Re: Lotus Notes -- Too much Hype !!!

Brian Behlendorf (
Fri, 9 Sep 1994 09:20:53 +0200

On Thu, 8 Sep 1994, Ravi Kalakota wrote:
> Brian Behlendorf ( pointed out something I didn't
> think about earlier. Notes was meant for GroupWare and many-to-
> many interaction to foster better communication in the organization.
> A laudable achievement indeed.
> WWW is meant for a "Digital Library" or an electronic publishing
> paradigm based on "Open Systems" (yes! I dare to use the term). It
> fosters the notion of non-interactive publishing as a method of
> communication.

Whoa whoa - I said that's the unfortunate circumstance we're in now.
I *know* (from looking at all the unimplemented parts of the HTTP and
HTML specs) that wasn't the original intention, and a large part of our
development efforts should be to return to those goals. As it turned out
the biggest attraction for WWW applications was as a pretty hypertext
replacement for the information function gopher performed. Now that we
know it can do that well, let's take it to the next level.

> So, Notes wants to get a piece of the action in the publishing
> world as they see that organizations want the ability to
> publish information (product & service information) as way
> of interacting with existing or potential customers. Also
> there is a notable trend in organizations towards cross-functional
> information sharing that can only be accomplished using a
> publishing paradigm with some semblence of document management.
> In other words, the movement (socially, organizationlly etc.) is
> towards a mixture of WWW paradigm + Groupware paradigm.

Don't ignore the cross-platform element... in my view cross-platform
support is one of the biggest selling points of the WWW. For example,
we now have a slew of SGI's here at Wired, instead of just the one I
used. Now the new people using the SGI's don't have Now Contact, the
calendar program everyone (but me) was using to synchronize everyone's
activities. We haven't found a calendar product we could use together on
both platforms. However, I could probably code together in 3 days a
rudimentary WWW internal application that did the same thing - and since
we have WWW browsers on both platforms that have forms support, we can
use that same app (mostly) identically on both systems. This is a small
example of a big benefit of WWW technology - it was designed to be
lightweight enough and flexible enough to perform masterfully on
terminals and on high-end workstations.

> My feeling is that Notes cannot survive in its current form
> given the rapid change of customer requirements, need for
> customizing or tailoring to specific customers and the new
> standards, protocols and "convergence" taking place.

I think this is true of any large single-vendor system that tries to "do
it all"... I think that's a dying softare paradigm, and the
"mix-and-match" model is becoming more robust than any corporate types
thought it would. The glue for mix-and-match is in the protocols - those
*must* be strong and universally supported for this to happen. And many
companies have successfully operated within that model and thrived
(Cygnus, for example).

Or maybe it's because half the bounces on the mailing lists I run are
from "" :)