Reading The IBM Tea Leaves

Last week I read an interesting statement from an IBMer outlining a pending announcement in September of an updated policy on the Support Lifecycle for Notes/Domino. The standard IBM Support Lifecycle Policy commits IBM to supporting any version of its software for 3 years from its release date. With Notes 9.0.1 having been released in October 2013 we are now less than two months away from the official end of support date for Notes/Domino. So clearly IBM needs to make some change or risk the ire of a passionate community who have been paying maintenance for three years without getting a new release.

The statement also suggests that Notes/Domino 9.0.1 Fix Pack 7 will be released in September. As a number of people have noted, the current Notes/Domino Fix List does not show any fixes assigned to Fix Pack 7. Instead we have 250+ fixes assigned to release 9.0.2. I would expect a large number of the fixes and enhancements that have been assigned to 9.0.2 to be included as part of 9.0.1 Fix Pack 7. The reason for not calling this latest iteration of Notes/Domino 9.0.2 are not clear to me, although I have commented previously that it is more than likely tied to the above Support Lifecycle policy.

Since Notes 9.0.1 was released Pete Janzen has attended a large number of conferences giving the traditional Notes/Domino Roadmap sessions. In these sessions Pete provided indications of the things the engineering team were working on. During those three years it is a safe bet that a number of those new features have been developed and ready for release. So I would expect to see a number of those items such as support for Java 8 and the ability to store View Indices outside the NSF container to finally become available. Not as a new release but rather via a Fix Pack.

There is no Notes/Domino Roadmap session being given at MWLUG later this month. In fact the IBM lineup is distinctly different to Engage six months ago where Martin Donnelly, Pete Janzen, Ed Brill, and Inhi Cho Suh all attended. That represented the entire food chain for Notes/Domino at the time and provided attendees the opportunity to hear from all levels of ICS. At MWLUG IBM’s focus seems to be on BlueMix, Verse and Toscana. I am not confident there will be much clarification from IBM about the end of life for Notes/Domino at MWLUG but I am sure it will be the topic of many heated discussions late into the night.

The only reason I can see a 9.0.2 release being made available would be if it is a requirement to deploy IBM Verse on-premise which we now know IBM are hoping to release before Connect 2017. A clearer picture should become available when we see what enhancements are included as part of 9.0.1 Fix Pack 7. We should also be looking at how large the product management and engineering team remains after September as a guide to how much, if any, further work is planned on Notes/Domino.

Peter Presnell
Peter Presnell
CEO at Red Pill NOW. Strategist, technologist, blogger, presenter, and IBM Champion 2011/12. For years many companies have invested heavily in the Notes/Domino platform and I see my role as helping to find paths forward for that investment.


  1. Heiko Voigt says:

    Hi Peter, thanks for keeping this topic on the plate at MWLUG ! After talking to some IBMers myself over the last couple of weeks, I expect to see some clarification on the FP7 / 9.0.2 issues soon in conjunction with a bit more clarity on what is coming into the domino server with VOP. I’m also hoping for Java 8 and other long awaited goodies to give the existing platform a boost forward. I don’t expect IBM to talk about EoL for N/D at all – I never heard anything like that, whilst I can see why you guys like to keep pushing that topic by looking at your portfolio ;-)…. .

    • I agree Heiko, it is most unlikely for IBM to make any PUBLIC statement about discontinuing Notes. It would not assist their agenda in any way trying to maximize maintenance revenue while they try to convert as many customers as they can to Connections, Verse, and SmartCloud. The best we can do is push them for information about what will be done to keep the product relevant so that we can make better strategic choices about what should be done in this space moving forward. e.g. better support for retina displays might make it viable for some applications to continue to run on the Notes client with newer devices.

  2. Adam Osborne says:

    This is all really sad. A complete repeat of how OS/2 faded away. History appears to be repeating.

  3. IBM have subsequently indicated that support for Notes/Domino will be extended to 2021. That doesn’t preclude them from extending even further at a later stage, but I would imagine that would mean it would be better to plan for a five year window of support for Notes client and XPages applications.

  4. […] I published my article Reading The IBM Tea Leaves just over a month ago we have been involved in a lot of discussions with customers and business […]

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