Taking Note

The Guardian

has a post on Lotus Notes
, the groupware application that seemingly will not die.
Though millions of people use this prime example of pastware,
the only advocates seem to be die hard IBM mainframe
administrators who never choose anything but TrueBlue.

While Notes can supposedly do all kinds of things over and
above email, I’ve never used these features. I don’t even use
the calendaring because it’s easier just to carry a pocket
calendar than to jot down notes to myself on paper and then
type them in once I get back to the office. All I need is my
pocket calendar and pen and I’m good to go. No computer, no
PDA, no nothing.

Even as an email client, it has so many options, most of
which I will never use, that it looses sight of what a good
email client is supposed to be. Namely, a quick and easy way
to send text and attachments to someone else. Period. Not
this lumbering, multi-megabyte RAM eating, creaking old do
everything not very well program.

Even on the server side, Domino commits the cardinal sin
of email servers – being unreliable. Yes, I know, Domino is
supposed to be very easy to administer. But. As a user, I
don’t care about that. What I care about is reliable email
service. But reliability is not something that goes with

Moreover, our IT folks have not enabled the webmail
functionality of Notes. This means we shall use the Note
client, even though the Domino server can be accessed via any
standard web browser. Not only does this cost thousands of
dollars in Notes licensing fees but it’s also one more
barrier to switching to Linux (since there isn’t a Notes
client for Linux, yet).

All in all, like millions of other users, I’m not a big
fan of Lotus Notes or the Domino server. Just give something
lightweight, fast, easy to use, reliable, and accessible over
the Internet via a standard browser and I’ll be happy.



4 responses to “Taking Note

  1. Dan, I’m with you on pocket calendars vs PDAs. I did think of a good use for a PDA however, if I could ever get all of my music and book titles on one and then carry and use it I could save a lot of duplicate purchases.

    Re Lotus anything, they ticked me off clear back in 5.25 floppy days – probably with copy protection – and I haven’t given them a thought since; that luxury being one of the handful of real advantages of being a sole proprieter.

  2. [q]All I need is my pocket calendar and pen and I’m good to go. No computer, no PDA, no nothing.[/q] That is untill you start scheduling and rescheduling meetings with other people. You may not need a domino-Dinosour for that but with people using just pocket callenders you’d be calling your ears off.

  3. Dan,

    Only one word springs to mind…clueless.

    You really have no idea of how Lotus Notes (note the ‘S’), it’s Domino Server and it’s licensing works.

    A few points to highlight my view:

    1 – Email was never designed to carry emails, it was an after thought. We have this thing called FTP (File Transfer Protocol) on the internet that was designed for that. It’s what people usually use when they download files.

    2 – Domino server reliability is one of THE best in the industry. My servers never fall over, period. If you do have stability issues, your admin team should seriously take advice from an expert; they clearly are out of their depth. It is easy to administer but you still need to know what you’re doing! I recently took a server off-line for routine maintenance and it’s uptime was 24/7 since my last scheduled maintenance…over 6months prior.

    3 – Not enabling (or in fact disabling, it’s on by default) – webmail functionality is unusual but it can put constraints on system resources as people switch to the ‘thin-client’ model.

    4 – Notes/Domino has a per-user license model. Switching to a web browser client does not remove the need for a client access license.

    5 – The Notes client will already run in Linux under WINE and a supported Linux native (no WINE) version is on the way very soon. I doubt this will encourage your company to switch desktop OS. The Domino server has run and been supported on Linux for quite some time.

    Finally, in response to your last comment – “Just give something lightweight, fast, easy to use, reliable, and accessible over the Internet via a standard browser and I’ll be happy.”

    We have that in our company, we call it Lotus Notes.

  4. Ben clearly meant “#1 email was never designed to carry attachments”.

    Apart from that, I agree with him on every point. And no, I’ve never once in my life been an IBM mainframe admin.