We're a Notes 7 shop and will be until November 2007 at the earliest (while we wait for the relevant blackberry fixes for Notes 8). That said, I wanted to get some familiarity with the client without Losing my Notes 7 install.
So far it's working, so here's how I did it.
A Near Miss
My first attempt at installing Notes 8 could have ended in disaster had I not been watching carefully. The software wanted to install right over the top of my Notes 7 installation and wouldn't give me an option to change directories.
I quickly located an IBM tech note on the problem which said to temporarily rename my notes directories.
I renamed them from Lotus to xlotus (both the Application and the Data directories). This was enough to allow me to do a fresh install of Notes 8. This time, I chose a different location.
After installation, I did the workstation setup and chose not to make Notes 8 my default email client (just in case it overwrote something important).
After a quick look around, I closed Notes and renamed my xlotus directories back.
My start menu has the new Notes icon next to Email, but it still launches Notes 7 - This is good.
I can also choose to run either Notes 7 or Notes 8 but can't run them both at the same time. If I click Notes 8 while Notes 7 is around, it simply brings Notes 7 to the front. I'm quite happy with that behaviour.
My Notes 7 client was an Administrator/Designer, but I've left the Notes 8 Client as standard.
At this stage, I'm obviously not planning to upgrade any database designs or replicate anything from Notes 8. I'm just going to have a look around and get used to the interface.
My initial thoughts on Notes 8
Note: these are VERY initial.
The interface looks spartan and it's hard for me to get it to do exactly what I want - I'm sure I'll change my opinion on that soon.
The application, as is usual for Notes, is VERY compatible. Even things that weren't perfect in the Notes 6.5 - 7 transition behave well here. Given the degree of change from Notes 7 to 8, I'm very pleasantly surprised.
The open button is going to take some getting used to.