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Real world outcome of Domino Designer becoming Free

I was just working with a client to optimise their IBM software maintenance which is coming up in Dec. Amongst other things they are currently licensed with Lotus Notes Collaboration and Domino Enterprise Servers and also have 4 Domino Designer licenses which were all up for renewal.

I explained to them the recently announced changes with Lotus Notes licensing, in particular that come Feb next year their Lotus Notes Collaboration licenses will convert to Domino Enterprise CALs and that as part of this they get an entitlement for Domino Designer with each license. There instant reaction to this was to ask "So does that mean every one of our users can have Designer?" which off course the answer is yes. They were wrapped with this and said that while they certainly wouldn't give it to every user that it is great that they can enable more people to build apps and don't have to be restricted by their 4 Designer licenses.

This has to be on of the exact outcome IBM is hoping to achieve, encourage organisation to do more with Notes and Domino. Back in the early versions of Notes before Designer came along any user could build basic databases and Notes flourished. Obviously Domino Designer was a great step forward when it was introduced however the cost of the license definitely had a negative impact of preventing that grass roots development occurring from basic users.

So then off course the question is should they renew their existing Domino Designer licenses now? I have suggested probably not. They have current maintenance up until Dec 31 so they are entitled to use Domino Designer 8.5.1 and it is probably unlikely there will be another release between now and Feb when their licenses convert. The only reason they would do it I guess is to have support for Jan but this is not likely to be needed, and also the fact that the Designer licenses will also convert to CAL's which they don't really need. So I guess the short term negative of the change is a small loss in revenue for IBM for clients no longer buying/renewing Designer but this should be insignificant to the positive impact that more people building Notes Apps will have on the usage of Lotus Notes within organisations and hence the ROI they get from the product.

So I say good one IBM, Domino Designer for Free is definitely making a positive impact on our clients usage of Notes & Domino!