back to article Vista and Lotus: Knowing when to let go of a brand

Microsoft spent an absolute fortune on the Vista brand. In marketing terms, the Vista campaign was huge by any standards, and was a big success insofar as raising awareness of Microsoft's next-generation Windows offering was concerned. Of course as we all know, things didn't work out too well for Microsoft. The the new …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Not for me.

    "Lotus brand is not tarnished in the same way as Vista; it’s more a case of the brand being entrenched in history and having become a bit tired over the years."

    Not from where I'm standing. Every time I've had the misfortune to use Lotus in one form or another is been an utterly painful and miserable experience. Yes, those were earlier versions, and yes, the current release might be a wonderful, all-singing, all-dancing garden of sweetness and delight now, but I'm not going to bother finding out. Those scars run deep.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    You're probably right

    Unless Lotus Notes has been completely rewritten from scratch since it featured in the UI Hall of Shame ( then it's not surprising people look back on it with horror and disdain.

    They should ditch the name. After all, it's now become part of IT mainstream language in the same way people use <ronseal> .... although of course <notes> isn't exactly a compliment.

  3. Hermes (nine inch) Conran

    Should that be....

    Basta la Vista?

  4. netean

    its a shame

    it's a shame really as the latest incarnation notes is actually pretty damned good. No really, it's actually really good. voip/im integration. symphony integration etc etc

    Notes has been one of those apps that people have ragged on (myself included) for being terrible, and it really really was. Hideous, but... its way way better than it once was - sadly the same cannot be said for vista

    I had a vista laptop - never ever again will I trust Microsoft, the next machine I have will either be a mac/hackintosh, linux or xp until xp dies a slow and quiet death. Vista was not fit for purpose, slow, very very very slow, ate system resources and took a well specced laptop and made it run like treacle (even after SP2).

    Once vista died again (it seemed that every so often it would fail to boot and require re-installing) after the 3rd failure I nuked it for XP and it flies!

    Vista is horrible - despite all the hype for Windows 7, it was the same hype that evident for Vista so I'm not getting burned again

    Notes OTOH -I'd invest in tomorrow (if I needed to)

    In my mind at least, Notes is a WAY WAY better brand than vista (despite old notes being the worst application I'd ever used)

  5. Anonymous Coward

    No thank you

    It's been many years since I had the misfortune of having to use Lotus Notes, and I have no wish to revisit that horror. As 'AC 12:49' has already mentioned, it may be much better now, but it's just not worth the trauma of finding out. Dreadful piece of software.

    The next time I need to assess which email/group-nonesense-ware I want to use (and I have absolutely no wish to use Outlook as it only runs on Windows, and even if it didn't, I still wouldn't use it - it's a huge bloated lump of rubbish), I'll look at the many open source alternatives that are out there. I'm sure something useful can be cobbled together out of what's out there that will be far more reliable and usable that either Notes of Outlook.

  6. Alan Paice

    Truely awful

    I used to be a Domino/ Notes Admin. It was truely crap. We needed to get some one in at £1k a day to add a disclaimer to emails.

    My users hated it, and so did the CEO. And that was it. the users hate it, IT hate it therefore it is now dead.

    No amount of clever sales and marketing will ever get me near any IBM product after that. If you mentioned Lotus in the office there would be uproar.

    Thats 100 users, that all tell their mates.. I changed to exchange and not had a moan out of the in 18 months.

    Truely terrible product..

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's like Lancia cars

    It doesn't matter how good they make them *now* - people remember them as rustbuckets from 20 years ago.

    Persuading punters to part with hard-earned cash just because you've fixed a few problems and made the product all shiny again is going to be an uphill battle to put it mildly.

  8. Jimmy Floyd

    Hear-say says...

    I've heard it said that Domino is a fantastic back-end application, which is why it gets chosen by IT departments to handle their e-mails.

    This is, however, only part of the story because the problem is that Notes is such a dog to use. Users therefore hate it. Menus are unpredictable, unintuitive and the whole thing is a UI disaster. I mean, who the hell decided that File -> Tools and (separately) Actions -> Tools would make sense as a menu structure?!?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 12:58 GMT

    Well given that Notes is on it's 8th major release since the Hall of Shame was last updated (and it's not exactly a shining beacon of UI goodness itself), I'd say Notes has had severala major revamps, the last one being a total ground-up rebuild.

    Also, the problem with barometer studies like this is that they tend to be self selecting. It's unlikely that you'll find people with the knowledge and authority to participate on behalf of organisations with 100k plus users, of which many are running Lotus.

    One of the reasons Domino isn't going away anytime soon is that, unlike Exchange, it'll run on just about anything, which is a major investment protector, plus you don't have to go through a hardware refresh for every new release, which is the case for E2k3 -> E2k7 and even E2k7 -> E2k10 migrations. Win for IBM in my book.

    I agree, though: no CIO who signed off on Enterprise Assurance is going to eat the amount of humble pie that would be served up with the decision to go back to Domino.

    AC, since some customers will shortly be facing the question "whither our email, post E2k3?"

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2gb plus of ram

    .. is what i was told i needed in order to upgrade from Notes 6.5 to 8.

    What bit of functionality (exactly) is it that requires this level of ram in an email client?

    ... aside from that notes 8 has not either crashed or died or done anything that is of note. . so the upgrade from my view was simply to make the UI prettier...

  11. The Metal Cod
    Dead Vulture

    Never Again

    AC@12:49's point about scars running deep is spot on. To me Lotus Notes means awful user interface, a pain in the rear to administer and very p'd off users because of the slowness and crap front end.

    When it finally dies a death I won't mourn it. Not sadly missed in any way, shape or form.

  12. Darren Adams

    If you're prepared to believe that...

    I'm going to take a stab at estimating the percentage of the market that 1,125 respondents represents, and I'd say it's less than 1% (assuming each represents one company). So if you're prepared to believe the stats that come from 1,125 respondents, it's reasonable that you should believe the results coming from a similar number in another survey (980 responses), correct? That survey reveals Lotus Domino to hold 83% of the market.

    Flawed? Probably no more than any other survey that takes in a tiny fraction of the market. Why not walk round Microsoft's campus and then come to the conclusion that the Zune leads the market over the iPod?

    As for people who say "I used to use Notes, I didn't like it, but I'll stick my fingers in my ears and say la la la rather than hear about the improvements"... they just sound a bit childish.

  13. EvilGav 1

    Notes - pfft

    I have the mis-fortune to have to suffer with Notes in the office and it is truly dreadful and I wouldn't dream of using it on a home machine, ever.

    Vista, on the other hand, I have been quite happily using for over a year, on a custom built machine, built and designed to use it and it works perfectly, infinitely more stable than XP and when configured correctly (i.e. the way you want to work), it's a joy to use.

    The number of people who i've heard of using Vista and their use amounts to installing, not knowing how to configure it (as it's different from XP) and giving up as it being the OS's fault.

    MS were right to ditch the name, as it was synonomous with too many people as a failed OS (whether by their own knowledge or what they had read in the early days).

  14. Calum Morrison

    @ Darren Adams

    "As for people who say "I used to use Notes, I didn't like it, but I'll stick my fingers in my ears and say la la la rather than hear about the improvements"... they just sound a bit childish."

    Isn't that the whole point of the article; whether or not the software is crap, the (potential) customers still associate it with its predecessors which really was. Change it's branding and they may just reassess those opinions...

  15. Adrian Challinor

    ha ha ha ha

    I got as far on the article as "The irony is that once Vista had settled down over the course of the first year or 18 months, it turned out to be a respectable operating system; certainly fit for purpose, and potentially offering some significant benefits" and fell of my chair laughing.

    Yeah right. That is a whole new meaning of "Fit for purpose" there.

  16. Chris Wright 1

    Used Notes , Exchange & now GroupWise

    I've used Notes & Exchange with previous employers.... Notes 3.x & Exchange 2000 and I'd have to say that Exchange was far superior . At my current employers when I started we were on Notes 6.5 and I was quite impressed with it , very stable & reliable .

    We've since replaced the Email Client company wide with Novell GroupWise & I must say that I've never had the pleasure of using something so unstable, unusable at times and lacking in functions & enhancements that Notes 3.x & Exchange 2000 had & this is the latest release from Novell.

    Notes is very good for databases & document management but Exchange is far superior as a corporate email client in my opinion.... Sadly we're stuck with GroupWise & that is just GASH!

  17. Sitaram Chamarty

    @AC 12:49 and 13:29 and others

    Completely agree. Notes is major, MAJOR (bold red letters) FAIL.

    Here's a funny story. I work for a fairly large IT services company, and my brother, working in a somewhat smaller one, wanted me to put his resume through the mill. I casually mentioned the word "Lotus Notes addressbook" in the context of trying to find out *who* to send his resume to (for his skillset and all...)

    He sort of jumped back a bit, and said "you guys use Lotus Notes?" "Yes, it's the corporate email client", I said.

    A brief pause. Then he says, "er, never mind about the resume; don't send it to anyone..."

    I wish I had made that up, but I'm sorry to say it's true!

    And they can make the newer versions as pretty as they please, but a POS that acquired "sort by subject line" in 2004 or thereabouts is not my idea of anything remotely clueful. Pigs and lipstick come to mind.

    I have an open challenge to anyone in my company: find an arbitrary mail from more than 6 months ago, knowing only a part of the subject line and one of the recepients names. Lotus Notes head to head with Thunderbird + GMailUI. Once you've seen a long message list reduce itself automatically as you type more and more conditions in the search bar, you're hooked.

  18. kevin biswas

    certainly fit for purpose ?

    "It turned out to be a respectable operating system; certainly fit for purpose"


    Dunno about 'certainly'.....the strongest I would dare would be 'arguably'. And as for 'respectable', I would personally draw the outer line at 'recognizable'.

  19. SlabMan


    My two warring personalities clash over the issue of Notes. My user-side says, yes, the client still is a dog. My developer side says that stuff still considered positively avant-garde in SharePoint is BAU for Domino, and you don't need a fleet of servers to make it happen.

    Our Microsoft-centric tech. architects reckon it's going to cost £300k (which will double in reality) to build a SharePoint-based DMZ between two halves of the business. With Domino replicating across the firewall, we'd have it by, and for far less.

    The excitement around Google Wave proves that people want more than Exchange delivers. IBM could have owned that space if only they hadn't insisted on keeping the Trabant-like Notes interface paradigm. By which I mean, eccentric, non-standard, and low on creature comforts.

    There's actually little need for a Notes thick client anymore, so they could have ditched it, concentrated on server-side development, and hire some web-apps developers with a clue about design and usability to deliver a standard suite of templates.

    Alien - coz the client-interface is from the planet Zog.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Notes and Exchange

    From what I've seen and heard, fire them both into the sun! Now!

    Or "ASAP", as Notes and Outlook jockeys would probably write in all their correspondence.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Windows what?

    OK, Imagine the following scenario:

    Windows 3.11 is the first commercial release.

    Windows 7 is what we're moving on to.

    That would imply that there were 3 versions inbetween - Windows 4, 5 and 6. There were many, more though... 95, NT3.5, 98, NT4.0, ME, 2k, XP and Vista

    So really, this is Windows NT 7.0 or something?

    That still isn't taking the nasty taste of 95, ME and Vista away.

    ...and once you've had a sample of the crud, you don't want more. Err but it seems you do.

    Lotus might have put people off their products but people can't get enough of Windows.

    Presumably they're saying "Your products are sh1t - so I want more of them"?

    I've only had to use notes for one employer - IBM.

    Suffice to say, it worked flawlessly and I never had any problems at all. We were using OS/2 - which in comparison to Win3.1 (which was the other option) seemed awesome! Whatever happened to OS/2? (I'm guessing MS stamped all over it and it no longer exists?)

  22. Gordon861


    My memories of Lotus are still tarnished by the freebie 'office apps' that they used to bundle on cheap PCs, enough to stop me even looking at anything associated with Lotus again.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    ugh... no more lotus notes...

    The company I work for has a huge stake in Lotus Bloats and I must say that with every impending release, it sucks even worse. I had the misfortune of allowing one of my machines to be "automatically" upgraded to 8.0; biggest fecking mistake of my life! I have NO idea where anything is anymore. What pisses me off is that machine had my monster contacts list and I now fear it gone forever, since I apparently can't revert it back to Notes 6.5 or 7.


    It's my own damn fault for not paying attention.

  24. Anonymous Coward


    The DOS version of CC:Mail client was neat, quick and fast. Great for use over a dial-up modem.

    The problems started when that huge explosion of companies desperate to get their products on Windows around 1990-91, the only ones to get it right were....oh yes Microsoft! Surprise! Shock, the leading spreadsheet and work processor progs were wiped by more slick looking versions from MS, WP and 123 got left in the dust.

    Hall of DOS to Windows conversion shame....


    Lotus 123



    Anything by Borland


    Where are these companies now? Trampled in the dirt by the punters desperate for MS products.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Notes is still crap

    I recently moved to a multinational organisation using Notes, haviing been at another organisation using Outlook & Exchange. Notes is still counter-intuitive and slow.

  26. Mythago

    A Brief History of Windows (with apologies to Stephen Hawking)

    Yes, it actually IS Windows NT 7.0

    The reason some people get confused about the numbers is there are two distinct product lines prior to Windows XP and after Windows 3.11

    Consumer OS Line: 95, 98, 98SE and Me

    Professional Line: 3.5, 3.51, 4.0, 2000 (5.0)

    Originally a merge of the product lines was intended with both a Professional and Home version of Windows 2000 (code name Neptune) but several issues prevented this and Me was released as the last of the 9x line to fill the gap.

    Windows XP (5.1) represented a merger in the product lines and was a direct successor to the 2000 code base.

    Windows Vista (6.0) was the first major kernel upgrade since Windows 2000

    That leads us to Windows 7, although some would argue that it should have been a point release of 6.1 as in many ways the operating system appears to be a slimmed down and optimized version of Windows Vista.

    For marketing purposes, calling it Windows 7 is far better than trying for Windows Vista SE. After all, most people were pleased with Windows 98

  27. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    a custom built machine?

    quote>Vista, on the other hand, I have been quite happily using for over a year, on a custom built machine, built and designed to use it and it works perfectly...<quote

    You realize you built a machine tailored for an OS. Not for a killer app, not for hardcore gaming, not to run in an Enterprise environment, but tailored the machine specs to run the Operating System. What's wrong with that picture?

    I'm content with Mojave these days, from Beta3(Longhorn) through SP1 I refused to touch it, Vista was released incomplete and broken. SP1 didn't fix much beyond 3rd party compatibility issues, SP2 seems to have done the trick much like XP's SP2. Looks like now I can begin offering a better solution than "upgrade to XP" to my Vista suffering clients; If SP2 doesn't fix it for ya, you don't have long to wait for SP7.

  28. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    As a programmer

    I think Notes is great to code on. As a professional developer, I have always found that Notes is a great tool, fit for a lot of office purposes. And after over 14 years with it, I've seen a good share of application types.

    Unfortunately, I must admit that the UI complaint is quite undeniable, and I understand that people are put off by it. IBM should have put a stop to that nonsense when it purchased Lotus, and made R5 adopt a bog-standard Windows interface. That would have been a sea change for Notes, and speculation abounds with possibilities concerning what could have happened had IBM done that.

    But it didn't happen. Not only did IBM leave Notes saddled with the same, mind-boggling interface, but it failed to impress on management types that Notes was to be used for much more than just mail. As a result, many companies tried Notes for mail only, and did no development whatsoever of any application, thus removing almost all reason for having it in the first place.

    I hate to say it, because I think that Exchange's place is anywhere but in the professional market, but I fully understand a company that used Notes for mail only, then decided to swap for Exchange. It is indeed a logical decision. Exchange does indeed do mail well enough for the average user, and that is all that is requested. Learning a new interface is not something that the mass market does readily.

    Thus IBM has seriously shot itself in the foot with Notes - which is probably why the latest release is all about making Domino apps behave like web apps. The more apps that are designed with the latest techniques in Domino development, the more people will be using Notes from a browser without even knowing it.

    And that just might spell the return of Notes in the corporate market, but only if IBM starts marketing the heck out of it and avoids the word "Notes" like the plague.

  29. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    If they change the name

    how will IBM differentiate the resulting software from the 45,792 other apps/programs/systems/solutions that IBM sells to world+dog? At least the name "Lotus Notes" has some brand awareness, and folks know it's an email system, AND they know whether they want it or not. If IBM changes the name to, say, "IBM Email That's Not Exchange", well, there's not going to be much brand awareness there.

    This coming from a 6-year Groupwise admin, and we never get any love either...

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    don't tell 'em it's Lotus & they'll eat it by the boxfull


    Anyway I've developed on both sides of this fence and there is one thing that shines through. Whatever you think of the Notes client, Domino is a kick-arse dev platform (if only IBM would take it seriously)

  31. Charles Manning

    Not quite a Vista Virgin

    I've only used Vista long enough to do the backup before installing XP and Ubuntu on a new laptop. Perhaps that makes me a Vista heavy petter.

    That was long enough to determine that Vista should have really been called ZuneOS.

  32. Glen Turner 666

    Why bother with Notes

    I've used Notes and Outlook heavily recently. Neither of them touch the open source stuff, particularly Thunderbird and Bedework running against a good SMTP and IMAP server, such a postfix and dovecot.

    Thunderbird is massively underrated. It starts fast, and its laser focus on e-mail handling really assists the first-thing-at-the-desk run through the accumulated e-mail.

    The core feature of Notes --- it's freeform database --- has been left in the dust by Wikis and full text searching.

  33. John Savard

    Wrong Problem

    I would think that the Lotus brand has now gone the way of Visicalc or Wordstar; quite aside from any question of quality, as they don't appear to have been visibly competing head to head with Microsoft in the spreadsheet, word processor, and so on area, they've been forgotten.

    In any event, if you don't need the Official Microsoft Standard, there's always Open Office now.

  34. kevin biswas

    @AC nasty taste of 95 ?

    Tasted like heaven compared to Win98 First Edition...

  35. Trixr


    Regarding the quote for over 300K for a Sharepoint site to be shared by two parts of the same business, what on earth are they doing? Gold-plating the bits? Please.

    As for AC @15:05, dear god, this "discussion" about Windows versions is getting tired. How many times do people have to say the same thing over and over and over?

    In short, YES, it is effectively NT 7. As for not knowing what happened to OS/2, where on earth were you in the late 90s? It was killed off by Win95.

    As for "having a taste of the crud", at least Windows systems function adequately most of the time. In my experience, Notes didn't. I once had to tell the Notes administrator that we hadn't been sending outbound email for a -week-, due to the stupid machine that converted to SMTP having died silently. Just incredible that the moron didn't notice it.

  36. J 3

    @Darren Adams

    "I'm going to take a stab at estimating the percentage of the market that 1,125 respondents represents, and I'd say it's less than 1%"

    Well, although you clearly have no clue about how statistics works, it is of course the case that if the sampling is not representative of the population, the numbers will not reflect the population. So you might have a point there, even if by accident.

    Anyway, at my Uni we have Lotus Domino Web Access, and it is worse than a fetid, festering wound in a mucosal surface, if you ask any of the guys in our lab. No, we don't care how good the back end might (or not) be. We just know that if we have to use the webmail interface, it's pain. At least we can access email by IMAP too, so it is Thunderbird to the rescue.

  37. Lunatik

    Potential employers using Notes

    @Sitaram Chamarty

    While I wouldn't refuse to work for a company purely because they used Notes, it certainly would be a mark in the 'Cons' column for me, much in the same way as having to pay for tea/coffee.

    I have probably reached a kind of grudging stalemate with my Notes R5 client after about three years of compromise, but the trumpeting that goes with each new Notes release is like rubbing salt in my wounds - I'm stuck in Notes a la 2003, and it doesn't get any better with age.

    The thing is, in previous employment, when Exchange was updated all clients moved to the new Outlook version at the same time. I'm not sure if this was corporate policy or part of the MS licensing, but it meant we were never running ancient out-of-date client software as I am with Notes.

    I've asked about getting an update to the Notes client, to be met with sharp intakes of breath and comments that basically say "Best not to, we're not that confident that you'll not lose some/all of your mail and/or settings" - So much for the fabled Domino maintainability, or perhaps it is just our chronic setup that is to blame. Either way, Domino/Notes fail.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Emotional BS

    I've never heard such irrational & emotional BS in my life. Sure, the UI of Notes was poor, but that was the only weak area in the whole Notes & Domino architecture and that was fixed 3 years ago with the release of Notes 8. And you cant do a straight comparison to Exchange & Outlook because that is JUST an eMail infrastructure, Notes & Domino is sooooo much more than that, but most folk who look at Notes & Domino only see the eMail capability, rather than everything else it is capable of.

    The problem for any corporate infrastructure is that in most cases the balance of power has shifted from IT to the lines of business and as most of the decision makers are not cognisant of the architectural implications of any decision , rather they focus on the user experience and believe implicitly everything that Microsoft tell them as most of them have only seen a Microsoft environment, then they think that they only have the option of an Outlook client.

    Trust me folks, this is not the case and hasn't been for many years.

    Cant comment on Vista, haven't had the pleasure of using a Windows desktop for years, all I would say is that I have never seen it rolled out at any customer I have ever visited

  39. Anonymous Coward


    "The irony is that once Vista had settled down over the course of the first year or 18 months, it turned out to be a respectable operating system; certainly fit for purpose"

    Do what? I installed Fisted on a works laptop last week, fully service packed and updated. I tried to go into the Management console and received a BSOD up the arse for my trouble. The machine could not be recovered by any means and I scrubbed it clean with a fresh install of XP, which worked perfectly, I hasten to add.

  40. Ian Farr

    A load of mixed messages

    I wanted to rant about this survey - who was surveyed, done a year ago - but decided to take a second breath and post some thoughts. I just say look at Gartner for a more balanced view.

    Rebranding Notes was something IBM tried to do a few years back with something called Workplace, which a new client and backend - the existing Notes users did not like the idea, and there is the argument that if you force change, then change might be to something else. It was withdrawn, but parts of it have been used - eclipse based client you can run on any O/S (why not go to Linux), DB2 option as backend

    Notes/Domino has a great back end with stuff IT administrators like - clustering, security, platform independence - but users only see the client and the term 'Outlook lust' was coined. IBM have responded to the market and if you look at the 8.x client, you will be see it looks much like Outlook including stuff like menus, flags etc.

    It is strange how email client choice produces so much emotion - the reality today is that they are very simliar, and changing horse will cost a lot for no gain (see Gartner)

    As the article says, the argument has moved on to to web 2.0 / collaboration tools of which email is a part, and IBM's embrace of open standards and working with other companies will stand them in good stead against the closed shop of Microsoft.

    P.S. is there that much difference between the Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Windows 7 branding - it's still Windows with the baggage that brings

    P.P.S And I wish Exchange Admins luck with their Exchange 2003 upgrades - new servers, new o/s, migration and new back-end to learn - we are currently doing silent upgrades on same o/s and servers :-)

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Absolute clarity

    Recent developments:

    Lotus Quickr? Utter garbage. E.g. Integrated with SameTime except that you can't turn it off. So even if you choose to log out of your presence awareness, Quickr will reveal you and open you up to interruptions from all and sundry. Just one of many 'features'.

    Lotus Connections? Complete junk. No wiki, and no point.

    Notes 7 client - promised: Outlook-like client; delivered: Ford Escort body on Trabant chassis. Just about acceptable but dated looks but the same old garbage underneath.

    Notes 8.5 client - promised: Outlook-like client; expectations: Ford Focus body on Ford Popular chassis.

    We (your users) don't give a monkey's about the back-end. We want a client that works. Not the world according to some buffoon at Lotus.

    As far as we're concerned, Vista = mistake but Lotus = catastrophe.

  42. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    Polished Turd

    I still don't understand why people are still buying software "upgrades" from XP. I certainly don't understand why people stand on line, camped outside their local retailer to grab the first copy off the assembly line.

  43. Steve King

    User experience

    I have to use Notes - Version 7 in my case.

    It is a resource hungry, painfully slow and unreliable dog on a reasonable spec HP machine (3mHz processor, 2gb ram, WinXP)

    For me though, the worst is that our IT department lock it down so that it:

    1. Won't save outgoing email if you are using the web interface

    2. has an interface that seems unchanged from version 5 (at least)

    That is the biggest problem with Notes - too much potential for the IT department to screw up the business.

    The number of times we have been caught out under point 1 is frightening - one day it will do us real damage.

  44. Battered Pav

    The Notes turd

    Notes - this one 'weak area' does matter to the user base, you know, the entire reason your IT organisation exists.

    So what if Domino runs on the smell of an oily rag, or if Notes *could* be configured by enlightened and well funded developers into something usable. It's not what usually happens. Notes out of the box gets shoved down to the suffering users - the budget stops after paying for the oily rag and the licenses - and we have every good reason to be passionate in our hatred of it. Both Outlook and Pine have a better OOBE than Notes.

    So it's really hard to drum up enthusiasm for 8.5, or believe that all its UI crimes against humanity have suddenly been absolved, sorry. Maybe the calendar in 8.5 doesn't completely fubar repeating entries or provide the most useless right click context menu ever devised any more. But every single UI function and the logic behind would need to be totally redesigned from the ground up for 8.5 to be considered anything other than a pig with lipstick. May as well rebrand it while they're at it.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    More of the same

    For those of you who have not tried the latest Notes client...

    The good news is that it is a massive improvement on previous versions. The bad news is that it is still bloody awful. We recently upgraded from 6.5 to 8.5 and got almost a fortnight before the "is there any way I can get a decent mail client to talk to the server" mails started again... We even had managers begging us to enable Outlook connectivity.

    My first comment gives me some hope that it may improve again, it shows that someone at IBM is listening. But it might also be a one-off leap, never to be repeated. 8.5 beats post-it notes and shouting across the office (unlike it's predecessors), but not by much. Oh, yes, and "Notes is not a mail client". Yeah, great, no-one wants to use it for anything else around here, they've all given up hope of it being of any use.

    Back to the main point - by all means, re-brand it. But FFS rewrite it and design it for the users.

  46. Darren Adams

    @ J 3

    "Well, although you clearly have no clue about how statistics works, it is of course the case that if the sampling is not representative of the population, the numbers will not reflect the population."

    That's precisely my point - what I was saying was that there's no say of telling how skewed either survey was in it's audience, and any statistician will tell you that less than 1% from an unknown survey base is an opinion, not a trend. And I got grade B for A level statistics, thanks very much.

  47. Sitaram Chamarty

    @emotional BS (AC, 07:57)

    [you'd think *attacking* a corporate thing would need AC, not *defending* it, but I guess you know best...]

    > I've never heard such irrational & emotional BS in my life. Sure, the UI of Notes was poor, but that was the only weak area in the whole Notes &

    listen, bubba, your "only weak area" happens to be the only one a normal user cares about because it's the only one that makes his life miserable. Until you get that into your head, you'll never get the point of what you blithely call "emotional BS".

    > infrastructure, Notes & Domino is sooooo much more than that, but most folk who look at Notes & Domino only see the eMail capability, rather than everything else it is capable of.

    See above. Summary: *I* *DONT* *CARE*!!!

    You know, I get the feeling you're one of those wannabe BOFH types who either doesn't have any "users" or no obligation to keep them happy. You're definitely *not* a user yourself.

    > cognisant of the architectural implications of any decision , rather they focus on the user experience and

    ooh yes -- we must never let *users* dictate terms, must we? what would the world come to...

    > believe implicitly everything that Microsoft tell them as most of them have only seen a Microsoft environment, then they think that they only have the option of an Outlook client.

    **Stop implying that anyone who opposes Notes must prefer MS Outlook** Those are not the only two mail clients out there, and if you don't know that, you shouldn't be out in public without your seeing eye dog.

    You want to go head to head, try it with Thunderbird

  48. Maria Helm


    (A) Don't like the Notes client interface? Don't use it. Use the browser for email/calendaring/apps, with a Domino server. No additional servers or addons required.

    (B) Windows 3.1 was crap{ *I* was scarred by it!} But (most) people were willing to give later versions of Windows a chance. But these same people will use Notes 3.1 or Notes 5 (pre-Y2K people!) as excuse not to consider Notes 8.5. If this were a political argument, you'd all be accused of being closed-minded hypocrites. I CHALLENGE the lot of you to go download the free trial 8.5 and blog your experience.

    (C) RE: AC "2gb plus of ram ". Release notes for 8.0.1 client, 32mb ram min. Plus, as has been said before, Notes client runs applications - java, eclipse, etc... Not just an email client. That's why it would require more memory.

    (D) Yes, Lotus has an interest in showing numbers that measure them close to having market share with MS. But I agree with other posters on questioning the accuracy of the Reg survey's results. Small sample set. Also, Reg readership might not encompass a lot of Domino shops, considering Reg Very Rarely covers Domino press releases, events, or product reviews.

    (E) A lot of the 'Notes' problems people are reporting here sound like they were really 'talk to your helpdesk' problems:

    Lost your address book when upgrading? = We upgraded 300+ users and not one lost their address book. Sounds liek they configured your auto-upgrade service wrong.

    Slow? = Did your IT department make sure your server and PC had enough RAM...and what about network traffic?

    Weren't sending outbound email for a week because admin didn't notice SMTP was down? = Incompetent admin for not checking and not setting up alerts.

    Still running Notes R5? = Do they still have you on Windows 98 as well?

    (F) RE: Wrong Problem By John Savard - Actually, you've got the wrong problem. Lotus was never really trying to compete with word processors or spreadsheets. It was busy building a single SERVER that did HTTP, SMTP, LDAP, IMAP, POP3, applications, JAVA, etc. Sure, they threw an office suite out there, and they have a new, more competitively designed one with Lotus Symphony office suite. But the Lotus brand has always been more about the do-everything back end server and development.

    (G) @Lunatik - your IT department is FAIL. Afraid you would lose your email (which is stored on the SERVER) if they upgrade your CLIENT (on your PC). Not possible. You obviously do not have an actual Domino admin there. Your problem is with staffing, not Notes.

    And finally - our users don't complain about the Notes client. We keep it upgraded, and that helps in any environment. We have a dev and an admin who know what they're doing, and that helps in any environment. We've had a lot of new hires in the last few years, and I've set up most of them myself. I've not had one come back and ask if they can use some other mail client. Overall, their reaction to Notes client email is "well, that isn't so different after all". Imagine that.

  49. Sitaram Chamarty

    @Maria Helm

    A: fail -- the web interface sucks even more, I constantly hear; I'll admit I haven't tried it myself, but in these comments someone said something, and I have my less fortunate colleagues to rely on for my opinions.

    B: good point in theory. Oddly, MS-hater though I am, (haven't used Windows at work since 2004, and at home since 2000 or so), I find myself more angry at LN's designers/developers. Probably because my expectations of IBM were much higher than of MS. Plus I have a lot more friends (and former colleagues/bosses) in IBM than in MS, and so maybe I mentally rank it a much smarter company :-) Really, at the risk of repeating myself, LN didn't have "sort by subject line" till about 2004 or so -- now come on that's a deep scar, admit it.

    C: irrelevant. I think this is the most important point LN apologists consistently fail to grasp. All we want is email. Don't tell us "oh it can do so much more".

    We don't care. We don't care. We don't care.

    I know this isn't slashdot so I'll resist using a car analogy :-)

    E: helpdesk/incompetent admins? Sure maybe they have their share. Domino doesn't exactly make it easy, I'm told. Mostly because of the same reason -- they're not actually administering an email server, they're administering something "that can do soooo much more" to quote an AC up above somewhere.

    F: and you just proved what I said. Although I doubt if you realise what a horrible idea that is. It's not just classical Unix evangelists -- most people realised long ago that you build multiple pieces that work together, not one big monolith that tries to do it all.

    new phrase for you: synergestic FAIL :-)

    G: see E.

    as for your users not complaining, I either take my hat off to you for being a superhuman, or back off in haste because you're a BOFH who'll cut me off if I *do* complain ;-)

  50. kingkane

    How was there no sort by subject field?

    Sitaram Chamarty - "Really, at the risk of repeating myself, LN didn't have "sort by subject line" till about 2004 or so -- now come on that's a deep scar, admit it."

    It has been a number of years since I've used Notes in a work environment but you could have a view in Notes that was sorted by column on any field in any form. Notes allows you to create any types of view you want and to sort sort accordingly. Is it the fact that it wasn't default view is the problem?

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    As a long-term Notes-professional...

    ...I can only say that Domino does *not* kick ass. It's a dog. Sure, for mail it may scale into the thousands of user per server, but apps - no way. 200 users and 5.000 transactions per minute (as in Notes-RPC transactions - not a lot when converted to document-transactions) in a large database (800.000 documents) and that server is dead in the water regardless of specs - it's not a hardware bottleneck, it's designed into the software. A design flaw that has been there since time memorial and will NOT be fixed, according to the response we got to a PMR.

    And don't get me started on documentation. Just an example: of the 1500-odd statistics available on how the server is really doing, less than half are documented in any meaningful sense of the word. Not even Google can help.

    As for the R8 client, it's the most useless piece of bloatware I've ever had the misfortune to be abused by. At least with R3-R7 the performance was tolerable, if not exactly great. Now it's a joke. Laugh? I nearly started...

    And the development tools always did, and still do, suck immensely. As a development environment it competes favorably with edlin, but that's about it - notepad vastly outpaces it in almost every way.

    I'm migrating myself away from it as fast as possible. Maybe, just maybe, the wounds will scab over once the distance is great enough...

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