In the last week or ten days, I've been bombarded by requests from customers to provide the "Domino roadmap".  And when something happens that often in that short of a period of time, one can guess where it's coming from -- the competition.  "Ask Lotus whether you'll be able to run Domino in five years", or "aren't they just going to move to a WebSphere architecture after the next release?" ... stuff like that.  

This is a silly game, and it bores me to play it.  Notes and Domino have a sixteen+ year track record, and in the last five, that track record has been very accurate in terms of the promise and the delivery.  Yeah, there was the "Garnet" thing, which I'll hear about at my funeral, but other than that, the features that have been promised have shipped; the release dates have been on-target; the next releases have been publicly announced; and the cycle has predictibly continued every 18-24 months.  The 2007 release -- Notes "Hannover" and Domino "Next" -- have been publicly disclosed, demonstrated, and discussed.  In both client and server cases, indications have been made by the executives at Lotus that there are releases beyond that.  For example, Domino 64-bit support -- Kevin Cavanaugh said at Lotusphere '06 that this would be in beta by Domino "Next" and ship after that.  So there's a specific and measurable commitment to a feature release after "Next".  There are plenty of other examples.

The resources I'm pointing my colleagues to when they ask me about this:


and there are plenty of other resources.

What seems especially ironic about being attacked about the Notes/Domino roadmap is that the emperor has no clothes.  What's the comparative track record for Microsoft? And this is all just the Exchange roadmap -- I won't get into Vista, WinFS, "Yukon", etc.

The last thought is on predicting the future in this business.  Three years ago, I couldn't spell S-O-A...now it's one of the most important concepts I'm talking about with customers on a daily basis.  Three years before that, nobody would have predicted spam and compliance to be big issues for messaging.  The software industry moves too fast.  While I can definitely tell you that there are commited plans, and even work going on, for Notes/Domino releases past "Hannover"/"Next", nobody in this industry tries to make bets on specific features or capabilities this far out.  Thus, what we have to stand on as vendors is our past track record.  And the Notes/Domino track record has been one of consistent delivery, evolution without rip-and-replace, innovation, and deployability.  I think I can stand on that -- no need to be defensive.

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