In the wee hours this morning, I wrote about the Notes/Domino 8.5.1 launch and today's biggest news -- Lotus Domino Designer is now free.  Reinvigorating our application development community is a key objective of Notes/Domino 8.5.1 -- but not the only one.

Another objective my team and I set for this release was to simplify the way we sell Lotus Notes and Domino, specifically client access.  Over the years I have heard that we have too many different ways to buy Notes/Domino, too many variations on the offerings, and too many "legacy" product SKUs that seemed like good ideas at the time.  We also wanted to address the changing nature of client access.  For too long, we have asked you as customers to decide whether a particular user is a "Notes user" or a "browser user" or a "mobile user".  We thought it might just make more sense, given the trend towards ubiquitous access, if an end-user became a "Domino user", with the choice of tools and interfaces as needed.

So today, we introduce two Client Access Licenses (CALs) for Domino -- an Enterprise CAL and a Messaging CAL.  Both CALs feature the most liberating offer we can make -- a user with a CAL can use the Notes client, iNotes/Domino Web Access, or Lotus Notes Traveler -- all under a single license.  They both also include the entitlements for Lotus Symphony, Lotus Quickr Entry, and Lotus Sametime Entry.  The Enterprise CAL adds two additional ingredients -- the right to use the now-free Domino Designer on a Domino Server (for deployment and support purposes), and an entitlement to IBM's VPN client, Lotus Mobile Connect.  Of course the Enterprise CAL and Messaging CAL differ in the same way that the current "...for collaboration" and "...for messaging" products do -- the messaging CAL is restricted to using email and calendar services on the Domino server, while the Enterprise CAL can use -- and now build and deploy -- custom Domino applications.

These changes offer immediate benefits to every Domino user.  There is additional value to all licenses, in terms of software provided.  Admins and procurement teams will breathe a sigh of relief from managing all the different Notes and iNotes licenses.  And this change sets up a licensing/packaging/product framework that we intend to build upon in future releases.

Existing Notes and iNotes licenses will be converted to the new CAL model in early February, 2010.  The announcement of these conversions will go out next Tuesday (October 13).  Essentially, everything you own today will 1:1 map to an Enterprise CAL or a Messaging CAL.  We're announcing the transformation now because the new license terms are delivered in the Notes/Domino 8.5.1 downloads; we're giving the market more than four months to adjust because. well, there's a lot of change there.  Renewal invoices for those customers whose product subscriptions are expiring in the next 90 days have already been sent out, so we're essentially laying the foundation for a transition to start in January, 2010.  However, both CALs are announced and in the IBM price book as of today, and I would think that anyone starting a new buying process would start with the new CALs.

There is no change to our CEO Communications, Domino Express, or Domino Utility Server product licensing models, with the exception of adding the Lotus Mobile Connect entitlement for CEO Comms licensees.  For the rest of you who buy on a per-product basis, though, these changes should make your life in a Domino environment easier -- now and into the future.

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  1. 1  Ulrich Krause |

    What a day !!! So many good news. Awesome.

  1. 2  Ulrich Krause |

    What a day !!! So many good news. Awesome.

  1. 3  Bhavya K Jain |

    That's a well thought decision. Too many licenses just confuse clients. It's a good strategy to provide just two licenses covering different needs. Definitely a relief for Consultants and procurement people.

  1. 4  Mats Jansson |

    This is just great! But it also raises a couple of questions, to be answered in time. VPU:s for example, Desigher for Express customers etc. Let's wait and see. I think this is one of the very best thing this Year, and folks, You hav'nt seen the 8.5.1 Yet. It is outstanding!

  1. 5  Mike Lazar  |

    Ed -- Congrats to you and your team. It's a great release a great achievement. The momentum you are carrying out of LoLA is building, and here's hoping it continues.

  1. 6  Tripp Black |

    Excellent. Thank you.

  1. 7  Christopher Byrne |

    Ed, is there any kind of visual mapping of this to make it easier for visual people like me to understand this?


  1. 8  Karlo |

    Ed, Great news all around,The CAL changes are great because we can now roll out Inotes to sale force....

  1. 9  Caleb  |

    Ed, any news on Sametime 8.5? or when Sametime will be compatible with Domino 8.5.1?

  1. 10  Ed Brill |

    @7 as the web pages on are updated, they will have much more detail on the CALs. For example, { Link }

  1. 11  Craig Boudreaux  |

    Had to research to find out what Lotus Quickr "Entry" was, and when I mentioned that it was a personal use version of Quickr to a coworker, they said that's like having a personal use version of Gmail that you can't send mail out to anyone. Oh well.

  1. 12  Keith Taylor  |

    @11 - To me, Quickr entry is like cloud storage for my users on a system I backup and the business owns. I think your coworker is missing the point.

  1. 13  Mark Demicoli  |

    This smells like a move in the right direction, that is, opening up Domino to the WORLD, but still in essence the new licencing is a new take on the old paradigm. Not complaining, I love Domino, Designer and Notes to bits. And honestly I like that uni students have never heard about Domino because it makes my web apps more impervious to hacker attacks. But I wonder what the long term viability for these licensing models are in a world where information and building blocks for innovation are becoming democratised?

  1. 14  Dave Harris |

    Ed, when is eGA on Monday? Do us poor benighted souls in Asia Pacific have to wait until Tuesday?

    That said, the head of steam you've all built up for this release makes it feel like a major Point Oh feature release, not even a point five. That strikes me as a Good Thing.

  1. 15  Ed Brill |

    @14 - sorry, still TBD on what time...

    Thanks for the feedback.

  1. 16  Keith Taylor  |

    Ed, great job. Was at Terminal A at Logan yesterday and saw the Lotus Knows sign near skycap. How "Lotus always knew and now you do too".

  1. 17  Ferdy |

    Excellent work, Ed!

  1. 18  Bill Lally |

    Ed, where does the Domino Administrator client fit in to the new pricing package?

    Is this also free?

  1. 19  Ed Brill |

    @18 Domino Administrator is not considered a client and not separately licensed. It is part of the Domino server license.

  1. 20  Tony Tipping  |

    Almost too much good news to take in at once. The provision of Designer without charge is a really big deal for the reasons that IBM have obviously realised. Make the tools free and people will build more apps. Build more apps and more companies will realise what that all-on-one-CD powerhouse can do.

    I've moaned for years that Lotus hasn't understood that some of their most evangalistic and vocal salespeople have been the developer community. Self-interest aside, developers have extolled Notes/Domino because they understood it, weathering the storms of senior managers who very often didn't.

    Making Designer free opens up (in the UK at least) N/D to a market I personally feel has been scoffed at until now; small businesses. This island nation of shopkeepers is rife with small businesses containing people keen enough to teach themselves VBA and Access so they can build Excel sheets and dbs to run livelihoods. Now we developers can extoll the virtues of Notes to friends in the pub with at least some hope that they won't rule it out on price. With this plus Domino Express pricing (another step forward) things suddenly aren't looking quite so gloomy for Notes.

    A New Age for Notes and Domino?

  1. 21  S P  |

    So what's happenning to the Utility licensing for web clients and authentication?

  1. 22  Tony Frazier |

    Ed, can you clarify the Sametime Entry entitlement? Previously, Sametime Limited Use was the entitlement (I never was real clear on the difference between LU and Entry, but do remember some discussion on this). Is Sametime Entry the new entitlement and LU no longer used? I know nothing has changed for the Express licenses, but the literature for Express still states Limited Use as the entitlement.

    And congrats on the releases and announcements, all great news from my perspective!

  1. 23  Ed Brill |

    @21 please use your full name and valid email address when commenting. There is no change to Utility Server -- you still need to buy Enterprise CALs for authenticated use with a Notes client (or Designer). Web users are still unlimited on Utility Server.

    @22 Entry essentially equals Limited Use, but we wanted to get away from having to have a separate license approach for the included chat/awareness capability.

  1. 24  Mat Newman |

    Hi Ed,

    Huge debate within our office over the last couple of days - can you clarify...

    I have a small business running Domino Collaboration Express, 50 users - what is their entitlement to Domino Designer under this change?

    Can each of those 50 Collaboration Express users install the designer client on their workstation?



  1. 25  Ed Brill |

    @24 take a look at the license text now that it is out.

    They can install Designer but unless they have an Enterprise CAL, they can't connect that Designer to a Domino server. This is no different than the former license structure which required an Express user to buy Designer separately. At least now they can install it and check it out without buying a separate product.

  1. 26  Adam Brown |

    Hi Ed,

    Why the restriction around needing an Enterprise CAL to connect Designer to a server? I understand that it is just an activation/support issue etc but I just wonder if clients will get a little confused when they have Express or CEO licensing and they have to buy an Enterprise CAL as well for their designers. Why not say that it is also free (and allowed to connect to a Domino Server) for those licensed with Domino Collaboration Express and CEO Comms? Both these license models entitle the users to use custom apps etc so I would have though it made sense to allow Designer for these licenses as well.

    I think it is a great move regardless.



  1. 27  Ed Brill |

    Adam, CEO Comms users are all entitled to Domino Designer already, and thus, to the Enterprise CAL. There is no change to CEO Comms.

    For Express, it is primarily that we didn't want to change the terms of Express in any way (and thus, have to relook at the pricing model). The CAL represents the activation in that scenario and connects to support etc.

  1. 28  Adam Brown |

    I stand corrected on CEO. I forgot that Designer is an entitlement already.

    For Express fair enough Ed and I understand the why, however given that the intent is to give Designer away for Free I don't see on the surface of it how it would have an impact on the pricing model. I guess it is more complicated than it seems. No doubt to do with revenue distribution within IBM to support etc.

    It is a positive move forward however I am just waiting for the first Express client conversation where I have to explain that in order to use Designer they need to be buy an Enterprise CAL and no longer need a Designer license. Of course we will put a positive spin on it as it is now dramatically cheaper. The idea was to simplify licensing which is great but this just seems to be a point that is likely to confuse express customers.

  1. 29  Kerr  |

    @27, I've been thinking about this for the last few days and I still can't quite get my head around it. What exactly is "Activation". Is this purely a question of the designer client connecting directly to the server?

    Please indulge me with this use-case.

    Org is licensed with Collaboration Express and buys custom software from a BP. This is delivered on a CD and an admin simply copies the template onto the server. Users create new instances at will.

    Are you saying that the person who copies the database up to the server now has to have a Enterprise CAL? Even though they don't even have designer? Is this a change?

    I note that this page { Link } for designer includes the text:

    "To deploy applications developed with Lotus Domino Designer to Lotus Domino software, you must purchase the Lotus Domino Enterprise Client Access License offering for all supported users."

    I don't think this is especially clear. If the intention is to state that only those doing the "deploying" need an enterprise CAL, then it could have been worded much more clearly.

    "For Express, it is primarily that we didn't want to change the terms of Express in any way (and thus, have to relook at the pricing model)."

    I don't think this necessarily follows. You don't need to alter the licensing terms of Collaboration Express to allow users to connect a designer client to a server. You just need to include a clause in the Designer License that says that you must have a license to run custom applications on a server to connect designer to it.

    It also doesn't follow that the reason for this is that you would have to relook it the pricing model. Surely that is the antithesis of the whole point of giving away designer for free in the first place. Penny pinching over whether a Collaboration Express client can use it to connect to a Server is surely shooting yourself in the foot!

  1. 30  Ed Brill |

    it's all about support. Support is paid for as part of the license costs.

    Assuming the developer/partner in your scenario owns a valid Domino Designer->Enterprise CAL license, then the customer who is using their application does not need any Designer/CAL licenses. This would be the typical, and existing, scenario.

    The license agreeement is now posted and I encourage you/all to read it as you download & accept 8.5.1.

  1. 31  Kalyan  |


    This is great news. Thanks.

    I have a query - what if a company has webmail only client license with a messaging server?

    if I want to renew the license from Webmail (upgrade to webaccess etc) what is the benefit I get out of this because it is part of the Messaging CAL and the difference in pricing is a good $$ value?


  1. 32  Ed Brill |

    the webmail license was restricted to using the old R4.6/5.0.0 version of webmail, not Domino Web Access/iNotes. There is a lot of innovation that has gone into iNotes and that will be immediate value. Additionally, the Messaging CAL user now has access to the Notes client, to provide several different deployment and user experience options.

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