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Campaign to Open Source IBM's Notes/Domino

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the if-you-can't-sell-it-use-it-for-free-advertising dept.

IBM 255

Ian Tree, an IT consultant from the Netherlands, has started a campaign to convince IBM to open source the code for Notes/Domino. Hoping for results similar to the push for Sun to open source Solaris, which finally saw success in 2005, Tree makes the simple point that it won't happen until someone asks. "By being an open source product, Tree is also hoping that Domino becomes something schools use to teach groupware and application development concepts, which is the holy grail for future market adoption. This is how various Unixes, relational databases, Linux, and a raft of other products eventually became commercialized. While the idea of open sourcing any proprietary program is appealing, in as much as it sets a program free to live beyond the commitment (or lack thereof) of its originator, it is hard to see why open Notes/Domino would have any more impact than OpenSolaris."

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uh, no? (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260763)

Speaking on behalf of the poor bastards that have played with Notes: Please don't put him on our team. Really, Notes is like the last kid to get picked when we're making teams. He drops the ball lots and he cries even when we play tag only. We only let him play at all because the teacher makes us.

Re:uh, no? (4, Insightful)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260895)

Don't worry. IBM will not allow Notes to come out and play freely with other kids. Others have worked on open sourcing OS/2 for years, but all have failed.

The patents linked to the products, makes it a no-go. Besides, IBM still makes a lot of money from Notes/Domino.

Re:uh, no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26261141)

Ain't it the truth...

It's as if someone believes that by making every failed piece of software open source it will make the concept of open source a success. Uh, maybe it failed for a reason, ya think?

Re:uh, no? (2, Informative)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261767)

Has it really failed? Don't companies still pay IBM lots of money to use it?

Re:uh, no? (2, Funny)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261353)

Ian Tree, an IT consultant from the Netherlands, has started a campaign to convince IBM to open source the code for Notes/Domino.

It's rumored that this same consultant is trying to get a footer placed on every outbound email that says "Don't print this email. Save a Tree."

Re:uh, no? (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261379)

But if a consultant falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear his recommendations, does he make a sound?

Thank you, I'm here all week.

Re:uh, no? (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261493)

Only if he is getting paid. Preferably in advance.

Open source and Lotus Notes? (5, Funny)

fucket (1256188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260793)

The perfect storm of horrible interface design. If only we could get the geniuses behind Band-in-a-Box on board.

Re:Open source and Lotus Notes? (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260881)

That is a reason to open source it, so it will be easy for others to develop better UIs which keeping the same database (and therefore compatibility).

Note: I am an IBM employee, but this is my personal opinion. I am not involved in Lotus Notes in any way beyond using it.

Re:Open source and Lotus Notes? (4, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260933)

That's a fair reason in general, but the only reason I know of to interoperate with Notes is to export the data to something else.

Re:Open source and Lotus Notes? (1)

HAKdragon (193605) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261097)

That is a reason to open source it, so it will be easy for others to develop better UIs...
 
Like Blender? (I kid, I kid)

Blender (1)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261303)

Like Blender? (I kid, I kid)

The UI was created while Blender was still a commercial (non OSS) app

Acknowledging you're joking, 3D design is hardly a perfect fit for a standard interface - so there are not really conventions to be broken. Some 2D conventions are sacrificed to reach into the third dimension. Other 3D apps also differ significantly from Word or OpenOffice ;-)

Re:Open source and Lotus Notes? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26261175)

Gimp is open source and it's UI sucks too.

Re:Open source and Lotus Notes? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26262007)

it will be easy for others to develop better UIs

You mean...like... OpenOffice?

No thanks... :)

Re:Open source and Lotus Notes? (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261223)

Band-in-a-box is wonderful software. It serves the real user needs.

In this case it is quite obvious that the request is a 'troll' from competitors.

Re:Open source and Lotus Notes? (1)

beerbear (1289124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261295)

I do love Band-in-a-Box, but it really has a horrible UI.

Re:Open source and Lotus Notes? (1)

alexj33 (968322) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261527)

Knock Knock....

Who's There?....

Lotus Note$%^!@#..User CN=@#$@#@#$ cannot open database CN=@#$%@#$%@#$!!catalog.nsf

CouchDB (5, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260813)

CouchDB [apache.org] , which has been generating some [eflorenzano.com] hype [blogspot.com] lately (especially among Rails fans), is by Damien Katz [damienkatz.net] , who did work on LotusNotes and Domino, and claims CouchDB is inspired by that.

According to him, Lotus got a lot of things wrong, but it got the database right.

I don't know if there would be anything to gain from the original (even just to read through it), or if we should all be focused on CouchDB now, but it would be interesting to find out.

Re:CouchDB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26261333)

Your appeal to authority might work better if the authority figure didn't design a database that stores and operates on javascript.

Re:CouchDB (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261669)

And your own appeal to authority would work better if you had a little more respect for the most popular LISP dialect in the world. Seriously. [crockford.com]

But consider two things: First, the storage is JSON [json.org] (not JavaScript), and I don't actually know that it's the on-disk format (I doubt it), only that it's the format exposed to developers. What would you use in place of it, for a schema-free database? XML? ASN.1? Serialized objects in $my_favorite_language?

And for what it's worth, JSON is not just Javascript -- it's also valid notation (as in, you can pipe it through eval, if you really want to) for Python, Ruby 1.9, and probably others I don't know about.

The only better candidate I can think of is YAML [yaml.org] , which is more complex to parse, and a superset of JSON anyway.

Second, the views (sort of a query language) aren't necessarily Javascript. It's true, Javascript is the default view format, but it can actually be any language that can operate on text sent via a Unix pipe. I hear Python developers are using it with some success.

But given the choice, would you rather write SQL than JavaScript? Really?

Of course, it also has the nice side effect that you can write an entire application in JavaScript, using AJAX, talking directly to the CouchDB server. But I'm guessing that's a side effect, not the real reason Javascript was chosen.

Re:CouchDB (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261805)

And your own appeal to authority would work better...

On second thought, maybe it's not an appeal to authority. It is, however, based on a false premise (that Javascript is bad), and further begs the question (that a database designed around Javascript must be bad).

The database is the problem with Notes... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261431)

It's been a while since I've done Notes but I seem to recall that the database was the central problem with Notes. I seem to remember best describing it as a slightly multiuser filemaker pro flat format with a lot of hype to rip off IBM for a few billion dollars. Notes is infamous for its email client being terrible but if it had had a good database to begin with, then, 3rd parties could have salvaged a good groupware database product with add on tools or even clients. That few have emerged speaks volumes about the data in notes.

Re:The database is the problem with Notes... (2, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261775)

I seem to remember best describing it as a slightly multiuser filemaker pro flat format with a lot of hype to rip off IBM for a few billion dollars.

I'm really not sure what it's got to do with FileMaker Pro, as I don't know a lot about Notes. I could compare FileMaker with CouchDB, though:

CouchDB is schema-free. There are no predefined columns. Each record is any JSON object, with no constraints other than that it be valid JSON.

Older versions of FileMaker are, indeed, one table per "database" -- but it was very much a fixed-schema table. Each record had exactly the same fields. I've seen more than one nightmare database which would have been vastly improved by the concept of relationships and multiple tables. Granted, you could relate two "databases", but this was fragile and not for newbies.

What's more, FileMaker requires that you be connected to a central server, and somehow manages to be dog-slow over a network. By contrast, CouchDB can do asynchronous multi-master replication -- to the point of completely disconnected operation. As in, you could run a Couch server on your laptop, take it on the road, connect later, and it would deal with conflicts appropriately.

if it had had a good database to begin with, then, 3rd parties could have salvaged a good groupware database product with add on tools or even clients.

I don't know -- how accessible was the database? Given that it wasn't free, and was tied to Notes (which has a horrible reputation), it's not surprising that people didn't pick up on the database.

Keep in mind, good ideas aren't necessarily adopted right away. There are a lot of strange things about Erlang, but it does scale very well, both to cores and multiple machines -- yet it hasn't had a lot of adoption compared to, say, Java. What's more, there's a grand total of one other language running on the Erlang VM, and as far as I know, no other languages built around the same concept -- if it's really the syntax and weirdness of the language, why not steal the best parts of it?

I could pick other examples, but I think I've made my point: A lack of popularity doesn't necessarily mean something is bad, any more than a lot of hype necessarily means something is good.

Re:CouchDB (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261541)

Wow -- I've just been reading through CouchDB's overview, and that's definitely inspired by Domino. :P

Of course, I like it for that very reason.

As an Outlook/Exchange fanboy.. (1)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260815)

I would actually welcome this. Groupware and databases are the aspects of office packages that were never gone through in general Tech Ed. courses when I was in school, yet they're the portion of said packages that I use the most.

If some groupware were to be introduced to people along with traditional email when they first learn an office package, you could actually have people creating calendar events and sharing them out the door, instead of constantly sending emails to eachother, ignoring the actual capabilities of the software suite they have.

I have to imagine a F/OSS implementation of what I understand to be very solid groupware would only help to facilitate this.

Re:As an Outlook/Exchange fanboy.. (3, Interesting)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260937)

I fail to see how making Notes open-source would help this aim. After all, the main obstacle to people using calendaring and groupware apps is that said apps are difficult to use. Given Notes' horrible record regarding usability, I fail to see how making Notes freely available to all would spread the usage of calendaring amongst the general computing public.

In fact, I think that GMail and Google Calendar are doing more to spread automated calendaring than open-sourcing Notes (or even Outlook, for that matter) ever could.

Re:As an Outlook/Exchange fanboy.. (1, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261195)

If some groupware were to be introduced to people along with traditional email when they first learn an office package, you could actually have people creating calendar events and sharing them out the door, instead of constantly sending emails to eachother, ignoring the actual capabilities of the software suite they have.

To each his own. I always found it really rude that people would "share a calendar event" with me in Outlook, essentially scheduling me for meetings that I knew nothing about, sight unseen, based on nothing more than the fact that I hadn't filled in any other appointment on my computer calendar. It seems like the normal thing to do would be to shoot me a quick email and ask me if I was available, but the software encourages otherwise. They call it "groupware," but to me it just increases animosity within teams by eliminating the respect and natural give-and-take that comes with actual facetime.

Re:As an Outlook/Exchange fanboy.. (2, Insightful)

edmicman (830206) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261281)

You don't have to actually accept the meeting request, do you?

Re:As an Outlook/Exchange fanboy.. (3, Insightful)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261293)

The last I used something like that I thought you had the option of refusing it? I couldn't refuse them because it was my boss that sent the "request" and I actually liked being included on the meetings as it was better than hearing about the decisions made later on. Not that it really mattered, but every once in a while the upper management would listen (usually by accident).

Re:As an Outlook/Exchange fanboy.. (4, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261653)

Let's see, you can either have everyone keep up their calendar, or you can waste 3-5 minutes * n people in an average meeting * number of meetings in a year. There's a reason companies will pay the bucks they do for groupware licenses. Add in the workflow stuff they enable (though much of that is moving to web based apps) and they just make sense for many organizations.

*ring*ring* (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260819)

Hi, can I talk to the product manager of Outlook? Thanks, I'll hold.

Hello? Hi, I think it would be spiffy if you would consider open-sourcing Outlook. No, the whole shebang, not just the client. Yeah, server side components and everything.

I think it would prolong the life of the product since it would allow it to exist beyond your commitment to it. And you know, as the saying goes, more eyes lead to shallower bugs.

So what I'm proposing is that you open up the source and give it away for free. Then you could...

Hello? Hello?

Re:*ring*ring* (4, Funny)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261343)

You certainly do live up to your username. ;)

Re:*ring*ring* (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261715)

Actually, that's the Office product manager you'd want to talk to, and they can't speak on behalf of the Exchange product manager. Go figure.

Re:*ring*ring* (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261825)

It'd just muddy the waters to bring up that kind of organizational intricacy here.

Slow news day? (5, Insightful)

DXLster (1315409) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260827)

Dumb idea. Whether you love Notes or hate it, open sourcing it would just be dumb when there's already 800 engineers working on it inside IBM. The number of developers that would contribute to it would drop dramatically.

If you want to develop open source applications ON TOP of Notes/Domino -- you can just look to http://www.openntf.org/ [openntf.org]

Re:Slow news day? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261153)

Dumb idea. Whether you love Notes or hate it, open sourcing it would just be dumb when there's already 800 engineers working on it inside IBM.

I've worked for IBM in the past. IBM has some very smart people, but also plenty of idiots. I wouldn't assume that 800 programmers = 800 average-or-better programmers.

Re:Slow news day? (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261545)

What about 8000 college students who has no obligation to put quality code or no clue about real life/business needs adding "features" each day to a billion dollar/year selling product? Business people getting kicked/banned from IRC channels or looking up dictionary trying to understand what "RTFM" is?

People should think why businesses buy IBM software/services and why IBM is called "Big Blue" before asking them such things.

Re:Slow news day? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261735)

Indeed. We actually use Notes here (fuck knows why) and I can't imagine our 3rd level tech people (i.e. me) wanting to spend time trying to get support for Notes on IRC because IBM support isn't entirely sure what the last seven checkins did (what the fuck feature are you talking about again? We didn't add that!)

Re:Slow news day? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261167)

there's already 800 engineers working on it inside IBM. The number of developers that would contribute to it would drop dramatically.

Question: Is Notes still actually being sold? As a consumer application?

If so, I can see your point. If not -- if it's not being sold, or if it's being sold as an enterprise-level app -- I see no reason IBM would take those 800 engineers off the project, once open sourced.

More simplistically: If open sourcing it means less money for IBM, I can see where this would be a bad idea, because IBM couldn't afford to have as many people on it. If open sourcing it means no change, or more money for IBM, I see no reason this would mean fewer developers.

Re:Slow news day? (4, Interesting)

DXLster (1315409) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261325)

The Notes/Domino product line generates somewhere in the neighborhood of a billion dollars a year for IBM in pure software sales (not services.) It's also recorded 15 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth, and has grown by over 50% since 2004.

You can see more at the long-running blog of Ed Brill, former worldwide head of sales for Notes/Domino, and currently Director of End-User Messaging and Collaboration. He just finished a year-in-review post http://edbrill.com/ebrill/edbrill.nsf/dx/2008-the-blogging-year-in-review [edbrill.com]

Re:Slow news day? (2, Insightful)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261447)

I don't know very much about the consumer/client side to notes, but I work on quite a bit of web apps that use the Domino (server-side) part, and I'm telling you, I wouldn't work with anything else. The ease at which I can create a system using Domino leaves something like ASP (which I've worked with too) in the dust.

And it's not even anything fancy to do with UI -- just the security aspects of building a web application with Domino is by far the easiest thing I've ever done. Heck, just the individual user security settings I have at my disposal would make me choose it over anything else.

Re:Slow news day? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261849)

I work on quite a bit of web apps that use the Domino (server-side) part, and I'm telling you, I wouldn't work with anything else.

Have you seen CouchDB [apache.org] ?

The ease at which I can create a system using Domino leaves something like ASP (which I've worked with too) in the dust.

Have you seen Rails?

Just curious -- I haven't actually worked with Lotus.

It's hard to imagine... (2, Insightful)

SlashDotDotDot (1356809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260829)

...the horrors that must lie waiting within the source code for Lotus Notes.

Schools could use the Notes source to teach the basics of how to build slow, confusing, fragile applications with utterly non-standard user interfaces. Notes is by far the worst piece of software I use regularly. On the other hand, opening its source would let me fix that bug that keeps reminding me I missed the same meeting reminders over and over again.

You're still on Notes 4.6, aren't you? (1)

DXLster (1315409) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260857)

The Domino server is one of the most reliable server systems ever built, particularly considering the complexity of the services it provides.

Try upgrading to a version released in the last decade.

Re:You're still on Notes 4.6, aren't you? (1)

SlashDotDotDot (1356809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260949)

7.0.3, actually.

I don't know anything about the server end of things--my complaints are strictly as an end user.

Re:You're still on Notes 4.6, aren't you? (1)

DXLster (1315409) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261341)

That's still a fairly old code base. The Notes client underwent a massive UI update over the last two years. Here's a good demo video example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODy1-__aOX8 [youtube.com]

Re:You're still on Notes 4.6, aren't you? (1)

SlashDotDotDot (1356809) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261461)

The UI in that video certainly looks like a step forward. I look forward to an upgrade at my company.

Re:You're still on Notes 4.6, aren't you? (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261915)

The Domino server is one of the most reliable server systems ever built

That may be. The main point here, however, is that Lotus Notes has a horrible UI 99.9999% of the time.

Re:It's hard to imagine... (2, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260871)

opening its source would let me fix that bug that keeps reminding me I missed the same meeting reminders over and over again.

If you could find the bug :)

WHY? (1)

iamthelinuxguy (656531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260849)

I contracted with IBM for about a year. Using Notes/Domino was the worst experience ever. Why would anyone care whether it was open source or not. I wish it would just die already.

Re:WHY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26261015)

I contracted with IBM for about a year. Using Notes/Domino was the worst experience ever. Why would anyone care whether it was open source or not. I wish it would just die already.

What was so bad about your experience? What were you trying to do that bade your experience so bad? Where are you coming from, pine/elm, or outlook?

What we want? Isn't it? (1)

haeger (85819) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260851)

Haven't we been asking for an exchange replacement for years? One that connects to outlook and does all that exchange does? Isn't this (and a sharepoint replacement) what's needed in the "linux portfolio" of office apps?

Re:What we want? Isn't it? (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260953)

Notes+Domino may or may not do everything that Outlook+Exchange does (I don't know, I'm just a user, not an admin). However, I'm not sure that there's perfect compatibility between Notes and Outlook, so, even if Notes were to be open-sourced, all we'd get is another Zimbra, at best.

Re:What we want? Isn't it? (2, Interesting)

TheHappyMailAdmin (913609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261095)

There's extremely good compatibility between Outlook and a Domino mail server owing to the connectors available from either IBM or Microsoft (Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office Outlook Connector for Domino, respectively).

Re:What we want? Isn't it? (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261133)

Actually you're reminding me that comparing it to Solaris is the wrong comparison. It's closer to netscape/mozilla. Take commercial product tired of (maybe not-so) successfully competing with a Microsoft product, open source it, and get it in use everywhere. Bang, instant developer platform.

Re:What we want? Isn't it? (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261339)

As far as I understand (from third-hand experience only), the biggest problem with Notes is that it does way more than Outlook, which justifies the insane complexity.

PS: I believe Notes already has something along the lines of Sharepoint, but you'd be better asking someone who's actually used it.

Re:What we want? Isn't it? (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261663)

I've never used Notes/Domino, but what little I've heard here and there it seems like it's a much smaller mindshare than the Exchange/Outlook behemoth. I don't really see what open sourcing something that doesn't even really compete would do.

I do agree that the Exchange/Outlook/[Sharepoint] replacement would be a huge boost to the open source movement. What I don't get is why everything seems to just insist on chasing one part of the Microsoft ecosystem.

So there's a plethora of mail servers. Outlook can connect to those via IMAP or POP3. You can tack on "groupware" things like shared calendars or contacts, but it's hackey, clumsy, and never works as smoothly as Outlook/Exchange.

Or, you can connect to Exchange with a variety of email clients. But nothing uses the native protocols, so you have to have Exchange fall back to IMAP or POP3. You have to tack on shared calendars or contacts via connectors, but it's hackey, clumsy, and never works as smoothly as Outlook/Exchange.

I don't have the programming chops for it, but I never understood why everything seems to strive to just be like Outlook/Exchange. Firefox won out because it made web browsing *better* than IE. Where is the focused effort to take what everyone hates about Outlook/Exchange, and improve on those faults? But take what they do well, and improve on those,too. Make email and communicating with others easier and more productive, but make managing the whole mess not as much of a nightmare, both from the client and backend points of view. Build it on open protocols, and if there are no open protocols that do what you want to do, build them. Don't just try and mash things together and present it as something that mostly mimics the proprietary solution, but doesn't quite get it all the way right.

Make something friggin' *better*, not just "as good as, mostly, but without features X and Z, but hey! it's free!.

Companies open source unprofitable products (2, Interesting)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260885)

As I state in the title, companies only open-source unprofitable products. As I understand it, Sun was willing to open-source Solaris because it was no longer profitable by itself - instead, it was just driving sales of Sun hardware. Until I see some similar evidence regarding Notes (showing that its unprofitable on its own and only drives sales of other IBM products), call me a skeptic of this effort.

Re:Companies open source unprofitable products (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261151)

As I state in the title, companies only open-source unprofitable products.

But Sun open sourced Java, and Jonathan Schwartz claims that Java is Sun's most profitable software product.

Re:Companies open source unprofitable products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26261515)

But Sun open sourced Java, and Jonathan Schwartz claims that Java is Sun's most profitable software product.

There's a difference between a clueless CEO's claims and reality.

Re:Companies open source unprofitable products (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261539)

"Sun's most profitable software" doesn't mean "profitable". It means "hemorages less cash than our other software."

Re:Companies open source unprofitable products (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261787)

Except that Sun never sold Java. I'd say that the reality is that Sun makes its money off Java support, and platforms like JCAPS. And open sourcing Java doesn't preclude either of those two things from happening.

This would make OSS look bad (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26260915)

We don't want to make the open source community look bad by associating it with this level of quality.

Re:This would make OSS look bad (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261041)

But Rails, that's great stuff [zedshaw.com] !

Re:This would make OSS look bad (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261365)

Because when I want to get real, unbiased information on a community, and where it's going, the best source is a blog called "Zed's So Fucking Awesome". Right.

In other news, Rails and Merb are going to merge. The Rails team and the Merb team decided that they really wanted the same things, and Merb had done a lot of things right, so there was no point in keeping the projects separate. That's pretty mature -- last I checked, GNOME and KDE are still separate projects, and people still frequently write "GNOME sucks" or "KDE sucks" blogs.

Re:This would make OSS look bad (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261763)

And speaking of Rails, check out this job posting [clearancejobs.com] . Requirements are TS/SCI, Lotus Notes, and... Ruby on Rails experience. Seems like some high security clearance government folks may be converting some things from Notes to Rails.

Yawn (1)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261005)

In the event that Notes is open sourced, I doubt this will greatly impact the reach of the product further into the enterprise.

Notes is such a horrid development platform who only seen the Web as a medium a few ages ago. The last major release closed some of the gap but it has a far, far way to go.

There's a difference between open sourcing OpenSolaris, and open sourcing Notes which the article fails to mention. Sun has something to gain by open sourcing OpenSolaris: to sell more Sun hardware. Notes can run on a multitude of platforms and doesn't require specialised hardware (like z/OS) to take advantage of the system.

Anyway if I was running a serious Notes environment, I'd be running it on IBM hardware anyway. For small deployments it won't matter that much.

Re:Yawn (1)

TheHappyMailAdmin (913609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261349)

I doubt this will greatly impact the reach of the product further into the enterprise

True, but the reason to do this would be to get it back into education (at least in the US where Outlook/Exchange has become dominant), and into small and medium businesses. Right now Notes/Domino is a great tool for SMBs who are interested in running some home grown apps that SMBs don't generally go for.

IBM's reason to pursue outsourcing Notes and Domino would be to pick up more consulting business, while at the same time trying to knock off Microsoft's Small Business Server which comes preloaded with Exchange, IIS, SQL Server and SharePoint.

Please, No! (1)

jeroen94704 (542819) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261055)

Please, let Notes remain closed source forever! After having been forced to work with Notes by an employer, I have become convinced it is an evil piece of software, designed to corrupt the minds of its users. Give it to schools, and whole generations could be lost, forever doomed to believe that software cannot be user-friendly. In fact, let's start counter-movement to convince IBM that Notes is a dead product, and should be removed from the market ASAP. For the children!

(And don't give me that crap about how I must have used an old version, and the new version is LOTS better. As an example, Notes' proprietary IM client Sametime was up to version 6 when I used it, and offered only the most basic functionality compared to other IM systems).

Re:Please, No! (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261165)

7.5 brings it up to date, and 8 is supposedly better.

Meanwhile, since sametime is used on old-ass corporations that upgrade slower than a dead turtle crossing the desert, most people are still stuck on 6. /running 7.5.1.2 right now, it's "okay". I don't know how people can live on 6.

I do actually hope Lotus opens up, it'd be nice. Would be a hell of a lot easier getting it running on Ubuntu for sure.

Re:Please, No! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26261487)

Just for the record, Notes 8.5 ( in beta now, due out early in the New Year ) should be supported on Ubuntu with DEB as well as RPM installs

Why such hatred? (1)

tscheez (71929) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261111)

Seriously, I don't know why people have this loathing of Notes/Domino. It's proven to be secure, the mass mailing worms never worked, had a tabbed interface long before any browser, had a document library way before sharepoint, you can customize the crap out of your application / email, and build in a work flow to meet your business needs.

Not to mention that in the years I administered a Domino server (6.5 on Linux) not once did the server crash, go flakey, or some other problem.

Granted, I've been out of the Notes / Domino world for quite a while now and haven't really seen R7 or R8, but R6.5 was pretty damn good, especially if you'd seen R4.

So, seriously, why such hatred?

Re:Why such hatred? (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261237)

I admit it. My old company migrated away from Lotus Notes and I rejoiced. But six months into using Outlook/Exchange, I surprised myself when I found that I missed it. True, Notes doesn't have the most modern UI in the world, but it's a solid piece of software.

Re:Why such hatred? (1)

cparker15 (779546) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261255)

Not to mention that in the years I administered a Domino server

Have you ever actually used Lotus Notes, or anything from Lotus for that matter? Let's just say I don't think they're going to be winning any UI design awards anytime soon.

Re:Why such hatred? (2, Interesting)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261387)

Never having used Notes myself, I wonder if it had a problem with a certain version that people have fixated on or if poor administration commonly caused some problems that have given people a phobia towards it? I have a friend who hates config files even though I've watched (and helped) him look through tabs (the kind with subsections in each one) in a GUI for options we know we saw SOMEWHERE earlier for up to 10 minutes! When I pointed out that at least with a text file you can "search" for some part of the text, he just dismissed it. He has a personal hatred for text files and nothing will shake him of that, not even direct evidence of the advantages. I personally prefer both, a text file with a nice GUI that you can still access directly if you want to do so.

Re:Why such hatred? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261883)

Never having used Notes myself, I wonder if it had a problem with a certain version that people have fixated on or if poor administration commonly caused some problems that have given people a phobia towards it?.

It does get sold to large scale sites where management will supply the minimum resources to get the system working. So it gets a reputation for being slow, while sneaking into the SLA requirement by 1%. Thats a good way to earn long term hatred from the users.

Re:Why such hatred? (1)

Il128 (467312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261423)

I actually had to use the God Damned thing. I hated how it wouldn't mark read email read and wouldn't acknowledge a meeting was canceled or deleted and it would keep reminding me of meetings that had passed years ago... I hated that I couldn't back up email to my machine and when I did try and copy and paste the emails they'd all be fucking unread after the move and everything took so fucking long...

Dear God, I hate Notes.

Re:Why such hatred? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261829)

So, seriously, why such hatred?

Maybe it is better now than it was 10 or 15 years ago. Applications with a lot of history accumulate a lot of hatred. In the installation I saw 10 years ago the fact it ran on windows 98 and OS/2 may have contributed to the bad reputation. Additionally our site was trying to run the server side on AIX which was apparently a brave thing to do at the time.

I didn't have to use it much but the people who did referred to it as "scrotus notes".

What was it before there was Firefox? (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261123)

Ah yes, Netscape. I was never a fan of Netscape. I thought MSIE was better and faster for the longest while. Netscape was, at one time, very closed. But once things got going, Firefox came out of it. Perhaps the same might happen with this? People WANT an open source groupware server and the ones that exist now seem to lack in one way or another. But perhaps a project that starts with working code, just as Firefox started out, could turn into something a lot better... something that could kick Exchange and MS Office to the curb.

Re:What was it before there was Firefox? (1)

Keruo (771880) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261305)

I understand this point perfectly.

I loathe notes/domino and yet I'm forced to use it every day(from another companys servers).
I'd love to fix certain idiotisms in it to fit my preferences if it were opensource.

Seriously, which f*cking application locks screen after pressing F5 on email screen, instead refreshing the screen?

I hate domino aswell, but if I had option to use it for free, I'd deploy it companywide without hesitating.
It just works, and since I'm working at small company with limited resources, we simply cannot afford to deploy exchange/domino/whatever commercial groupware and thus were stuck with cheaper webmail-thingy. It works for our needs, but I'd rather have something better still.

Re:What was it before there was Firefox? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26261429)

It is not like IBM losing huge amounts of money or lost the market to MS Exchange because of Lotus Notes. If you remember the exact time which AOL decided to open Netscape to public, it is not like Netscape was really popular anymore.

IBM makes billions thanks to Lotus Notes clients and server agreements. Their clients seems to like Lotus Notes or Notes wouldn't exist today. What we got here is, dozen of people popping up on Slashdot, the very same people each time bitching about it. If you ask them, Exchange sux too. Also they claim postfix isn't scalable while Yahoo etc. with 250 million users happily use it.

AOL opened the source because they had no clue what to do with it. Perhaps IBM customers will all run to MS Exchange hands if Lotus becomes the horrible buggy kitchen sink written by amateurs. Remember pre 1.x Mozilla?

Re:What was it before there was Firefox? (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261529)

I think its a perfect comparison, but remember that the Mozilla team tried working with the Netscape code for about a year before they just decided to scrap it all and start from scratch.

It might almost make more sense to do that, but the problem is that I think it needs either/both a dedicated core group of developers and a corporate entity backing the process.

Re:What was it before there was Firefox? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261647)

Netscape was, at one time, very closed. But once things got going, Firefox came out of it. Perhaps the same might happen with this?

It seems, if not downright improbable, at least less probable than with a web browser; a lot less people willing to work with a second-best groupware server without professional support than their would be for a web browser.

But perhaps a project that starts with working code, just as Firefox started out, could turn into something a lot better... something that could kick Exchange and MS Office to the curb.

Firefox, for all that it runs on more platforms, is more standards compliant, etc., hasn't done that to MSIE; I don't see "OpenNotes" doing that to Exchange and Office.

Have you thought about this? (4, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261125)

You not only want to expose the source code of Bloated Goats to the world but intentionally expose young people to it? Good Lord, man, have you no mercy in soul at all?

Re:Have you thought about this? (1)

waveclaw (43274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261739)

But with quality source code from Its Been Mangled engineering, there is much for young people to learn!

  • Techniques for fast, lightweight code. Oh, wait, isn't version 8 built on Eclipse?
  • Methods for Workflow design. From the company whose logo could be 'Have it our way'?
  • Tricks for building scalable databases. You ever restored an ntf file? The Domino admin forgot to disable replication on that ntf file and Domnio puked all over the db, you say? Restore the file again, George.

speaking of which (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26261149)

How's the campaign going to wrest control of Linux from Torvalds? Any progress there?

IBM will never open source it (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26261183)

Unlike Sun, IBM doesn't believe in OSS one tiny bit.
IBM believes in a future monopoly and the money could bring.
The only things that IBM has made open source are complete crap, like SWT, Xerces, Axis and the likes.
Hell, Eclipse wasn't even half useful until years after it became open source.
IBM has only open sourced things to kill competition, ever. As Notes Domino doesn't have competition, if you look form it as more than an E-mail system, it will never happen.

Fuck IBM and their hidden agendas. Fuck WebSphere, DB/2, ZSeries and all the rest of their crap.
I can't really say anything bad about iSeries though, which bugs me, as it's really cool stuff. Maybe because they're made in Norway, of all damn places.

Re:IBM will never open source it (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261929)

Fuck IBM and their hidden agendas. Fuck WebSphere, DB/2, ZSeries and all the rest of their crap.

Can we fuck ClearCase while we are at it please?

ÂQue? (1, Funny)

MouseR (3264) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261301)

"open source Solaris which finally saw success in 2005"

What? WHAT?? How? When?? By whom?

Why didn't I get the memo??

S.A.P. and Notes need to die... (1)

Il128 (467312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261355)

I know, no one mentioned SAP. They just seem to go hand in hand... I hate both with a passion.
Someone who hated people came up with the user interface of Notes. How does any company put things like, "change password", in a more obscure place in a UI?

SAP which is about as useful as a hammer. Sure you can do just about anything with it but is it really the best tool to change a tire and perform an appendectomy with?

No way (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261479)

If IBM open-sources a piece of crap like Notes and doesn't open-source a masterpiece like Workplace Shell, that's it. I'm out.

Oh wait, I'm not really an IBM customer in the first place....

Most of Notes 8 is Eclipse/Java anyhow (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261537)

So there's a point to be made here. And while IBM makes mad loot from Notes, the latest version, Notes 8 has sufficient problems that they could use more eyes on it

Dear Ian Tree: (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261551)

The code you want doesn't belong to you. It belongs to IBM's shareholders. If you want it, make an offer.

Sincerely,

IBM.

database vs mail (5, Informative)

faraday_cage (1386755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261705)

As a former Notes Sys Administrator, it had its benefits, and its problems. The fact of the matter was that the email and scheduling part of it were never its strengths. The databases, and the applications that it built were by far superior groupware than anything I have seen. Oh to be able to replicate something like Access databases at the click of a button for users who do need to work on data offline. As an earlier commenter said, they got the database right. Everyone just assumed they 'tacked on' the email and calendar as an afterthought to facilitate workflow solutions. Notes Replication was simply the best (when it was configured properly). But having previously installed Notes clients and managed it, I can tell you that setup of the client was a breeze compared to setting up and configuring Exchange/Outlook. From an end user perspective, there were some things they got very right, and still as many they got wrong. But comparing it to Outlook (apart from the few scheduler limitations), it was far cleaner and quicker in so many ways.

Cool, someone agrees with me! (1)

NoCowardsHere (1278858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261737)

I've been saying for the last year (since I learned how much of corporate America works) that IBM is sitting on a goldmine if only they'd have the vision to open-source Notes/Domino. Thousands of small startups could start using it for free, and buy support contracts as they got bigger. Larger companies who want the flexibility of the system as compared to Exchange, but don't want to be locked-in with the underdog's product, could rest assured that as long as there are users, development will continue. And of course, the marketplace for apps that run on Domino would skyrocket, and IBM would be at the center of it all. A goldmine, I tell you! To address an earlier comment, this could succeed where OpenSolaris failed because OpenSolaris had to compete with multiple established open-source operating systems. IBM wouldn't have to deal with anything like that. (And I'm not sure that OpenSolaris _has_ failed, anyway... give it time!)

What a great idea.. NOT (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261773)

Lets go ahead and open source the absolute worst groupware platform out there. That should convince people that Open Source Software rules!! I'd rather use Groupwise than Notes.

Good Idea (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261827)

This is a very good idea. I like Notes/Domino as a collaboration and messaging platform. I especially like the message encryption features and the ability to prevent an email from being forwarded or otherwise manipulated. The only downside to Domino is that it can be unfriendly to administer. The good news is that, if it becomes open sourced, it will be more economical to learn and deploy in small labs and use and become competent. The author of the article makes an excellent case for it by citing Solaris as the example. Sun's decision to open source Solaris did breathe some new life into it. If IBM does start to do this, they will be well positioned to do some damage to the M$ Outlook/Exchange market share. They can also recapture market share from some of the open source exchange alternatives like Zimbra and OX. IMHO, both Zimbra and OX are weak. Plus, Notes/Domino will just continue to improve by leaps and bounds with community input. We have seen vast improvements in Solaris since Sun made its decision to open source.

Upside for me.... (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261853)

Being stuck in an environment where opensource projects are rejected out of hand, and stuck in an environment where notes is the standard for "collaboration" (which is a funny way to spell "e-mail system that no one, anywhere within the company, can stand. Especially the people who implement and support it.") , I'm in a win-win. We either start looking at open source projects, or we ditch Notes.

If this actually happens (which it won't, but a girl can dream right?), I'll be the guy dancing in the streets.

Why would the open source community care? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261895)

What does Notes offer the Open Source community?

SmartSuite (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26261975)

Please, please, please IBM, open source Lotus SmartSuite.
Especially WordPro and 1-2-3. Specifically the InfoBox.

That way the developers of OpenOffice maybe throw away their bloated, badly designed imitation of MS Office.
You know... because you can't expect them to do anything creative by themselves, because of the childr... eehem... I mean... those who are used to MS Office.

Replace one of them by me (including the income at Sun), and I'll give you an UI that's so great, geeks and Joe Sixpacks can jack off to it. ;))

I am Navid Zamani, and I approve this statement. ;)

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