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Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...

By Andrew Pollack on 06/16/2010 at 10:34 PM EDT

Ed is an executive at one of the largest corporations in the world.
Peter is not an executive. He's a smart guy and he works for Microsoft, but its not the same.
When Ed makes a statement about a product, he is literally speaking for IBM. When Peter makes a statement, he's sharing his opinion.

I'm not discounting Peter's opinion. He's a smart guy and he's got a lot to say.

On Ed's blog, any lunatic with an axe to grind can post pretty much anything they want without moderation. At most, truly crazy or inappropriate comments could be removed for being overly offensive or dangerous - after the fact. Peter needs to regulate his blog's comments.

I wish that weren't the case. I'd have more respect for the discussion that goes on in a place where comments are unregulated.

* Added: June 17 @ 7:30am *
For the record -- Peter has published my comments -- unmodified, and reasonably quickly. This post isn't a complaint about censorship. I believe a policy of moderated comments has a real impact of the number and tone of comments a blog will get. People often don't post purely critical comments to a site that does moderation, and those that do post often change them in hopes they'll be accepted. Also for the record, I removed an empty comment on this site in this story that someone posted which said it was from Peter and simply said (content removed). I don't know who posted it, probably as a joke.

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Patrick Picard on 06/16/2010 at 11:12 PM EDT
I just checked his blog and Peter responded to you entry. His blog seems worthy
of reading/checking every so often. The bloke seems to be pretty eloquent in
his blog posts. Also, he covers a variety of technologies.

Of course, based on his role, he's going to fuel on the discussions in the
Yellowverse to push his agenda!

He doesn't seem the be the worst M$ type .....but again...i only read 1 post of
Yes he has...By Andrew Pollack on 06/17/2010 at 06:49 AM EDT
For the record --

Peter has published my comments -- unmodified. That doesn't change that a
policy of moderated comments has a real impact of the number and tone of
comments a blog will get.

Also for the record, I removed an empty comment on this site in this story that
someone posted which said it was from Peter and simply said (content
removed). I don't know who posted it, probably as a joke.
re: Yes he has...By Craig Wiseman on 06/17/2010 at 12:09 PM EDT
Yes, as a joke.
re: Yes he has...By Andrew Pollack on 06/17/2010 at 12:28 PM EDT
Not a funny one at all.

People feel the need to filter and moderate because other people feel the need
to ignore social standards when they're hiding behind a keyboard.
Impersonation is as bad as astroturfing in my opinion.

A keyboard is like tequila. It makes a little man feel big, and a big man
look little.
re: Yes he has...By Craig Wiseman on 06/17/2010 at 12:38 PM EDT
as you know should know, I put my valid email address in the comment.

so, while anonymous to other folks, it was not to you.
re: Yes he has...By Andrew Pollack on 06/17/2010 at 12:42 PM EDT
You may be right -- I don't think I looked. I saw what was written, decided it
looked like a forgery and deleted the comment.
re: Yes he has...By Craig Wiseman on 06/17/2010 at 02:01 PM EDT
"may", hmmm? Because it doesn't seem too clever to post an anonymous comment
and then 'fess up to it in public.
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Peter O'Kelly on 06/17/2010 at 12:19 PM EDT
Thanks for the kind words -- sorry about the delay in the comment-posting; I
routinely review and approve/reject comments on my blog because I get some spam
comments on my blog, but I don't any constructive discussion on Notes or any
Microsoft-related topic.

I'm not in marketing or sales, and I don't filter things to exclusively
accentuate the positive. I realize this is a complex and deeply-nested topic
domain, and I look forward to continuing the discussion.
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Peter O'Kelly on 06/17/2010 at 12:20 PM EDT
Oops -- that should have been "I don't filter any constructive..."; sorry about
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Peter Presnell on 06/16/2010 at 11:14 PM EDT
Perhaps Ed Brill is seeking the truth. He is product manager for a product in
which he feels will grow through an open dialog with the community that
supports that product. Perhaps he recognizes there is no one single truth but
rather a range of views, some of which will not always agree with his own. On
the other hand Peter O'Kelly seeks to drum up customers for his own services.
It doesn't serve his interests to present a balanced view on the discussion.
He only wants to parade those views that reflect his own. In a way he is just
following the standard M$ playbook. Maybe its just me, but if I needed to
trust someone, I would trust the person who believed in his products/services
enough that he would allow criticism to be aired and acknowledge the legitimacy
of his/her competitors. There is almost always two sides to a story so why
should I trust someone who pretends there is just one. Such people are clearly
trying to take advantage of me and (where possible) any ignorance I may have on
the topic being discussed.
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Peter Presnell on 06/17/2010 at 12:29 AM EDT
I see Peter published your comments after I made my comments. That fact
changes my perspective somewhat although I am always suspicious of people who
retain the tights to moderate comments.
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By David (The Notes Guy in Seattle) on 08/14/2010 at 12:43 AM EDT
I'm still trying to figure out what retaining your tights has to do with
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Peter O'Kelly on 06/17/2010 at 12:28 PM EDT
If you have specific concerns/problems with Microsoft's
platforms/tools/services, I'd be happy to address them.

I find, in discussions with IBM customers and partners, that IBM sometimes
seeks to establish conventional wisdom about Microsoft and its products that
isn't always entirely objective or accurate. I have been explicitly told, in a
few competitive engagements, that "IBM told me to ask you these questions..."

In many cases, IBM also tries to compare its future products (e.g., "Project
Vulcan") with Microsoft's old products (e.g., making assertions about what
SharePoint can't do, but referring to SharePoint 2003 or 2007 rather than
2010). It's all part of the competitive landscape, and objective customers and
partners tend to be receptive to fact-based value propositions rather than
unsupported assertions.
Sales people can be bastards...By Andrew Pollack on 06/17/2010 at 12:41 PM EDT
...all around. I try to comment on competitors products as little as possible
when I'm in a sales situation. I also find when I'm a buyer that anything one
competitor says about another is suspect - and if overtly negative, tends to
work against the sale as I lose respect for the pitch.

That said, I think giving your potential customers a list of questions to ask
is probably one of the more ethical and straightforward ways to go about the
competitive process. It's a legitimate way to make the case.

I also think arming the customer with information about their licensing choices
at your competitor is a valid tactic. The information should be accurate -- if
not, it does more harm to you than to the competitor since it doesn't change
the customer's mind other than to remove confidence in you.

Spin is critical. Peter, you espouse the point of view that Sharepoint is a
good value since you already have SQL Server, Server 2008, IIS, and
Exchange. From my point of view, Sharepoint is expensive because I'm forced
to have SQL Server, Server 2008, IIS, and Exchange. What if I prefer DB2,
Oracle, or MySQL? What if I prefer Linux for file, print, and networking?
More important, what if I don't want to upgrade my entire relational database
infrastructure because I want a new feature for my web collaboration server or
my email client?

Is the fully integrated stack a good thing or a bad thing? If you're already
going to commit to it for other reasons and you don't mind having your upgrade
schedule largely out of your hands -- then great. Go with that full Microsoft
re: Sales people can be bastards...By Peter O'Kelly on 06/17/2010 at 01:47 PM EDT
Thanks again -- I agree with most of your insights.

I am always delighted to have the opportunity to objectively, diplomatically,
and respectfully (e.g., not dismissing the investments current IBM Lotus
customers have made in Notes/Domino and related products, or suggesting any
kind of disruptive "rip-and-replace" scenario) respond to Microsoft-related
questions planted by IBM. Indeed, I start most competitive customer
engagements with a vendor- and product-independent view of
communication/collaboration market dynamics, building on a framework I started
when I was a Burton Group research director; in doing so, I can then establish
a vendor/product-neutral discussion context for comparing/constrasting IBM and
Microsoft products. I believe the asynchronous (through customers) IBM debate
club is very productive -- and I also enjoy providing questions for
customers/prospects to ask IBM.

Re IBM's "Project Liberate," in terms of arming customers with information
about licensing choices, I think transparency is the best approach -- Microsoft
has simplified its pricing/licensing models over the years, and BPOS licensing
is especially straightforward. If accurate and accessible information about
comprehensible pricing/licensing models is readily available, customers
shouldn't need a "free" service offering on how to negotiate for competitive
price discounts. It's also important, of course, to consider
net-present-value/full-contract pricing/licensing dimensions, and to not buy
into a pricing model that front-loads discounts and locks customers into
unpleasant surprises later on.

On SQL Server, Windows, and the .NET Framework: there is a broader debate in
this context about issues such as:
1. Do you believe a modern DBMS is the right choice for collaboration and
information management solutions? If so, do you think it's okay to go with a
least-common-denominator approach in order to support multiple DBMSs, or is it
preferable to have foundation-level products co-evolve so that they are truly
"better together"? Tangentially, imho MySQL is not currently feature-rich
enough to host systems such as SharePoint or Notes, but that's a separable
discussion thread.
2. Do you think IBM's broader strategy (especially with the WebSphere-based
product family) is fundamentally unlike Microsoft's? Consider the roles of
.NET and Java, or Visual Studio and Eclipse, in their respective platforms.
Yes, Microsoft could probably sell more server-based DBMS and collaboration
products if it supported the leading Linux platforms as well as Windows Server,
but would it be a good investment for Microsoft and its customers, if it also
meant decommitting to optimal alignment among Windows Server, SQL Server, and
3. For the many customers moving to cloud-based solutions, these topics are
increasingly a non-issue, since the customers aren't hosting the software
infrastructure themselves, and since they have truly standards-based formats,
APIs, and protocols available for integration, data access, etc. And in that
domain, the fact that Microsoft provides the same platforms and tools
on-premises, in the cloud, and in hybrid deployments is, imho, a major
customer/partner benefit relative to IBM's approach, with two stacks
on-premises and a third, in LotusLive, in the cloud.

I think your full-integrated stack question applies to Google, IBM, Microsoft,
Oracle, and other competitors (indeed, with IBM, it applies in a plural sense,
since it has more than one fully-integrated stack). This isn't a consideration
that's unique to Microsoft. Organizations can certainly go with point
solutions instead, for subsets of the communication/collaboration/information
management continuum, but I believe the suite-versus-"best-of-breed" debate
needs to be carefully considered, in terms of product/service capabilities,
architectural trade-offs, vendor viability, partner ecosystems, etc.
easy answersBy Andrew Pollack on 06/17/2010 at 02:08 PM EDT
First about Project Liberate (for those playing the home game, this a desk of
people at IBM who will help you negotiate your Microsoft licensing so you only
pay for what you need).

If project liberate didn't save people a lot of money, it would go away. Since
it does seem to, there is clearly something about the way the pricing options
are presented to customers that isn't straightforward enough that they can
easily choose the least cost solution that does what they need. If it works,
then clearly it was necessary; if it doesn't work, why is it there?

As far as the discussion of Microsoft's full stack vs. Googles, IBMs, or anyone

First, you're not really defending Microsoft's by saying "IBM does it with
Websphere" -- both because that's not a defense at all, and because I've been
calling IBM on the carpet for it since they first started trying to push WAS
down my throat after the ridiculous series of Gartner reports back in the 90's.

Both IBM and Microsoft are guilty of pushing what I call the "Proprietary
Exploded Stack" down customers throats when that isn't necessary or positive
for the customer. IBM will claim theirs is standards based, like WAS is
standards based because it's just J2EE. If that were true, I could easily
substitute in a Tomcat server with no problem. That's just silly. Microsoft
and IBM are both pushing massive, over priced, proprietary stacks to the
detriment of their user bases.

The alternative, of course, remains Domino. Still. Domino provides in a
single software server instance that can run on any of several operating
systems interchangeably but can also scale up to run at the global enterprise
scale effortlessly all the services needed for a solid collaboration
environment. Data Storage, Indexing, Search, Authentication, Highly granular
authorization, layout, user access, manageability, high availability failover,
several programming language models, application management and scheduling at
both front and back ends, and integration with virtually any other system out

What it doesn't do, is store massive amounts of raw data in a fully normalized
relational schema. It can connect, however, to DB2, Oracle, SQL Server,
MySQL, PostGressql, and pretty much anything else out there for live use or
batch transfer.

What the BP community is frustrated by, is that this incredibly powerful tool
does need to be kept up to date in some ways that IBM has ignored. HTML
generation needs updating, the design tools need updating, old limits need to
be modernized and removed throughout the designer. The client, while better,
needs to be finished and streamlined, and all the stuff you see on the blogs.

It still, however, allows me to create real collaborative workflow solutions
and content management tools for my clients at a cost far, far, less than and a
time far shorter than anything from Microsoft --- and I'm qualified to write in
both product sets so I can say that. The same holds true of course for the
J2EE based alternatives IBM would like to see in wider use.
re: easy answersBy Bob Balaban on 06/17/2010 at 02:24 PM EDT
Loving this conversation thread. Keep going!
re: easy answersBy Peter O'Kelly on 06/17/2010 at 04:25 PM EDT
Thanks again for the elaboration -- I appreciate the opportunity to compare
impressions with you on the topics.

(Hi, Bob -- please jump in as well, if you have thoughts to share and/or see
things it would be helpful to clarify.)

Okay, back to the discussion threads:

1. imho, Liberate is an IBM program designed to perform a cashectomy on
Microsoft -- plain and simple. You can argue the end result is Microsoft
customers theoretically saving money, but I would like to see several case
studies before agreeing, as a lot of the financial equation games in this
context have net-present-value implications.

I was briefed on the Liberate program when I was a Burton Group analyst, a
couple years ago, and I provided a lot of feedback to IBM at that time; many of
the assertions IBM was making about Microsoft products and licensing at that
time were inaccurate or misleading (and that's when I was a vendor-neutral
industry analyst, not a Microsoft employee).

I suspect IBM won't be in a rush to update Liberate to reflect Office 2010 and
SharePoint 2010 pricing, incidentally, or to add BPOS to the equation;
increased Microsoft pricing/licensing simplicity and transparency are going to
make it more difficult for IBM to continue its Liberate sales pitch.

In the bigger picture, BTW, you might also want to explore how IBM is going to
remain financially viable in the software business (e.g., to continue investing
in substantive updates to its software products), if it's proposing to be more
generous than Microsoft in terms of software product licensing. From what I've
seen, if IBM weren't able to subsidize its Wintel and Lintel software business
through a combination of mainframe and mid-tier (i.e., z and i series) software
monopoly profit streams, and through long-term services contracts, IBM's
software group would have some interesting accounting challenges -- not unlike
what Sun Microsystems was trying to deal with, before it
operationally/financially imploded and was acquired by Oracle.

2. On "proprietary exploded stacks:" if you think Linux Apache MySQL
whatever other frameworks you have in mind are best for your customer's needs,
go for it.

I believe there is real value and synergy in having platforms and tools that
are optimized to work well together, and I don't think there's a lot of
self-serving or superfluous stuff in the Microsoft platform, but I also still
believe what Burton Group used to call the "superplatform" is a sensible model
for most enterprises -- with synergy among server OS, programming frameworks,
DBMS, Web app server, etc. The totality of bits to install with the
superplatform model can be daunting, but, again, most customers aren't starting
from scratch, as Windows Server, Active Directory, SQL Server, etc. are very
widely deployed.

There are major compromises and trade-offs with alternatives that go with a
least-common-denominator or "good enough" approach in this context, and those
trade-offs are going to get more significant when, e.g., the next wave of
competition in this context expands to subsume the traditional enterprise
content/document/record management market segments.

In any case, nobody is forcing customers or partners to do anything. If
Microsoft (or IBM, or Oracle) can't convince you there is sustainable value and
innovation in their product families, don't buy things from them.

3. Back to Domino: if there were a parallel universe in which the Internet
didn't exist, and the Internet architecture and information model weren't the
post-90s norm, I'd agree with you that Domino does a lot of useful things. But
it is now the dBASE of collaboration platforms; it's out of step with market
trends and reflects an old and creaky underlying architecture.

I have no doubt there are still people earning their livelihoods on dBASE app
dev -- or RPG, for that matter; I just don't think it's a good career bet if
you're not planning to retire sometime over the next few years, as the future
prospects aren't bright.

IBM has tried to juggle a major dilemma since the late 1990s, when WebSphere
was conceived: Notes/Domino is simply out of alignment with WebSphere, and
WebSphere is more consistent with where the rest of the industry is going for
collaboration, information management, Web-centric user experience management,
and more.

IBM doesn't need to somehow revitalize Notes/Domino or find clever
marketing/positioning to reduce the customer/partner cognitive dissonance from
working with two very different but increasingly functionally-overlapping
platforms; there's no way to magically bring the Notes/Domino architecture into
the new platform realities, and attempts to do so with recycled Workplace
remnants such as Xpages are deeply dubious (and also directly competitive with
WebSphere...). That's frustrating for people who have been Notes/Domino
loyalists for years, but it's reality.

To close this comment on a positive dimension: as you are probably aware, since
you are an expert in both IBM and Microsoft platforms, the skills you developed
on Notes/Domino are readily transferable to the Microsoft platform and tools,
especially the 2010 software and services. There's still a lot of room for
innovation at the intersection of communication, collaboration, and information
management, and it's a great part of the market to be working in, even if it
does get a bit competitively contentious at times.
re: easy answersBy Andrew Pollack on 06/17/2010 at 04:49 PM EDT
I can't comment authoritatively on IBM's financial position, other than the
numbers I heard were that for every dollar spent at IBM Software Group they
make 8. Maybe one of the market people who read this can respond.

For a platform that you seem to think doesn't embrace the modern internet,
you've had no trouble using it today -- I wrote the software you're using to
comment on this blog entirely on the Domino platform using servers that are
running on Linux. -- One could note that your own Blog is not on Microsoft
technology :-)

Finally, as far as Project Liberate -- I agree that its goal is to reduce cash
flow at Microsoft. As far as your other points --- "Net Present Value" is a
great phrase, but I think in this economy most people prefer the phrase "Spend
Less Money". I fall back to my position as such: If Liberate didn't save
customers money, it wouldn't exist and you wouldn't care about it.

Finally, there's nothing creeky and old about the Domino server. Recent
changes are saving people up to 70% drive space, backup tape space, and network
bandwidth. Number of concurrent user is way way up, stability is awesome,
failover and redundancy are unmatched by any current Microsoft technology.

I can take an axe and chop my live production server to bits and it's
clustermate will continue to serve my site without any users even knowing --
and I didn't have to add products or do anything special to make that happen.
Just turn on an existing feature.

The Notes client and DDE need work, but I'll pit the server against whatever
group of servers you need to compete with it-- all day long.
re: easy answersBy Peter O'Kelly on 06/17/2010 at 05:46 PM EDT
Hey Andrew, I again sincerely appreciate your comments; this is a very timely
and useful conversation. Some rushed responses:

1. I don't claim to have NDA insights into IBM's unpublished financial picture
either, and IBM is very secretive about the relative profit contributions by
its software groups by platform. I'd welcome some clear guidance from IBM in
this context. For now, I believe IBM's software group profit margins are very
significantly influenced by mainframe and mid-tier proprietary platform
offerings for which IBM has nearly 100% market share. The industry analyst
market share research documents are useful in this context, incidentally, e.g.,
projecting DB2 revenue contribution by OS platform.

2. I think this is a fine blog template, and I caught the Domino URL. Blogs
eventually start to get a bit unweildy for this type of deeply-nested
conversation, however; maybe we should continue in, e.g., a free Windows Live
SkyDrive-hosted and publicly shared OneNote Web App notebook (wiki-centric Web
workspace) instead :). Seriously, I'm not saying Notes is garbage; I have a
lot of respect for the elegant and integrated *original* application/content
model in Notes. I also think it has mutated in several counterproductive
directions ways over the years, has been (explictly and implicitly, at
different times) relegated to a legacy role by IBM, and has drifted very far
out of step with modern market dynamics. Also see my "parallel universe"
comment elsewhere in this thread.

3. While it's true that IBM has been able to leverage DB2-derived technology
and other advances to improve Domino disk space usage etc., the reality is that
the original Notes application model with all of its nuances is still the
underlying application model, and it's simply not ideal for the incredibly
broad range of applications for which it's being used today.

4. Back to Liberate -- let's add another couple phrases for consideration,
along with "Spend less money":
-- "Be responsible to your employer and don't get a gold star for a
front-loaded pricing/licensing deal that your successor will have to later
struggle with."
-- "Consider the long-term viability of your strategic software suppliers; if
you want an ongoing stream of robust and innovative products, you're going to
pay for the value, one way or another."

p.s. re my non-Microsoft-hosted blog: I started using Blogger more than ten
years ago (and even have one of the original Blogger hoodie sweatshirts, as I
happily contributed to Blogspot when it was first introduced). I aso use
Windows Live Writer with Blogger, BTW; it's a very useful tool, and supports a
wide variety of blogging servers/services. In general, I'm not a fanatic about
using exclusively Microsoft products, and I'm not bothered by Google's
acquisition of Blogger many years ago.
re: easy answersBy Andrew Pollack on 06/17/2010 at 06:45 PM EDT
The blog thing was just a bit of a jab.

As it happens, I may be spending several days in Redmond come fall (pending the
training event getting funded) getting to know the new stuff but in the mean
time, I can't say I agree with you about the document model in Domino.

Related Tables is far older technology, and while great for data it's crappy
for information and documents. Information being the result of intelligent
correlation of data. All the big RDB's (including Microsoft's) have been
pushing hard for years now to come up with a document object storage model
along the lines of what is defined in Java as JSR-170. I seem to recall a
huge "not quite bet the farm" push by Microsoft that was going to revolutionize
the data storage for files on disk, data in Exchange, and document objects in
the database -- it was all going to be one big new thing. It mapped quite
closely to the NSF actually.

I'll be kind and not use its product code name (just like I don't mention
another product code name that sends Ed into a nervous twitch) but I think we
all remember that time.

One of the hot new technologies, in fact, is CouchDB -- and it maps nicely as a
sort of internet age re-think of the NSF. Damien just got a pretty big
infusion of new venture capital too from what I understand.

The industry is absolutely desperate for a good document / semi-structured data
storage format. Groove didn't gain market success at all. NSF is a good
format in that space, but will need a new set of libraries and methods for
moving data in and out that may or may not be fully compatible with existing
Notes forms and views. If IBM continues to push too hard on the J2EE stuff
then the industry will pick something else eventually -- but the market for SQL
based table queries is mature and stagnant.

I'm curious though, hearing that the new plan is built around One Note. I
liked One Note when it came out originally as a utility level applet on the
Windows tablet touchscreen PC's. Those didn't fare well in the market either,
but One Note had some interesting ideas. The ones I like were revisited and
implemented (not very well) in the new LiveScribe pen.

If things work out, we can talk about it this fall once I've gotten up to speed.
re: easy answersBy Peter O'Kelly on 06/17/2010 at 10:49 PM EDT
I'd be happy to walk you through some related conceptual model diagrams and
reasons why I believe the Notes/Domino model is (and always has been)
inherently limited for application domains that are more focused on business
processes and data than collaborative workspace-oriented compound documents.

I'm not suggesting the extended relational model is a panacea; there is very
significant synergy between it (relations, as in SQL) and the now standard and
Internet-centric XML-based document/page (resources, as in XQuery) model. They
are designed to address complementary information management needs and they are
incredibly powerful when effectively used together.

Exchange "Kodiak" (I assume that's the retired code-name you had in mind; maybe
you were thinking of WinFS?) is ancient history -- even older than, e.g.,
NSFDB2. I used to think it was inevitable that enterprise messaging systems
would move to extended RDBMSs; now I'm not so sure, especially with the advent
of global-scale hosted solutions such as Exchange Online, and with regulatory
requirements and information management governance strategies that provide
strong incentives to not use e-mail systems for long-term information item
storage. In any case, it'd be great to discuss the relations-and-resources
topics sometime -- LMK if/when you want to schedule a time.

CouchDB is in many ways intriguing, and Damien has in-depth exprience and
insights about the Domino architecture, and how it can be modernized/simplified
for the Web-centric world. I don't buy into the "NoSQL" extremism, however
(I'm also not suggesting Damien does either -- I don't know his views on the
topic); I see CouchDB as more of a DBMS-complementary, XML-based compound
document management storage system -- i.e., it's not an either/or proposition.

I think J2EE is a separable issue, although I believe IBM will be doing itself
and its customers a disservice if it implies everything good must start with
"J" (or end with "X").

To be clear about my view on OneNote: it is not "the plan;" it is part of
Office and, with 2010 (OneNote 2010 is included in all Office 2010 SKUs, BTW;
that wasn't the case in Office 2007), also available through Office Web Apps
(via SkyDrive and SharePoint) -- it's part of a much broader overall plan.
It's a useful option for content-based collaboration, along with SharePoint
workspaces, wikis, document libraries, etc. I believe OneNote represents a
major advance in several respects, and I'll try to block time to explain my
OneNote perspectives in more detail on my blog ASAP.

Again, thanks for sharing your insights and for the feedback. I think we're
getting a bit too deeply-nested in the comment threading for this blog post,
but I'd be happy to continue the conversation in other contexts if you'd like.
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Henning Heinz on 06/17/2010 at 06:05 AM EDT
I am not sure if Ed Brill sometimes regrets his decision to not moderate
comments but indeed for such a high rated blog its a remarkable policy.
Still in in my opinion he has switched focus to less controversial topics until
recently (which is not a bad thing for a business blog).
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Nathan T. Freeman on 06/17/2010 at 08:06 AM EDT
Well, he didn't publish my comment. :-/ It wasn't even lengthy, it simply
quoted his remark about XPiNC being supported by "an embedded version of DB2."
I said that I couldn't find DB2 in my Notes installation.
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Peter O'Kelly on 06/17/2010 at 12:32 PM EDT
I asked about it at Lotusphere 2010 -- there is a version of DB2 in there
somewhere, e.g., to support off-line-able activities. Sorry if I was unclear
about this in my original post -- I didn't mean to imply the embedded DB2 was
exclusively for Xpages, and was rather describing the full set of technologies
embedded in 8.5.x for the full range of capabilities.
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Erik Brooks on 06/17/2010 at 02:33 PM EDT
I've got both versions of Notes/Domino 8.5.1's offline installs here: The Notes
client and DOLS. No DB2 anywhere, all NSF.

You've got two IBM Design Partners here telling you DB2 is not embedded with

You can *integrate* with it (and have been able to do so for years) but it's
not an embedded part of the product.
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Peter O'Kelly on 06/17/2010 at 05:24 PM EDT
I'm happy to be corrected -- and I again apologize for conflating/confusing
this with Xpages-specific functionality -- but what I heard when I was an
industry analyst taking product briefings from IBM is that Notes client
off-line activities support required an embedded DBMS.

Maybe the program library names were changed to prevent developers from trying
to directly access the related data, or to prevent them from trying to use the
embedded DBMS for other purposes, but, unless there have been radical changes
to the underlying activities architectural model over the last couple years, I
believe there's a DBMS in there somewhere.

I have a hunch one or more IBM employees will eventually be reading this
discussion thread, and I'd welcome a definitive/offical answer.

Thanks again

p.s. Xpages support in the Notes client is still a hyper-kludge, imho, with or
without the DBMS part of the story (and I also believe the Xpages design
surface makes popular mid-1990s Web app/content development tools seem
futuristic in comparison, but that's another topic...). I attended an
architectural overview of Notes-native Xpages at Lotusphere 2010 and was
frankly impressed the developers were able to make it work at all.
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Erik Brooks on 06/17/2010 at 10:41 PM EDT
If you're talking about the "Activities" component of Lotus Connections - which
is separate from Notes/Domino - then it's possible DB2 is involved.

But Notes, Domino, XPages, and DOLS, all offline or not, do not use an RDBMS.
Period. It's NSF, through-and-through.

Even if it *did* use DB2, so what? It's obviously not a replacement for NSF.
You may remember IBM trying to do something along those lines.

I watched the XPages "deep dive" presentation today, and it's actually a fairly
straightforward implementation, even with OSGI support coming in 8.5.2. Big,
yes, but heck, it's IBM - they own Rational for crying out loud. Multi-layered
software is not really a problem for them.

How it works is actually *extremely* elegant, very open, and highly extensible.
The abstraction layers are the perfect balance between "I don't need to care,
just build it, shove it in the NSF and deploy it for me" and "oh wait, I want
to get into the config.xml file and change this build attribute at the JSF
layer." They are powerful, but only as complex as you want to get.

I'll give you the WYSIWYG aspect of the Design pane, but I'm sure that will get
better. IBM's always been about backend first, front end later. Fortunately the
front end the *users* see with XPages can be easily made top-notch.

I don't know why you'd find the implementation for XPages running in a Notes
client to be a kludge. It's 99% identical to the browser. It's simply XULRunner
(think Firefox 3.5) with some very minor hooks into the Notes client (e.g. your
ID is derived from your Notes id, not your web login cookie. When you press
'escape' it knows that's a 'close window' shortcut and may invoke a save
dialog, etc.) It's all handled by the render kit layer. Elegant. You truly get
write-once-deploy-anywhere functionality.
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Peter O'Kelly on 06/17/2010 at 11:12 PM EDT
Thanks again -- a few rushed replies:

My main point about Notes DB2 parts of WebSphere LotusScript Java XULRunner ... is that it's collectively a Frankenstein-ish
collection of disaparate technologies that weren't designed to work together.

Considering IBM is probably about to try to make "Project Vulcan" into the next
major release of Notes, representing a mostly-client-side integration of
Notes/Domino and Connections capabilities, at least for the traditional
disconnectable Notes usage scenario, I think it is important to consider the
implications of having out-of-band subsystems bolted on to the Domino

"Write-once-deploy-anywhere" -- hmm; where have I heard something similar to
that before :)?...

Seriously, ask the WebSphere team or the Lotus Forms (nee PureEdge) team what
they think about XPages, and perhaps also ask why XPages isn't built on XForms,
despite the fact that other parts of the IBM software group are still insisting
XForms is central to the future of interactive Internet-based user experiences
(BTW I'm not saying I think XForms is going to be pervasively successful --
just pointing out the contradictory IBM bets).

If your entire universe is constrained by Notes/Domino, XPages may be a useful
set of extensions for building Web-centric experiences that aren't awful. But
making a major commitment to XPages while the underlying Notes/Domino
architecture is increasingly cumbersome and out of step with the rest of the
market, and with major opportunity costs in terms of what you won't be able to
do in the future (with increasing consolidation among collaboration- and
information management-related concerns), seems like a risky bet to me.

Favor request: we're stretching the limits of the blog model for content-based
collaboration here. If you have topics on which you'd like to jointly
elaborate further, please LMK via email (peterok at microsoft dot com) and I'll
start new topic-based threads on my blog. I'm not trying to have the last word
or abruptly end the discussion; I just can't keep looking for new responses in
this thread every few hours.

Thanks again for a very productive conversation.
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Andrew Pollack on 06/17/2010 at 11:19 PM EDT
Peter - thanks for dropping by. I couldn't disagree with you more, but the
reality is we're going in circles now and I can't see that cycle stopping.

If you're based in Redmond, we can have drink this fall.
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Peter O'Kelly on 06/18/2010 at 04:59 AM EDT
I sincerely look forward to continuing the discussion. I'm in the Boston area;
LMK when you're in town.
re: Ed Brill has a blog. Peter O'Kelly has blog...By Erik Brooks on 06/18/2010 at 08:00 AM EDT
Well Peter probably won't see this, but for anybody else reading:

I'm sure the Websphere team thinks that XPages steps on their toes a little, so
they probably don't like it all that well. And I'm OK with that.

Regarding XForms: You wouldn't "build XPages on XForms" any more than you'd
build an ASP page on Silverlight. It's strictly a rendering framework.
Considering no major browser supports XForms natively yet, it looks like the
right move to me. The last thing Lotus needs is another administrative hurdle
to clear due to another client-side plugin being needed. And one that virtually
no public browser would have installed anyway.

That being said, once the XForms spec is fully and natively implemented across
the major browser platforms, it should be fairly straightforward for IBM to
add/update an XPages render kit to target XForms.
Version Creep: An Issue That Keeps Coming Back To MeBy John Dillon on 06/24/2010 at 04:00 AM EDT
In all the dialog about MS and IBM, there's one thing I've missed in these
threads. It keeps coming back to me whenever I think about revisiting MS and
buying into all their different products: version creep.

I started DB work with dBase, Clipper, Paradox, and MS Access 1.0. In short
order MS sent me a big stack of 3.5" floppies for MSA 1.1. With the new
version, you had to run tools to upgrade the database design of the underlying
file. Ditto upgrading to 2.0, and 95, and 97 and ...

Even worse, you couldn't just change it on one client, you had to push it out
to everyone who used it.

Other MS tools have the same issue, and I've even had a MS Sales Engineer
apologize for it.

VB was worse.... how many million lines of VB6 code were broken when you tried
to reuse your code with VB.NET?

On the other hand, Notes apps that we built over a decade ago (ND 4.5) still
run, and run without modification, even on 8.5.1 servers.

That same MS engineer tried to say that the Domino 5 changes were dramatic.
They were, but he missed the point completely.... we didn't have to rewrite
*anything.* It all just continues to work. We could choose to use or ignore
the ND5 enhancements.

I know some former colleagues whos company decided to deploy the free
Sharepoint upgrade (2003 to 2007, I think).

It ended up costing them a million bucks and four days (millions of dollars) of
complete downtime, and when they were done, they still had to keep around a
couple of the older servers because MS didn't upgrade all the templates.

Version creep has been the bane of my MS development career.

Rewriting things that used to work, just because MS chose to change something,
is an extensive waste of time. I'd rather work on new stuff, leveraging new
features, than have to retrofit old programs because of something my vendor did
to me.

I don't deny that there are some really weird "funky-isms" in the designer and
the client that some people dislike.

I also don't deny that I appreciate the security, reliability, flexibility,
scalability, replication, RAD, and off-line capabilities of Domino, as well as
the multi-platform and ease-of-integration features with all kinds of other
systems. After all, those are all solid selling points that a difficult to
mimic in other environments.

For people looking to move forward in app dev, rather than continually
revisiting old code, the lack of version creep is one more key reason I
recommend Notes/Domino.
re: Version Creep: An Issue That Keeps Coming Back To MeBy John Dillon on 06/24/2010 at 04:04 AM EDT
Meant to write "expensive" (but "extensive" works too!)

Also, I should probably have put "free" in quotation marks, considering the
cost of the consultants and down time.

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