Erik's posting merits some attention for the challenges and concerns he raises:

I'm sure some people are jumping right in here with a raised eyebrow so let me say this up front:  I'm not tired of hearing about new features coming in 8.5.1.
 
What I'm tired of is finding and hearing about all of the things that are still broken in 8.5 FP1 that won't be fixed until 8.5.1 ships. Some of which have apparently been "fixed" since March but still didn't make it into 8.5 FP1.  Perhaps 8.5.1 is so far behind the usual schedule because it's got so many wonderful new things in it. That's nice, but it's got me worried. If there are more regressions is it going to be another 7 months before 8.5.1's first Fix Pack? If this is the new Lotus release schedule, the quality better be way up there. 8.5.0 simply doesn't cut it.
I left some comments on Erik's site but let me address some of these points here:

1) Yes, 8.5.1 is both a maintenance release and a feature release, as I explained back in June.  However, we are extremely aware of the risk of introducing new issues and regressions with the new features, and have taken the extra time to precisely address this delicate balance.
2) Erik is right -- we need to start getting the fixlist updated to indicate the *numerous* SPRs that have been addressed already in 8.5.1.  Some of them made it into 8.5 fixpack 1, but the threshold for inclusion in a fixpack is much higher than a maintenance release.
3) The FixPack probably should have come a month or two sooner.  But we are doing maintenance releases on a different cycle now...in part this is because of our use of the agile development methodology, which is what is leading to inclusion of some features in the maintenance releases.  The target for 8.5.2 is Q2 2010, to give you an idea of our intended next cycle.  If needed, a fixpack (or more) will come in-between.
4) Again from the June post, we decided to focus on 8.5.1 vs. split personality to do an 8.0.3 in order to signal that for all customers, 8.5.1 should be the next destination.

I am confident that 8.5.1 will be a very high quality release.  If you are in the beta or design partner program, you already know this (and if you are not and want to be, follow the above link to the June post and find out how to get into the beta).  I read the comments in the design partner and beta forums and know that already, Domino Designer 8.5.1 andd overall client performance have all improved.  I'll try to pull out some specific quotes on this later in the week.

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