US Report: Lotus delays start of Notes 5.0 beta testing

Users waiting to beta test the next version of Lotus Notes and Domino will have to wait a little longer.

Lotus officials decided this week to delay the public beta of Notes and Domino 5.0--which was due this month--and are now promising it "later in September," according to a company spokesman. The beta preview currently under way was posted to the company's Web site in July. It is open only to Lotus Business Partners, select customers and Notes developers. Feedback from preview users contributed to the decision to delay the release of the public beta, Lotus officials said.

"We found a couple of features that are not performing as we had hoped. We'll hold off for a public beta until late September," said Paul Davis, manager of Notes and Domino public relations. "We want it in top 100 percent shape. We wouldn't want the public beta to not be everything that we envisioned."

Lotus officials said they don't know if this delay will impact the ultimate ship date, although it could push back the release of Notes and Domino 5.0 to early next year. At a Lotus-held press event in June, officials said version 5.0 of the groupware platform would ship by year's end. "We don't want to do a final ship on something that we have not had a complete public beta on," Davis said.

Although Davis would not comment on the early beta snags, it appears they are more on the Notes client side than the Domino server side.

Notes 5.0 has been redesigned to more closely align itself with the Web and a browser-like user interface. It is expected to sport a user-customisable front end and include navigation bars with forward, back and refresh buttons, officials have said.