Lotus starts another experiment

by Volker Weber

A couple of years ago Lotus had a great idea. And they created Workplace, which turned out to be a bunch of products nobody really wanted, aside from the people who generally find everything Lotus absolutely wonderful. Anyway, at this year's Lotusphere Mike Rhodin called Workplace an "experiment". I would want to add, an expensive one.

Two years ago Lotus had another great idea: close the Redbook center in Boston and stop sponsoring new Redbooks. Who needs them anyway? Lotus has great documentation as it is, and why let real users of the products create another documentation on how to get things done? Well, IBM told us, it never was the plan. Strangely enough some people from Boston whom I had never met before were very happy to see me at Lotusphere, thanking me for this post.

Two years pass, and Lotus still has this great idea. Now that lots of new products are hitting the streets users, it's an excellent time to close the Redbook center for good. R.I.P.

Maybe it's just another experiment.


Someone there obviously doesn't understand two things:
- the inadequacies of their own documentation
- the value of Redbooks

Even if a replacement is in the works, closing Redbooks before that's even launched, tested, fine-tuned, and proven makes absolutely no sense.

Besides, if this was a such an obvious and smart move, why was it kept so quiet?

Rod Stauffer, 2007-09-23

Volker, completely agree. This is a crazy "experiment", and one that will only have a negative impact on the Lotus community.

Therefore, I have taken the step of creating an online petition requesting signatures to the following text:

"We believe that ITSO Redbooks are an essential aid to the Lotus and Websphere Portal community, that more Lotus Redbooks are required for new products such as Notes/Domino8, Quickr and Connections, and that they should continue to be published in the future."

If you anyone wishes to sign the petition it can be found at http://www.ipetitions.com/poketition/lotusredbooks - if you agree with the statement please sign the petition and publicise this as much as possible via your blogs, online communities and personal relationships.

There must be a way to get the WPLC/Lotus management to reconsider this decision, might this be it? Thanks, Stuart

Stuart McIntyre, 2007-09-23

@stuart: link to the petition does not work

Gregory Engels, 2007-09-23

the correct link is http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/lotusredbooks/

Gregory Engels, 2007-09-23

For me it is not a great idea but as it is today I don't want it either.
But for those who want to sign, the url is Redbooks Petitition

Henning Heinz, 2007-09-23

I've made some comments on my blog about this, though with some trepidation since your link to my comment from two years ago seems to (incorrectly) imply that the situation is the same now as then.

As I say there, I think some of the criticism is reasonable... OTOH I think that sometimes, you have to make a clean cut decision in order to gain the best for the future. At least that's what worked for me personally :-D

Ed Brill, 2007-09-23

Thank You Volker for this words! I agree.

Ciao marco

marco foellmer, 2007-09-23

This mail could have been written today. But it is two years old. At that time IBM made an about face and called us liars. This time I waited long enough to let IBM finish the job.

Stuart, the petition is a nice idea. But it's too late.

Volker Weber, 2007-09-23

Yes, the mail could have been written today -- because it is true now as then that nobody has said there will not be any more Lotus Redbooks. But the rest of the story is somewhat different, and two years ago, no alternate approaches were on tap.

Ed Brill, 2007-09-23

I don't expect IBM to ever say something like "no more Lotus redbooks". We can only look at the actions. Of course IBM could reopen the Redbook center and staff it with the people who used to run it, or with new talent.

Volker Weber, 2007-09-24

The redbooks are great guides, I have used them quite frequently. For example, some not really mainstream redbooks (analysing large installations on AIX I think) were the only ones at the time describing and comparing RAID configurations and the stripe size parameter. Check this Best Practice Guide . I think I got the settings right in the end.

Why not opening up the redbooks to redbook wikis or even redbook blogs (1 post per chapter)? That way a lot more experience from the Lotus and IBM community could be gathered. It would have a multiplier effect, would be very effective and maybe cheaper too...

IBM has gained my respect for the incredible depth of information on software and server hardware and the regular updates even for old systems and machines. I can understand the cost pressure and the effect of the redbooks being difficult to measure. If IBM needs to rethink the redbooks, please come up with adequate or even better replacements. Otherwise IBM might loose a big competitive advantage and that would cost more then the production of redbook-like material...

Moritz Schroeder, 2007-09-24

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