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LS10, Vulcan and being on the inside

Darren Duke  January 26 2010 05:09:17 AM
Before I begin, let me apologize for the rambling nature this post will be....

With LS10 in the bag, it is time to be reflective on the conference.


With GM, Zurich and Panasonic all being highlighted it is good to see Lotus is saying out of the Google and MS, "we moved 150 seats to xxxx". These are big numbers, both on-premise Domino (GM) and LotusLive (Panasonic). Zurich were actually looking to ditch Lotus until they looked at the impressive feature set and overall cost. Now, if only more organizations would do this. It think Zurich mentioned the phrase "Lotus is a strategic asset" a few times.

From the demo point of view we got to see a re-run of the Sametime 8.5 stuff from LS09 but also Project Vulcan, the next-gen "workspace" (not Workplace, although that may be debatable). I saw some of Vulcan back in October at LoLA, but there were stringent NDAs around anything said, see and done during it. While Vulcan is not new to me, I did glean something I find really interesting......IBM let Mary-Beth Raven's User Experience (UX) team build it, not the engineering team. It is a mixture of Notes, email, Connections and file sharing. Cool stuff came out and now they are moving it forward.

Being on the inside

For this Lotusphere I was honored enough to be given "blogger" and "press" access. This allowed me to access portions of the conference that you can only drool over. First up was the blogger couch at the OGS. Except I didn't get a seat on the couch. IBM swore there were enough seats but "security" was somewhat lacking. Some non-bloggers from Ascendent took the spaces. I expect to see Ascendent start to blog soon because of this ;) For retribution, I went to the Ascendant party later in the week and drank lots. We are now equal.

From my spot behind the bloggers couch sat on the floor, I could see the conference staff fighting to keep the bloggers online. While everyone else had crappy wireless, people on the couch had a hard wired connection to maximize their happy-tude.

After the OGS I attended the post-OGS press conference. Here the press (and eventually the bloggers) got to ask Alistair R, Bob P, and he GM and RIM dudes questions. Apparently the format is stand at the mic, say your name and publication you work for. Well, I was the first blogger up to the mic so I said the following:
Hello, Darren Duke. Blogger and all round nice guy

At least ten times during the week I was introduced as "all round nice guy". Nice! My actual question was around the increase in business partners that was mentioned in the OGS. Alistair answered that the majority were "social software based" and some "Foundations". I was sat next to Stuart McIntyre and he actually registered a few domain names I'd suggested for Vulcan. No, really he did!

Next up was "Fireside chat with Alistair Rennie" for the bloggers. Alistair, Bob P, Mike R and Sean Poulley were all in attendance. Nathan live blogged this, here so head over there if you want to read it all. The things I picked up were:
  • Vulcan is already being used in-house, which is way ahead of Hanover when that was initially released (that was a paint shop mock up...brave!)
  • Bob P said that the "Social" conversation with CxOs has swung significantly during his tenure. Now they are starting the "social" talk, not IBM
  • Don't expect Traveler to be a developer tool any time soon (if ever)

Next on the "inside" track was "Nachos and News", here the bloggers got to ask Charlie Hill and others about Vulcan. I basically asked for a single point of search. All of these tools are great, but I can't find it all in one unified search. IBM are still working on this. No one mentioned the 10,000 lb gorilla in the room and we ran out of time before I could get it in.....what is the back-end of Vulcan?

I'd also had some blogger interviews with IBM execs, but the dates and times kept changing so I actually missed them. I really wanted to talk to Kristen Lauria but, alas, it was not to be.

Vulcan (I have no knowledge beyond the screen shot)

It looks sexy, it is getting great press and if anyone can pull it off, IBM can (Notes in Eclipse was a paint shop mock up). The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that we are being slowly but surely Workplace'd and I think anyone who believes this will all be NSF based maybe in for a rude awakening. Eclipse and XPages are ways to move Domino development out of form and view. As XPages is just JSF, and JSF can run in any servlet container....well....you do the math.

On the flip side, I feel IBM Lotus has out Googled Google, out Facebooked Facebook and will take a crowbar to the knees of SalesForce.com. If they can indeed get Vulcan to be a lightweight app or even fully browser based all the performance issues of Eclipse goes away.  I just hope Vulcan doesn't take its namesake literally......the Notes client needs some emotion.

To see "the" screen shot, see Ed Brill's now famous screen shot. Notice the OneUI design? Seem familiar? Just saying.....