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 …

  1. PhilipN Silver badge

    "reached 2,000 people"

    My goodness - That's almost a whole ... village!

    My goodness (2) - When I saw the heading I had to look at my watch to see what century we are in.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: "reached 2,000 people"

      That's almost the whole ... remaining customers?

      Ok, they added all the fashionable buzzwords to the roadmap - the real question is how they will put it all together - not one of them deliver a good application by itself.

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      Shuffling the Deckchairs

      Shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic a few decades after it sank...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @TheVogon ... Re: Shuffling the Deckchairs

        HCL is the prequel to IBM? (Think about it.)

        A friend inside the Blue Pig told me that after certain products have evolved to a certain level, less and less work is done on them... Its at this point where the annual licensing fees are almost pure profit. Low maintenance / bug fix costs, Lower support costs, ride out the user base until they migrate to a new platform. For some of these products, its a lot of dough. So HCL is smart in buying certain products and then refurbishing them in a 'partnership w IBM' because IBM is still selling the license and managing the accounts for a share of the profits.

        In terms of mail ... Can you list all of the paid for Enterprise grade email solutions out there?

        Notes? Gmail (hosted) , Microsoft (hosted) and Exchange Servers ... and that's about it unless you want to go Postfix / Dovecot (the most secure solution) [FOSS]

        Notes refresh could be a good idea if they do it right. And that's the question.

        Can HCL do it 'right' ? Who knows....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @TheVogon ... Shuffling the Deckchairs

          GroupWise still exists (and there's a 2018 version) and it still scales a lot better than Exchange, has the same feature set, and has been able to be upgraded in place since the year dot. Biggest weakness, "no one ever got fired for choosing Microsoft".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @TheVogon ... Shuffling the Deckchairs

            "GroupWise still exists (and there's a 2018 version) and it still scales a lot better than Exchange,"

            I call bs on that. I don't know ANY 100K user+ GroupWise installs. There are numerous Exchange deployments of that size.

        2. JLV Silver badge

          Re: @TheVogon ... Shuffling the Deckchairs

          C > B (think about it)

          But, yeah, after occasionally enduring the lobotomized search functions of local Outlook at corporate sites, I definitely pine for Gmail's capabilities. Very 90's technology, esp when used in lieu of proper requirements documentation.

          In comparison, my hazy memories of long years using Notes for emails and specs were nowhere as bad as Outlook. I rather doubt IBM can do much mass usage software right, but that's not saying they don't have an opportunity (that they'll probably squander).

          Plus, isn't it common in discussions about Linux adoption for commentards to say that the one item saving MS's bacon is the lack of Exchange alternatives? Could a revamped Notes, possibly with much new functionality, step in? That's a straight question: I don't enough about either's function to have a clue whether Notes is relevant in that space.

  2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Bloated Goats Zombies?

    1. big_D Silver badge

      I haven't used it in about a decade, but I can remember when it was cc:mail.

      When Lotus and then IBM took it over, it became a bloated, slow mess. I remember using it at a customer in 2001, we had Exchange and Outlook and it was relatively fast, even over a modem connection, on the other hand, on a local Ethernet connection, Notes took ages to open up view windows and most user opened their Email view and never looked at anything else.

      I then used it again around 2010 and its performance hadn't really improved...

      I don't know whether both clients somehow managed to misconfigure their servers and clients, but I never saw an installation that worked in "real time", as opposed to feeling like I was waiting for batch jobs with low priority to be run in the background.

      1. kingkane

        ccmail and Notes were different products.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Yep, entirely different but in the IBM world Notes was offered as the "upgrade path" from ccMail.

          The interesting thing about Notes was that if you had a Notes "evangalist" in the company you would find pockets of little Notes based apps all over the place doing clever (and sometimes not so clever) little things under the radar. Long time back in a company I worked for that led to a lot of difficulties when Notes was to be phased out because there was no easy replacement for what those apps did.

          1. nijam

            > if you had a Notes "evangelist" in the company you would find pockets of little Notes based apps all over the place doing clever (and sometimes not so clever)

            Yeah, we had one of those. "Sometimes not so clever"? In fact, usually not so clever, we found.

            > ... because there was no easy replacement for what those apps did

            Our experience was that the main difficulty was in finding out what they did (what they were meant to do was often somewhat different), so they could be ported to an actually-supported system.

  3. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    And will the bloated zombie, upsi, goats, server run on Windows only, or on Linux and OS/2(eCS, Arca Noae) as well?

  4. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    It would be nice to have some half decent competition for Exchange.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Clearly you've never used Notes / Domino.

    2. AMBxx Silver badge

      Return of GroupWise?



      1. Pirate Dave

        I was a Groupwise admin for 15 years, then migrated to Office365. Never used Notes in the least. For on-prem, Groupwise was hard to beat (at least through 2012 when we jumped ship) - it was fast, took care of its own databases pretty reliably, and was easier to maintain and upgrade than what I'd read about Exchange. But lack of integration with desktop apps (ie - "it's not Outlook"), and Novell self-destructing, eventually forced even me to say "we need to move". As an admin, the biggest benefits I found in O365 were the deep Powershell abilities (we won't talk about EWS, though), and the fact I never have to add another drive to the storage array.

  5. IglooDude

    "IBM and HCL think Notes can rise again"

    And I think we should take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nuke notes

      fine, as long as Office 365 is taken out at the same time especially the [redacted][redacted] for Sharepoint.

      Before my job went to India, we had more issues with Sharepoint than anything else.

      It was WORN

      Write Once Read Never

      Apparently and with a team three times the size as we had they still can't get it to work properly.

      Spending days working on my allotment or in my 'shed' making things is a far nicer life than sorting Office shite.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Nuke notes

        Is it fair to blame Office 365? Has Sharepoint ever worked? I've used it (well tried to use it) a couple of times in my career - and don't recall it every actually working for more than a week. You either couldn't save files - or were forced to save a duplicate or couldn't open them. Or all of the above. I'd rather use Dropbox. Or just print all my spreadsheets out and pin them to a noticeboard...

        1. HmmmYes Silver badge

          Re: Nuke notes

          Sharepoint's a funny thing - well, as long s you dont need to use it.

          One of MSes response to all that trendy open source wiki stuff.

          'Quick Steve, lets do something or all the kids will be using LAMP'

          Absolutely monster of a fucking a product whcih seems to try and get as many of MSes expensive servery products into the 'solution'.

      2. J27 Bronze badge

        Re: Nuke notes

        SharePoint (and Dynamics) are both huge steaming piles. Microsoft doesn't seem to know how to write customizable software, you always end up writing around half of it and it takes more time that if you write an entire web app to do the same job. Not only that, the results are pretty much always sub-par.

        And it really shows, the only companies that use SharePoint are ones big enough that they don't care about throwing vast sums of money at it. You need an entire team to maintain the thing, what's the point of that?

        1. fobobob

          Re: Nuke notes

          Not long after I started my current job, I was actually asked to look into using sharepoint as a platform for file versioning/"cloud" syncing. It did not go far, and I eventually convinced them that it was about as broken of a system as their existing network storage equipment... a USB stick stuck in the back of a consumer gateway router. Went on to repurpose one of two desktop computers in our entire company, which was being thrown out, to serve us via Samba... and an actual hard drive -______-

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Nuke notes

            "Not long after I started my current job, I was actually asked to look into using sharepoint as a platform for file versioning/"cloud" syncing. It did not go far"

            Sharepoint is what runs OneDrive corporate version so it can certainly do that on a very large scale.

          2. Christopher Reeve's Horse

            Re: Nuke notes

            My company used to use Notes for an extensive Quality Management System. It ticked the necessary functionality boxes, but it was utterly abysmal experience to actually use it, and I mean really ****ing terrible. I'm not keen on the prospect of it returning.

            They're currently rolling out Sharepoint and Onedrive, and we're told that this will 'replace all network drives'... I find this all rather terrifying, especially as there's no explorer integration planned for it yet!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Nuke notes

              You are doomed.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nuke notes

          "And it really shows, the only companies that use SharePoint are ones big enough that they don't care about throwing vast sums of money at it. You need an entire team to maintain the thing"

          That's not accurate - I have worked for circa 20 SMEs that used SharePoint. How do you need a team to manage it? You just set up your templates / site for your departments (for the current Asset Manager i'm at with ~ 500 users it took a guy with a bit of website experience about 2 hours to get it up and running with portals for each department and a home page.) and then you just let it run. Microsoft manage the backend so you never have to touch it. It just works.

        3. JLV Silver badge

          Re: Nuke notes

          >You need an entire team to maintain the thing, what's the point of that?

          Keeping the ClearCase team company?

      3. fobobob

        Re: Nuke notes

        Holy crap am I ever glad the company I work for experienced a management change a while back... we were headed down that dark path... These days, we're still trying to debride latent Sharepoint/OneDrive/DropBox injuries... they seem fine for light individual use (and more importantly, sharing data with clients), but there's not way in hell I'm going to spend most of my time as the sole IT guy fixing stupid sync and CPU-spinning issues.

  6. Sarg

    IBM desperately needs to update Notes.

    It's been ten years since 8.5 and hasn't changed a lot since.

    Hopefully this new partnership will lift Notes into this century and give us a better toolset, up to date built in browser and more platforms on which to develop.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      I can recommend a good source for updates:

      Just ... give the right coordinates to your friendly APO Arsenal dealer.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "IBM desperately needs to update Notes."

      No, they just need to migrate to Office 365 like everyone else. Notes was terrible a decade ago and it's has only got worse since.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10 years too late

    Lotus Notes marketshare is evaporating quicker than a 99 in the Sahara.

    As an end user, it's client is a disgusting abomination

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: 10 years too late

      It's taken quite a licking.

    2. Christopher Reeve's Horse

      Re: 10 years too late

      "disgusting abomination"


  8. EdFX


    It was garbage when I used it 20 years ago... Good luuuuuck !!

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: LOL

      It was also garbage 17 years ago when I started using it, and three years ago when I stopped. So we have several data points.

      Who would consider a renewed Notes environment? We are an Exchange house, we are migrating to Win10, moving into O365, Exchange integrates with our Office Apps, One Drive,.. etc etc. Notes has a lot to do, to integrate and replace all that functionality, and even if it could, why would we?

  9. SnapperC

    I have to say it's a hell of an uphill struggle to bring Notes uptodate.

    However, Domino itself isn't the easiest thing to work with in the world are they going to make the whole config less of a chore?

  10. Whitter

    Interface Hall of Shame

    Does the Interface Hall of Shame still exist I wonder?

    Yes it does.

    As they say in the product listing:

    "Lotus Notes (We needed to devote an entire section for it) "

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Interface Hall of Shame

      But sites like this have been scrubbed from the web. How soon people forget and make the same mistakes again...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interface Hall of Shame

      Ah, the Interface Hall of Shame. I love that site. It's a pity that nobody seems to be updating it and all of the examples are really quite old now.

      We are surrounded by a relentless tide of utterly crap user interfaces from washing machines(*) to web pages and "user experience" designers could learn a lot.

      (*) Don't get me started. My machine has a set of flush black buttons arranged on a smooth black background. When you eventually find the "start" button and press it, you are not sure whether you really did because the travel of the button is miniscule. It feels like you are pressing on a hard panel. Fortunately, an indicator lights up and the display shows the washing time still to go. Has it started? Has it buggery. To actually get it started you have to press and hold the same black button for about 5 seconds until you hear a click. Even then you are not sure and you end up waiting until you can hear the water filling the machine. The result is either you come back an hour later and the machine hasn't run or you end up waiting 30 seconds each time you start it. Utter, utter crap.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Interface Hall of Shame

        Just replaced a Bosch machine by a Samsung. On the Bosch you couldn't tell if the timer had been set or not, there was no indication. Every night I'd set the timer, put away the soap and then set the timer again in case I'd forgotten the first time. The Samsung, however, has a very clear and obvious control panel. It can be done.

      2. qwertyuiop

        Re: Interface Hall of Shame

        My machine has a set of flush black buttons arranged on a smooth black background. ...Fortunately, an indicator lights up...

        Does it light up in black on a black background?

        1. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge

          Re: Interface Hall of Shame

          "I pushed this button."

          "What happened?"

          "A sign lit up saying 'Please don't push this button again.'.".

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Interface Hall of Shame


      Oh you bastard! Lotus "Smart Suite" came pre-installed on my 2nd PC - Windows 98. And I'd forgotten that UI.

      [Vision swims in teary nostaligia] Remember the days when tooltips were couched as little friendly yellow speech bubbles. And all buttons were grey, and square, on a grey background, with darker grey writing, dark grey lines round them and horrible clip-art icons. [whimpers] The horror! The horror! The horror!

      To deal with all the luddites using it, the UI metaphor was that Smart Suite was a filing cabinet. All nice and friendly. So you clicked on the application you wanted, out of a weird sideways list and it went zooming across the screen, opening a drawer, with all the icons you needed inside it.

      And people complain about the Ribbon in MS Office...

      I'll be the one whimpering quietly in the corner. Carry on.

      1. Whitter

        Re: Interface Hall of Shame

        I apologise for any distress I may have caused.

        Thoughts and prayers perhaps?!

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Interface Hall of Shame

          Thoughts and prayers perhaps?!

          I find whisky much more effective. Hic!

          ...Mmmmm. Happy nostalgia for lunchtime pints...

  11. msknight Silver badge

    It is not enough.

    Notes and Domino certainly did have the edge over Microsoft back in the day. However, things have moved on drastically.

    The main problem that IBM are going to hit, where I'm sitting, is that Microsoft now have everything so tied together in a licensing bundle, that trying to replace Outlook/Exchange is going to be like trying to replace Word/Excel.

    They're going to have to come to businesses with a whole solution, operating system, office suite, e-mail, browser ... for anyone to be able to consider jumping from their MS licensing... because the only way to actually make it worth the expense, is to ditch MS completely... which is no small ask. Are they planning to bring back OS/2 as well, perchance?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It is not enough.

      They're going to have to come to businesses with a whole solution, operating system, office suite, e-mail, browser

      That wouldn't take much (if they had competent architects and devs) because the Lotus productivity apps were actually pretty reasonable, and in some ways far better than the MS stuff. I suspect any development by HCL will be like most offshore code shops: vast code bloat and lots of errors.

      However, no matter how much they update Notes and the productivity apps, no matter if it lean and error free, they've missed the boat. If companies want to pay the Microsoft tax for reasonable levels of compatibility, that's what they do. If they don't want to pay the tax and will accept some kludge then they either use Google apps, or Libre Office (with or without Linux). Nobody is going to lock themselves into a new expensively licensed suite & middleware (sorry!) solution. Why take the risk for precisely zero gain?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Lotus productivity apps were actually pretty reasonable,"

        No. I tried to use SmartSuite as a (cheaper) alternative to Office - it wasn't. Especially WordPro as a nightmare full of bugs. They also got a lot of the Notes ugly UI.

        They became so blinded by the early success of Notes, that ignored and then crushed the other products. And as soon as MS released Outlook/Exchange, they lost that market too.

        Google Apps is not free for businesses - and it's still a proprietary solution. At 25$ per month per user (to match Exchange/Notes features) it's not exactly cheap.

        There are still companies that for several reason find these products appealing - but the products have to deliver.

    2. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

      Re: It is not enough.

      It's worse even than that. Not only will IBM/HCL need to offer the whole stack BUT it will have to interact seamlessly with the MS offerings, because of the legacy factor. With MS being able to alter the underpinnings of everything they do at will, nobody will be able to offer seamless integration.

  12. Sam Therapy

    Oh dear sweet pink baby Jesus

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        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!

      2. antoale3

        Re: Oh dear sweet pink baby Jesus

        You are not alone!!!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        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:

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

      4. TheVogon Silver badge

        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:

  13. Doctor Huh?

    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.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      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.

    2. James Anderson

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

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

        How long before HCL owns IBM?

  14. HmmmYes 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.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    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...

  16. JakeMS


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

    But alas, no pizza until Saturday!

  17. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    well good luck with that...


    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

  18. sandman

    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).

  19. spold Bronze badge

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

    1. PhilBuk

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


  20. katrinab Silver badge

    "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.

  21. Korev Silver badge


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

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Language

      I thought Notes was coded in BASIC?

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Language

        Possibly by gibbons...

        1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

          Re: Language

          Ah yes, agile development!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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?

  22. Flakk Silver badge

    Fight the Scourge of Macro Viruses!

    Re-release Lotus 1-2-3!

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: Fight the Scourge of Macro Viruses!

      SuperCalc 5 for me!

  23. andy 103

    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.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    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!

  25. chivo243 Silver badge

    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!

  26. petef

    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.

  27. Anonymous Coward

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

    ^ see title.

  28. JQW


    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.

    1. CujoDeSoque

      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.

  29. Howard Hanek Bronze badge

    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.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    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.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  32. Allonymous Coward

    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.

  33. cloudguy

    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.

  34. Domino

    The downside was Domino running on Windoze.

    I'm using Linux these days..

  35. razorfishsl

    This crap is still big in Hong Kong

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You think you have problems until

    you are supporting Notes and Exchange in the same company.

  37. 2cent

    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.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Drewc (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?

  39. Rande Knight

    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.

  40. LucB

    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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