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IBM Software

Goodbye, Lotus 1-2-3 276

Posted by timothy
from the 3-2-1-zero dept.
walterbyrd writes "In 2012, IBM started retiring the Lotus brand. Now 1-2-3, the core product that brought Lotus its fame, takes its turn on the chopping block. IBM stated, 'Effective on the dates listed below, [June 11, 2013] IBM will withdraw from marketing part numbers from the following product release(s) licensed under the IBM International Program License Agreement:' IBM Lotus 123 Millennium Edition V9.x, IBM Lotus SmartSuite 9.x V9.8.0, and Organizer V6.1.0. Further, IBM stated, 'Customers will no longer be able to receive support for these offerings after September 30, 2014. No service extensions will be offered. There will be no replacement programs.'"
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Goodbye, Lotus 1-2-3

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  • by Cereal Box (4286) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:34AM (#43780839)

    I'd take Outlook in a second over Notes.

    • by Joehonkie (665142) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:41AM (#43780907) Homepage

      I'd take Outlook in a second over Notes.

      I'd take PINE over either. And I don't even like PINE.

    • by sizzzzlerz (714878) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:47AM (#43780975)

      When my company was bought, the parent company, who uses Notes, put us on Notes. Two years later, we're still fixing issues with the migration. Nobody likes this POS and that includes people in the parent company who've been using it for years.

    • Many would rather take a bullet than Slowest Notes.
    • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:48AM (#43780993)

      Lotus Notes may well be the worst piece of software ever to exist (even if you include blatant malware in the competition). It is technically considered a "groupware" platform, but in practice it's almost exclusively used as an email/calendaring client, and it absolutely sucks at that, lacking the most basic features every other email program takes for granted.

      • by Virtucon (127420)

        Groupwise IMO was worse.. Far worse.

        • by LDAPMAN (930041)

          Email and Calendaring work very well in Groupwise. Notes....? How is it far worse?

          • by Virtucon (127420)

            Crashing clients, lost messages and since you mention it disappearing calendar events and worse yet, horrible support. I realize it's the only thing that's keeping that happy valley company alive but it sucked, probably still does. It's been about 8 years since I've worked with it and I avoid it like Democratic Fundraisers. It may have gotten better but I'll believe that when Barbara Streisand's nose gets smaller. There's a reason that Exchange has taken everybody's lunch money (although that's fading n

            • by Lumpy (12016)

              "Crashing clients, lost messages and since you mention it disappearing calendar events and worse yet, horrible support."

              This is what we experience here with Outlook and Exchange.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Can you elaborate on it's deficiencies? Some of us have never had the displeasure of using it.

      • by garyok (218493)
        I loved how Notes couldn't handle daylight savings (especially when a meeting request came from Outlook). Try explaining to your manager that you missed a meeting because the reminder was automagically set an hour late. God-awful POS.
      • My understanding is that "Notes" is really just the default public face of Domino Server, which is an enterprise-grade implementation of the Turing Tarpit: Anything is possible, nothing of interest is easy, and the corpses of lots of obsolete animals can be found lurking in the depths...

      • Lotus Notes may well be the worst piece of software ever to exist

        Lotus Notes was awesome before IBM bought it, and before the web seemingly made it obsolete. But replacements for Notes are only just recently appearing, such as Drupal and Joomla. That's right, what was called "groupware" back in the 90's is called CMS now. And Notes was decades ahead in terms of CMS back in the 90's. But then IBM bought it and its original vision was lost.

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          Are you insane? Drupal and Joomla replacements for Lotus Notes?

          Let me guess, you also think that Adobe After effects is a good replacement for Microsoft notepad.

          Drupal and Joomla are dynamic web page systems they are NOT CMS by any hope or stretch. Anyone trying to get normal corperate users to use those two are completely and utterly insane.

          • by Dishevel (1105119)

            Hmmm.
            Both Drupal and Joomla are very decent CMS systems.
            The fact that they are very good at displaying and reporting that content via web browsers does not remove their ability to be a content management system.

      • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @09:20AM (#43781393)

        Lotus Notes may well be the worst piece of software ever to exist (even if you include blatant malware in the competition). It is technically considered a "groupware" platform, but in practice it's almost exclusively used as an email/calendaring client, and it absolutely sucks at that, lacking the most basic features every other email program takes for granted.

        From my experience with Notes, it is (apparently) impossible to configure and use the scheduling function in a way that improves group/department/team/business in any way. I'd get invited to dumb meetings, and just to be a smartass, I'd reply I couldn't make it and that the company truck would be attending in my place. Instead of being insulted or irritated with me, my colleagues and bosses would just assume that Notes had somehow screwed up my response and ask if another time would work better for me.

        A waste of perfectly good passive-aggression.

      • by tnk1 (899206)

        I remember being switched to Notes long ago at some foreign-owned multinational I worked for. It was probably the worst IT experience in my entire life, bar none, and I have done my time in the IT department. Outlook and Exchange are a shining beacon of Hope compared to Notes, which says more about Notes than it does about Exchange.

        Although, I have repressed most of my memories of it, I recall the email client itself simply missing features that you would have considered very basic in any email program.

    • Fortunately, my current job does not use Notes. My previous job did. All I can say about Notes is that my previous job used it because it was simple enough for out technology challenged managers (we had a ton of them) to be able to use it. It wasn't very good and it took a surprisingly large support staff to run it, but the managers could do things with it and that ended up being why it was used.
    • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @09:10AM (#43781273)

      I'd take Outlook in a second over Notes.

      No kidding. 1-2-3 dies and the abomination that's called "Notes" is allowed to live on. Tedious to use, painful to look at, the most powerful features usually not configured in a way to be useful. Die, Notes, die. Which of course is German for "The Notes, the.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:36AM (#43780859)

    If IBM no longer wants to support Lotus 1-2-3 (understandably so), then open-sourcing the code might be a nice goodwill gesture. This way, whatever archaic organizations still rely on this stuff can always go hire someone else to maintain it. IBM has traditionally been fairly supportive of open source, and this would be a good opportunity to contribute to it without losing anything of substantial financial value.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      +1 funny.

    • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:47AM (#43780989) Journal

      It shouldn't be an option. If they refuse to sell or license it, it should be automatically put into the public domain.

      • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:50AM (#43781019)

        I'd like to see an abandonware law, too. For software, anyone applying for a copyright should have to put the source code in escrow, and it would be automatically released a certain period of time (say, 1 year) after the company stops selling it.

        • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @09:00AM (#43781113)
          It's a good news/bad news situation.

          Good News: Currently IP law *is* abandonware. It sunsets the monopolies.

          Bad News: It sunsets about as fast as a Venusian day

          We obviously need to fix the latter, but fortunately the Founding Fathers new these things should be 'limited'.
        • I didn't think that you had to apply for copyright - it's automatic.

          An abandonware law would be nice - we could get hold of the source code for previous Windows versions and have a good laugh.
        • by Picass0 (147474) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @09:04AM (#43781179) Homepage Journal
          Interesting idea, but it could easily be sidestepped. For intance would be easy for a company to pepper their software with simple library files that do very little in terms of logic. As long as these dummy files are used in newer products they could claim "there are pieces of code in that discontinued product still in use, we cannot release the source to the public" That said, IBM has been decent about open sourcing stuff in the past and it's wouldn't suprise me to see 1-2-3 become GPL.
        • While I support the spirit of the concept(it's kind of insane that software that is so commercially irrelevant that you can't even hunt somebody down and force them to take your money may still be under copyright until after most of us posting right now are dead), I suspect that such a law would, in practice, lead to a lot of 'on sale in name only' arrangements:

          Using Amazon Glacier(just because they have a handy price sheet, not necessarily because they are the best), you can store seldom-accessed data for

      • I like that Idea. If a Company has a product that it refuses to sell, license, update, support or any other option that allows people to continuing to use their product for whatever reasons; then, the Company should have two options:

        A) Open Source
        B) Placed in Public Domain without the Source Code.

        The whole thing works itself out. If it's Open Sourced, people can make it better and have a alternative. If It's released freely without the Source, eventually usage of the product would halt as host Operating Sys

      • by 0ld_d0g (923931)
        ... then all they have to do is to set some arbitrarily high price or put some ridiculous terms in their license.
    • If the Copyright Act of 1790 were still in force, the first version of Lotus Notes 1-2-3 Millennium Edition from 1998 would have become public domain last year.

    • No can do.

      Open sourcing the software would reveal the secrets of the technology behind their "uncopyable" install floppy disk.

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      then open-sourcing the code might be a nice goodwill gesture.

      That also might make it very easy for malware writers to be able to find security holes in it. On the other hand, would malware writers even bother to target something that has such low marketshare?

    • by DrXym (126579)
      More likely they'll flog the tech on to some niche company to support that market the way they did with OS/2. Doubtless they'll cite all kinds of reasons they couldn't possibly open source it and some of them may even be true.
  • Lotus 123 use to be the main business spreadsheet, and combined with word perfect, you were ready for business.

    But I guess DOS is now done.

    • by gewalker (57809)

      When MS released its office bundle that included Excel, and Word for less than the price of either 1-2-3 or WordPerfect, it was the beginning of the end for those products -- the MS office was "good enough" for most users and the price was a real factor when you were buying for a corporation.

    • I've personally found gnumeric does everything I need. Makes it hard to take the "need" for commercial spreadsheet programs a little less convincing.

    • It wasn't just DOS, although that was its stronghold. There were also versions available for: Unix, Macintosh, Windows, and OS/2.

      Hmm, didn't know this though: Lotus 1-2-3 [wikipedia.org]: "The charting/graphing routines were written in Forth [wikipedia.org] by Jeremy Sagan (son of Carl Sagan)"

      I believe that reference to Forth should be, "the fabulous Forth language."

  • by cpghost (719344) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:37AM (#43780871) Homepage
    Not that we really need yet another spreadsheet program, but if IBM doesn't intend to use this code base anymore, how about releasing its source code to the public?
    • by CrankyFool (680025) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:51AM (#43781033)

      Opensourcing a project can be a pain in the ass (I work at a company that tries to opensource most of its infrastructure systems), what with internal assumptions, potential information leaks, and auditing for potentially licensed code that you're not allowed to release in its uncompiled form.

      I don't see a ton of people out there clamouring for 1-2-3 to be opensourced, to be honest, other than people who are just reflexively arguing for opensourcing anything that's discontinued. I'm not saying that's a bad argument, but it's certainly a weak one, and I don't see IBM getting a particularly great ROI for doing the work to opensource 1-2-3.

      • I don't see IBM getting a particularly great ROI for doing the work to opensource 1-2-3

        unfortunately 'good will' doesn't usually factor into such calculations. There's plenty of benefit for IBM, just not financial.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Nobody needs the code to 1-2-3. But it would be highly interesting to have the code to 1-2-3 1.0, because it would be fascinating to see how it was done on such limited platforms as original PCs. I had 1-2-3 1.0 on a PC-1 with 448kB memory — 384kB of which was on an ISA expansion card. Those were the days, I guess.

  • by Mystakaphoros (2664209) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:42AM (#43780919) Homepage
    "It ain't done till Lotus won't run."

    I guess it's done.

  • Let's look back (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by earlzdotnet (2788729)
    Let's look back at what made Lotus Notes GREAT. Lotus Sucks use to show some of the best examples. Apparently the website is offline now though. Here is a wayback archive though http://web.archive.org/web/20080531232948/http://lotusnotessucks.4t.com/lnEx01.html [archive.org]
  • The original /. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XB-70 (812342) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:46AM (#43780965)
    God, it brings back memories: an 8086 with 256k of RAM, 8 1/2" floppies....

    Using / as the main way of navigating spreadsheets...

    1-2-3 you gave me my start, not just in spreadsheets, but in computers. Thank you and goodbye, old friend.

    Sniff.

    • by cdrudge (68377) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:56AM (#43781083) Homepage

      God, it brings back memories: ...8 1/2" floppies

      Things are always remembered bigger then what they really were.

      • Tell that to my girlfriend and my ex-wife...
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I had a machine with 8" floppies, but it wouldn't run lotus. It would run Wordstar, though. But I actually ran it on the machine with 5.25" floppies, because it actually worked. I would say Kaypro 4 forever, but obviously I got rid of that long ago

    • by rvw (755107)

      God, it brings back memories: an 8086 with 256k of RAM, 8 1/2" floppies....

      Using / as the main way of navigating spreadsheets...

      1-2-3 you gave me my start, not just in spreadsheets, but in computers. Thank you and goodbye, old friend.

      Sniff.

      I remember SuperCalc, on my SuperBrain... CP/M, 64KB RAM, monochrome, two 160KB floppies, and one of them could fit the OS, Wordstar, Supercalc, DBase II and many other programs on it. And thank god for double sided floppies which required flipping of course. Yeah flipping floppies those were the days! ;-)

    • Amen.

      Rest in peace, old friend.
    • For me it brings back memories of the cartridge-based Lotus 1-2-3 on the PCjr.

      It's probably the only software for the PCjr I have that still works (other than the BASIC cartridge).

  • Lotus -- OpenOffice (Score:4, Informative)

    by enterix (5252) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:50AM (#43781021)

    Latest versions of Lotus brand suite were based on OpenOffice. Symphony was just the Lotus style shell over it. There was no native version for years. Anyway, it is interesting how IBM can walk away from products with arms... Hard drives, ThinkPads, now Lotus...

    • Symphony was just the Lotus style shell over it.

      . . . so was anything said about Symphony in any announcement . . . ? Is that on the chopping block, as well . . . ?

  • OO support (Score:5, Informative)

    by anybody_out_there (2814321) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:50AM (#43781025)
    Now if (Open|Libre)Office would just do a decent job of not mangling Lotus 1-2-3 worksheets! I have some stuff I've been maintaining for over 20 years in Lotus 1-2-3 (starting back in the DOS days, but eventually moving to '97). I'd love to convert/upgrade it, but there are some things in there that just don't seem to be supported in Excel or *Office.
  • The end of history (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:54AM (#43781053)
    In the same way VisiCalc made the Apple ][, Lotus 123 made the IBM PC. Later, when people said "IBM compatible", what they really meant was "123 compatible", because it wrote directly to the video memory, rather than doing screen output through BIOS calls; so "compatible" hardware had to address its video memory the same way IBM did.
  • by Alejux (2800513) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @08:56AM (#43781081)
    Some people don't realize the importance of this software. Lotus 1-2-3 is what made the majority of people want to buy an IBM PC back in the day.
  • Oh, my, sic transit Gloria mundi. I don't think anyone ever called it "Lotus 1-2-3," it was just "Lotus..." nobody knew that or if Lotus had any other product. But let's also take time for a tip of the hat to the utterly forgotten Context MBA.

    "Integrated software" was very much in the air then. In fact for many years, and contrary to popular belief at the time, Appleworks outsold Lotus 1-2-3, but was "invisible" because it was sold directly by Apple while the bestseller lists were compiled from sales by dis

    • by JDG1980 (2438906)

      "Portability" was sort of trendy at the time, because there was such a zoo of incompatible PC architectures. (The shakeout and dominance of the IBM PC architecture happened with surprising speed). Pascal and C vied for language of choiceCoding for portability had worked wonderfully well for Multiplan, Microsoft's spreadsheet. In a world of dozens of incompatible personal computer architectures, Microsoft could deliver Multiplan quickly on everything. (I remember a friend using it on his Commodore 64).

      The

      • The Commodore 64's CPU ran at a mere 1 MHz, so it was hard to get decent speed on any kind of application or game unless you coded in assembly.

        This was true of the IBM PC's 8088 CPU as well. Though it ran at 4.77 MHz, it spent so many of those cycles waiting for instructions and data to come back from RAM that it didn't really run much faster than the Commodore, Apple, and Atari micros in practice.

  • by TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @09:09AM (#43781255)

    that made skillful use use of reverse characters and color (oh how we loved those beautiful 80x24 8 color character displays... sigh) to create a working environment that was comfortable to be immersed in. A proposition with. Compared to everything else the data SNAPPED onto the screen. For many of us Lotus was the first application to deliver the experience of scrolling through data vertically and horizontally so smoothly you got an actual sense of movement, without that whole-screen redraw-flicker that we had come to tolerate from software.

    Of course this wasn't the only fine memory-mapped experience. I give fond greets to Vector Graphic S-100 Systems and their wonderful word processor MEMORITE, whose line jumping word wrap as you type was so smooth and flicker-free professional typists took to it easily.

    I used to maintain an S-100 system at a local attorney's office and they had awful problems with dust from their brick wall being sucked into the machines. I'd get a call from the secretary saying "Get over here quick! It's changing the spelling on the screen right in front of me again!" I'd ask, "Give me an example?" And she'd say something like "all the 'p' are changing to 't'."

    So I'd show up and take down the system and remove the S-100 memory card full of 4k RAM chips in sockets, say to myself "okay, bit 2" and count over from the edge of the card and pry up, re-seat the appropriate chip. Then replace and test, all good now. Then I'd ask, "Would you like me to perform general maintenance and re-seat them all?" and She'd say "No -- we're in a hurry!"

    Job security. Not a bad service contract gig for a 17-year-old.

  • by DougReed (102865) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @09:19AM (#43781377)

    Gee and just after Microsoft decided to adopt the silly flat tile User Interface paradigm too. You would think its popularity would surge.

    Unintuitive interface... check.
    Nothing works quite right... check.
    Square confusing tiles in a grid... check.

    It should be the Windows 8 standard!

  • My first computer had Ami Pro (before it was bought by Lotus and becoming Lotus Word Pro) and it was brilliant! Even the Help was great - had an interactive tutorial which was useful for first timers.
  • Notes is without doubt the worst software I have ever had the misfortune to use. It's slow to start, extremely unintuitive (even 8.5), unforgiving, buggy as hell, baroque, and employs terminology and idioms which are meaningless in the modern world. It really sucks in every way a piece of software can suck. I probably wouldn't care if I had to run it once in a blue moon but this heap of wank is how I'm supposed to communicate with colleagues and organise my calendar. I cannot fathom how it manages to cling
  • by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @02:25PM (#43785229) Homepage

    C:\>

    Good bye, Lotus. You deserve a lot of credit for helping computers catch on with businesses back in the early 80's. A lot of us owe our jobs to you.

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