OK, the development team has helped me as a salesperson, exceeding customer expectations.  Instead of posting early next week, they decided to go live with Notes and Domino 8 beta 2 very late last night.  You can find all the cool stuff, including downloads, at www.ibm.com/lotus/getnd8now.  

This has been an incredible week as we've readied for this moment.  Every part of the team has played a role, and as always, it's been great to work with some awesome, passionate people.  Congratulations to all involved -- I can't list all the names that I'd like to, but I do want to single out Chris Baker and Jan Kenney from the development team for having lived this project day and night.  Their passion and dedication have made working on this release feel like Lotus of old, and that's a good thing.

We did a special call for partners and internal IBMers Thursday, and drew one of the biggest listening audiences ever for the live e-meeting.  Clearly, you all are excited as much as the core team is.

There's a lot to check out about the beta.  Developers are going to want to dig into the composite applications model.  Admins are going to be excited about provisioning.  End-users are going to be excited by a best-in-class user experience.  Architects are going to be interested in the Eclipse-based client architecture.  IT managers are going to want to evaluate the new productivity editors for their usefuless.  I encourage all to download the new Notes/Domino 8 reviewer's guide, and let its 100+ pages guide your tire-kicking.

Some bits that are not in the public beta include Connections/Activities and Quickr.  Neither has a public beta of their server available, so the plug-ins that integrate at the Notes client desktop haven't been included.  Managed beta/design partners will receive more detail about continuing their private testing of Activities in the coming days.

A couple of other things to note.  In certain areas, you might sense that the performance could use a bit of a boost.  As always with new beta Notes/Domino releases, performance tuning happens later.

OK, enough context.  This is the most exciting release of Notes and Domino in a long time, possibly ever.  This is a release that changes the definition of what Notes is and does -- taking it to the next level, defining the direction of the high performance workplace client.  And this isn't just about Notes -- the server and app dev pieces are just as important to evaluate and test as you consider the beta.

The development team and others will be monitoring the public beta feedback forum through the weekend and beyond to hear what you think.

Thank you for your ongoing interest and support.  I'm excited about the next few months of this journey.

See also: Jeff Eisen, DominoBlog.

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