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My participation in the various iterations of the "Design Partner" program started prior to the version 6 release of Notes and Domino. In those days, we had a multi-day invitation only event at the IBM Lotus campus in Westford where a serious discussion took place between the development teams and the design partners that had been invited. The program has changed over the years, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. In all that time, I've offered very pointed (as you can imagine) and straightforward opinions. You haven't heard much from me about what has been discussed in all those conference calls or meetings because it's under NDA -- something I've always taken quite seriously. In the past, the design partner program provided input to the process somewhat in balance to the input from the top few percent of licensed sites and the product sales team. Overall, the DP community would push for things beneficial to partner community and the SMB shops.
A side effect of being in the active DP program has been that I've been reluctant to talk much about the "Future" of the IBM Lotus product line or offer my opinions on that future. It would have been hard to separate out what I know is being discussed from what I think is going on.
Well, that's no longer the case. I received an email last night with the following statement:
"Recently, we have taken the opportunity to re-evaluate some of the participants in our Design Partner Program. Based on some recent activity, I believe the time has come to discontinue your participation in the Program. We certainly value your past participation and hope that you will continue to share your feedback with IBM through our beta programs or other means."My first reaction, based on the sender and the timing, was to assume this was a direct result of my recent twitter comments about XPages (specifically, about how I believe the IDE may be the single worst atrocity I can recall ever being inflicted upon a development community). That certainly may have had something to do with it. Others have suggested that my favorite lawyer (Thomas Hagen) may have played a role, and while that's possible I somehow doubt it. In comparing notes this morning, I've learned that there were a great deal of other membership changes in the program made at the same time. While I've heard a few names, I don't know many and I don't know who has been told yet and who hasn't so I can't be any more specific. Maybe some of those people will discuss the change, while others may see it as a loss in status and may not want to.
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