Lotus Redbooks – An update on the petition

It’s been a while since I posted an update on the Lotus Redbook petition that I started last year.

As of 7am GMT this morning, there are 390 signatures on the petition – approximately a three-fold increase since my last post on the issue.  Now I would love to know your feelings on this, but I see 390 as being a significant number – for a reasonably small community such as ours, and for an issue that hasn’t been raised on that many sites, I see the fact that 390 IT professionals having made the effort to go to the petition and sign it as being a big deal.

So what does this mean? Many folks do not agree with the IBM decision to close the Lotus Redbook centre, nor to stop producing the traditional Lotus Redbooks.  That much is clear. Whilst IBM has started to rollout the new-style “online residencies”, only one has so far been announced and (as far as I know) it is still in progress.  There has not been (again, afaik) any clear public stated roadmap or programme for these residencies, nor the Redbooks/Redwikis that will hopefully follow.  Therefore, IBM is saying “trust us”, but with no evidence to back this up, even 6 months+ since the decision was leaked, there is still no reassurance that this decision will be the right one for all those hundreds of signatories (nor the thousands or even millions of users that they represent).

So, thank you to all that have signed the petition, I think it makes a great statement on the issue.  Whilst I don’t agree with Vowe’s survey suggestion that Mike Rhodin be remembered as the “Burner of Redbooks”, I do think that this decision will be regretted in the future.  Whenever a decision to pull a programme is made on purely cost grounds, without any clear replacement, and without any discssion with the user base impacted, there are bound to be serious knock-on effects.  

As yet, we haven’t seen or heard the full impact of this decision (and therefore the absence of Redbooks on Quickr, Connections, Sametime 8, Foundations, Protector or Mashups) – I fear that it will be more far-reaching and damaging that IBM ever expected…

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!