Thursday, September 30, 2010

Using the IBM Greenhouse Sametime Community

If you are not aware, IBM maintains a collection of the Lotus software for people to use at Lotus Greenhouse.  You can either be nominated to participate, or self nominate.  Once you have an ID you can use all of the services it has which includes Connections, Quickr, and Sametime to say the least.  Besides the web interface, you can also make use of their Sametime community with the Sametime Connect Client.  If you are not already a Sametime customer, you can download a trial of the Sametime Standard client here.

To connect to the Greenhouse community with your Sametime Connect client, you need to add a new community.  Select File > Manage Communities.  A large button in the middle of the resulting dialog reads “Add New Server Community…”.  Click on that button.  Complete the Log In tab using the table below:

Setting Value
Server community type: Sametime
Server community name: Enter something unique to identify the community within your client.  Default is typically hostname:username
User name: Your Greenhouse ID
Password: Password associated with your Greenhouse ID
OTHER SETTINGS You can keep the defaults, or opt to have this community remember your password and log you in whenever the client is launched.  Your preference.


Move to the Server tab and complete the following:

Setting Value
Host server:
Server community port: 80
Keep allive I leave the default.  More often then not, the value is appropriate.


Click on the Connection tab and fill out:

Setting Value
Use global connection settings… Clear the check box
Connection Direct connection using HTTP protocol
Log into the community after completing this form: Leave checked


Click OK and you should be all set.  If you browse the web through a proxy server and are having problems, your Connection tab should reflect a proxied connection instead of the direct connection method illustrated.  Information on that configuration can be found in the help or Information Center.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sametime 8.5 Presence Issues

Just Another Reason to Love Gab Davis… From her blog post on the Turtle Partnership’s Blog…

To summarize, the Presence Subscription service in the 8.5 Community server is now trying to utilize too much memory, and needs to be throttled back on many 32bit systems.  This is achieved by modifying the sametime.ini as prescribed in her post.

The fix should be to modify the sametime.ini file and replace this

STPresenceSubscriptionsMgr_VM_ARGS=-Xmx1024m -Xgcpolicy:gencon -Xcompactgc

with this

STPresenceSubscriptionsMgr_VM_ARGS=-Xmx512m -Xgcpolicy:gencon –Xcompactgc

It should go without saying, but restart your community server.


LS11 Registration Open

Don’t wait too long.  LotusSphere 2011 registration has begun.  Here is the link to the registration page:

And here is a link to the conference general page.

If you are not sure about why you should attend LS11, give me a call or email and we will talk.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Facebook Badges

I previously wrote about adding a TripIt Badge to Your Connections Blog, and decided to follow up with the details on also adding a Facebook badge.  Facebook has been nice enough to provide a badge builder, which you can find here.  You can generate a badge to either display a small bit of your profile, embed your photo collection in another web page, share your list of favorite pages, or even the better part of your whole Facebook page.  In this example, we will be using the Profile Badge.

Once you land on the Facebook Badges page linked above, select the Profile Badge.


By default, you will be given three default badges, and the option to make a custom one.  I selected the default Other badge.


Then select the text in the box, and copy it to your clipboard.

Browse to your Connections server and log in to your blog.  From the My Blog tab, browse to Preferences > Templates.  Click on the edit icon for the Weblog template. 


I decided to place my Facebook badge at the bottom of the left hand column.  If you also added a TripIt badge there, then you can decide which you want first.  To find the bottom of the left column, search for the line: </div><!--end colLeft—>  I then pasted the text from the Facebook badge page above the line of code.  It looked like this when I was done.


Save your new template and go back to your blog to see the results of your work.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Windows Live Writer

I found a post on BleedYellow detailing how to use Windows Live Writer with Connections Blogs making use of the Atom Publishing Protocol.  You can read the full article here.  After trying to make it work for the better part of thirty minutes, I gave up.  One of the features I like most about Connections is the multiple interfaces it presents.  This flexibility makes it possible for users to each have personalized experiences with Connections and get the most out of it in whatever way appeals to them.  When releasing any solution it’s usability is critical to adoption.  Ultimately, I wound up being able to use the MetaWeblog interface to enable me to post to Connections from WLW.  I have been enjoying the rich text editing of WLW and the ability to work on blog articles over a longer period of time, then simply publish when I am ready.  If you are blogging with any regularity and have not considered a blog client yet, I suggest you give it a try.  To configure WLW to work with Connections, here is what I did:

  • From the Blogs menu, select Add blog account…
  • Then I selected “Other blog service” from the dialog that appeared.
  • I then filled out the information for my blog.  This is supposed to be the SSL interface, so if you need to specify https for your blog, I suggest you do so.
  • Next, I was asked to define the interface I intended to use to publish to my blog.  Since we are using the Metaweblog API, I selected that, then put the xmlrpc url in the field provided.  For a Connections sever, it is located at /blogs/services/xmlrpc by default.  For VSS’s Connections, it is here:
  • I was then prompted to select the blog I wanted to add to WLW from the list of blogs I have access to on the Connections server.  You should select the one that coincides with the URL you entered on the add a blog dialog.
  • I was then prompted to allow WLW to download the blog’s theme.
  • WLW proceeded to download all of the look and feel elements of the blog so that editing the blog would show you what the post will look like once posted.  I have to admit, this was one of the features I really liked about the client.
  • Once it was complete, I then simply had to confirm the blog’s nickname that would be used in the WLW interface to refer to this blog and hit finish.  I did not opt to share my blog on Windows Live, but that was simply a personal preference.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ubuntu as an iNotes Reverse Proxy/Balancer

If you have been dealing with Domino clustering for any amount of time, you undoubtedly know it is a wonderful and frustrating technology all at the same time. For your client users they experience near seamless failover between clustered servers with little or no intervention on their own part. Your web users, however, tell a much different story. Unless you have already addressed this, they have to be the dynamic component of the equation. A web only user needs to know all of the server addresses for the servers containing their email should one or more prove to be unavailable. The method of failover sometimes being merely trial and error. This can be frustrating, and more people are looking for the clustered experience to be feature comparable between the Notes client users and iNotes users. On average, I have been asked about once a week since Lotusphere about making iNotes highly available for numerous customers. I decided to capture one of the methods here on my blog so I can provide the answer completely and quickly to everyone who needs.


-Architectural Discussion-

I want to start by saying there are numerous ways to accomplish this task. The list includes:

  • The Domino ICM – While this is not necessarily a bad option, it requires licensing of the ICM instance if you were to run the ICM outside of a cluster. To ensure your point of entry does not become a single point of failure, and negate the efforts of having the cluster in the first place, you would possibly deploy two servers in this capacity. Another option would be to deploy the ICM on a server within the cluster, but if that were the server to fail, then that would not be very effective. Lastly, you could deploy the ICM on all servers in the cluster, but the overhead and redirection between servers within the cluster could generate unnecessary overhead compared to some of the more elegant solutions.

  • Appliance Based Reverse Proxy – If you have a reverse proxy device in your environment, this would be a wonderful option. You can employ the services of an F5 or Cisco device that is produced by network centric companies, or you could look at solutions like the Whale reverse proxy offering which is application centric with specific rules for know attacks on common web-based applications. These solutions can be extremely robust, with large capacity and the ability to stack or cluster the individual devices to provide amazing levels of availability and service speeds. This all comes at a price, however, and may be a budget buster. Especially if you would have to acquire the appliance(s) if there were no incumbent.

  • Software Based Reverse Proxy – IBM provides customers with a reverse proxy solution, included in many WebSphere and some Lotus licenses. The Edge Component Server has configurations optimized for caching operations or other configurations making setup a bit faster than some of the other solutions. Because it is software, you can leverage virtualization technologies to quickly deploy multiple instances of the solution. Other software reverse proxy solutions are out there, and I am sure virtual appliances as well, but one of the most flexible and versatile could arguably be Apache. Besides the fact that the Edge server is built on Apache, there is a wealth of documentation for Apache, and the cost is nearly nothing. This will be the approach we will examine in this article.


So now that we have chosen a proxy technology, lets review the players in the solution. Domino will be clustered, which means you will have a pair (or more) of Domino Enterprise servers. This example will make use of Domino 8.5.1 FP1. The server platform is really of no importance since none of the solution is operating system specific. In the interest of simplicity, we will run Domino on Windows 2003. Since Apache will be our vehicle for proxy services, we have numerous options. We could download and install Apache on another Windows server, or we can use a Linux system. There are many quality Linux distributions that are community maintained and are still offered at no cost. I prefer Ubuntu or CentOS. For this example we will use Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS. If you need help with installing Ubuntu, or want to see how I installed it, refer to this article.

As with any initiative, the foundry work is important to have right. We will assume the following is already in place:

  • Working Domino Mail Cluster – Test that failover, mail deliver, and cluster replication is all performing as expected before moving any farther.

  • iNotes Enabled/Configured on All Cluster Members – Make sure the experience on the cluster members is the same for iNotes users. This includes the session authentication, login page, etc.

  • WebSSO is Working Between Servers – You should be able to freely change between servers without being prompted for credentials if a valid session exists.

-Installing the Proxy-

I started by installing Ubuntu, taking as many default options as possible.  Where your particular install, especially for production usage, should vary is in the disk configuration. I did not install the LAMP package option during installation. Since we want to use this system as a reverse proxy, the only piece of the LAMP architecture we would be interested in would be Apache. After booting the system for the first time, we had a few housekeeping items to tend to.

First I installed Apache2 using the apache2 package.


I then proceeded to also install apache2-doc and apache2-suexec-custom per the recommendation from Apt.


Next, I needed to change the network configuration from DHCP to a static IP. If you need assistance with changing to a static IP address, you can refer to the reference section of this guide.

The Ubuntu Apache package makes use of a series of config files for each module you can/would potentially use. They are located in /etc/apache2/mods-available. To enable a given module, you simply link the appropriate config file to the mods-enabled directory at the same level as mods-available. Some mods have more than one file. A .load file is used to load the module at run time, and a .conf file is used to configure that module. We will need to enable proxy, proxy_http, proxy_balancer, and rewrite. There are both conf and load files for proxy, but the others have only load files. Create links in the /etc/apache2/mods-enabled directory for each of the required files using the ln command.


The default settings in proxy.conf are already geared towards using Apache in the way we intend. ProxyRequests is set to off, and the ProxyVia option is enabled already for us. All we need to change is to allow connections through the proxy. Comment out lines 9 and 10, then add the lines as shown in the image below.


Just like the module conf files, there is a default conf file in /etc/apache2/sites-enabled that I removed so no local content displays.  Apache also has the ability to read custom conf files after all other configuration files through the conf.d directory. I created an inotes.conf file in /etc/apache2/conf.d to hold the rest of the configuration specific to iNotes.  Here is what is in my inotes.conf:

# Created by: David Greenstein
# Updated: 24MAY2010
# Configuration File to Use Ubuntu LTS 10.04 as iNotes
# Reverse Proxy.

# Replace All URLs to match your iNotes servers.
# EX: >

# Define the ProxyPass Directives
ProxyPass /balancer-manager !
ProxyPass / balancer://inotescluster/ stickysession=JSESSIONID nofailover=On
ProxyPassReverse /
ProxyPassReverse /

<Proxy balancer://inotescluster>
        BalancerMember route=srv1 loadfactor=50
        BalancerMember route=srv2 loadfactor=50
        ProxySet lbmethod=bytraffic

You can download my inotes.conf file here. Modify the conf file to the names of your Domino servers and restart apache.


See Chris@GROUP’s blog if you encounter the session persistence issue.  You will have to also add in MOD_HEADERS, specify the new cookie to dynamically build to track which back end server is in use for the session, and define the cookie as the stickysession above.  This can all be added to the inotes.conf or placed in a new conf file. 

With the reverse proxy out of the way, we now need to configure iNotes to work with the reverse proxy. Open the iNotes Web Access Redirect database and setup the database. On the first tab, set the redirection type to Fixed and enter your reverse proxy as the server to use.


The rest of the defaults are fine, unless you need to make adjustments. Save and Close.

I also have configured the DOMCFG.nsf to use the iNotes Login Form for server authentication. Verify the settings in both databases have replicated to the secondary server as well. Restart HTTP or your domino servers.



Traveler 8.5.2

Lotus Notes Traveler 8.5.2 is really growing up.  While it still does not say that Traveler supports the Droid, the enhancements to the iPhone experience looks like it will make it a real contender for former Blackberry users. (Like me)  The list of new features, security enhancements, and additional functionality are a very welcome addition to me.  On August 23rd, IBM posted to the product wiki this article outlining the new features:

Features of particular interest to me are:

  • Security policy enforcement for Apple devices
  • Support for Meeting Invitations on Apple devices
  • Automatic Lotus Notes Traveler client updates for Windows Mobile and Nokia S60 devices
  • Server OS Support for Linux (RHEL5, SLES10, SLES11)

For details on each feature and the full list of what was added, follow the link provided and read the full article.  There is also good information provided in the wiki to help ensure a successful deployment or upgrade.  It appears that all documentation for LNT has been moved to the wiki as of 8.5.2, so do not go to the InfoCenter.  The last bit of advice I would give, is to not forget about the Domino SMTP bug fix, especially if your LNT server routes it’s own mail and calendar responses.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

So You Want DAOS?

With the published and experienced benefits of DAOS, more and more customers are looking to implement.  With DAOS, you will see significant reduction in storage.  We have seen as much as 1/3 of the storage used by Domino eliminated.  What DAOS does is remove the attachments from the NSF files, placing them in encoded (or encrypted) stores on the file system of the server, and leaves references to the files in the header of all Notes Documents referencing the attachment.  The process of deduping is much more efficient storage of attachments, and by it being part of the ODS, it is faster and more transparent than any other method to achieve this available to this point.  DAOS, however, has some requirements that can not be ignored.  You must upgrade the ODS of your databases and enable transactional logging before DAOS.
If implemented correctly, transaction logging can improve server performance and even help with system recovery/startup time/backups/etc.  IBM has compiled documentation relevant to transaction logging that I feel is a must read for anyone looking to implement DAOS and/or TLogs. - Best Practices
Of particular note, given the popularity of SAN storage... is the section related to TLogs on SAN:
If you have not already reviewed the DAOS best practices, here is the WIKI article:
I know in the past, IBM has made suggestions for storage on a Domino server that may have been seen as overly engineered or complex for the audience.  I have seen this personally as well, but this time, it is not the case.  These practices for storage, if ignored, can lead to severe performance degradation or system instability.
I hope this helps!

Social Computing Musings

I was pondering this as I was installing Connections and thought it would be a good topic for a blog entry.  I am interested in people's comments about it as well.
We all agree that social computing is obtaining greater adoption by the day.  I recently read in the book "The Social Factor" that the adoption of VCRs in U.S. homes took almost 20 years and was delayed while the VHS and BETA war waged on for nearly ten of those years.  In more recent time (the Social Age) we had a similar war between BlueRay and HD-DVD.  While there were arguments made on both sides of the fence, the public ultimately decided the fate of HD-DVD and BlueRay in only two years.  Attributing this to the fact that the war was not waged on news channels alone, or by "experts" in the industry, but by consumers in social forums.  With communication and collaboration happening this much faster, one can not ignore the impact these technologies have.
So what does this mean?
Social computing is a powerful tool, and should be treated as such.  Random blogs (like this one) can be created and added to the information overload on the internet instantly.  Your advice to the world can have in impact in a big way.  Regardless of where you publish, post, blog, etc., the more significant idea in my mind is how you do it.  I can not offer advice on who should or should not do it, or topics to/not to cover.  I believe everyone can and should embrace these technologies and no topic be spared from the scrutiny of pubic debate.  I will offer these word of advice:

  1. Don't post something you would be embarrassed if your Mom/Grandmother/Father/etc. would find/read it.:  This one seems obvious, but not necessarily for the obvious reasons.  With information proliferating at an alarming rate, anything about you, by you, for you will be added to your resume when trying to secure a new job or placement in a school.  If your prospective employer finds images of you in a compromising position with alcohol around you, it may weigh against you when compared to equally qualified candidates.  This applied to language used in your postings, morality and topics addressed, etc.  If you want to be known as the rebel who only discusses hot issues, then go for it... but be prepared for the consequences.  (Which may not all be bad!)
  2. Contribution is not the end of individualized expertise:  There are those of us who may still believe that the way to be "irreplaceable" is to have something no one else has.  While on some level I understand and share the desire to be unique among competitors, I think that can be achieved through the use of social media, and not despite it.  Being the first to share experiences with a community can solidify your position as an early adopter, or the person to go to when a question about the topic arises.
  3. Sharing too much??:  This could be viewed as a side note to item 1.  While you may find it appropriate to discuss a rash with close family, the internet at large is NOT your family.  Does this mean that you should not put personal items/posts on your company blog?  NOT AT ALL!  I feel quite the opposite.  Just keep the conversation on the same level as if you were discussing the topic with strangers or prospective first time clients.  Sometimes letting people know you have greater depth besides just work can be a good thing.  Maybe you will connect with someone on a level not expected because of a common liking for Mel Brooks movies, or something else off topic.
  4. Give credit where it is due.:  If you find something on someone else's blog, include a link to the original content.  Recognize the original author.  You would expect the same in return, no?
  5. Respect the privacy of others!:  Just because you are willing to share an experience with the world, or you found something humorous that your friend did does not mean the other party or parties involved feel the same way about sharing.  If you want to post pictures, quotes, etc. it is courteous to seek the permission of said parties.  You never know why someone may want or even need to remain anonymous.  I often feel that one should err on the side of caution with this particular point.  When in doubt... omit.  It is also nice to know when to post publicly and when to privately message someone a response.  If a friend in your network asks for advice about a mutual friend, it may be best to share that explicitly with the first party.
These are just some of the guidelines I use when socializing; be it on Facebook, here, or anywhere else.  Try to be responsible when leveraging this wonderful, powerful, and exciting technology.

Adding TripIt to Lotus Connections Blogs

When I originally wrote this article, I was using Connections for my Blog.  I have (obviously) moved to Blogger, but wanted to bring this article over as it is still a good tip for anyone using Connections.

I have noticed on various Blogs on and other locations the TripIt Blog Badge on the page somewhere.  Being a TripIt user my self, I decided to take a closer look at how it works, and see about adding it to my Lotus Connections blog.
I started by logging into Blogs on my Connections server. I then clicked on the “My Blog” tab. Then I clicked on the link to edit my blog settings.

Once presented with the settings for my blog, I clicked on the Theme link to modify the theme my blog is based on.


I then clicked the Customize button to make a customized version of the theme I was already using.


I was then presented with a new element on the page that allows me to make the necessary changes to my theme. I clicked on the new link Templates to modify the custom copy of my theme.


I then clicked on the document icon next to the Weblog template to modify my blog's layout to include the TripIt Blog Badge.


I decided the best place to put the Blog Badge would be below the cloud tag on my blog. I wanted it somewhere within the left column, below the navigation elements. I looked for the elements I could recognize easily. Since the Lotus Connections CSS uses pretty descriptive names, it was not difficult to find the <DIV> that held the Tag Cloud.


Once I found the comment <!-- Tags --> I found the closing tag for the Div.


This is where I want to add my badge.

I logged into TripIt, and selected the Apps link near my name in the upper right corner of the window and then proceeded to click on the Blog Badge link lower on the page under the Share Your Plans section.


I then clicked on the Publishing your data link.


I made sure the check box was selected to Show trip date and description, and that the Blog Badge was turned on.


Then I proceeded to copy the code that was displayed in the yellow section and pasted it below the closing </DIV> statement back on my edit template document.


I then just had to save and then close my template, and my TripIt Blog Badge was on my Blog in Connections.

I confirmed my theme has been updated, as can you by going back to the start page of my blog.

The Value of Lotus Connections: Activities

At first, I was not impressed with Lotus Connections: Activities, I must admit.  The idea of leaving Notes to build out task lists seemed inconvenient to say the least.  While I appreciated the cooperative nature of being able to task others with pieces of your activity, I did not see the full vision.  After using Activities here, and in Lotus Greenhouse, I now understand more about how to truly gain business value with activities.

Organize and Prioritize: The obvious benefit to any product that helps you arrange the tasks that make up your day has the potential to improve your ability to organize and prioritize these tasks.  While it may seem trivial to some, any help in setting a priority for the thousands of things vying for our time a day is a good thing.  As with any social tool, being a social task system, it can also help improve visibility into your tasks.  This can help you qualify the need for help on something, or prove a need for teaming on certain tasks.

Improved Workflow: For those of us who use Notes & Domino, the Activities sidebar was part of the initial 8.x release.  The To-do component of Notes was lacking for anyone who was looking for the ability to delegate and manage tasks within the context of their Notes calendar.  Activities fixes that.  It also enables this sort of interaction cross platform.  Outlook and Notes users can both incorporate the Activities tasks into their calendar through the use of connectors.  If you run activities in an extranet, you can even share tasks with people outside of your domain... like customers, suppliers, vendors, etc.  This can be very beneficial to relationships with these folks as it increases visibility into the process at hand.

Increased Business Efficiency: Activities introduces a concept called activity templates.  After someone in the organization has successfully negotiated a task, process, etc  through the use of an activity in Connections, they can convert their personal activity to a template.  A template can then be used by anyone else in the organization to create their own personal activity from that template.  So once the business process, project, etc. is captured one time in Activities, everyone can duplicate the success of the first iteration.  The consistent duplication of successful business process is something identified by many business analysts as a means to increasing productivity and overall business success through continuity in delivery.  The efficiency gained by every employee not having to solve the same problems for them selves, means they can spend more time executing, and less time discovering how or what to execute.

Knowledge Retention: Even after people leave their roles, or even the organization, the data they generated in activities can remain behind.  While this is true for any of the Connections tools, this enables people who have succeeded someone to see what they did and how they did it while on the job.  I know that more than once in my career people have come to me and said, "I had no idea the guy before me was doing this too." or something to that effect.  This can help bridge those gaps and reduce the time for a new employee to ramp up on the tasks associated with their new position.

I hope this has helped some of us look at Activities again.  I know the more ways I see the tool being used, the more I am inclined to use it.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Quickr Feeds in Lotus Notes

I was asked today by one of my customers about consuming a feed from a Team Place in Quickr for Domino with their Lotus Notes client feed reader.  My first inclination was to simply drag-n-drop like I do from many web sources, but this was a bit different.  It kept resulting in an error: "Unable to parse feed from host".  Of course I assumed this was reached in error, but after a bit more investigating, I found that it actually looks like a permissions issue.  To achieve this integration, we needed to make the Notes client aware of the credentials and protocol used to access their SSL protected Quickr server.  Here is what we had to do:

  1. From within the Notes client, select File > Preferences.. from the menu.
  2. Click on the Accounts section in the left hand column, and then click on New Account button along the top of the Preferences window.
  3. When presented with the New Account dialog, fill in the Account Name, Description, Server, Name, and Password fields.  I also made sure the Type field matched the type of account I was adding, in this case a web service, and checked the box to allow other accounts to use this info.
  4. Click OK twice to close each of the dialogs once you have completed this form.
  5. In your web browser, open the Quickr place and/or folder you want to subscribe to.  Click on the More Actions button and then select Subscribe.
  6. You will then see the subscribe to this feed page.  Drag the address bar from your browser into your Notes client's Feed Reader.
  7. Your client will load a file or two from the Quickr server and present you with the add new feed dialog instead of an error.
  8. Give your feed a name and click OK to add it to your Feed Reader.  Be sure to set your update interval and retention to values that make sense to you.

OpenOffice vs Symphony

I was working with a client yesterday who had decided to let their MS licensing expire in the interest of adopting OpenOffice.  While I was a large proponent of OpenOffice for a long time, and have not personally used MS Office for over three years now, I have to admit that I had not really spent a lot of time with OpenOffice lately.  That said, despite the fact that Symphony is built upon, there are a few things notably different about the two products.

Symphony Features:

  • Extensible.  With a toolkit, API, and native integration points, it is a critical piece of the integrated Lotus desktop experience.
  • Centrally Manageable.  *
  • Supported by IBM.
  • Integrates into a rich desktop experience.

Extensibility of Symphony is one of the key features of the product.  It features a toolkit and has a well documented API.  More information about developing for/with Symphony can be found on the Symphony developers website.
Symphony's integration with Lotus Notes is also a distinguishing feature of the product.  This integration enabled administrators to bundle Symphony with the Notes Client during distribution and upgrade.  It also means that some elements of the applications settings that can be managed by Policies from the Domino server.  Upgrades to it can also be made available on the Domino server (or any other Eclipse update site) independent of a Notes client upgrade.  If your Notes client is configured to download updates from an Eclipse update site, no administrator or engineer needs to visit the workstation to deploy an update to Symphony.  Now this does come at a small price.  To use any of the office productivity components you need to launch Lotus Notes.  The system requirements of Notes is a bit larger than just Symphony, but if you have multiple JREs running simultaneously on your system (assuming you decided to run Notes, Sametime, and Symphony as separate apps) then the overall memory footprint of Notes with all feature vs each in its' own Eclipse environment is noticeable. 
Support from IBM on the product means that a major company is behind the software, and you can expect the same level of service or support for the product as you would have of any other IBM product.
When running Symphony, you can also take advantage of the connector for Quickr or Sametime integration into Symphony.  If you happen to be using Sharepoint, there is also a plugin for that as well.  Symphony is really designed for enterprise use, but continues to be a no-cost, near-open product.
Discussion points to consider here, however, are enterprise management concepts, ease of upgrade, and integration for an overall desktop experience.
Let's not forget OpenOffice.  Right away, it is obvious that OpenOffice has more features and components.   Besides the core Documents, Spreadsheets, and Presentations we see with Symphony, we also have Drawings and Databases in  This competes with more of the MS Office suite then Symphony does.  The listed system requirements for Symphony looks better on paper, but from a lot of blog posts and personal experience, they are very conservative in the requirements.  You should double them to have really fly.  This, however, does not tend to be an issue with modern equipment.  Since Symphony is based on, the enhancements to the code stream will hit first.  The delay in features could be as long as a year later from when they are in Beta for OpenOffice, to when they are in Symphony.  This could be a bit of a struggle for Symphony adoption for the more proficient office productivity users.
I think overall, the decision comes down to features vs manageability.  OpenOffice is a very nice product packed with features, while Symphony is a piece of a larger integrated and enterprise scalable solution.  The availability of plug-ins, templates, and development opportunities within Symphony are an interesting contrast to the ability to really replace almost all of the MS Office suite with OpenOffice.  I intend to use both for some time longer and report back with additional findings in the next few weeks.
You can also find more information about Lotus Symphony at the Symphony Wiki.