back to article IBM signs-in to OpenOffice.org

IBM is joining the OpenOffice.org development community, kicking off its participation by donating code it has developed for its Lotus Notes project and promising to contribute to improving the "feature richness and code quality" of OpenOffice.org. IBM also said it will include the software in its own suite of products, a move …

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M

Please don't....

...include the crapware that called "Lotus Notes" into the Openoffice's packages.

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not so bad

For "crapware" Notes is still used in a large number of large organisations!

The email tool was a bit poor, but the collaboration systems were, and perhaps still are, ahead of Redmond software (and miles ahead on Linux still).

Add and OpenOffice front end to the calendaring and collaboration Lotus server backends, plus a plugin for Thunderbird too, and you have a total MS Exchange killer perhaps...

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@Please don't...

How did I know this was going to be the predictable Notes bash? The email client in Notes looked crap around 1999. There's been three releases since then, and the latest, 8.0, built on the Eclipse platform, is very easy on the eye.

IBM's move, since it currently embeds an out of date fork of Open Office in Notes, is a good one, in the sense of bringing more to the party, but has nothing to do with putting Notes into OOo itself.

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Anonymous Coward

Subtext

"ODF is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the IT industry to unify round a standard, and deliver lasting benefit to users of desktop technology."

A subtle (or perhaps blatant) dig at M$' abuse of the ISO standardisation process there, methinks. For that reason alone, I like this announcement; IBM are a useful ally in the battle against MS.

But also, it's quite a turn-up for the books to think that the once big-bad-evil-empire IBM is now engaging seriously with open-source and non-proprietary models! When I first started reading the computer press back in the late '70s, I remember a report from a Comdex show about an IBM press release that began "IBM, through its wholly-owned subsidiary the United States of America, is pleased to announce ...". The new IBM is far less arrogant, which has to be an improvement!

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crapware?

As a Notes user who was forced to switch to Exchange, OWA and Sharepoint I can without any qalms say those 3 are the epitome of crapware. Sharepoint even today isn't to the level of sophistication Lotus Domino was in 1998. And complaining about the Notes interface is silly. It's completely customizable, unlike Outlook. Heck, if you want, you can even make it look and "feel" like Outlook.

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Anonymous Coward

Typical anti-Fanboy statements

M,

Don't worry, it is highly unlikely that IBM would include the Notes client in OOo. What was announced was that some code was being donated, not an entire software application that has been bought and installed on over 120 million desktops.

If you are going to take the time to post a comment, why don't you at least make it coherent. Perhaps expand on why you would not want Lotus Notes included and express why, in your opinion, Lotus Notes is crapware.

Obviously you use OOo and I would presume then that you would welcome input from a very successful organization like IBM, not only contributing code from the industry leader in collaboration, but also including code from OOo in their product.

If you have a complaint about the product, state it clearly, you would be surprised at the number of people that read these articles and related comments that *can* do something about constructive criticism. Like in Mr Rogers' comment above, he stated that the email client was a bit poor, in his opinion. That is useful information. People at IBM do read this and do care.

Ian, check out Domino 8, massively improved email client as well as many, many other changes. Most of these in direct response to customer input. http://www.lotus.com/domino

Regards,

--Pete

PS, No I am not an IBM employee, past or present. I am an IBM BP, and Microsoft, Red Hat, RIM, and Neverfail too.

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... Oh NOtes

While the current incarnation of NOTES may be reasonable, it took some ten years between getting its very own chapter in the "User Interface Hall of Shame" circa 1995 until a less than awful Eclipse based version was released last year.

They look like repeating the exercise with the Rational tool suite. Surely I am not the only person to ask-

"If RUP is so good for developing software how come the Rational tools are full of bugs?".

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IBM + OpenOffice = MS Office RIP

@Ian Rogers: For calendaring, email, rss, and other PIM type stuff there are competitors in the field, many of them already, including openexchange, however the feature completeness isn't quite there yet, however with the introduction of calendar server from apple, exchange's days are numbered.

The Lotus contribution isn't really worth it in the groupware field, apart from plugins a plenty.

However, in the other fields of office collaboration, and IBMs general engineering expertise IBM can bring a lot to the table. The main areas of importance in open office are performance, usability of the more intricate features, and rendering quality. Now cairo and iogrind are dealing with two out of three, I recon IBM would put some real effort into collaboration tools and usability.

All in all its great news :)

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Finally, a way to get OpenOffice approved by the management over MSOffice ...

... just mention "Its an IBM product".

OK, its not STRICTLY true, but they wont care about that ;-)

PS - I refuse to use the $ sign in MS, I passed Age 14 a long time ago.

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Principle of least surprise

Windows apps: F5 - refresh display

Lotus Notes: F5 - password lock app

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Anonymous Coward

F5

@Nano,

Good point, of course Lotus was using F5 to lock the app in the late 1980's before Windows even implemented a refresh option. All too many times I have pressed F9 to refresh a Windows app and it did nothing, except in Outlook 2003, Word and Excel. Just because Microsoft does something one way does not make it a standard, or even the "way it should be". There is something to be said for consistency too and Notes has used the same keys now for almost 20 years.

Then again, I have been pressing "esc" to close browser windows since since Firefox starting making their browser more Notes like with tabs.

--Pete

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What makes Notes good for collaboration....

I have been a Notes developer for the last 13 years. It's one of the fastest platforms for development - it was used in the first few hours of the 9/11 attacks so that relatives could come to Ground Zero and enter info on who was missing, where they were in the Twin Towers, etc. IBM did not publicise this.

It has an outstanding Replication engine. The US Navy uses it so ships can share info among themselves without use of radio. And since the design also replicates, when a ship once reported an error, the bug fix was pushed to all ships within a few hours - even the ones which were weeks away from a return to port. Few app environments can do this.

It has outstanding security. You control whether a record is visible, read-only or read-write. And within the record, you can lock down sections to specific users and roles. This is critical for real-world "groupware".

It has an Access Control List. This prevents code that hasn't been signed by a recognized ID from executing on your computer. When the "I Love You" virus was knocking out Exchange servers, our Email Admin went to see Star Wars because it didn't do anything to our environment.

As for the UI, well, that's a matter of taste. Apple's iTunes has copied much of the NotesView. I think that's quite a compliment. And as noted by others - you can change just about anything about the UI. More so in Notes8.

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MS Virus Magnet Software

I dont think Lotus Notes is that bad. Works great where I am. Seems to work better than Outlook Express. I am not overly impressed with it, but I dont care for the Internet in my E-Mail.

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IBM saw the light

Back when (like a quarter of a century ago), IBM were Bad Boys (like M$ these days). A few years back, hobnobbing with IBMers trying to sell us Linux boxes, I happened to remark that I found it rather strange, consorting like that with "the enemy". The response was, I thought, a revealing one: "Yes, well, in those days we forgot to factor in the simple fact that techies like you would be making purchasing decisions in a decade or two". Sadly, M$ learned the lesson two, but in a rather different way.

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Mr. Anderson...

"While the current incarnation of NOTES may be reasonable, it took some ten years between getting its very own chapter in the "User Interface Hall of Shame" circa 1995 until a less than awful Eclipse based version was released last year."

The Eclipse based version was actually released just last month.

The thing is, in those last 10 years, IBM/Lotus were working on much more important things than mollifying ignorant "it doesn't look & function like Outlook so it must be crap" types. Notes has maintained consistency and excellent backwards compatibility for decades now. There's something to be said about that besides "young upstart Microsoft sets the standards now so why doesn't Notes change". The Notes client is now available for Mac and for Linux as well remember.

If all you've ever used Notes for is simple email, then you might have a few valid gripes. But as mentioned above, if there was something you hated enough then it could be changed - it's 100% customizable. If on the other hand you were taking full advantage of all of its functionality, and were still unimpressed - then you have only your own application developers to blame. I've been building what I think are great looking applications with Notes / Domino the whole time you were waiting for the default UI to get a facelift. And if you're still dead set against the Notes client, then Domino is also fully accessible via a web browser. Chances are good that you've used many Notes application this way yourself, without even knowing it.

So anyway, the only real argument against Notes that I hear on a regular basis is that it doesn't look good. Take another look, they've fixed that.

I am also not an IBM employee, just someone who isn't ignorant about what Notes is and can do. And I'm very pleased to hear that IBM are contributing back the changes they've made in the version of OOo that they have embedded in the Notes client. Bravo!

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Silver badge

Does this mean

They can rename the openoffice spreadsheet 1-2-3?

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Silver badge

Music to my . . eyes ?

I really like the support I see in this thread for the great application environment that Notes is. I am a developer since 1995, started with R3, and I too have witnessed the progress made in leaps and bounds in this one-of-a-kind tool.

It really cracks me up to hear people say that Notes is crap, then turn around and use Outlook for mail.

But lets not get carried away, shall we ? Notes is indeed customizable, but not at 100% (you're not going to change the order in which view columns are calculated, nor are you going to be able to change background colors in response columns), and certainly not by the end-user.

If you are a developer, yes, you can do a lot, but it sometimes takes a lot of effort to do so. And when all that effort is just for some whinger who's complaining that "it doesn't look like Outlook does", well that kind of puts a real damper on my enthusiasm to help out.

Now, I am entirely thrilled that IBM is going to put some of Notes code into the public domain. Good for Open Source, without a doubt. But which parts will it be ? The replication engine ? The ACL ? The document-centric db structure ? LotusScript libraries ? I'm curious to see what will actually be published, because that will shape in great measure what will be done with the code.

On the other hand, in the past five years I have witnessed Notes fading away on the market, and I see this move as the death knell of my Notes development career. I think that, in ten years, I'll be developing in Java. What about you ?

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@Pascal

Not sure why you would want to "change the order in which view columns are calculated", since nothing displays until they are all calculated anyway.

As for background colors in response columns, I can do that. Add a column with "Use value as color" set. Then use @IsResponseDoc to decide what color the background should be. Check out Designer Help.

But mainly, they aren't open sourcing any Notes code. They took a version of OpenOffice, and integrated it into the Notes client. Now they are taking any changes they've made *to OpenOffice* and contributing them back to the community.

Notes is not fading away. Notes 8 is the peak of the revival, so far. I can't see 10 years into the future, we'll probably be coding in something that hasn't been invented yet. I agree Java is becoming much more important, but what has that got to do with the end of your Notes career? You can use Java to do whatever you want in Notes.

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