back to article IBM thinks Notes and Domino can rise again

IBM and HCL have outlined their plans for the Notes/Domino portfolio that the former offloaded to the latter last year. Since announcing that HCL would take over development of IBM's collaborationware, the two companies have conducted a long listening tour that saw them stage 22 meatspace meetings and four online forums. The …

Mushroom

Oh dear sweet pink baby Jesus

Not Notes. Please, please, pretty please with sugar on, let it die.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh dear sweet pink baby Jesus

So looks like I'm the only one who likes it... We still use it (v9) but not for most user's email due to global standards. The client is fast, much faster that Outlook 2016 and the only real downside is that client replication for offline mode doesn't really hack it. But then for an increasing number of our users cached mode in Exchange fails so no difference really! If on site then two single core servers cover up to 1000 users with HA VS four multi core Exchange to only give DR. I do hate IBM licensing sharks though so perhaps it should die after all...

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Silver badge

Re: Oh dear sweet pink baby Jesus

So it's shite, but slightly faster shite? You're setting the bar pretty low to be a fan!

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Re: Oh dear sweet pink baby Jesus

You are not alone!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh dear sweet pink baby Jesus

" But then for an increasing number of our users cached mode in Exchange fails "

Doesn't here with 10,000+ of them. What does Microsoft say?

"If on site then two single core servers cover up to 1000 users with HA VS four multi core Exchange to only give DR"

I don't think you will match the capability and throughput of quadcore exchange servers. Also 2 Exchange servers would give you HA. See:

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/exchange/2015/10/12/the-exchange-2016-preferred-architecture/

Also Exchange can also use JBOD, whereas Notes usually requires extremely high IOPS disks for any usable performance.

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Re: Oh dear sweet pink baby Jesus

"If on site then two single core servers cover up to 1000 users with HA VS four multi core Exchange to only give DR"

No, 4 Exchange servers would give you both DR and HA and local resilience across 2 sites, and a lagged database copy if desired:

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/exchange/2015/10/12/the-exchange-2016-preferred-architecture/

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Is this an improvement on IBM's usual business strategy?

I can't tell if IBM has learned anything here. It smacks of the usual IBM mess -- throw good money after bad, by deluding yourself about the problem.

The fundamental problem with Notes is that for all the talk of it being collaboration software, 80-95% of its use is as an E-mail client, and it is a bloated, slow, generally horrid E-mail client. It sucks at the one function its users will employ every single dreary day of their lives as office drones.

But IBM has turned it over to HCL, so they aren't rolling the dice with their own money anymore. That seems to be something of an improvement. They've moved on to ruining other companies' businesses rather than merely their own. That has to count for something. But the story is still dismally familiar.

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Re: Is this an improvement on IBM's usual business strategy?

I remember back in the day 20 years ago, when Outlook was a slow, bloated, crash-happy mess. Well OK it still was 15 years ago too. Especially if you wanted to have more than 10 emails stored in your .pst file. I still don't like it all that much, but its far better than it used to be and crashes very rarely nowadays. Email search even almost works properly nowadays...

I'm sure there's still plenty of kludge beneath the surface, but at least with modern PCs with power and memory to spare it's now OK. Sad if Notes hasn't achieve at least this.

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Re: Is this an improvement on IBM's usual business strategy?

IBM must have jumped for joy when they found a sucker like HCL to take over the creaking hulk that is Notes.

HCL must have secretly smirked when they took over a product with which a large corporation had developed hundreds of legacy apps which were impossible to replace. Just ripe for a CA type license mugging.

IBM must have contemplated jumping from the roof when they realised that they were that large corporation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Is this an improvement on IBM's usual business strategy?

How long before HCL owns IBM?

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Silver badge

I think Notes i an attempt at fixing a problem.

I just forget what the original problem is now, overwhelmed by the Notes problems.

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Anonymous Coward

In other news

Lazarus of Bethany may rise again.

My moneys on Lazarus. Sure he may smell a bit now but he's still more pleasant to interact with than Notes/Domino...

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Hungry

Great, now I and 2000 others want Pizza after hearing about Domino rising dough.

But alas, no pizza until Saturday!

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well good luck with that...

but

a) The days of the one size fits all application has gone. What people want now is different tools, but better data integration.

b) A UI that wasn't designed by a intern on a window 95 machine would be nice

c) Is there really anything that lotus notes does which could not be replaced with a LAMP stack and a Node.js server at less cost

In the end, despite its power most people only used it as a glorified email client, which it sucked at (even compared to Exchange, which is saying something). Be better off, ditching Notes, create a better exchange (not hard) and call it Note-next-gen or something and provide some sort of import utility

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Flashbacks - not nostalgia

One of those products that creates hideous flashbacks, particularly if you had to train people on it. Please, just let it die quietly. (Or drag it screaming down to hell, I'm not fussy).

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Bronze badge

Is nothing sacred these days? I thought grave robbing was a crime...

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We're not robbing - just opening the casket and hammering the stake back in.

Phil.

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Gimp

"That jump has to wait until version 11 of the platform, which seems set to score all the big buzzwords of 2018: artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics all scored mentions as being under consideration."

Well they are not planning to put email on a blockchain, or launch an initial coin offering for mailcoins, ie postage stamps.

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Joke

Language

Modern languages/tools like Node.js? Pah, surely C# is the only thing you should programme Notes in

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Re: Language

I thought Notes was coded in BASIC?

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Re: Language

Possibly by gibbons...

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Re: Language

Ah yes, agile development!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Language

"surely C# is the only thing you should programme Notes in"

But C# is fast, efficient and trendy. Everything that notes isn't. Surely crapware like Java would be a better fit?

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Joke

Fight the Scourge of Macro Viruses!

Re-release Lotus 1-2-3!

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Re: Fight the Scourge of Macro Viruses!

SuperCalc 5 for me!

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What's this Lotus Notes thing?

I remember about 20 years ago my Dad brought home a shiny new laptop from work. I had a go on it and couldn't believe how fast it was especially in comparison to the home PC we'd had a couple of years at that point.

About a week later I tried it again. Lotus Notes had been installed. It was slower and came up with all this crap on startup.

I said, "Dad, what's this Lotus Notes thing?" and his honest reply was - "son, I've got no idea". Nobody in their company did, and none of them cared enough to find out. I think they used it for many years, even when people were demonstrating better ways of doing tasks they were supposed to use it for. The mindset was always "it will work, trust us, it will work". It never gave exactly the results they were after.

Some things are better left in the past.

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Anonymous Coward

Lotus Notes and node.js

Why not package just 1 shit thing when we can put both together? This is like retro and modern shit being combined to make something worse than either!

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Facepalm

Still a thing?

Wow, when the missus quit working, she was so happy to say Adios to Lotus Nots. That was 8 years ago. That's like 160 in technology years!

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I use Notes at work and it is truly appalling. I have been objective and built a list of its faults which currently has 120 entries.What is the worst? Maybe that I cannot read webmail on my smartphone because most on my email is filtered into folders and Notes actively prevents you from reading them.

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WTF?

Oh Jesus Christ say it's not true...

^ see title.

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JQW

Ughhh!

Started using Lotus Notes before they were taken over by IBM, back when the only supported server platform was OS/2. It was used in-house for running various internal databases for the support, sales and admin departments, and we also did some development work for elsewhere.

My general experience was that it was fine for certain types of database which required just a few users, but bad for implementing E-mail; the latter confirmed by discovering the arcane process that ran nightly to purge attachments from deleted E-mails.

At one point my workplace developed an intranet produce that used the web-server component of Notes to serve documents internally, with a few third-party libraries thrown in for document conversion. The Notes web-server was singled threaded back then, and the search mechanism, whilst thorough, was somewhat slow, resulting in the server being potentially unavailable for minutes whilst handling a search query.

I can also recall other quirks, such as embedded Word attachments gaining the page dimensions of the form that they were embedded in when printed, which caused no end of fun with some printers.

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We still use Notes for internal databases that are essentially places to put documentation and attach files. I'd first run into LN at my first company. My first impression was that it's fine middleware for databases like the above but a horrible mail client. My current company finally dumped LN email altogether and went to Google Mail about a year ago.

LN mail at my current site would silently and without warning wipe out blocks of mail. An entire week would disappear and never to return. It also had weird problems with cut and paste and could hang for minutes with no warning.

Vendor support? They would blame our site after a few weeks of being glad handed and repeated running through the same help desk scripts over and over again. IBM tried to convince damagement that they were developing a new version and that prolonged the agony by a few years.

I actually loved Lotus 1-2-3 but the current damagement always went for Excel. The one good product Lotus had that I swore by was Lotus Organizer. That never got improved past 2001 and eventually got replaced by WinOrganizer which is now free and no longer supported. But it works better than Lotus Organizer ever did. I suppose once WinOrganizer/Golden Sections stops working on Windows platforms, I'll have to go to something else like CherryTree. But as of now, WinOrganizer is still my database of choice for secure notes and documentation on an individual level.

IBM, like CA and likely HCL is a place where decent software goes to die.

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Linux

Been Watching Too Many Nazi Zombie Movies?

Strap that thing to a gurney and get it up on the roof. I hear a violent thunderstorm coming.

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Anonymous Coward

Notes fitted our need quite well

We needed a document workflow tool. Documents could be generated, passed along, signatures added, and all under control. The downside was Domino running on Windoze. (The Lotus FE told me that the most stable Domino platform was Solaris/Sparc and Solaris/Intel was next.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Notes fitted our need quite well

"The downside was Domino running on Windoze."

15 years ago that might have been flakey. Now its the best choice.

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Anonymous Coward

Notes about Notes

Once upon a time, a long time ago......I worked for a "Big Six" consulting firm. I got some Notes training, and it looked pretty good. Then I tried to find out about the Notes databases available as implemented by my company. There were HUNDREDS of them. Some sounded quite useful. But every one had a different administrator and needed a different signon and password. In the end I gave up.

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I always thought Notes was alright

Given the right problem. Except at email, it was horrible for that. But at $PREVIOUS_JOB 15-odd years ago we built a document management system on it which is still more effective than anything I've seen since (admittedly I now work for UK.GOV so it's entirely possible our problems implementing a sane document management system are - ahem - not technical). And our sales force had all kinds of little product databases and whatnot they could go all road-warrior with and sync up later.

I mostly worked with it as a user rather than administrating or developing, though. Perhaps I missed out on the fun bits.

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Notes was worth the trouble back in the day.

Well, Notes was the crowning achievement in software development for Ray Ozzie and his crew of developers at Iris Associates. Ray had worked at Lotus where he also created Symphony. At one point Lotus could not keep track of all the licenses it sold for Notes and cut a deal with Ray Ozzie for approx. $186M in royalties. Later on, IBM paid one-third of its cash on hand, which was $3B to buy Lotus. By this time Lotus had acquired Iris Associates.

It was the pre-internet "groupware" era, and the only serious contenders were Novell with GroupWise, which is alive and well at Micro Focus with its current GroupWise 18 release. The other contender was Microsoft Exchange with its Outlook client which is still widely deployed and sits alongside Microsoft's cloud offerings.

One of the issues with Notes was that it did not have all the functionality needed for a development platform. There were lots of third parties with Notes apps, but Notes as a development environment only gradually came into being, but by then the Internet was destined to become the new platform for groupware applications like Gmail and Google Apps. As for a Notes revival, I would not bet on it happening. Too much time has passed since the heyday of Notes and today.

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Linux

The downside was Domino running on Windoze.

I'm using Linux these days..

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Bronze badge

This crap is still big in Hong Kong

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Anonymous Coward

You think you have problems until

you are supporting Notes and Exchange in the same company.

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SmartSuite Updated?

I would pay for an updated "SmartSuite".

Approach DB worked and didn't force you into SQL commands, but has it as an option.

Organizer still has more options then what you get online. Needs updating in shared module to Web Services.

Freelance Graphics does most of what you need, but needs some completion.

Wordpro needs export with HTML5 and CSS updated.

Fastsite also needs export with HTML5 and CSS updated.

"Team" functions needs updating to Web Services, but everything else is OK.

Don't care for Notes, but this would be a help.

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Anonymous Coward

It wouldn't be a bad idea to get the current version working first

Notes is the most hateful, bug ridden pile of horse shit I have every had the displeasure of using/administrating.

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: It wouldn't be a bad idea to get the current version working first

Come on, out with it. What do you really think?

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I quite enjoyed developing for it,

It was/is a really good Rapid Application Development platform.

I could knock up a functional change control system within a week and have all the bells and whistles done in 3 months (even with weekly specification changes).

Several times I was asked to write a quick application to fill a gap while the Java/C++/Oracle team were busy doing the proper Enterprise Ready version over the next 6 months.

I'd come back 5-6 years later and my application was still there running because it did the job adequately, and cheap code that works okay beats expensive code that doesn't work at all.

No market for it anymore and I'm doing PHP/Python these days. I don't mention that the application i've spent 6 months (and counting) writing could have been done in 2 weeks in Notes.

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Headmaster

IBM Domino FP9

We still use IBM Notes, and all of my servers haven't crashed or anything gone wrong with them in 5 years. The server is solid if properly managed.

So no complaints about the server.

The interface and unavailability of addons is what erks the users. Needs a revamp to make it more user friendly, and in other language than Java. Engineers love the interface because of it is the swiss army knife of configuration, but the normal users are Outlook half-wits so need to make it simple.

Have to find a happy medium.

IBM Verse is a touchy feelly remake of iNotes and whomever designed it, not sure, but looks like it was a bunch of little girls trying to make it pretty.

Other thing that really drives be up the wall is how IBM dropped the ball on this product and just sat on it for so long. Whomever is at the help at IBM should be shot.

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