion to the server, is scheduled for final release in the Fall, but Lotus has vowed not to ship the software until its top beta testers are running it in production.

Lotus officials said the most recent beta is feature-complete, although the user interface still needs some polishing.

IT executives are enthusiastic about new administration, performance, integration and usability features such as clustering, support for the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and user interface additions such as unread-count for folders.

However, the beta is without Java Server Pages (JSP) support, a feature that had been in the first four betas but was pulled unexpectedly last month at Lotusphere. A group of Notes developers within the Notes Open Source Software Organization are trying to come up with a replacement for the JSP technology, which was called Garnet.

After Beta 4 was released last November, Lotus said it expected two more beta cycles, but Lotus officials now say there is no firm commitment to another beta before general release of the software.

Nearly 100,000 users have downloaded beta code, according to Lotus. The Notes and Domino 6 Pre-Release Beta 1 is available for download here.

The server runs on Microsoft Windows NT and 2000, IBM OS/400, IBM AIX, Sun Solaris/SPARC, and Linux (IA-32) server platforms.

The client is available for Windows 32-bit operating systems and Macintosh clients, including Mac OS X.