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Ian Tree  21 December 2008 12:39:30

Campaign to Open Source Domino - Comments

Ferdy Christant, 21/12/2008 15:17

Interesting campaign, I fully support it and I will help in the distribution via my blog. Have you considered running it as a poll/petition/ideajam? That may increase the impact. Now there is no way to see how much support there is for your idea.

I'm particularly attracted to the first part of the letter. I surely could not agree more. My gut feeling is that there are really a lot of enterprises pushing Domino out of the door, despite all the development and commitment put forward by IBM in the last 2 years or so. While it is honourable for guys like Ed Brill to defend the product and its business case so passionately (he's often right), I have a feeling that nobody is hearing it. In fact, I'm cynical enough by now to think that even if the average CIO would hear it, he's still opting for the Microsoft option. One would expect an enterprise CIO to properly investigate all options and choose the best solution based upon factual data. Yeah, once I was naive like that. Instead, they chose based upon emotion, lack of knowledge, some even say Microsoft is an industry standard!

The current IBM approach of documenting a business case, publishing it, and waiting for some CIO to read it does not work. They need the Microsoft approach: in-your-face marketing: attack. Here are some thought I published earlier:


Open sourcing would be a great step, but without a new marketing/sales strategy I'm afraid it will not work. And it's not just the seats, what about developers? .NET and Sharepoint engineers are hot in the market. Domino is....well, what is Domino? Hardly anyone knows. I think few new developers are willing to bet their career on such a losing platform. Even if they would want to try out what it is, there are many barriers to overcome. Given my feeling about the vaporizing seats, lack of new developers and poor marketing I feel Domino is on a sinking ship already, at the point where it is becoming irreversable.

Therefore I fully support drastic measure to improve, including open sourcing the product.

Bastian Wieczorek, 21/12/2008 16:37

Hallo Ian,

I just read your open letter on your website... I think domino as a open source will not work. Have you seen how many notes developers are working on some open source templates for domino? I can count them by my hand.

If you have a short look on www.openntf.org you see many very good ideas... but only a handfull developers are working on it. I´m a little bit affraid that when Lotus Domino/Notes will be open source there will be no Developers which are working on the product.

Another point is... Lotus Domino has some parts which are developed from other companys. The internal document viewer for example is such a software. If Lotus Notes/Domino will be open source this part must be removed.


Bastian Wieczorek

Tim Bennett, 21/12/2008 18:44

It is a very interesting campaign Ian and my initial thoughts are that it would present good opportunities for the brand/product to continue to grow. However (as one of your commentators raised) is it an environment that the Open Source community would grasp and develop?

I currently work in an environment where no-one ever got fired for selecting Microsoft products - yet we don't exploit SharePoint and haven't even reviewed Groove. At a time when costs are currently being questioned at a business and IT level, the idea of turning to Open Source isn't even considered - how like other organisations is this? In fact we adopted a complex hybrid of Windows XP with Office 2007 and all that extra training !!

I am going to think some more on this

Marcel van Lanen, 22/12/2008 08:00

Good day Ian,
Just read your posting.
Well, to be honest with you I fancy the idea as well.
I understand the advantages, seen from market view and IBM's  as well.
Certainly looking at what we see out there amongst the several enterprise customers.
Was it sent to Steve at 15-DEC?
Any response back so far?
They only have "some issues" in the are of licensing I guess.

IdeaJam, 22/12/2008 09:00

There are several comments on the IdeaJam Thread including Ed Brill.

Sjaak Ursinus, 22/12/2008 11:35

This is really the biggest nonsense I have heard for years.I think it's the largest nonsense I have heard of 2008. You try to make your point with organizations and companies whom are deciding in favorite of Open-Source. Would you really think that the current Mail/Collaboration platform (Mostly Exchange/Sharepoint) will be deserted for an open-source variant of domino ? I don't think so. Infact the organizations you are talking about are still choosing in favorite of some Microsoft products even they should be deciding for Open-Source variants (and there are a lot of available products in all kind of products lines).

In fact Domino/Notes is still upcoming. Every year and year more licenses are being pushed into the market and more and more companies are using Notes/Domino. So I guess you are trying to sell a lot of FUD.

Even if Domino/Notes gets its way to the Open-Source community several problems will directly rise up
1.        Who is gonna maintain it
2.        Lots of code lines needs to be deleted as they are intelectly owned by someone else than IBM.
3.        Development of Domino/Notes will downgrade for sevral years as the communty needs to learn te code
4.        IBM is Supporting Open-Source in lots of ways but building

So even if IBM Decides to push the product into the Open-Source community at the end you will have an incomplete product which doesn't work because of so many lines of codes are deleted out of the source because of copyrights. So at the end you only have some code which is Open-Source but will not represent any product as its completly crippeld of all code what couldn't go into the Open-Source space because of legality.

So what I am trying to say is. Your letter is complete crap and based on nothing.

Bill Fox, 26/12/2008 18:45

I have been a Lotus Business Partner since 1995. At that point I say Notes as an innovative alternative to most of the other cookie cutter type applications. The tight integration of email and a powerful database engine sparked me to move into the Notes 'camp'. after almost 14 years I'm still there. However, the question is if today was 13 -14 years ago would I do the same thing. I think my answer would be no! Not because the product has lost any of it's uniqueness. not innovativeness,  but the market place is radically different.

Notes/Domino needs a major adjustment, not so much in design features - but there are a few mods that could/should have been made long ago - but in it's market positioning and industry perception. To illustrate this I was talking with the Owner/IT Director of a SMB a couple weeks ago. Notes/Domino would have been a very good fit for them to do the job they needed to do. However, they are committed to an Open Source environment and would not even consider Notes/Domino as a viable alternative. Even though I could demonstrate that the Total Cost of Ownership would have been comparable.

At this point would I recommend to a young person coming in as a Developer, Admin or ?? that they should consider Notes/Domino as there primary platform my answer would be NO, I'm sad to say! The problem is not that the product is not good, I'm afraid that it has lost traction in the market place and needs a major refocus or in a few years it will be gone. Because I'm getting to the place of looking to retire, I can probably ride this out, but I don't think new innovative young people are on the horizon, I'm sorry to say.

David Dingley, 05/01/2009 10:35

Here here! IBM is losing ground because it singularly fails to educate its customers in the many strengths of Notes/Domino. Since leaving IBM I've worked for, or with, 2 significant Notes/Domino customers. In both cases they massively under use the tools because nobody spends any time explaining the best way to do so. A widespread open source movement would generate many more people motivated to do this.

IBM's strategy is wrongly focussed. They should give up on Symphony, swallow their pride and throw IBM's weight behind Open Office. Symphony just fragments the space unnecessarily.

More importantly (and I see there is a suggestion about this on your site!) IBM should urgently create a "personal" and FREE e-mail client based upon Notes. They do not seem to grasp that for many many people the route to Msoft understanding and adoption is via Outlook Express. To these people comfort with what they use privately leads to comfort with what their (Microsoft using) employer provides.

This seems SO glaringly obvious to me that I simply cannot see why IBM cannot grasp this idea!





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OpenLetter-v1,9.docCampaign to OpenSource Domino Open Letter v1.9 - Word for Windows 97-200336 Kb
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