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IBM to Adopt ODF for Lotus Notes 205

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the firehose-approach-to-popularity dept.
Mike Barton writes to tell us InfoWorld is reporting IBM has announced that the upcoming version of Lotus Notes, due out this fall, will feature an "ODF-compatible version of OpenOffice embedded in the Notes e-mail application." IBM hopes that this large scale distribution of the ODF standard will help bolster their foothold in the marketplace since "standards live or die on how many people use them"
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IBM to Adopt ODF for Lotus Notes

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  • Editors! (Score:5, Informative)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @07:45AM (#15349653) Homepage Journal
    IBM to Adopts ODF for Lotus Notes

    Come on folks. It's either:

    IBM to Adopt ODF for Lotus Notes OR

    IBM Adopts ODF for Lotus Notes

    But not both. Please choose one.

  • More on OpenDocument (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @07:47AM (#15349662) Journal
    It looks like the OpenDocument Fellowship will have another application to add to its list [opendocume...owship.org].

    If you're a developer, like myself, you may be wondering how you can take advantage of OpenDocument. Afterall, the point of it is not to have to have developing licenses or the inability to generate your own documents for applications that your user uses. Check out their site for developers [opendocume...owship.org]. From there, you can find the resources to begin writing your own code that generates ODF compliant files. If Microsoft ever switches to ODF compliance, you might be ahead of the game!
    • "If If Microsoft ever switches to ODF compliance, you might be ahead of the game!" !?

      Sorry, But I cannot see why Microsoft would switch to (or even willingly support) ODF.

      Why? Because it is in Microsoft's interest to ensure that customers' data are kept in Microsoft-proprietary formats. This ensures that customers will continue to buy MS Office, and thus prevents the death of the cash cow. This is why Microsoft sees ODF as a threat: It allows customers (and their data) a "way out".

      • ODF (OpenDoucment Foundation) has already beaten them to the punch.

        ODF wisely realized that waiting for MS to provide support would cripple the format. I quote:
        The plug-in is designed to allow Microsoft Office users open and save files in the OpenDocument, a format supported in other productivity suites but not current versions of Office or Office 2007.
        As to who helped the development of the plug-in, Edwards wouldn't say except to joke that "people who use numbers in their names" offered some unsoli
  • Why not just bundle OpenOffice.org and a couple other free applications with the CD? Saying that the email client is not a full office productivity pack seems a bit bloated, doesn't it?

    Saying you bundled a few other applications on the CD, on the other hand, makes it sound like you are giving extra value (The value of not having to search for and download it).
    • Why not just bundle OpenOffice.org and a couple other free applications with the CD?

      Good idea!

      The most respectable collection I can find is the OpenCD [theopencd.org] which has both OOo & Thunderbird on it, I believe.

      This is becoming [ttcsweb.org] a popular [sunsite.dk] idea.

    • Clearly, you've never used Lotus Notes before. Bloat isn't a bug, it is a feature! The Lotus Notes die-hards love Notes specifically because it is just like Emacs, it does everything, except for what it doesn't, and when that happens, you just write an extension.
  • Good Move IMHO (Score:5, Informative)

    by gurutc (613652) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @07:47AM (#15349665)
    I manage 2 Domino servers that back-end our school district HR system. There's a well-entrenched user base for this app in the school district market. Anything that helps us get stuff in and out cleanly is a huge leap forward. PDF generation and compatibility has been a bear for our technically challenged, but good at their HR specialties, HR dept staff.
  • by Mad Merlin (837387) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @07:53AM (#15349687) Homepage
    I can only imagine how much hairier it'll become after they embed a copy of OpenOffice in it, which is certainly no slouch when it comes to hairy codebase.

    Having said that, I still think this is great news for ODF.

    • Great News? (Score:2, Insightful)

      No, not really.

      End users HATE Lotus Notes. So by bundling openoffice with it, you get a "crummy by association" reputation. Terrible.

      I know the IT geeks love them some Lotus Notes (I guess the IBM salesmen know where all the good strip clubs are?), but honestly, it is simply the worst application ever conceived. Pine (hell, even emacs) is a better email application, and there is nothing the crappy database stuff that could not be better implemented using web based technologies.

      • I've never actually met a Notes admin who actually loved that bizarre and arcane beast. The problem with Notes is that since you can do pretty much anything with it, a lot of people start to do just that. And fairly soon they're hopelessly entangled with it with no hope of ever getting rid of it. Which is the point of course.

        It's the "when all you've got is a hammer..." thing. Only uglier.
      • Well, ye go too far with the Pine comment. Our main users use Notes and hate it. One fairly broken-off department uses a seperate system with Pine. Those users consider life almost unbearable ;).

        The main thing with Notes is the complexity. It can do a LOT. With custom coding you can do even more. This does make it sort of a slow application, but not overly so. Still, there's just soo much stuff in there that it scares a lot of users.

        BTW, Lotus Domino provides two different options for accessing ema
      • it is simply the worst application ever conceived

        Well, yes it is, but you're looking at it wrong.

        Lotus Notes is NOT an email app that can do databases -- it is a database app (basically a glitzy Access, except Access is relational ;) ) that they managed to bend into a mail system. And as such, it's actually pretty good. I mean, YOU try to top that with Access! ;)

        Granted though, this doesn't help it drag itself out of the worst-email-client-in-history trench...

        Otherwise, I'm happy that OOo gets this boost. H
      • there is nothing the crappy database stuff that could not be better implemented using web based technologies.

        What about when you don't have a network connection? Mobile employees with laptops can't reliably depend on web-based systems.

    • Heh, I was just marveling once more at how in Lotus Notes detaching a single attached file and detaching multiple attached files seem to act through entirely different toolkits, with the former opening a standard Windows save dialog and the latter using some hideous thing that looks like it escaped from 1997-era Java.

      Embedding OpenFreakingOffice in that thing? Yeah, sounds promising.

  • ARRGGHHH (Score:2, Insightful)

    Being a end user of Lotus Notes, I am forever wishing it would die it's overdue death. It's horrendous. Running Notes Client 6.5, and I hate it with a vengance. Unfortunatly my IT department forced it onto me :-(
    • My experience with Lotus Notes, which admittedly was with version 3.5 or something so things have probably moved on, is that it is good at what it is good at (a document centric database with versioning, access control and other collaborative features), but that when a company decides to go with Lotus Notes, they go with it for everything (maybe the decision makers feel they have to justify the price-tag).

      Email is something that it was really bad at back then, but probably 80% of our company used it purel

    • Re:ARRGGHHH (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DragonC (169447) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @08:28AM (#15349825) Homepage
      Why was this moderated Interesting?

      The Good Thing about Notes/Domino is that it allows anybody to develop applications. The Bad Thing about Notes/Domino is that it allows anybody to develop applications.

      I've been a Notes/Domino Developer for 13 years now, and beleive me, I've seen some real dodgy applications. The 6.5 client is defintely the best, but even that sucks when you point it at poorly designed applications. You may as well say that Firefox is rubbish because you're looking at poorly designed websites all the time.

      I think you're getting confused with what the client is capable of doing and what the application that you're using does.

      Adding ODF just gives the client another tool to use. A very powerful tool.
      • I was a Lotus Domino developer too for a short while. I never worked out how you are supposed to do version control on it. Or MS Access for that matter.

    • It's going to be a little different than the usual Notes Client.
    • Re:ARRGGHHH (Score:2, Informative)

      by as400tek (609382)
      Please go ahead and point out all the problems with Notes, other than the fact that you dont know how to use it? And you think Outlook would be better? Really? If you want to use Outlook there is a connector for Outlook to Domino. You can get it off the server and use Outlook and it works the same way as notes for all of you who hate to use Notes. I hate to use Outlook so I guess we are even. I know the hell that is Exchange and Outlook.
    • Yeah I hate Lotus Notes, comparing it Outlook is like night and day. Same for MS Word, it sucks, compare it to vi. I can do everything I want to in vi and it wont bug me with all sorts of features I dont know how to use. First rule of whining in in IT. If I dont understand it - it must be because it sucks.
  • oh boy (Score:5, Funny)

    by SydBarrett (65592) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @08:17AM (#15349775)
    Now people can use some format they never heard of in a app that nobody likes. It's like Realplayer suddenly supporting OGG or something.
    • Re:oh boy (Score:3, Insightful)

      Even though you were modded funny, you're absolutely right. ODF/OOo could get a bad rap by association here. I don't know ANYBODY who doesn't despise notes (and I work for a company with 27,000 employees who lives and breaths notes)
      • Re:oh boy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by brucmack (572780) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @09:13AM (#15350070)
        If you're in a company with 27,000 employees, and you don't know anyone who doesn't despise Notes, then your company desperately needs som new Notes developers.

        I started developing for Notes only about 2 years ago, so I came in with the same predisposed notions as is the norm around here. But when I truly came to understand what Notes is, my opinion changed quickly.

        Notes isn't a mail client. It's a platform for database applications, which can be developed by anyone. If you don't like something in the default mail template, you are free to change it, as everything is open!

        Sure, you can quibble about features in the client itself, but competent developers can get around that. Notes applications can be excellent if the developers of them are competent, and collaboration between applications in Notes is ridiculously easy.

        Furthermore, IBM is now starting to push Notes hard, and focussing on bringing more open source ideas into it, as this announcement indicates. The most recent server release is a huge improvement over the last, both in performance and stability. Notes now has a future, where a few years back it wasn't clear whether future releases would have fewer and fewer new features.

        Add that to the fact that the main alternative for most companies is Microsoft, and Notes is a winner...
        • Re:oh boy (Score:2, Insightful)

          by KlomDark (6370)
          Sure, it's a great groupware product, but an absolutely pathetic email solution. Ugly fucked up interface. One of the things I ask in an interview is if the company uses Notes. If they do, they get ratcheted down the list as I've found that every company that uses Notes has turned out to be a really crappy place to work. Points out that the company is stuck in the past and cannot embrace change. Chuggy lame greenscreen-using companies. Bleh.
        • by Otter (3800)
          Notes isn't a mail client. It's a platform for database applications, which can be developed by anyone. If you don't like something in the default mail template, you are free to change it, as everything is open!

          I was going to make this as a sarcastic suggestion, but maybe it's not such a bad idea:

          Instead of having this argument every time Notes comes up in every forum, and instead of blaming users for not writing their own email application -- how about if you and the rest of the Lotus enthusiasts sit down

          • Re:oh boy (Score:2, Informative)

            by Eddie Mars (935478)
            It's not necessary to build a 3rd party mail client. As has been pointed out, you can use any mail client you like with Notes. The server supports: IMAP and POP as well as having a plug-in application for Outlook. So if your only complaint is about Notes as a mail client, there's no reason not to move onto a different client. Also, Notes has a full-featured webmail interface. That said, there is a group out there creating open-source apps for Notes: OpenNTF.org. They've created their own version of the
        • > If you're in a company with 27,000 employees, and you don't know anyone who doesn't despise Notes, then your company desperately needs som new Notes developers.

          How very true, but what does new developers have to do with people hating Notes? Don't need any developers for people to hate Notes.
      • by CFD339 (795926) <andrewp.thenorth@com> on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @09:18AM (#15350098) Homepage Journal
        They rate it 8.7 out of 10 --- very high. Of course, they actually go to the trouble of comparing recent versions of the product with other things on the net, not just some badly done apps in an oversized I.T. department from a guy paid to deal with problems.

        http://www.infoworld.com/article/06/05/11/78099_20 TCnotes_1.html [infoworld.com]

        FSM save us from yet another rich client war.

        You have 27,000 employees who live and breath Notes. Do you have any idea what it would take to put that many employees on Exchange, and if you did, what what happens when a single file became corrupted? What if you had to upgrade versions?

        The biggest problem with Notes is that it's easy to design a bad app. Designer is so easy on the surface, that any moron can make something that looks like its a Notes app. Of course, it won't scale because they didn't know what they were doing when they wrote it. The UI will suck, again, because they didn't know what they were doing when they wrote it. Nonetheless, these quick temporary solutions quickly become permenant and critical, and then someone who knows something has to be paid a lot of money to do it right.

        Notes will continue to "suck" for people like you for years, but then again, you don't have an alternative because there is nothing to migrate to. Other products do some of the things Notes does. Many do Mail and Calendaring -- some better, surely. None do the kinds of rapid, inexpensive, but secure and portable applications and integration.

        • Yeah, I agree with you. Notes is a machine gun and this place has a bunch of monkeys who have access to the designer. It's far too easy for someone to develop something without putting any thought into the business process, impact, design or maintainability. I've been replacing notes apps with web based apps that are maintainable and scaleable.
    • Believe it or not, Realplayer actually is quite a good app. It's the only commercially suported Browser-Plugin and Media-Player that runs on all three plattforms and then some (Flash only runs on 3) and the SMIL language it supports has been ahead of SVG or any other concept for nearly a decade. I don't know why people keep bashing Realplayer. Probably because it doesn't look cool or something.
      • Same as notes, Real Player's got a bad rap. Of course, the poor implementation has been Real's fault.

        For the most part, the new, non-spyware infested real player is a very solid player. I've taken to using it across all clients I can, under the logic that a)powerusers like me will appreciate its new features and dumping all the crap from yesteryear, b) newbies have enough name recognition of the real "name" that they'll continue to use it (these are the people who never noticed the spyware!) and c) normal u
    • Re:oh boy (Score:2, Informative)

      by WWWWolf (2428)

      It's like Realplayer suddenly supporting OGG or something.

      Last I checked, Xiph.org and the Helix Community folks were working pretty close, and (at least the Linux) RealPlayer has played Vorbis files for quite a while now, and a while ago I heard some very encouraging news from the Theora front on RealProducer's ability to encode that, or something along those lines...

      Be afraid. =)

  • by rhanoudi (975424) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @08:25AM (#15349807)
    Check out this blog entry for Ed Brill (Business Unit Executive at IBM), scroll past the first section: Ed Brill's blog [edbrill.com].

    Also, check out the Screen shot [edbrill.com]
  • I was a Lotes Admin (Score:5, Informative)

    by Himring (646324) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @08:28AM (#15349822) Homepage Journal
    I administered email for a large corporation. I installed, setup, configured, made-route-to-one-another email across Lotes (lotus notes, or should I say "domino" -- wtf with the naming?), exchange & sendmail. Of all the email server/client platforms, lotes was the worst.

    The client, alone, was the most horrible thing witnessed upon a tech. Let's see if I remember: turning on auto spell check and having a certain amount of hyphens in your sig would unquestionably crash the client each and every time. There was absolutely no knowledge on this error and I had to figure it out myself as several users had such a sig with spell check set to auto (maybe there's a knowledge-base doc on it now).

    It was impossible to totally close the open relay in version 5.08 I think it was. I had an on-going argument with the orbs blacklist on this, begging them to cut me some slack as users on my network could not route email to certain servers running the blacklist. The issue was finally resolved by taking away lotes as the public mail gateway.

    Back to the client: in certain versions of the client, if you edited the text-based config file, and didn't put in a hard return at the end of the final line, the thing would refuse to attach to the server. This was another one I had to figure out on my own.

    Security: lotes was incredibly easy to crack as far as getting into a user's email. Simply grab their .id file, copy it to your local machine, and change the password on it. Viola! You can now read their mail database. Out-of-the-box, this was dumb. Exchange & sendmail were inherently much more secure (and lotes was written for the CIA?).

    Interface: both the client and the server had the most incredibly stupid interfaces ever designed. What sort of crack were the developers on? I could have forgiven the server if the console came with all the commands, and more, than the GUI could offer, but it didn't. Most of the time, you had to use the GUI and it blew chunks hard. I remember taking an advanced lotes class and even the instructor got lost in the GUI and continued the lesson (in theory).

    Yes, this is/was a rant, but some where there is a review of the client rating it the worst application ever designed. Mind you, I was all for lotes at one point, mostly because it's all I ever knew. Exchange and Sendmail are far more elegant to use -- Exchange mostly cuz it's ripped everything from Sendmail.

    Of all the mail servers I've ever setup and ran, I prefer Squirrelmail. No, I am no email expert or know-it-all, and I've not done it in several years now. My entire time was about 2 to 3 years, and I had to figure out some pretty big routing between Lotes, Exchange & Sendmail (I used Sendmail to handle all routing between Lotes and Exchange as we migrated). I had Squirrel mail pulling users from Active Directory, but as an admin it was very sweet and to the point with the best documentation IMO. Unfortunately, I let management see the little squirrel graphic, and it never had a chance after that....
    • Yeah I had to use it seven years ago in my last job. I had no idea it was still around. The worst thing I saw was that the website for the company was a wrapper for the notes database interface in html. So you could leave the company and still have to deal with it.

    • ...password on it. Viola! You can...

      What does a stringed instrument, a little larger than a violin, have to do with it?
    • by hrvatska (790627)
      Security: lotes was incredibly easy to crack as far as getting into a user's email. Simply grab their .id file, copy it to your local machine, and change the password on it. Viola! You can now read their mail database. Out-of-the-box, this was dumb. Exchange & sendmail were inherently much more secure (and lotes was written for the CIA?).

      I've been using Notes for 10 years. In the mid 90s I developed Notes apps for several years. In all that time, if a user forgot their password a Notes administrator

    • It was impossible to totally close the open relay in version 5.08 I think it was. I had an on-going argument with the orbs blacklist on this, begging them to cut me some slack as users on my network could not route email to certain servers running the blacklist. The issue was finally resolved by taking away lotes as the public mail gateway.

      Out of curiosity, why did you expect a database of broken mailservers to whitelist your broken mailserver? Although inconvenient for you, it was very convenient for pe

      • A valid quetion. When you have users wanting to email people outside your company, and they cannot, and you want to do the right thing and 'fix' your broken mail server, and you respect the blacklist blacklisting you, and your hide is on the line and this email better go "today!," and you work your butt off to find domino (I'll call it that this time) admits it's broke and therefore the maker/owner (IBM) admits it cannot be fixed, and you realize you have to setup and configure a new mail gateway which wil
        • OK, that seems pretty legitimate and I'd probably have done the same thing while arranging the permanent fix. I didn't mean to bag on you, but I have to deal with broken mailservers on a near-daily basis ("What do you mean you won't accept our mail if we send "HELO localhost"? That's it's name!") and hear plenty of other admins demand that I fix their problem. It's a reflex for me to want to smite people who say things like that. :-)
          • I think one of the most stressful -- technical -- jobs I've had in IT is email routing. It almost drove me mad. Of course, I was trying to route mail across 5 disparate systems whilst migrating 1000s of users from lotes to exchange using sendmail. But, then again, I've since been involved in management/politics and mail routing seems a piece of cake now....
    • It was impossible to totally close the open relay in version 5.08 I think it was. I had an on-going argument with the orbs blacklist on this, begging them to cut me some slack as users on my network could not route email to certain servers running the blacklist. The issue was finally resolved by taking away lotes as the public mail gateway.

      I experienced the same problem and I think it wasn't version 5.08 only, but furthermore, the SMTP engine had the problem to omit the "HELO" string when sending out mai
      • Finally, someone knows what I'm talking about. Exactly. I can't remember all details (years ago), but I put a lot of time into it -- determined to 'make domino run as it should and not be an open relay' -- to finally toss-in the towel and understand that the developers of the thing had simply blown it.

        Now, where's the guy who said he questions my facts....
    • I administered email for a large corporation. I installed, setup, configured, made-route-to-one-another email across Lotes (lotus notes, or should I say "domino" -- wtf with the naming?), exchange & sendmail.

      If you picked sendmail for your SMTP e-mailer, that pretty much destroys your credibility right there.

      It's like saying "I have extensive experience with RealPlayer, and can say with authority that MP3 is no good..." or "I drive a Chevy Cavalier, and the Ford Focus just isn't a quality automobile

  • by JaJ_D (652372)
    ....I didn't realise Notes was still alive!!!

    I thought it hand been taken out into the street and (in)humanily shot!

    ;-]

    Jaj
  • by zyche (784345)
    This was actually shown [linuxforum.dk] at Linux Forum 2006 [linuxforum.dk] in Copenhagen. Slashdot reported [slashdot.org] about it then. I saw it live, but too little to be able to say anything about it.
  • How about writing a Lotus Notes adaptor for Evolution and porting it to Windows? Then everyone benefits - IBM from dumping the shitfest which is their Lotus Notes Client, and every user who would like a decent replacement for Outlook.
  • by Pecisk (688001) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @09:19AM (#15350108)
    There is several myths and misunderstandings why Lotus Notes are hated or loved by IT and/or fellow users. First of all, let's claim what Lotus Notes is and what it's not.

    First of all, LN is _platform_. Heavy, huge, interesting, effective (yes, it is that word) platform. What is NOT - it is NOT e-mail client. And there comes paradox - Usually, IT dept. will follow hype of CEOs and other managers and will buy IBM promises. However, when implemented, it's usually where it stucks. Why? Because there is NO ONE to port all old apps/functionality needed to abolish all old apps and go fully LN. Using LN alone is nonsense - email client is total nightmare and that poisons all efect of it's usage.

    LN is powerful and quite capable of doing great things. Except that there is need for good admins and coders to get to those great things. Usually, it is stuck in the middle of nowhere.
    • What is NOT - it is NOT e-mail client.

      And that is Notes' biggest problem.

      Email is the killer app of the business world. I don't know any organization these days that doesn't live and breathe email.

      Notes purports to do, among other things, email. And it does this poorly. So basically, in implementing Notes, you take away users' other email programs, and replace it with something that does a lot of stuff, but doesn't do the ONE THING that they want it to do, very well. Can you blame them for hating it? I sure
  • I don't know if anybody uses Lotus Smart Suite [ibm.com] any more, but... shouldn't THAT be the place where they add ODF?

     
  • by Zerbey (15536) * on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @09:49AM (#15350311) Homepage Journal
    Very nice, I support that. Can we have proper multi-user support, faster performance and more robust databases as well please? No? OK well then I'll continue to ignore this product :) Lotus 7 is just a great big missed opportunity. Maybe Lotus 8 will be better, but I am not holding out much hope.
  • Is it me or does anyone else think the idea of embedding an entire office suite into an Email client seem a bit like putting a fullsize kitchen into a lunchbox? I guess with Notes users nobody will notice an extra few minutes of load time to compose a message, but...

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