In my opinion, people dislike Notes because their expectations don't jive with the original intent of the product. At its core, Notes is a runtime environment for collaborative applications, but when people complain about Notes, they are usually not talking about core Notes at all. They are talking about the Notes Mail and Calendar applications. Why does this distinction matter? It matters because the Notes core is what a lot of people really love.
Bob goes on to explain the issue, and it's something that resonates with me. I love Smalltalk, and have for years. I get the same kind of "huh?" reactions that Bob brings up on a regular basis, and it has to do with expectations.
Smalltalk, for good or ill, has a culture surrounding it. That's not really true of C, or C#, or Java (or most other languages, including newish ones like Ruby or Python). Smalltalkers don't work in their favorite code editor, followed by a compile cycle. We work in an image, crafting code one method at a time in a browser. We don't look at long listings of class definitions and methods; we look at little snippets of our system through the browser, and rely on inspectors and ad-hoc workspace testing (not to mention more formal testing) to "see" the code. Which is to say, our development culture is different than what the mainstream developer expects.
When a developer who's heard a lot about Smalltalk - perhaps after having seen Ruby or Python - can be somewhat taken aback by this culture. All their familiar tools are gone; the version control systems are unique to the product, and the development tools are embedded in the environment. We, as Smalltalkers revel in that - we understand the power this brings, and want no part in leaving it. The newbie, on the other hand, sees a learning curve and an inability to apply previous skills to the task at hand.
Which is why there's a disconnect between the Smalltalk community and the development community at large. Now, many would say that we should just "get with the program" and make our stuff look like everything else. The trouble is, that would jettison a goodly proportion of the power we have - the cost is simply too high. We could do a better job of introducing people to the environment, that's for sure. But I don't think we can walk off the mountain and be like everyone else.