That’s how you do it. Thanks Nikon

It does make sense to buy good stuff. I am too poor to buy crap.
My daughter No. 2 had a Nikon Coolpix 2700 for about not even two years. As it happens with kids, she dropped it. Boing. No more pictures. Big tears.
I am not going to buy another one, just to keep her happy. Nope, but who knows, it would be probably repairable. Therefore I contacted the Nikon service center here in Switzerland and told them my problem. They said, that for this model and the problem I described, the price of the repair would be about 70% to 80% of a new model. See above, no new camera for the brat. I believe, if something is repairable, let’s fix it. Should also be a lesson for the offspring. No new things, just because she broke it, even by accident. Most things don’t grow on trees and I hate this trend in society to throw things away, just because it isn’t the latest and greatest.
I dutifully went to the Nikon website and registered the camera for repair. You get an address sticker (I had to provide the glue) and the postage is free. First surprise. There is even the possibility to include the maximum amount for the repair. In that case a quote would still cost 45 CHF, but I can live with that. Two days after I sent it, Nikon confirmed the arrival at the service center and then nothing happened until today.
A packaged arrived, containing a new Coolpix 2700 (luckily same color and not pink – my kids don’t like pink, which often leads to long faces when gifts arrive that were chosen by women). Price of the new camera: ZERO.
Even though I told Nikon, that she dropped it, they replaced it for free, claiming it was warranty.
Nikon certainly still had a few of the older Coolpix in stock and since they can not sell them anymore, they use it as good marketing tools to make people happy. Hence the blog post.
Therefore: A big round of applause for Nikon who:
… has a useful and easy to navigate service website… for free shipping
… very short turnaround time of about one week
… a good sense for customer relationship
… and the new camera
It posed a bit of a problem to explain to daughter No. 2, why she got a new camera and not the old one back. My whole pedagogical approach is down the tube. But this is normally as it goes.
Next camera will probably be a Nikon again.

***** Using Nikon for almost 40 years now *****

PS: If you are waiting for a Verse Basic review, I can’t make up my mind. Tested a lot, but….

You will not believe this. I am on Verse? Need your help.

Now I got my account and I am playing around with it.
First impressions:

  • It does look better than iNotes, or not? I am not sure.
  • I can’t figure out, how to add a sender to my address book?
  • Does anybody know, how to change the initials in the circles?
  • When I compose an email and start typing the address, it get’s ugly. Way too slow.

I really want to get into it and see how it works. If you are game, would you send me please emails to christian.tillmanns (at) ibmverse.com? I will not respond to you, if you don’t include your consent in your mail. Therefore you can send me whatever you want without fear, that I will be a troll in your inbox. A few connections would still be nice.
I want to see, how that concept holds up.
I have two dummy projects: “One To One” and “One To Many” (Yes, I might lack a bit of imagination here). If you want you can include them in the mail.
Chat connections would be nice, too.

 

Verse one step forward, one to the left, one back, two ….

What do we have today? Since ConnectED a lot of things have happened, but for me it all started at the Connect 2015 in Zürich. As every year, I did a long blog post about it. I took 14 pages of notes and still managed to get it somehow wrong. Or did I really?
The thing that made me “famous” was, that I said, that Scott said, that Jeff said IBM wants half a billion IBM Verse users. That was on 9 of march. On the 17th Volker Weber had a meeting with Jeff, who said, that somebody (me) got it all wrong. It was half a million. I am not deaf (yet) and I was sitting in the second row. Jeff said before, that IBM wants to take on Google with Verse. If IBM plans half a million free mail users, would anybody mention that? Remember, at that moment everybody – including Scott – thought we get a real free thing. Let’s leave it at that.
A week later the much-anticipated Verse Preview version … wait, Preview? On Scotts slide in Zürich was written “Free” and there was the word that it would not be crippled (for a given value of crippled). Within a week IBM got cold feet about the free version. Something they bragged about for month. No wait. Got it wrong again. After a week of … I would not say shit storm, rather a collective frustration of the yellow bubble, in the aforementioned meeting Jeff said … or hinted … that there will be a real free version. They just did not like the word freemium. But did I read wrong? In the support forum IBM stated, that the preview version will replace the free version (3-24-15). Now we have apparently turned 180 degrees. It might be possible, that for the first time, IBM actually listened. Jeff told Volker Weber, that the limitations will be much higher. Happy days … we thought.
A week later came this infamous video, which I will not share here in the hope, that it will just disappear, if we ignore it. I resist the urge to give you a link to Vowe’s post with all the comments. Youtube has just three comments and they are not favorable either. I just want to look at one comment from Vowe’s post:

in 2015 no piece of video can be limited just to it’s “target audience”

From a marketing perspective, this is two-fold. While you can not limit the audience that watches (you never could really, not even in 1950), you still have to target a specific audience. No matter what you do, videos, pictures, texts, anything to carry your message, at the receiving end is your target audience … hopefully. The people you want to buy your things. You can not please everybody. Budweiser ads are made for beer drinkers. Everybody else either does not care about beer in general or does not buy Budweiser as a matter of principle. It is just that part of the audience that a) likes beer and b) would try a(nother) Budweiser, that is the target. Forget about the rest, but some in that rest will still like the ad anyway and talk about it. In our case unfortunately, the potential Verse drinkers a) did not get what is was all about or b) just hated the ad. The rest was sitting there with their mouth open, believing they were in the wrong universe. I am sure, that there is a target audience for this video, I just could not get the address.

After that our always thoughtful and clever Ben came up with three questions.

#1 is the most interesting: Do those of us in the IBM Partner community believe in Verse and want it to succeed?

Accidentally, Luis Richardson asked us in Zürich almost the same question. Do we as partners want to be part of it? He sees it almost as the time, when partners did all these incredible applications for Notes and Domino. I do have my own questions a) What is in there for me? b) is it about selling Verse or Verse apps?
Looking back, I see the Notes Designer. An almost elegant developement environment. Easy to learn languages. A simple and stable database system. Something that made starting developing a joy, because you were able to do so much with so little knowledge. XPages are not in the same category, even though, IBM tries hard to make it as easy as possible. Will Verse give us the same possibilities as we had with Notes to repeat the success we had? Forget it. The technology behind it is much more complicated and in recent years IBM wasn’t the poster child for great documentation for developers. IBM would have to create a shop for the cloud version, where customers would be able to try and buy things from partners. Well others can do things like that, but I doubt that IBM is willing to let us build “plugins” or whatever it is called today (“Extensions” anyone?).

Next step. On April first the final version should have been there. Some people  got it few days later and were disappointed. The promised new limitations just were not there. Instead there is now a Verse Basic, which is exactly like Verse Preview, but one can send 100 mails a day, instead of 25. Wow. But at least one can see all the other Verse Basic users, which disqualifies it as an alternative to any other web mail service.
Now let us do a little list:

  • The idea of Mail Next got us all excited for over a year now.
  • They called it Verse
  • We were promised a free version and we hoped, that would be something we could actually use and IBM wants to take on Google with it.
  • What we first got was a free version that was called a preview version that was so crippled it wasn’t even good enough for testing the most important features.
  • The preview version was killed for a promised new free version with much higher limitations. That never saw the light of the day.
  • The new version is called Verse Basic version and is in fact the Verse Preview. It isn’t intended to be used as a production mail client.
  • It isn’t even finished (for a given value of finished).

IBM could have kept the “Preview” in the Name. At least it describes correctly what it is. From a basic product I expect at least that I can use it.

I am still waiting for my Verse Preview/Basic account, but I am not the least motivated to do any sensible testing anymore.
But I get emails about Verse webcasts where they say that they missed me. The kind of webcast were everybody is always “so excited”. Apparently tomorrow is the next one. I got the confirmation about registering for it. Don’t remember.

 

IBM Verse Freemium is DEAD

What can change in a week. Last week in Zürich Scott Souder said IBM Verse Freemium will not be a crippled version. So much for that. Nice move from IBM to stab Scott in the back. Now it is a preview version that is so useless, that IBM might what to turn that server of again. That would save a few bucks in electricity.

IBM Verse Support Forum (thank’s to Karl-Henry Martinsson)

IBM really does not get it (… again). Somehow Vowes comment about the Village Idiot comes to mind.
Let’s recapitulate what IBM wants to achieve with Verse:
Take on Gmail
With what? A preview version? 24 mails in 24 hours? 500 MB quota? An unfinished product? No migration tool? No signature? 500 MB files? Oh, you say, that is only for the “Enterprise” version, not for freemium – ups sorry – preview? And with what they want to convince people to move? With a preview version that isn’t even powerful enough to show the really cool bits?
IBM you just made Google very happy. But I doubt, that they ever took you very serious.

500’000’000 users
OK, I suppose somehow the zeros got multiplied due to the bad acoustics in Zürich. 5’000’000 users would be less unrealistic target, but a failure. With this preview version IBM will not even get those.

And than we have that:
Jeff Schick says that mail would be CO-HOSTED in Europe. And where is the other server? I suppose, were it is convenient to read all the mails.

It is really depressing. Every time I think IBM might starts to understand a few things how the world works, they blow it in the end. Every time. Amazing.

Right, it’s over. They might move a few existing customers to Verse. A few million seats, that’s it. Just like any other small hoster. We can move on now. The revolution has never happened.

Soul or Numbers – Sports for Developers

A year ago Vowe started walking. Today he is doing at least a hundred kilometers a week.
This is great. It certainly changed his life. If you are a “numbers athlete” you can do that, too. I am not.
Also a year ago I felt I had to do something. I sensed, that I wasn’t up to speed anymore while moguls skiing. I have never been really fat. 10 years ago I was at my worst with slightly over 80 kilo, today I am down to 75 again. My BMI was never out of the normal range. Therefore I never had the urge to do a lot … until my belly started to wobble in the moguls. Eeeeeeks. My friends suggestion to buy other higher skiing trousers to hold it, wasn’t actually the solution I was looking for.
About 5 years ago I started to do more and more mountain biking tours. Even in winter. Not when it is really hot. I am not the hardcore biker who is looking for the hardest tours he can find. I just enjoy the ride and look at the country side.
Since the monsters are old enough now, that they not need constant supervision, my wife and I started windsurfing again. But in Switzerland, that isn’t a sport we can do on a regular basis. Windsurfing is limited to holidays and is the only reason anyone can make me go to a beach for more than a few hours. No lying in the sun for me. I hate this with a passion you can only dream of and with my skin I rather stay in the shadow.
Biking going up is boring and it isn’t using the whole body. Downward it does, but only for a short time.

I never measure anything. Every time I tried to clock my biking rounds, I forgot to turn the stopwatch off. It isn’t for me and anyway, I always try to find new routes. I don’t like repetitive movements like jogging either and I definitely can’t imagine to run on a conveyor belt in a gym (outside are roads and trails in woods, go there). One day somebody I talked to about biking, asked me, if I also liked it, when everything starts to hurt. Hell, NO! I don’t go into trance either.
You will not see me with any smart device that tracks anything I do. I am not interested in that. When I go skiing, I even “forget” my phone. Leave me alone when I am doing what I love. I can’t explain what it does to me, if you don’t do it yourself and in that case we would not need words anyway. I am totally outside the world of “I beat my own record”.
When I go skiing with people who do all that endurance stuff and brag about their latest marathon, it’s always them, who crawl back to the car on all fours because they are exhausted, never me. I always have to wait for them. I don’t need a break after only 90 minutes of skiing. They do. I don’t complain about the thin air at 3300m. Though my physical fitness isn’t as bad it seems, but most of my advantage comes from the thousands of hours I invested to become a technically better skier. Something that is hard to measure.
I am a soul athlete (the words of a friend). I cherish the movement of my legs going as fast as possible through the moguls or going down that really steep slope on Mont Gelé in Verbier in fresh powder (the front side towards Atlas I). I love it when I go over rocks on single trails (downward – fast – biking). I am in heaven when I am sliding over small waves and all the forces are in balance (windsurfing). I want my brain completely focussed on that moment. Not thinking about anything else.
(BTW, all the fitness does not save you from sleep deprivation. You can not train to use less sleep. You might feel strong like King Kong Friday afternoon, but you still have the mental capacity of a legally drunk).
But still, I needed something to fill the gaps between winter and summer holidays and something where I am forced to go. And I wanted to learn something new.

Kung Fu!

To be exact, Chin Woo Kung Fu. That was the thing I started a year ago. And since I am a bit timid (stop laughing, Pierre), I asked monster no. 1, if she wanted to come. And this is really cool. My daughter and I are learning something new together. Not father-shows-child-how-to-do and he get’s it all wrong, because he never learned it correctly. I don’t teach my kids skiing, I am not a ski instructor. I wouldn’t even teach my kids flying and I am a CFI. My daughter is certainly better than I, but I passed the last test, too.
Kung Fu as we do it, isn’t about fighting … mostly. It is more like athletic dancing which happens to be a fighting style. It is all about the movement. When the whole class does a form together, that looks rather cool. It trains every single muscle I know of. It stretches everything. It trains the sense of balance. It uses my brain, because I have to remember all the details of every move, which isn’t as easy as it may sound (sometimes I see the pain of desperation in our trainers eyes). Apparently after 10’000 times doing a move, you don’t have to concentrate as much anymore and can start to learn the move correctly.
Kung Fu is something for everyone. In my class we range from 7 or 8-year-old kids to old geezers like me. In between is everything and every gender. We even have handicapped people. There is no “who has the nicest outfit” because we have all the same clothes.
After one year I can say it is worth every penny (or “Rappen” as they say north of me).
I have less problems with my back. My belly fat moves slowly upwards. My joints do way better. My knees are stronger and most important – I ski better again.
It also gave me a few insights into society. Did you know, that above a certain age, you fade into the background? You become invisible to younger people? Let me explain.
Last autumn, another guy from my age group was missing for three weeks. I asked the trainer if he knew anything about it. One girl (age about 18) asked who we were talking about. We describe him to her. Name, height, shoe size and so on. She had never seen him. The next week he was back again and I pointed him out to her. She just said, that the two of us looked the same (certainly not!). That means, the other geezer and I are just some three-dimensional shadows she avoids to run into, otherwise we do not exist. Thank you very much. And the theory is consistent. The female age group between 16 and 25 does not even talk to us or does the partner exercises with us. That brings me to the inevitable conclusion, that I am old now. I can shovel my grave and order the tombstone.

If you are like me a soul athlete, interested in the movement and not into counting and you need something that gets you going, try Kung Fu. And at my age you can even claim that you are so fast, some only see your shadow. And in your CV Kung Fu just looks cool.

ConnectEd in Zürich – Old Boys meeting

I am not going to bore you with a lot of technical news about IBM Verse and stuff, but first, I want to thank the IBM partners and distributors, who actually run the show. IBM provides rooms and some speakers, the partners do all the rest, as I was told. Great job, really.
This time, there were more C-Level tracks half as long as a technical session. I suppose that was to allow for the lower attention span of the C-Levels, therefore I will do the same thing here and give those with a lot of meetings waiting for, a management summary:

MANAGEMENT SUMMARY
ConnectED Zürich: 5 march 2015
IBM Verse: Very good. Strongly suggest to consider replacement of Microsoft Stack.
IBM Watson Analytics: Great technology. Not available from any other vendor.
IBM Notes: Will be supported for the forseeable future. Consider to move to Verse anyway.
IBM Connections: By all accounts and opinions even from some Microsoft Partners, still the better product. Consider to move as soon as possible.
END OF MANAGEMENT SUMMARY

Having now reduced the number of readers by half we can go to a more in-depth look.
IBM Switzerland must have reduced its workforce significantly again, because half of the building is now used by other companies. That isn’t really good news. And the roof leaks. Really. I got hit by drops twice during cocktail hour.
I and others had the feeling, we were at an old boys/girls event.

There are one or two things I found rather interesting.
Scott Souder stressed the point, that Verse isn’t just about mail (we have heard that before … for about 25 years) and IBM is looking into making classic Notes apps available in the browser without a plugin. As we were told, this is a sky-high priority, since most browsers could not care less about plugins and IE is as crappy as ever (I did not see a single hand, when Scott asked who used it). He also said, that we all have to realise, that especially Notes is 25 year old. There are things in there that make it hard, to make it a modern client. The browser is just the better and easier tool for the future. But Notes 9.0.2 is coming and a 64bit version for OSX, too (Scott said we shouldn’t tweet certain things he said, that would get him fired: Sorry, Scott, I forgot which, I didn’t tweet it and you say that every time).
Domino, XPages and Bluemix are really something to be considered. It really can ease some pain. IBM thinks, it is a tool to get new developers on the platform. We have heard that before, too. I rather think it is also a great tool to migrate slowly of Domino. I just wonder about the OpenNTF tools and Bluemix.
The thing that let my jaw drop to the floor was this: Jeff Schick apparently said, that IBM wants to have 500’000’000 users in the Verse cloud … half a billion … 5 times 10 to the power of 8. Err…. Dear Jeff, do you realize that the world has roughly 7.3 billion human beings? Only about 40% use the internet: 2.92 billion. Half a billion would be about 12% market share. Notes has less than half a percent. You would have to convince a few big ones to move to Verse. I see a few hurdles to this idea.

(Disclaimer: Below is what I have seen until now. It is subject to change by IBM and I have not seen the pricing. So I might be completely and utterly wrong.)

First: Not everybody has the 500-emails-per-day-problem. Many live happily and stress free with their current installation. Even if it is an Exchange server.

Second: Do you really think companies would trust a computer to filter their mail? Companies (and there are many) whose administrators day after day go through the quarantined spam and look for mails that might be important?

Third: We don’t need another email address. The domain of the free Verse is @ibmverse.com. From a marketing point of view, that is a nightmare. It sounds like a beta domain (apart from that the name “Verse” itself is a marketing nightmare, for example in French “je verse” is pouring something and in German it sounds just awful).

Forth: It is really sad. Again IBM does not understand small companies. Nobody will move from their free or almost free @bluewin.ch (change countries and providers as appropriate) address to a free @ibmverse.com address, if there isn’t a huge advantage. 500 MB file space isn’t enough. I think IBM should match Google Drive.
For small and micro companies there isn’t that big advantage that makes them change. None whatsoever.
Every single time IBM tries to get small companies in the boat, they mess up … every f+%&/* time (my blood pressure … breathe slowly). I can’t see any reason, why this time it should be different.

Fifth: IBM claims every time they announce some new feature for Worse – ups sorry, just the sound of it, I mean Verse – competitors come up with something similar. The only difference is: The competitors deliver. They are here right now.

And last: Nobody understands Watson. You can’t show it really. How do you want to sell that? There will always come up the argument, that users can do that with rules. I use that single button on my apple mail quite often and that works nicely for me. And just for the record. Most don’t understand “People centric” neither.

Dear IBM, the Verse offering does not show a USP that makes Tom, Harry and Dick/Sally, Susan and Diana move. None. Nada. No “wana have”. I did not say it is bad, oh no, it is great, but as ever IBM marketing su….. isn’t good enough. You have to come up with an offer that is so good, that about 2 billion users might consider a change (By the way, how about a run-your-business offering for business partners? I am looking into moving my this blog and mail to something else. But I want to keep my domain).

I have seen the Verse ad for the second time. The first time was in a blog post. It isn’t “everywhere” as was claimed. At least not here. But Here and again, IBM fails again to “SHOW THE PRODUCT” as what it is. If you don’t know, it is about email, you just wonder what it is all about and the ad was clearly targeted towards big companies.
IBM isn’t on the radar of small companies. Just isn’t. Not here, not there. Nowhere. It would be IBM’s duty to go to the small companies to change that. But this is hard work and by far not as interesting as the Global 500. Which have their act together and don’t need IBM to explain it to them.
Since I am generally a nice person (some say), I give you an idea, what I think the offering should look like and makes it different from others.
A difference would make: “Pay once, use forever”.
For example. I just need freebie Verse but I want my own domain. I give you 20 bucks and that’s it. Don’t need no support. I can point my MX record to your server myself.
Need another user with the same domain? 20 bucks.
Need guest access to files? 20 bucks.
Migration of old mail and calendar entries? 100 bucks (20 from Notes).
Just add features that are not important for everyone and I pay you if I need it … once, because there is just one change once.
Give me a choice.
If I want something that asks for more space or computing power? I would pay for it every year. That is fair. But just because I want my own domain, I don’t see, why I should rent that right from you.
I want an offering where I have the choice and the difference between free and full service isn’t a 1000 bucks. Sometimes I just want a salad and not the whole menu.
And now the last bit. I don’t want to be the product. Not even if I use the free Verse. Therefore NOBODY touches my stuff, I don’t know personally. Make that clear to everyone. And even more important. I want my stuff here in my own country.
IBM I make you an offer. If you get the offering right, I will personally stand on 10 Saturdays in 10 different shopping centers and on 10 Thursdays at SMB exhibitions around Switzerland. You just have to provide the marketing material and your name. I give you my time. The exact terms would depend what we agree on, but you don’t have to pay me for those 20 days or more than 100 hours of hard work. Deal? That should once and for all show, if Verse is the product for SMB.
By the way! Where is the business partners place in all that?
So far so good. Scott Souder, HP and Louis Richardson were fun to see as ever.
Other memorable sessions – because I went there – were those of the University of Zürich and the one of Klaus Bild about SDI (formally known as TDI).
The switch of the University of Zürich to Notes is one of the big success stories of the last years. Nobody knows about it, which is another IBM marketing failure.
They have rather interesting problems. 158 institutes that can do what they want. Central IT Services can’t even do something, if one of the institutes decides they want their own stuff. The institutes are completely free, as it should be at a research university. And they have from Amigas to the latest Apple gadget everything and it has to work (well somehow limited in case of an Amiga). And only Notes/Domino can do this. Now did we ever doubt that?
During the speech Dr. Roberto Mazzoni wasn’t all nice and cheery with IBM. Scott was sitting in the audience but probably didn’t get everything, since it was in German. I suppose he heard it before. Today the University of Zürich runs a huge Domino/Notes infrastructure for about 40’000 users. All that with just 2 Admins. Amazing isn’t it? And that isn’t all. The Uni-ZH has added Connections, too (needs a bit more manpower to keep it alive though).
Two words of warning came from Sandra Bühler of Belsoft, the company that helped the University: If you use Traveller on a Microsoft Server, be aware that Microsoft might come after you and wants you to buy CAL’s for your users. There is probably something in the fine print that says you must. Therefore: Linux. It’s anyway the better solution.
IBM always says to engage HR in the deployment of Connections. Don’t! They don’t have the time and “resources” to do it.
My last breakout session was about SDI. Google it and you find “SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure” or “Software Defined Infrastructure”. We were getting a closer look at “Security Directory Integrator” or better known as “Tivoly Directory Integrator”. When is IBM ever going to stop the product renaming circus? It does not make sense at all.
Anyway, it is still a great tool, but IBM should invest a few bucks to get some limitations fixed. It is very annoying that one has to write the whole XML code on a single line. That line can easily be a long as a cargo train. Is carriage-return-new-line such a big problem?

That was about it. I am really a bit annoyed, that I never got the chance to test Verse in its early stages. I have registered several times and never got a reply.
Whenever it comes out, I want to test it thoroughly. Is anybody out there game to do a group test? Sending emails to myself is a bit boring, but if anybody wants to find out what is all the fuss about, we could do it together. Some real life testing.

We will see what happens next.

 

Notes and Domino as Open Source – Is this really a good idea?

Once in a while the call for open sourcing of Notes and Domino comes up. Actually I personally would like that. But would it really boost the use of Notes and Domino? That is the point were I have doubts.
Let’s just forget for a moment some issues that will prevent this, because apparently there is some third-party code in there, IBM can not just give away. That’s a legal problem.
Let’s focus on the other problems, which are huge enough.

Technical
While I have no doubt, that there is a great many code that is wonderful, we had some snags in the not so recent past, that annoyed some of the best yellow bleeders so much, that they recoded a whole bunch of things, just to have something that works as it should (I just say Java).
When we would dive in the source, we would probably find quite a few more things, that should be rectified and that does not pay the rent.
While Notes is based on a Non-SQL-Document-Database, which are very en vogue today, the performance of the NSF is not at par with MongoDB or CouchBase (or CouchDB for the matter). Replacing NSF with CouchDB would give a huge performance boost, but that would demand quite a bit of new code. Some logic could certainly be reused, but still, somebody would have to write a few thousand lines in Erlang.
A few other thing were to address, the lousy performance on the Mac, search isn’t that good either in comparison. I think some of us would gladly kill the Eclipse RPC.
Domino becomes more and more expensive to maintain, too. A whole bunch of new code would be required to make administration easy and save. Web Admin comes to mind, too. There isn’t a way around a web admin.
And let’s not forget the slight security problem we have with it. Not addressing this, would be certain death of the whole thing.
We would have to do without Watson, that wouldn’t be a show stopper, but probably we would have to live without Traveller. That would be a show stopper. Developing a Traveler replacement would be quite a task.
Repeat after me: “Migration must be painless” and let’s not forget updating it should not be rip and replace.
And to round things up; to be a success, it can’t be “the same old”. Feature- and performance wise it would have to be something out of this world.

Design
The one most important thing I hate about Open Office (and Libre Office); it’s ugly. I hate to look at it. It might be technically good, but I still hate it. Notes hasn’t very compelling looks either, but still better. But to be a success, that Open Source Version 1.0 would have to be the best looking email client ever. As an example we have only to look at Android. Only because Google and others have invested in good Design, it became a success. For us geeks, Linux was always the better server choice. But as a desktop, it never really succeed. I think it is because of the desktop design. It just isn’t up to specs. Or better, it never was overwhelmingly better as Windows. Only then it would have seen as a replacement. People hate change.
But who is going to do the design? A real good designer with a vision would be required. John Ive isn’t available and I do not believe in hundreds of designers fiddling around with some design language. For a single product it has to be one person that makes all the design decisions.

Organisation
While the Apache Foundation does one hell of a job, most of the really important tools are not made for the run of the mill end-user. I doubt, that Apache would be the best way to organise the work. Notes would deserve a dedicated organisation and it probably would need one that works full-time. Therefore it has to make money. Who pays?
Probably Linux could work as a model. Having a few experts who decide where to go, is probably better, than having a democratic vote. These half gods would also be responsible for preventing any attempt of forking.
The Linux model also has the advantage, that it lets companies make money with it.
For our purpose, the initial financing could be done by the highly committed customers. Getting them in the boat and building a project and team based on Kelly Johnson’s 14 principles, is the way to success and fast.
Probably we should only focus on the server anyway. Clients could be the thing to make money. Except for basic client that serves as example and first building block, if a rich client is really needed.
Mobile is without question one of the corner stones that must be included.

Marketing
Who is going to sell that thing to companies who are absolutely against open source software for their strategic tools? Or the ones that are fed up with Notes anyway? Or those who have only heard terrible things about Notes? Only keeping the few companies that are willing to dedicate time and resources to an open source project, isn’t a viable solution for all the partners and the product. And there is the fear about migration. That should be painless. I mean really. Not just a sales pitch.
Small companies might want to go for a free version, but please in the cloud.
There are tons of ideas, how to build a business model around this and one would certainly be a good one. But is a group of volunteers capable of doing this or will there be an eternal fight between those who want to feed their kids and those who rather starve than going against the higher ideals of open source?

I believe, that IBM rather lets Notes/Domino die, than give it away. But if IBM does it and it becomes a real success and IBM would have to explain that to the greedy share holders.

Having said all that, I believe the better solution would be starting from scratch altogether.
Getting the code and finding out, that more than half of it would have to be rewritten anyway, would be a bad surprise. Starting with a clean sheet gives the opportunity to get the best ideas from the best people and make it happen much faster.
From the start the group could build something that really can change the game. For example a server, that does not care which client it serves. A server that does more than just mail, also chat, SMS and documents. A server that uses Apache as a web server (but carefull: the more third-party code, the more dependencies).
A structure that lets one store anything project AND contact based.
Thinking about it, it should be something like Connections for the poor, only with more features and fewer servers.
Still, it would be a lot of work. But fun. I would help. But frankly, the yellow bleeders are not the open source geeks who flip burgers during the day and do miracles during the night. Somebody would still have to come up with a sustainable organisation that keeps the project going and contributors happy. Even if that means the final product will not be free to use for all.
But since we know by now all the remaining Notes customers, all of them could tell us what they want from the new thing not called Notes at all. That’s a plus.
Oh, and migration should be painless. I did mention it, did I?