Domino 8.5.2 HF1 – the fix for the unread synch server crash


I would like to bring your attention to the SPR# RMAA88UAGF – server crashes when clients synchronize unread marks on Domino 8.5.2 servers.

I ran into this last week when we had some unexplainable server crashes for apparently no good reason – one of them happened when I was showing a help desk tech how to synchronize unread marks between replicas from the client. I investigated and the crash report that Domino gave me pointed me right to this error – now fixed in FP1. It is a regression bug and is not fixed in either of the previous hot fixes for the Domino 8.5.2 code stream. I had servers with both the SMTP patch and the interim fix (IF) as well – they all crashed at one time or another. I installed HF 1 on all servers and now they are safe from this issue – I tested it on all of them just to be on the safe side.

If you don’t have HF 1 installed yet – do it soon, this one can happen at anytime during  the day and there is no warning whatsoever. only a big “boom” when the server disappears from the face of the (electronic) earth. Incidentally, there are allot of other problems that are fixed in that HF as well – I suggest you look into it right away and consider upgrading all your Domino 8.5.2 servers soon.

Notes on Linux: Run a compact from the OS


I have been pretty busy as of late, hence my reduced blogging – but this is one I come across as a question quite frequently from people who are new to Notes/Domino on Linux.

On the Windows OS it is quite simple to run a compactor task from a command prompt or a batch file. However, when on Linux you will often be met by the following error message:

error while loading shared libraries: libnotes.so: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

This error message can appear on either a Linux desktop that has the Notes client installed or a server that has Domino installed. Basically the OS is complaining that it can’t find libnotes.so which usually resides in the /usr/lib folder on your machine. All you have to do is to create some links so that the Notes/Domino code can find this file. And, you will need to do the same for two other files as t the same time.

You will have to be root or have sudo rights to execute this:

sudo ln -s /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/libnotes.so /usr/lib/libnotes.so
sudo ln -s /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/libndgts.so /usr/lib/libndgts.so
sudo ln -s /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/libxmlproc.so /usr/lib/libxmlproc.so

You can see, I have my Notes client (Ubuntu 10.04) installed in [/opt/ibm/lotus/notes] which is the default location. If you have Notes installed someplace else, you will need to adjust the commands above accordingly.

the same commands will solve this issue for Domino server installations as well, though you will likely have Domino installed in [/opt/ibm/lotus/domino]  so just adjust the commands and off you go!

Accountment: Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is now an officially supported platform for Notes 8.5.2


I did just recently rant about IBM being behind on what versions of Linux they support for Notes Domino so this tech note comes timely. I would love to take credit for “pushing IBM along” but  – no matter what truths I twist, not even I can make that case … ;)

The great news is that all us Ubuntu lovers can install Notes on version 10.04 and receive support. Also supported are Red Hat 5.4 (or newer), SUSE Enterprise Desktop 10.0 SP3 or Version 11.0,  and Ubuntu 8.04.

 

IBM Lotus Notes 8.5.2 System Requirements – Linux

 

Ridding myself of Windows – Google Desktop for Lotus Notes and Linux


Again, research, research – I came across this technote today:

IBM – Selecting Actions – Google Desktop for Lotus Notes yields error for Google Desktop plugin on Windows 7.

That reminded me of my current struggle of eliminating Windows from my laptop. Quick reminder – I don’t hate Windows, not do I knock is in personal or professional conversations at all – I just prefer Linux (currently Ubuntu 10.04, will upgrade to 10.10 S O O N) and I prefer not to pay allot of money for a first rate OS and all the software I want to use. I have another Windows Desktop at home, several servers and run Windows as a VM on my Linux machine when I need it.

Google Desktop:

First off let me say that I do applaud IBM for adding technotes about a product like Google Desktop that they don’t produce themselves – that is a great thing that I I hope they keep up.

I started using Google Desktop a few years ago and fell in love with it instantly. The native Windows search-your-desktop product regularly crashed my machine, and after I switched – I never looked back. I also Love the fact that IN WINDOWS it has a plug-in so that you can include your Lotus Notes based email in any search you are conducting. Brilliant! However, the Linux Google Desktop does not support this … sadly.

As to the why? Well, many reasons probably but the major one being the low number of Linux desktops that are used by real end-users out there and not just IT professionals.  For Google to put in the effort they are probably hoping for IBM to put more effort into that field.

David Gewirtz wrote a very interesting article in the Dominopower online magazine recently regarding this very topic. He made a very good point that the latest version of Lotus notes 8.5.2 is only certified to run on three distros: Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu. When it comes to Ubuntu – the most vibrant distro for desktops – the supported version is literally 2 years old. I have it running on the latest version (10.04) but I would never implement this in a customer environment as the desktop configuration would be unsupported by IBM.

Clearly, there is some room for more effort on IBM’s behalf to put some more resources into the Linux portion. I will even stop my griping about the lack of native Admin and Designer clients on Linux (note: my work-around tip is here)  and happily skip-and-jump down the yellow brick road for them. I will have to admit though there is a bit of a chicken and egg situation here: because there is not allot of pull by the market and free-bee extras (like Google Desktop Notes Mail integration) out there IBM is not pushing Linux nearly as hard as they could (or as I would wish them to – different matter I guess)  which in turn does not inspire other companies to put allot of effort into developing Linux variants of their products. Catch 22, viscous cycle, etc.

But clearly IBM is the one who would be able to make more waves in this field if they at least added more Linux distros to the supported list and – especially for Ubuntu – made sure they were not 2 versions behind. Or – novel idea – put out a time-line, schedule (or whatever) that shows where they intend to go with supported Linux versions, distros etc. AND they would have to put it someplace where it can actually be found … I searched but found nada. Just a few posts by TEB alone don’t make a compelling Linux argument. If you don’t have your information someplace where a Google search (or any other search provider) does not show it on page one or two of the results – it does not count. (note: I was searching for a good 30 minutes, that is longer than the average customer would be willing to spend time on a search)

** End of Linux-Griping for the day **

DCLug – Great Location, Great Content, Great Participant, GreatMeet!


Today was the much awaited DCLug – a high-tech affair organized using LinkedIn and Meetup.com at the IBM Briefing Center on K Street in DC. Thanks for Jack Dausman and Kevin Pettitt (and all the others involved) who organized the affair.

It was the first of a regular string of meets that will be held regularly from here on forward – we had a nice sized crowd who came together to listen to some good content about Weilgut’s MindPlan software, the eProductivity software suite, tungle.me and a short presentation about new Lotus Notes Domino 8.5.2 features.

The next meet is not fixed yet, but there has been some talks about trying to arrange another DCLug meet around the time Erick Mack of eProductivity fame is in town sometime in November … now that would be sweet! Just join the LinkedIn group and our Meetup.com group – even if you are not in the immediate DC area – maybe you just want to come in, take part and then have some more fun at one of DC’s many cultural offerings.

Hope to see you there next time. Below are some pictures I took of Jack Dausman presenting.

Jack Dausman presenting Mindplan

Jack Dausman and Mindplan

Domino on Linux: Lotus Notes and Fine Wine


Fine Wine .. I am always reminded of Billy Joel’s song “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”

A bottle of white, a bottle of red
Perhaps a bottle of rose instead . . .

Linux and WINE

I have taken a giant leap in my ever on-going quest to rid myself of the necessity to use Windows for my daily work. Being mainly an administrator and architect when it comes to Domino I have been feeling the pain of being treated like a red-headed step child by IBM – all just because I am a Linux user. Discrimination, I say! Off with their heads! No taxation without representation! I guess you get the general sentiment.

Returning to the world of serious debate, today was a good day. I have to use a VMware image or a VirtualBox image to run Windows on my Ubuntu client to run the Notes Admin client. I use the Admin client allot and sometime I just need it for 1 minute … and I don’t want to have to run a VMWare session all the time just for that reason.

In steps the hero – Wine but I did have to fiddle a bit to get it done correctly, here the process for Ubuntu 10.04:

  1. Install either using Ubuntu Software Center or via the terminal using [sudo apt-get install wine1.2]
  2. Run the configuration interface via Application – Wine – Configure Wine I really set nothing here, but running it once sets the base configuration
  3. Run the WINDOWS install executable for Notes/Admin/Design client 8.5.2

This is where the issue happened. The installer went ALMOST all the way and then broke off. It did actually register the program so I have the links in the Wine program to start them but the installer could not populate the notes.ini – it was empty but for the first line. A Notes client cannot run that way so what I did was simple – I cheated:

  1. Copy content of existing notes.ini from my VMWare image
  2. Adjust the directory settings for the Notes executable and data folder
  3. Copy my Notes ID file
  4. Copy my names.nsf (was not created yet)

I then ran the client and it went through the Notes client setup procedure.

…. Drum roll ….

Now I have a fully working Admin client that i can use to connect to the Server. Oh, I forgot .. I also have a Developer client and another Notes client as well. I can now run TWO Notes clients at the same time without having to jump through hoops. And all of that on a Linux workstation … I can now almost forgive IBM for discriminating against us Linux Admins, because we are one step ahead of Mac users who also do not have a native Admin client either. though – I guess there has to be some Mac equivalent of Wine that can run the Windows client directly.  Does anybody have information on that? I don’t have a Mac.

How to crash a Linux Notes client ….


My main OS on my private machine is Linux and I love it. I have been workign with Linux for years now and still consider myself someplace int eh steep learning curve as there is a new thing I learn every week.

I also love the notes client on Linux because NOTHING “was” able to kill it – until I tried to create an update site and load in the language packs for German, French, Italian and Spanish for the new spell checker. These need to be integrated using an update site or can also be installed like a locally available widget.

Well, my linux client met it’s match. I run 8.5.1 FP4 on Red HAd workstation 5.5 …. it crashed on me every time. Made no difference if the update site was a local file or on the server.

Has anyone else out there run into this scenario? Ideas and input please.

I have not had the chance to look though all the crash information or turn on debug parameters to get to the root cause – but after I am done with the Webcast I am preparing for the Consultant In Your Pocket series run by Chris Miller  I will go and nail this one down and figure out what caused it. I can never rule out stupid user error, but I like to don my Teflon suite and make sure nothing sticks and I can blame somebody else ….

Linux for the Lotus Notes Admin – The DD command


I have decided to start a new series – Linux for the Lotus Notes Admin. I will be sharing some tips and tricks for how to deal with issues of both the Domino server and the Notes client (Sametime as well) on Linux.
I myself am a big Linux user, my desktop has been Linux (I use Red Hat) for quite some time but I also run VMWare workstation and have a Windows install there to be able to take advantage of Windows and the products that are available. My accounting package only exists in Windows but more important still, there is no Lotus Notes Admin or Developer client for Linux.

What are we setting out to do?
The other day I ordered some new drives for my laptop (I have two drives installed) and I did not want to have to do a re-install. I have some older tools that I have used previously to move or clone partitions from/to other drives and have used them successfully. I wanted to give native Linux tools a chance though so I decided to clone my drive using the [dd] command. Another good tool is [partimage] but I wanted to go real OLD SCHOOL as dd has been around since the early 70′s.

The [DD] command

Note: It goes without saying that you should be doing this either as root or have sudo rights on your Linux machine. That eliminates all possible issues you might run into as far as they are related to rights.

My drives were both the same size (500 GB) and as it was the boot drive with lilo on it, I just wanted a straight clone so the command to use was

dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/hda

The command takes the whole SDA drive (all partitions of the boot drive) and clones them to the drive currently connected as the [/dev/hda] drive. You can partition the new drive first and create a partition table, but it does not need formatting as you will be overwriting everything anyway. I just created a plain vanilla primary partition t make sure the drive was OK and had no drive errors.

As expected (I had not used dd for quite some time) it worked flawlessly … however, it also took 26hrs 37 min! I did it over a weekend and was actually able to use the PC during the process (some browsing, nothing else) and when I switched the drive out the laptop started up without a hitch – it was as if nothing had changed, other than the improvement in speed!

What did I gain?

Next to proving I could still do native Linux commands and had the patience to just wait the process out, the main reason I went through this was to swap out my old drives for new hybrid drives that are ALLOT faster. Darren Duke had blogged about them a while back and I went out and bought them – what a difference in speed!

Other Resources on Linux

There are quite a few other people who specialize in Linux and Lotus Notes Domino, I am by far not the only one and definitely not the most knowledgeable on either. But, if you are really interested in Linux and how the Lotus products work on them, you should go and listen to Bill Malchisky’s presentation “Lotus on Linux Report” that he is giving at IamLUG this year. I have heard it previously and for anybody serious about Linux it is a must hear presentation.