On December 7, 1989, at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts USA, Lotus Notes 1.0 was officially unveiled.  I wasn't there, and the date wasn't significant to me other than as I was approaching final exams in my penultimate semester of college.  Clearly, though, that event changed history -- and produced one of the most successful and longest-running software products in distributed computing.

As I've previously mentioned, my official reminiscing is planned for a Lotusphere session -- "An oral history of Lotus Notes: The first 20 years".  However, today can't pass without more than a mention of the significance of the two decades since Notes first came to market.  Five years ago, I also wrote a "20 years ago" posting -- celebrating the creation of Iris Associates, the company formed to create Lotus Notes.  Today, we look back 20 years and see nearly 150 million licenses sold, tens of millions of applications created, and hundreds of thousands of IT professionals whose careers have involved, or continue to be involved with, the industry that has grown up around Lotus Notes and Domino.

Over these 20 years, people have come and gone.  Technologies have changed.  The market for collaboration software has, in some ways, just hit its stride.  At times criticized as difficult, ugly, or unusable, while at other times running businesses and providing solutions where nothing else could, in its first 20 years, Lotus Notes has been more than just a software product.  It has, through its use in a diverse set of organizations around the world, helped usher in the modern era of information sharing, and continues to set pace in that capacity today.  Despite bad press that has occurred frequently and regularly in that 20 years, Notes/Domino is a huge business today for IBM and 10,000 business partners worldwide -- many of whom are continuing to grow their business, and others are just starting up.

In the next 20 years, Lotus Notes and Domino will continue to evolve, innovate, and change the market.  Today we see evidence of this in efforts like Alloy, integrating Notes with SAP; OpenNTF.org, a community of Notes/Domino open-source projects that expands daily; and the adoption of new constructs like XPages and the Eclipse.org framework.  Tomorrow, we'll see new ways for people to be more productive, innovations in attention management, and an evolution of the user experience.

The next chapter in the story of Lotus Notes will be just as exciting as the one about Notes 1.0, or when client/server e-mail became the rage, or when the modern collaborative web took shape.  All of you in the Lotus community will play a part in shaping that future.  Please join me in saluting those who brought Notes forth to where it is today, and who are planning its future.  And let's get ready for that next step in the history of Notes/Domino -- whatever it may be -- the one that will solidify its prominence in the market 20 years from now.  If history is any indicator, it's going to be an exciting ride.

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