At IBM Connect 2016 in January, IBM announced delivery of 9.0.2 in Q4 2016. But from May (I first saw this in public at the equivalent of IBM Connect Comes to You in London) IBM announced that 9.0.2 would not be delivered as expected.
There have been two important and relevant announcements recently. The first was an announcement about changes around downloading Notes/Domino files from Fix Central. The second was an announcement of extended support for Notes and Domino.
The first thing worth noting (hence the title of this blog) is that IBM have announced they will be delivering features as well as fixes via Fix Central (see Q4 why is this policy being enforced at this time). That is why the validation of entitlement to download Notes / Domino files (NB “files”, not “fixes”) is being enforced. Nothing has changed in the terms and conditions, what’s changed is enforcement of them. What this means for customers is very important. A couple of years ago there were security issues arising from POODLE and fixes were released. In the future landscape, those out of maintenance will not be able to download such fixes from Fix Central.
The second announcement covers an extension of support for Notes and Domino to September 2021. Combining with the first announcement, that means it covers not only IBM Notes and IBM Domino, but also IBM Client Application Access (which has superseded the IBM Notes Browser Plug-In) and IBM Mail Support for Microsoft Outlook. Customers may have missed this alternative client and it’s worth revisiting as the preferred companion for IBM Verse, slated for next quarter, when looking to access Notes Client applications.
The wording of the extension to September 2021 is unfortunate. The timing shows this has been precipitated by a “shift to a new continuous delivery model” (Q4 of the first announcement). As Gab Davis has eloquently put it, it’s not an ending of support, and needs to be seen in the context of the first announcement and the upcoming release of FP7. I agree wholeheartedly with Gab that “at least” would have been better. An announcement about a “continuous review model” for the support extension date would also be welcome, as a companion to the continuous delivery model. Hopefully that will be forthcoming.
Also worth noting is the section on “New social features”. Again, the wording is unfortunate, because Files and Profiles entitlements have been there since 9.0 some time ago. So it’s easy to misunderstand this as trumpeting something new that’s already available. What is missing is that the entitlement to Files and Profiles has so far been an entitlement to Connections 5.0. What IBM are announcing here is an entitlement to Connections 5.5. So last week if you wanted Files and Profiles, you were only entitled to download and install Connections 5 Files and Profiles. They will not work with Verse On Premises, instead customers will need Connections 5.5 Files and Profiles, hence the entitlement. So customers wanting to take advantage of the Connections integration in Verse will need to install or upgrade to Connections 5.5. Business partners like Intec will be able to help out here.
Whether the features released and timeframes for delivery will be enough for application development customers is something that is still unknown. As has been said before, an announcement from IBM is due to elaborate on what “application modernization” means in Q4. As sessions by the community over the last few years have shown, there is some differentiation in app dev between Domino and XPages, and the distinct elements of the Domino stack (even OSGi and HTTP) are becoming more visible. There needs to be a clear message about these elements of the Domino stack in terms of application development futures, beyond just email.