One of the interesting changes that results from the ever-improving tools to find blog content is that many of you find the same postings I do, and often comment or otherwise take action on what you are finding.  No longer are we "unleashing the sickos" (as the community was once unflatteringly described).  The community acts independently -- but confidently and decisively -- and doesn't need me or anyone else to say "go get 'em!"

A few recent examples:

Weeks ago, ComputerWeekly.com blogger Cliff Saran unflatteringly expressed annoyance with IBM because of a lack of response to his query.  It's still not clear where he submitted this inquiry, nor why he made the unsupported assertion that our competition would have responded faster.  I posted a rather lengthy comment on the second of his three postings, but heard nothing from him (or anyone else).  In fact, I doubled back a few days later to make sure there was a comment on one of the other postings... it took nearly a week for that second comment to get approved and visible.  Anyway, the point is, well before I found Cliff's "FUD" posting (how ironic), dozens of others had left comments defending IBM and/or questioning his approach.

Yesterday, my daily Google alerts caught this article in builder.au, a CNET site: "Case Study: Switching places from Lotus to .NET".  I read the report, realized that this was a puff piece of a business partner choosing a new alliance rather than a customer, left a quick comment, and moved on.  Today, when I doubled-back to this site, I noticed several other Notes/Domino community members have left comments there -- more critical (and more insightful) than my own.

This morning, in catching up on blogs I hadn't read last week, I noticed a number of references to an instant messaging community now active at im.bleedyellow.com.  This seems like a great solution to the challenge many of you are on disparate buddy lists of mine -- AOL, Skype, extst.ibm.com, etc.  It also provides a solidifying place for the community to find each other.... a very confident move in expanding the bleedyellow.com site's value.  (Nathan has more info on how to set this up, as well as a thought on how to one plus the value of it.  68 online this morning when I signed in!)

It is great see the community's energy across all these sites.  This falls in line with how I described things last week in one of my interviews at DePaul -- we have a long history of collaboration, and because of that, this community evolves quickly in adopting and leveraging new tools and methods.  Very cool to be a part of.

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  1. 1  Justin  |

    Speaking of articles you should read, I would love to hear if IBM will have an official, or unofficial response to this( I would have loved to have someone there point out that 8.0.1 is less then a month old):

    { Link }

    Mr. ISSA. The Clinton Administration used Lotus Notes, right?

    Ms. PAYTON. Yes.

    Mr. ISSA. Lotus Notes no longer exists, right? It is no longer supported.

    Ms. PAYTON. It is no longer supported. Some groups may still use it, but it is no longer supported.

    Mr. ISSA. I wouldn't want to do business with somebody still using Lotus Notes or still using wooden wagon wheels. If I understand correctly, though, certainly I checked with the House of Representatives, we can no longer support it for members who want to stay on it.

    Mr. ISSA. Okay. So here we have a situation where the Clinton Administration is on a platform that has to be phased out. Simply, they lost the war of who is going to supply emails. A period of time goes on in which Yes, we are dealing, to Dr. Weinstein's concern, with getting good archives, but we are also dealing with the fact that I can't play my Betamax tapes any more, either, and I can't seem to find anybody who has a Betamax player any more.

  1. 2  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    @1, see the comments thread here:

    { Link }

    I can't yet make an official IBM comment, but I can definitely say that I'm making new friends and meeting new people right now.

  1. 3  Chris Whisonant http://www.bleedyellow.com/blogs/lotusnut/ |

    @Ed - Actually, the bleedyellow Sametime server has been online the whole time. I first posted about it on January 22: { Link }

    But that was during Lotusphere so everyone forgot about it ... ;) Nathan's initial post was mostly that we want to enable the persistent chat rooms once Sametime Advanced is available. But that reminded many others that it was available (along with a post from Adam). Then we went from 25 to 71 active users! I'm sure we'll get a few more now thanks to your reminder, so thanks!

    @1 - I believe the "context" of Lotus no longer being supported is that it's not a supported platform for House/Senate to use. But I may be trying to give this person too much credit. That's what I read out of it, however.

  1. 4  Ken Barker  |

    It would be interesting to find out if there were similar problems getting at email during the Clinton administration (when they were using Notes, and being relentlessly pursued on things like white water & lewinskygate).

    To fan the flames of conspiricy theorists, perhaps the system that was in place with Lotus Notes worked TOO well. When the then republicans were able to supoena lots of emails from the Clinton white house during those scandals...it would perhaps have been a prudent RNC planner who noted "task #3 after booting the democrats from the whitehouse....implement less reliable mail system to improve obfuscation and plausible deniability defense measures".

    Appears to have worked exceedingly well don't you think?

  1. 5  Justin  |

    @2 doh, I missed that post, way to busy last week. Good to know that they won't be able to get away with comments like that without someone calling them on it.

    @3 I reread it a few times, and I think you are giving them credit, he says they can't find anyone one to work on it and it is as dead as betamax. I see that as saying that noone runs notes.

  1. 6  Ian Randall  |

    Regarding the CNET article about switching places from Domino to .NET

    Having once worked for Just OnePlace when they were trading as Justwin, I wish Winston and his people all the success they deserve.

    However as Justwin's former vice president of operations, I believe that the technology platform they were using had nothing to do with their market growth or their ability to develop or deliver a world class software product.

    After the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre the Apparel Industry internationally went into a signifificant decline and the economic downturn also triggered the dot.com bubble burst, curtailing Justwin's plans for an IPO in 2002/3 and it's ability to gain access to sufficient working capital to sustain growth at the time.

    Also, while Justwin was using the Domino platform they only had two programmers and a Development Manager, so it would be interesting to see how many people they now needed to maintain their .NET development effort in comparison. If the number of development staff has increased, it would be difficult to argue that .NET is a significantly more productive development environment.

    I also note from the Just OnePlace web site that most customer references they are quoting are from their original Domino users. But I guess if you had recently moved to a Microsoft platform you would want to de-emphasise that fact.

  1. 7  Richard Schwartz http://www.poweroftheschwartz.com |

    If PlanetLotus subscribed to some of these search feeds, I'll bet that the community response might be even more amazing. OTOH, I'm not 100% sure that it would always be a good thing. Many of the responses over on Cliff Saran's article do seem like there's some excessive "piling on".

  1. 8  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    I agree that some of the comments on Cliff Saran's site were over the top, and made that rebuke in my own comment there. I am not sure where they all came from, since it wasn't a "sicko" kind of mob action.

  1. 9  Dave Madison  |

    @4 "t would be interesting to find out if there were similar problems getting at email during the Clinton administration (when they were using Notes, and being relentlessly pursued on things like white water & lewinskygate)."

    Al Gore has all the details.

    The GAO did a report on the "effectiveness" of the Clinton Administrations Email rentention.

    { Link }

    The office of vice president did not implement adequate records management practices to ensure that all e-mail records generated or received were preserved in accordance with applicable law and best practices,”

    The report also mentions that ARMS worked with a legacy e-mail system until 1996, when it began archiving e-mail generated using Notes. The Office of Administration maintained four Lotus Notes e-mail servers, (FOUR SERVERS? Just for the Office of Administration? Talk about scalability!)

    The report says Clinton’s office did not effectively monitor the management of e-mail records, .

    The report concludes that Clinton White House staff members had failed in their legal responsibility to comply with federal records law by not properly maintaining and archiving e-mail. (again, on a Notes servers. Check that FOUR Notes servers)

  1. 10  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    Oh please -- you want to compare scalability in 1996, Dave? How about that 16 GB limit in Exchange 4.0, which shipped in...1996?

  1. 11  Nathan T. Freeman http://nathan.lotus911.com |

    "The office of vice president did not implement adequate records management practices to ensure that all e-mail records generated or received were preserved in accordance with applicable law and best practices,”

    Yeah but.... it was the office of the vice president. Who gives a rat's patootie?

  1. 12  Denny http://www.sherpasoftware.com/blogs/SherpaBlog.nsf/  |

    Ed, Couldn't agree more on the 'Lotus Community' comments and how great it is to be a part of all this right now. Congrats to all on the hard work to build this.

    I'll spare everyone my comments on the White House.

  1. 13  Ken Barker  |

    Perhaps they made a point of not keeping vice presidential emails after Dan Quayle's time in office?

    I mean, what would have been the point of keeping those?

  1. 14  Kevin Mort  |

    Generally speaking I would say David Gewirtz's article does a good job, and I applaud his efforts in being as neutral to the situation as possible, calling out the seriously inept testimony given.

    @9 - Dave, really come on now. How many users were we talking about here? What was the makeup of the workload? You trying to say that Exchange could do everything the old solution did with fewer overall systems? At the time it was developed? Prove it.

  1. 15  Nathan T. Freeman http://nathan.lotus911.com |

    @9 - After reading this GAO report in some detail, there's a few interesting bits about it....

    1) The four Domino 4.6 servers at the White House supported the EOP, the OVP and the OoA -- about 2000 users.

    2) The ARMS system appears to have been a combination of a template modification and an API program that automatically BCC'ed a mail-in database for every message, and then copied that to a VAX-based location for write to tape.

    3) The API was case-sensitive, and didn't know the mail server "MAIL2" was the same as "Mail2."

    4) The API wasn't Y2K compliant, in spite of having been written in 1994.

    5) The contractor responsible for maintaining the infrastructure lost the source code and documentation for the API, which had been written by a subcontractor.

    6) The API was also reliant on a set of views in the directory, which the contractor divided into sets of 4, to span different parts of the alphabet, but left out the letter "D," thus excluding about 156 mail files from proper backup.

    7) It takes a really, REALLY long time for those mail administrators to actually DO anything.

    One could note that the mishandling of email in the Notes environment lead to a few thousand missing records while in the Exchange environment lead to a few million missing records, but that's at least as attributable to the growth of email as a communications medium between 1996 and 2001.

  1. 16  Dave Madison  |

    @10. I'm not comparing anything. Where did I once ever mention any other mail platform in that specific post? You seem a bit defensive, Ed. All I did was mention they had 4 Notes servers for the Administration Office. Which I would think (rather hope, for the sake of our tax dollars) was less than 1000 people. BTW, Clinton left office in 2001, so not sure what point you are making about 1996. Unless you are suggesting they never upgraded. Nevertheless I'm guessing they were still on Notes when they trashed the Oval Office the day they left. Unless you know otherwise. I guess they could have gone to Oracle or Sun at some point.

    @14. Again, I never once mentioned Exchange in that post. I only know what the report says. 4 Notes servers for the Office of Administration. I'm not talking about Exchange. You asked if there was evidence of lost emails during the Clinton administration and I provided some information that seems to suggest they, too, suffered the failings of ARMS. So, AGAIN, it's ARMS, not the mail server it's running against. Try as Ed might to make this about Exchange, it's clearly about neither Exchange OR Notes. It's about a poorly designed archiving system that was equally poorly managed by the IT staffs of both administrations.

  1. 17  Nathan T. Freeman http://nathan.lotus911.com |

    @16 - Dave, don't be stupid. FOUR SERVERS? Just for the Office of Administration? Talk about scalability! is a cheap dig on scalability. It doesn't matter how much you try to weasel out after the fact.

    And it was 2000 people, and you can read in the GAO report and as I pointed out in a comment 7 HOURS before you replied.

    I really want to read Gewirtz's book on the matter, but from what I can tell from the GAO report, the new administration KNEW there was a problem with the ARMS backup system, and decommissioned the Domino environment anyway, without taking a last-run backup of that environment before shutdown, and apparently losing the hard drives or something. The only saving grace is that one should never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

  1. 18  Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com |

    @16 - Even if you didn't mention another platform you're clearly incredulous that it would take four servers to support 1000 users, a number which you seem to have pulled out of... the air. Without knowing the environment how can you criticize the implementation? Wait... is your name really Mika?

    @17 - "one should never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity"

    Isn't that what every politician hopes their constituents will believe? "I'm not mean, I'm just ignorant. Here's $600. Count that while I vote myself a raise."

  1. 19  David Bell  |

    @9 - people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. In a scalability competition, Exchange / Windows is the last thing you want to be putting your money on.

    How much memory does it take to support 1,000 active users:

    Domino: 2.8GB (approx. incl OS)

    Exchange 2007: 6.9GB (approx. given MS formula of 2GB base + 5mb per mailbox)

    No wonder you needed to get to 64-bit.

  1. 20  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    @1 / @all - some very interesting conversations today. Will update when we have final disposition.


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