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IBM Challenges Microsoft With an Ad Campaign 210

Rytis writes "IBM is about to spend $300 Million dollars on a campaign to win customers and to convert them from Microsoft Exchange to Lotus Notes and Domino under Linux. IBM is also said to offer resellers a bounty of $20,000 for switching customers to its Linux-based e-mail programs from Microsoft server software. It seems that the concurrence Microsoft Corp. is facing is getting tighter and tighter. The Penguin gets more and more support from the two biggest rivals that Microsoft have ever had."
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IBM Challenges Microsoft With an Ad Campaign

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  • by yagu ( 721525 ) * <yayagu@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:05PM (#15038009) Journal

    Sometimes I'm not sure what IBM is thinking. I don't "get" this campaign. IBM is spending $300M on a campaign to convince customers to switch from MS' propietary to their propietary message product? Wow!

    From the Seattle PI article:

    "People are confused, and that's why we are going into that campaign," Harreld, who also took control of marketing in January, said in an interview at IBM's Armonk, N.Y., headquarters. "We're really trying to get at this problem."

    I'm not sure I see this as a clarifying move. I see it only as another product offering. I've used Lotus Notes and worked with it many times. It has lots of interesting features, but I found it obtuse and overloaded at least in the context of an e-mail/calendaring product... the business world probably doesn't need or care about yet another e-mail.

    And, IBM is couching this under the comforting and (maybe) enticing siren of Linux and open systems? Wow! A paragraph from the Bloomberg article:

    "A growing number of organizations are interested in moving away from closed, proprietary technology platforms in favor of an open computing model," said Michael Loria, Director of Worldwide Channels, IBM Software Group. "As one of the fastest growing operating systems in the world, Linux is emerging as a viable alternative to Microsoft Windows as an email and collaboration platform," he added.

    I find this invitation disingenuous, dishonest, and ethically bankrupt at best. I'm a huge fan of Linux, and hope for its eventual place in the business world (which I would submit it already has... except we all still have to whisper about it), but I think IBM is miscalculating on this.

    And even if they are dead on in their marketing campaign, I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable they piggyback so strongly on Linux. I know IBM has been a contributor to Linux -- has their backing been that strong?

    I've worked with IBM throughout the years and my experience has been they are not too much different than Microsoft in their commitment to Unix platforms, i.e., it's a pill they'll swallow or pretend to swallow if it makes them look willing to play in the Open Source community.

    IBM has diverted Unix technology before (anyone played with AIX before???), I fear they're using it today for personal (corporate) gain. I know corporation's responsibilities are to be as profitable as possible, but this smacks of lip service.

    • by thinkliberty ( 593776 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:15PM (#15038076)
      And even if they are dead on in their marketing campaign, I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable they piggyback so strongly on Linux. I know IBM has been a contributor to Linux -- has their backing been that strong?

      Where have you been? If it was not for IBM sco would be suing other linux users for a scosource license. see: groklaw.org

      They have only contributed to 94 linux projects... you can see the very small list here:http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/views/l inux/projects.jsp
    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:32PM (#15038187)
      Lotus Notes is an incredible platform. It does just about everything.

      Unfortunately, most companies just want something that will handle the email and calendaring with Outlook.

      Instead of putting $300 million into this stupid ad campaign, spend $250 million on a basic corporate email server that handles email and calendaring that works with Outlook (or clone the Outlook ... look). Then spend $50 million on getting the word out.

      Start small and build up. Lotus Notes is anything but small.
    • by Ikeya ( 7401 ) <dave@kuc[ ]et ['k.n' in gap]> on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:33PM (#15038197) Homepage
      The other thing to remember here is that Lotus Domino and the other IBM business offerings do run on Linux. So it is on an open platform. As much as I love Pine for e-mail, business users (especially management) is going to want something with more features. So while yes, you are using a proprietary solution, you're using one made by a company embracing open standards instead a proprietary solution on a proprietary platform produced by an almost exclusively proprietary company.
    • I dunno, i can see IBM's position. Owning a unix is expensive... you need to pay programmers & support staff, etc. IBM can rest on their name & continue to sell their big iron, only now, the support is passed off to RedHat et. al. Remember, of course, that the three best-supported linux architectures are IBM POWER (PPC), x86, and ia64... after convincing significant enough people to switch to linux, they can shift over to just convincing people to buy their servers, after all... your software would
      • Does Notes even run on linux? I believe AIX is the primary server environment for it. They make a port that runs on windows servers, but it doesn't work very well and doesn't scale as well as it should.
        • Actually, the primary platform for Notes is Windows -- it's the client side. The primary platform for DOmino, on the other hand, is...Windows.

          IBM's Linux port of Domino is notoriously, spectacularly, unforgettably BAD. But, hey, you have the source for the operating system -- fat lot of good that'll do you.
    • Sometimes I'm not sure what IBM is thinking. I don't "get" this campaign. IBM is spending $300M on a campaign to convince customers to switch from MS' propietary to their propietary message product? Wow!

      Well duh. Who would've thought that a corporation would spend money to get people to use their product. And no, they probably aren't any more trustworthy. They are after all a large multinational trying to increase profits.
    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:59PM (#15038370) Homepage Journal
      Sometimes I'm not sure what IBM is thinking. I don't "get" this campaign. IBM is spending $300M on a campaign to convince customers to switch from MS' propietary to their propietary message product?

      Umm. What do you expect? They have a product. They're advertising it. This is shocking?

      I find this invitation disingenuous, dishonest, and ethically bankrupt at best.

      As far as proprietary is concerned, as far as I can see it plays nice with standards where standards exist for the things it does. It does not extend standards in a noncompatible way either. This seems reasonable for a proprietary program. I think it's clear that IBM is selling Domino, so I don't see what your beef is.

      overloaded at least in the context of an e-mail/calendaring product..

      Bingo. The problem is that it has always been more than email and calendar; trying to position it as a competitor to Exchange has only made the product confusing. The situation has only become more confusing as new product categories evolve that conver part of what Notes does, for example content management. Notes just isn't a clean fit into any of the product categories people are accustomed to.

      • Sometimes I'm not sure what IBM is thinking. I don't "get" this campaign. IBM is spending $300M on a campaign to convince customers to switch from MS' propietary to their propietary message product?

        Umm. What do you expect? They have a product. They're advertising it. This is shocking?


        Yes. IBM has been extremely reluctant to market Domino. The last effort was in 1999 when Lotus Notes 6 was released. Lotus Notes 6.5 and 7 have since been released with almost no marketing.

        Look at "IBM software by products b
    • I think you are missing the point. Even if Lotus is a closed, proprietary system, linux isn't. O.K. so what you say.

      Getting a non-windows server environment supported in an enterprise greatly increases the liklihood of moving away from proprietary protocols and methods of connecting to said environment.

      Right now, our enterprise is MS biatch (sorry, I can't think of any other way of explaining it that so perfectly illustrates our IT and MS). My Mac (bought under the radar) doesn't properly display our I
    • by rholliday ( 754515 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @08:25PM (#15038544) Homepage Journal

      I know IBM has been a contributor to Linux -- has their backing been that strong?

      I'm not sure the exact details of IBM's direct support of Linux, but they develop tools for it and on it. The ServeRAID Manager CD and other bootable tools run on Linux kernels, and the latest ServeRAID-8i adapter runs Linux onboard as well. The DSA tools will run on Red Hat, SUSE, and Novell server editions. Apparently an entire IBM division is considering switching to Linux [slashdot.org]. And of course, as mentioned in the article, their commercial software offerings run on Linux.

      There are various ways of supporting things. Giving money is one way, and actually using and promoting the use of them is another.

    • IBM made two separate announcements, one for the ad campaign and the other for a $20/user incentive to switch users from Exchange to Notes. The original story includes both items, which I hope are unrelated. I would really hate to see IBM showcasing Notes as a Linux application.
    • anyone played with AIX before???)

      Unfortunately, yes.

      Our project is trying desperately to migrate away from AIX to Linux wherever we can.
      Unfortunately, there are still a few hold-out application servers on which we're running proprietary software, and can't migrate due to vendor lock. Evil bastards. If there truly is a Satan, and if he is acting in this world, it is through AIX.
  • Domino/Notes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:09PM (#15038038)
    Being a former Domino/Notes admin, I can honestly say that the system sucks. It's counter-intuitive, poorly documented, slow and overly complex.

    Unless you have a killer-app that only runs under domino, I'd stay away from it.
    • Re:Domino/Notes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:40PM (#15038246)
      As a current user of Lotus Notes (it's up now on my other monitor), I have to agree that it sucks. There are so many features - hundreds and hundreds of them. What do any of them do? Why do I need them? And with all those features, why do basic things like having emails show up in my inbox when I receive them not work?* Why is it so hard to copy and paste things? Why is are the databases so slow and prone to crash?

      I've never used Outlook, so I cannot really compare. I just know that there has to be something better than Lotus Notes.

      *(If you are actively doing something in Lotus Notes when an email arrives, such as clicking somewhere - even on the inbox refresh button - then you get the audible alert and the "You have new mail" notice on the status bar. However, you don't actually get the email, and the refresh button does not work. I have only found success by putting it to the side and waiting for the next auto refresh, usually a few minutes later. This is with Lotus Notes 6.5.3, the latest version I'm allowed to use.)
      • Because I use email so extensively in the workplace I will actively refuse employment at a firm that uses Lotus Notes. It is the most horrendous application I've ever had to use and in my opinion it gives IBM a black eye to those that have to use it. Fortunately for IBM the CIOs, CTOs, C* don't use email and don't have a problem purchasing the triangular wheel that is Lotus Notes.

        The simplest of things just do not work in Lotus Notes's email client. And their flat file "databases" aren't too impressive e
        • Re:Domino/Notes (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tinkertim ( 918832 ) *
          Agreed. They're about to spend $300M to make Exchange server look even better. Unless they plan on using a version of Notes I've never seen or worked with, this might not be the best marketing idea IBM has ever come up with.

          Microsoft has Bob, IBM has notes. Notes is better than Bob, therefore IBM is better. The comparison being both were amazingly bad things to try and market so aggressively.

          However after coming out with both barrels blasting like this, IBM has really boxed themselves into a corner they can
      • I found you can force a refresh by clicking on another mail folder then clicking back on the Inbox.
  • Good - but to Notes? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by caluml ( 551744 ) <slashdot&spamgoeshere,calum,org> on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:09PM (#15038040) Homepage
    Hmmm. Last time I used Lotus, I thought, arrgh, what a POS. Clunky clients, flaky servers. Why are they pushing that, and not investing 1% of that 300 million in developing/extending some server based on Groupware.
    Exchange is good for what it does, and users scream loudest when their email goes down. So I expect companies will be loath to change their entire messaging system. Especially to Notes.
    • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:19PM (#15038107)
      Notes is, by a wide margin, the worst email client I've ever used. The most normal and hum-drum activities in other email clients are either impossible in Notes (sorting email by subject line, for example), or grossly complicated and unreliable (setting up a forwarding rule, for example-- then watch it continue to run for hours after you delete the rule!)

      I'm working at an IBM shop right now, meaning that we use Notes for email, and everybody hates it. The users hate it because it's difficult to use. The network administrator hates it because it's a pain in the ass to do simple tasks like, for example, changing a user's name. The accounting department hates it because it's expensive.

      And yes, this is where the Notes supporters will chime in to remind me that Notes is more than just an email client-- it's also a network-aware database host ala Access. Except there's two major problems with this:
      1) IBM advertises that Notes is an email client.
      2) It's a crappy DB host also.

      Look, supporting Linux is one thing, but nobody should be supporting Notes. If the free market worked at all in the computing industry, this program would have died out years ago because it's too crappy for anybody to purchase. If you want to support Linux, do it in such a way that you're not also supporting a horrible piece of software like Notes.

      As an aside, why do all groupware products suck? Groupwise sucks. Domino/Notes sucks. Exchange/Outlook sucks. Why doesn't someone like Adobe create a groupware product to completely blow these suckers away?
      • by caluml ( 551744 )
        Yep - the problem with this is that people will associate Linux with "slow, flaky, awkward to use" because to them, Linux will be what they've heard, and they'll be using the Lotus clients all the time. I, as (generally) a Linux advocate, don't want that association.
        In the company I work for, we moved from Lotus to Exchange/Outlook, and I have to say, even though I would rather not use MS stuff, I wholeheartedly embraced the change. I think the last version of the client I used was 4 or 5, so it may be th
      • Is the new "Hannover" Lotus Notes client out yet? I hadn't heard, and I expected it would be big news if it was.... It's a LOT nicer and shinier than the old client. If it's out it could make the switch entirely reasonable...
      • "Why doesn't someone like Adobe create a groupware product to completely blow these suckers away?"

        Because these types of systems are usually installed to RAID systems, and we all know how Adobe LOVES RAID setups, dont we? Dont get me started on Adobe's activation disaster with RAID setups last year.

      • Notes is, by a wide margin, the worst email client I've ever used.

        I don't normally do this, but QFT!
      • I just finished a security review at a financial firm. They have 12,000 users using Notes & Domino for Mail, Calendaring, and collaborative applications.

        It only requires 15 people to support the entire environment.

        They have had no downtime in 5 years.

        They have never had a worm.

        • And how much productivity have you lost due to people having to call IS every time they want to change their password because it's hard-as-hell to figure out how to do it? What about the angry calls you get when Notes gets confused and deletes emails you didn't intend to? (Sometimes Notes makes 'shortcuts' to emails when you move them into folders instead of copying the mail; then you delete it from your inbox and the email in the folder disappears also.)

          How much time is spent managing email folders and r
          • I don't even dissagree. Its cumbersome, feels slow, and the editors and things feel outdated. Even most of IBM agrees that needs work. They're actually spending a fortune on it for the next rev (Hannover) which is built on the Eclipse framework and is much more extensible.
        • 15 people? Jeebus! They have enough users to need a farm of three whole Exchange servers with associated Outlook infrastructure -- typically considered about a half-FTE position in most Exchange shops. Hell, Microsoft's entire 24 by 7 support for 65000 users with about 120K mailboxes takes less that fifteen people!

        • It only requires 15 people to support the entire environment.

          We use Exchange to support email and calendaring for at least twice that number, and it takes 1-2 of us to support it part time. It pretty much takes care of itself. The only downtime we've had since upgrading to 2003 was when a third-party backup app started locking up one of the servers every weekend.

          I'm not a huge MS fan, and I do tend to like IBM, but Notes is a pile of shit. The only thing I ever liked about it was the hieroglyphics when I en
      • You can sort by subject in the current version of Notes, 7. Mail Rules had a few quirks at first, but have worked solidly since version 6.5.
        • Well, IBM stopped sending us new versions of the client despite our support contract being active, so I haven't had a chance to try 7... we're still stuck on 6.5. I can't imagine it's improved much.

          But even if you're using 7, you have to think to yourself: "It took them until version 7 before Notes could sort by subject line? One of the MOST BASIC FUNCTIONS of a list box, and Notes couldn't manage it without 6 revisions?" Mail.app from Apple could sort by subject line in version 1.0... amazing!

          It only t
      • As an aside, why do all groupware products suck? Groupwise sucks. Domino/Notes sucks. Exchange/Outlook sucks. Why doesn't someone like Adobe create a groupware product to completely blow these suckers away?


        I wonder if perhaps email and calendar function just don't belong together in the same interface.

        -matthew
      • by pipingguy ( 566974 ) on Saturday April 01, 2006 @12:42AM (#15040089) Homepage

        As an aside, why do all groupware products suck? Groupwise sucks. Domino/Notes sucks. Exchange/Outlook sucks.

        Maybe because software in and of itself has become a "necessary" part of business in industries that as recently as 10 years ago didn't have to rely on software.

        Much of the chatter encouraged by such communication systems is just background noise and a lot of corporate activity is just busywork. For really important projects (I mean building a bridge, process plant or skyscraper) you don't want to rely on being able to reach one critical person via email or groupware. You use the phone for that.
    • In my experience, while Notes was clunky it had more features and facilities than Exchange (a company I worked even had a bug tracking system within). It was also more stable than exchange, rarely had downtime.

      It's a product that just needs some polish, a bit of a Volvo app.
    • I hated the earlier versions because they crashed so much. v6.5 was nice though. Crashes rarely. Unfortunately, my employer switched to Outlook and Exchange.
  • by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 ) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:09PM (#15038042) Homepage
    It's 12:05AM. Last year *every single story* for about 24 hours was a lame joke.. how am I to believe this one?

    Probably will avoid slashdot for about 36 hours just in case.
  • by masklinn ( 823351 ) <`slashdot.org' `at' `masklinn.net'> on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:13PM (#15038067)

    Whoa, IBM wants people to switch from the at-least-ok proprietary MS solution to their own we-have-the-worst-software-in-the-world, a-thousand-interface-designers-sacrified-every-day , lotus-notes-making-your-brain-melt-since-1996, interface-standards-are-not-for-us-goddamit Lotus Fucking Notes?

    Woohoo, fucking win, that's not even being between a rock and a hard place, that's being in an erupting volcano and seeing a frigging Chicxulub-class asteroid falling on you (that'd be a 10km diameter asteroid, 6mi for our metrically challenged american friends).

    And don't listen to anyone telling you that Notes is great and that it rocks your socks, it's been proven that only Notes developers can utter praises for that piece of donkey poo, they're merely trying to keep their jobs.

  • It seems that the concurrence Microsoft Corp. is facing is getting tighter and tighter. The Penguin gets more and more support from the two biggest rivals that Microsoft have ever had."

    Concurrence?

    concurrence [reference.com] Pronunciation Key (kn-kûrns, -kr-)
    n.
    Agreement in opinion.
    Cooperation, as of agents, circumstances, or events.
    Simultaneous occurrence; coincidence.

    I imagine that competition was meant. You don't talk about "tight concurrence"--"tight" is usually used in conjunction with "competiti

    • You have to bear in mind that the submitter probably isn't a native speaker of English. Also, the editor most likely isn't even a native reader of English.
    • Elementary school students learn words and phrases like "tight competition" and "concurrence"? News to me.

      And um... "The Penguin gets more and more support from the two biggest rivals that Microsoft have ever had." is not a fragment, although it should be "Microsoft has".

      Perhaps you should go back to elementary school?
    • This is Slashdot: The new Nerd chic is to use words that sound good, but don't really make any sense in the context in which they are used. Add points if they are mispelled.
    • concurrentie is dutch for competition, and they often transliterate it as concurrence.
    • Maybe the writer speaks Spanish, Portuguese, or some other Latin-based language. In such languages, the word that naturally would be translated into English as "concurrence" really means "competition".

      Take a look at concorrencia [priberam.pt], choose the link "concorrencia" from there, and you'll see this definition: espécie de luta pela vida que é baseada nos fenómenos de selecção natural e que defende a ideia de que esta é efectuada através da escolha do mais apto e não do m

    • I know it's hard to moderate the thousands of user submitted articles we get here, but these are concepts taught in English classes at the elementary school level.

      In Deutschland sagt man "Konkurrenz."

      rj

    • I know it's hard to moderate the thousands of user submitted articles

      They only have to edit a dozen at most per day. (Using "edit" in the sense of "adding smart-arse 'from XXX dept' intro and pressing "publish".)

  • by BluedemonX ( 198949 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:18PM (#15038098)
    Salesmen will push what they make the most money on, period.

    We sold Apples to folks who wanted PCs cause we'd make $100 spiff on a Mac box but 5% of the profit off the sale with PCs. Considering stuff was sold at or near or sometimes under cost, it was flog the extended warranty, sell Macs or starve. Got good at selling Macs....

    Our Dell rep came in with squishy toys wondering with his rah rah speech why we weren't selling all Dells, to which we said sorry pal, we make nothing off selling a Dell, show us the money and we'll flog as many as you can make.

    This was lost on him, he was trying to sell Dell on its technical merits... what the hell did the other salespeople care, they knew nothing about computers, and their customers wanted the "Color TV" one where the "hard drive" lay flat so you could put the "TV" on it.

  • by mcc ( 14761 ) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:19PM (#15038103) Homepage
    Maybe it would make more sense for IBM to build an exchange replacement that is actually good, and then advertise the hell out of it? I think if they spend a lot of money on calling peoples' attention to Notes, it will just backfire.
  • Really, did anyone even try to implement an exchange environment for more than 10000 users? Next to the license cost it brings, Exchange is not capable of handling lots of e-mail (gigabytes/minute). I have worked at a MS-certified ISP who was on a test project for a hosted Exchange project. The cost charged to the customer was about 4x the price as for a similar IMAP box and that was WITH MS-funding. The SPAM had to be handled by a separate SpamAssassin/Postfix server (ok, I can accept that) but for the rest we needed 4 DUAL XEON's with 4G RAM just to handle about 5000 e-mail boxes (100-500M each) and management was thinking about implementing an extensive linux-based fibrechannel storage because the Windows boxes couldn't safely handle that amount of data (several software related storage issues). That was while our IMAP solutions were chugging away 10000 accounts per single P4 server. And yes, Exchange CAN handle also shared calendar data etc. but so can IMAP and that was wat a lot of customers used it for while Exchange had performance problems when a secretary opened more than 3 executive calendars at the same time.
    • Whoa. Whoever tried to sell Exchange into that installation needs to be shot. Like Notes, it's not designed to be an ISP email system. People need to get off the IMAPd vs Exchange kick and realize that they are very different products. No ISP should *ever* look at Exchange for their customers.

      In terms of Exchange vs Notes, I just can't get past the past 5 years of absolute misery and horror that Notes has inflicted on me to even fight against Microsoft on this one. IBM needs to just dump Notes and come
    • Really, did anyone even try to implement an exchange environment for more than 10000 users? Next to the license cost it brings, Exchange is not capable of handling lots of e-mail (gigabytes/minute).

      I have. I had an implementation with approximately 50,000 users spread around the world at 20+ sites. And while it was expensive to license we didn't really have any performance problems. In my experience, many people run Exchange because it's easy to get installed and has GUI tools for the most common mana
  • Fun With Lotus Notes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zerbs ( 898056 )
    Oops, guess I forgot the tag in the subject line. Notes is an intriguing concept of storing information in hierarchical "documents" but a number of things make it difficult to use. I spent months at my last company converting Lotus Notes applications that someone had written into an Oracle database with a web front end. One thing interesting though about Notes, when we sent an e-mail to Australia from the U.S. asking for a read receipt, the receipt gladly told us that our message "was read tomorrow".
  • by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:21PM (#15038119)
    Give up Exchange Server for Notes!

    Give up Sex for Video Games

    Give up Kobe Beef for Bean Sprouts

    Give up SUVs for Hybrids

    Give up TV for a walk in the park.

    Give up music for the sound of waves on the beach

    Give up Logic for Scientology

    You too can have an episode of South Park devoted to your madness!

  • Notes? Wah? (Score:2, Informative)

    by buddyglass ( 925859 )
    Having worked for IBM in the past and having been forced to use Notes as my desktop email client, it's difficult for me to comprehend why they'd make it the centerpiece of their assault on Microsoft. Powerful, yes, but also terrible to use as an end-user.
  • As an email/calendar/contacts application, it's pretty weak.

    If you are doing workflow-enabled applications, and you have good Notes developers, it's a damn good product and you'll find that you can roll out apps very quickly (detractors, please note that I said you need good developers).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:26PM (#15038147)
    > The Penguin gets more and more support from the two biggest rivals that Microsoft have ever had.

    It isn't so much that the Penguin has powerful friends, but that Microsoft has powerful enemies. How about a Warcraft scenario: Bill in Borg weeping as he runs through the swamp, pursued by big war trolls and a very angry penguin!
  • by wfberg ( 24378 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:26PM (#15038158)
    All I can say is.. STAY AWAY!!

    Outlook may be pretty evil, what with sending RTF e-mails.. But then.. so does Lotus Notes! It manages to 'retain' formatting from other applications when copy-pasting when it's entirely inappropriate, even (like, pasting some text from a webpage, bam! different font). It doesn't download attachments when you get your mail, but when you do download it, it doesn't add it to its 'local mail database', but let's you save it somewhere. Get the attachment from e-mail again because you deleted it from your filesystem, you have to download again. Calendering, sure, nice. But buggy as hell. Rescheduling usually doesn't work, you can read invites from Outlook users, but (sometimes) not accept them, or when you accept them, they don't get notified. "Replicating" databases takes ages, and doesn't in fact allow you to work offline. The client isn't noticibly multithreaded, you have to wait for a download to finish before being able to do something else. The client is a huge bloated binary, and it writes huge ass 'database' files to your disk. When you kill the client (which you often have to do as some actions lock the client up completely, though you'd like to cancel them), you have to log off and login again to restart it. It comes with transparant encrypted connections to its server - but it's not on by default. There is no clear way to mark a message unread!! I had to endure a few weeks of "tip of the day" messages to find out the INSERT button marks messages read/unread. No context menu option for that. Making a todo note? Not by using a menu option in the To-Do part of your screen, but you have to focuse the ToDo canvas, and then go to the client's main menu and select "create Todo". It uses proprietary mail protocols that don't add the usual RFC 2822 headers, and RFC 2822 headers from internet mail are really hard to get at. It makes you confirm unicode (utf-8) encoding for a message TWICE, even though it selects it by default when you type an accented character. It's slow and unresponsive. Did I mention the address books don't work properly? And no auto-complete?

    This might all be fixed in later and greater versions (i have no idea what version I'm on now, I think 6.5 or something).. But compared to Lotus Notes, Outlook is a godsend!

    Yeah. Compared to Lotus Notes, Outlook is a godsend.. Just imagine how crappy Lotus Notes must be, for that comparison to hold!
  • Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cubicledrone ( 681598 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:30PM (#15038181)
    How many people could $300 million employ?

    Hmm...

    • For a year? A couple of thousands.
    • Working in a two-way business radio company, we were talking to someone about Nextel's "Push to Talk." He said it worked fantastic, but in the area we were in, they didn't have good coverage (we did happen to have good coverage in that area, too, so we still had this customer). He then went on to point out that Nextel had spent X amount of money to have a big Super Bowl ad...and that if they had instead put that money into building towers to get good coverage, their service would really be useful to them.

      We
  • Incredible (Score:3, Insightful)

    "A growing number of organizations are interested in moving away from closed, proprietary technology platforms in favor of an open computing model," said Michael Loria, Director of Worldwide Channels, IBM Software Group. "As one of the fastest growing operating systems in the world, Linux is emerging as a viable alternative to Microsoft Windows as an email and collaboration platform," he added.

    Wow! IBM is open sourcing Lotus Notes and Domino? They really believe in the Open Source development model! That's an absolutely amazing mov...

    Oh, what's that? The actual mail product they're selling is every bit as proprietary as exchange?

    Gotta love the marketing department that can actually say the above quote with a straight face while being so hypocritical at the same time.

  • They're reeling from a monumental loss. (Chances are that I'm totally wrong, but being an armchair consipiracy theorist, this thought works out. Keep reading.)

    IBM sold off the ThinkPad and ThinkCentre division to concentrate on other things. Chip manufacturing? A major issue to Apple was the availability of the IBM PowerPC G5 chip, with the expanded feature set that Apple so desperately wanted. It just didn't happen fast enough, early enough, because IBM couldn't keep up with the production. IBM also fai
    • The loss of Apple as a resale channel has to hurt but for a company as big as IBM which is moving away from hardware sales and into services, it isn't that huge a loss.

      Omitting the revenue from the Lenovo sale, IBM made 52% of their profit last year (2005, before the Apple/Intel shipments started) from services. Hardware sales was a distant second, and software sales was only around 10% of their profits iirc.

      IBM's main business is services. Everthing else is just icing on the cake.
      • Also the fact that the ALL 3 next gen consoles will be using IBM chips kinda helps. What do you think makes IBM more money? The sale of chips powering an Apple PC, or the sale of EVERY game console under the christmas tree this christmas?
    • I think it's a safe bet that IBM makes a lot more money off Lotus than they did selling G5s to Apple.
  • No way (Score:3, Informative)

    by aufecht ( 163961 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:33PM (#15038202) Homepage Journal
    I work for IBM and use Notes every single friggin day, all friggin day. Overly complex and bloated is an understatement. It's absolute crap. $300 million seems like enough to start from scratch and create something decent. If I didn't have to use it, I never would..
    • I have been with an org for 6 months and it has been my first Notes experience. Yes it is quirky, but I have never seen any other place that shares its information amongst itself so well. I think it had certainly enhnaced the way they go about their business. I agree there are a lot of quirky things that are deep design flaws.

      I'm impressed you didn't post as an AC :)


    • Just wait until the roll out the WorkPlace Managed Client. Everything you love about Notes combined with everything you love about Eclipse.

  • It seems that the concurrence Microsoft Corp. is facing[...]

    Competition, the word you're looking for is competition. It's a common false friend [wikipedia.org] for many languages.

    Anyway, it should also be noted that there is no Lotus Notes client for Linux (although the Windows version supposedly runs in Wine), so I'm assuming the campaign will be all about switching the servers.

  • Why Domino? (Score:5, Informative)

    by podperson ( 592944 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @07:48PM (#15038298) Homepage
    I imagine many Slashdotters will have little idea what Lotus Domino does that anyone would care about. The simple version is this -- it behaves something like an organic content management system (i.e. like Wikipedia, say) which anyone with sufficient privileges can tack stuff onto (i.e. add or modify new nodes anywhere) AND you can store any chunk(s) of the tree on your hard disk and work with them offline and then merge back as appropriate. So, for example, you can synch some subtree dealing with a topic you're interested in to your laptop, work with and edit it offline while (say) flying from Sydney to New York, and then resynch when you're next online. This is definitely useful, non-trivial functionality.

    Domino does a bunch of other stuff but the offline/remerge functionality is the fundamentally cool thing it does that other products don't do. As, say, an email client and calendar, Domino is a pretty horrible.

    I used Lotus Notes for several years while working for a big consulting firm. It was one of the worst designed, ugliest programs ever. It had groundbreaking functionality (see above) but even then it was easy to imagine something better, easier to use, and easier to administer.

    Domino can still do some very useful things (again, see above) Exchange can't do, or does very poorly (indeed Exchange is worse than either IMAP or POP at dealing with offline clients -- and Notes is substantially better). It seems to me that there ought to be web-based tools that do everything EXCEPT the offline component far better than Domino or Exchange do, and more cheaply and simply, but I don't think Domino has a significant competitor in terms of its offline functionality (more's the pity).

    The estimated TCO for a laptop PC back in 1997 was somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000. The estimated TCO for a single Lotus Notes client was $9,000 -- Domino's functionality is great, but it ain't cheap. This would be of academic interest if Lotus Domino had improved substantially in usability or reliability in the nine years since, but by all accounts it is basically the same.
    • the offline/remerge functionality is the fundamentally cool thing it does that other products don't do
      Sounds like a wiki with CVS-type functionality would be a good first step toward this sort of thing.
    • The simple version is this -- it behaves something like an organic content management system (i.e. like Wikipedia, say) which anyone with sufficient privileges can tack stuff onto (i.e. add or modify new nodes anywhere) AND you can store any chunk(s) of the tree on your hard disk and work with them offline and then merge back as appropriate

      Admittedly this was a cool feature back in 1988. Shades of Ted Nelson/Xanadu, etc. But Lotus never effectively integrated it with anything, so Notes largely just became a
  • "The Penguin gets more and more support from the two biggest rivals that Microsoft have ever had."

    Please. IBM is OK for Linux in general, but Lotus Notes is the biggest piece of shit ever. All the people INSIDE of IBM hate it, let alone anyone else.

    I hate Microsoft, but please, please ... use Exchange instead. Hell, use ANYTHING else.
  • When they really get their mail / calendar project going, Microsoft can kiss their Outlook customers goodbye.
  • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @08:03PM (#15038396)
    Lotus Notes is cool, but it can be a pain.

    It would kind of interesting to see Notes take off again... Basically you can use it like outlook and then combine MS access in it for custom databases. However, somethings are still a big pain that make Outlook look good. (no pun intended)

    If you need just email, setup an imap and use Thunderbird for your client.
    If you just need email and calendering then Outlook might be what you want (or maybe Groupwise if you are old school).
    If you need email, calenders, custom database development tied into your email, plus tons of other stuff... Then Notes is your program. Hey they even have a OS X client that is way better than MS's Entourage.
  • Lets get a few things straight given that I actually KNOW THE F'ing products involved:

    1. Notes has an odd UI with some challenges, we agree on that. Of course, that's because it was DESIGNED TO BE CROSS PLATFORM. In fact, the next rev includes a LINUX CLIENT.

    2. Notes is VERY STABLE. I am personally aware of a major financial firm where 12,000 users are doing mail, calendaring, I.M., discussions, and workflow applications with the support of less than 15 people. They have had no outages. They have had no works.

    3. Notes is inherently secure. It was doing public/private key encryption from day 1, back in the late 80's and is still doing so. It even supports PKI plug ins. Apparently, it was the only one because nobody else ever made any.

    4. The notes CLIENT is inherently secure. It use execution control lists and design elements are signed. There are not worms or trojans that use Notes to replicate because THEY CAN'T.

    5. Notes is OPEN. Yes, it uses a proprietary storage and transport format, but it also FULLY SUPPORTS XML for every design and and data element. It also includes Java (w/ IIOP and CORBA as well) object models, COM object models, and a published XML schema. It FULLY SUPPORTS MIME, SNMP, SMTP, LDAP (as client or server), NTP, HTTP, SSL, DIIOP, WEBDAV, WEB SERVICES (as client or server), ODBC.

    6. Notes is PROGRAMABLE. Its objects are openly accessable and it includes full support for JAVA, Javascript, and its own Lotusscript and formula language.

    7. Domino (the server) is MULTI-OS cross platform. It runs EQUALLY WELL on Linux, AIX, Solaris (in the past, and soon again) iSeries (OS400). I even know of one web accessible server running on Linux on XBOX! (no, I'm not going to /. it by linking it here).

    8. Notes owns roughly 50% of the corporate mail and calendaring marketing. No, not in small business or home use, but in major corporations.

    9. Notes & Domino are backward compatible. No rip and replace upgrades. EVER. I can take a version 8 beta client and open a version 2 application (that I have) and it will WORK. Now. It is cheaper to upgrade to Domino 7 from Exchange 5.5 than to upgrade to Exchange 2000 or 2003 from the Exchange 5.5.

    ---
    So, given all these things -- every one of which is something in general /.'ers scream for, WHAT IS THE F'ING PROBLEM?
    • 1. Notes has an odd UI with some challenges, we agree on that. Of course, that's because it was DESIGNED TO BE CROSS PLATFORM. In fact, the next rev includes a LINUX CLIENT.

      It was designed to *run* on multiple platforms (which they still screwed up; why did it take so long to get a working Linux version?), but it's definitely not "cross-platform."

      Firefox is cross-platform. When it's running on a Mac, the Preferences menu item goes into the application menu where it belongs. It uses sensible font sizes tha
  • The numbers quoted in dollars attached to the item seem ludicrous. I call April fools.

    Anyway, anyone recognised the british medical journal gag this year. It's a "news" story about MoDwD or ,"motivational dificiency disorder", which apparently affects 1/5 Australians.

    Total bullsh*t. April 1st as it should be.
  • I never thought I would become a Microsoft Outlook advocate, but after using Lotus Notes at work for the past two years, I bought a copy of Outlook and installed the Outlook Notes Connector [microsoft.com] just to avoid Lotus Notes.

    The Lotus Notes client provides such a poor user experience. Just to name the most obvious problems: the menus are substantially different from other applications, preferences are hidden several levels deep in weird places, the toolbar buttons and the bookmarks sidebar are pointless, copy a

  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @10:12PM (#15039408)
    I've been running lotus notes for 5 years now, and the reason why we didn't switch to exchange?

    Because to scale exchange to support the number of users we have, we'd need to deploy *FARMS* of intel boxes.

    Oddly, it's been about two years since we had to reboot our iSeries (AS/400). Yeah, it's not as sexy as running 100s of windows or linux servers. As it's just a pair of clustered boxes in the corner, each running multiple LPARs that serve to provide redundancy for the other. But it just works, plain and simple.

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde

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