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Lotus Notes 8.x under Linux: No window shows up, Tips for upgrading to LN8.5

Posted by Jakub Holý on April 30, 2009

Since recently when I started Lotus Notes 8.0.2 as another user via sudo, it has started with the splash screen, asked for a password nad displayed a progress bar but as soon as the startup finished and the splash screen disappeared it hasn’t open the main window. The process was running but there was no visible manifestation of it.

After a long time and an upgrade to LN 8.5 I’ve figured out that perhaps there was something wrong with the configuration. The reason to think so is that LN8.5 exhibited exactly the same problem but for all users. Later I’ve discovered that there were some configuration files like /etc/notes/ and /etc/ibm-hannover.conf left from the previous version though I uninstalled it (maybe these aren’t created during the installation but during first startup). After their deletion and LN8.5 reinstall it more less started to work.

Upgrading Lotus Notes 8.0.2 to 8.5

Based on my experience I’d recommand the following steps when upgading 8.0.2 to 8.5:

  1. Uninstall LN 8.0.2 (I installed mine from .deb packages created by converting .rpm packages by alien).
  2. Remove  /etc/notes/ and /etc/ibm-hannover.conf.
  3. Move $HOME/lotus/ somewhere else so that when you run LN for the 1st time it works in a clean environment. You can move it back when you get LN working.
  4. Install LN8.5 – now there are .deb packages. You will need to install ibm_lotus_notes-8.5.i586.deb first for the others depend on it.
    • Some people recommend to change /bin/sh to point to /bin/bash. That’s a good idea also for other IBM software, for instance I was long unable to install Rational Software Developer 7.x for a mysterious problem caused by having /bin/sh pointing to dash (a bash-like thing used by default under Ubuntu).
    • Some people recommend installing additional fonts otherwise LN may use just one ugly font.
  5. Start it by running /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/notes from the command line.
    1. It should print some output and after a while open a new terminal window with license. Scroll till its end using Enters, accept by typing 1 [Enter].
      • Maybe it isn’t necessary to go to the license’s end but once I’ve accepted it already when it opened but it somehow hasn’t worked out.
      • Under Xfce the license window hasn’t opened. Switching to Gnome fixed the problem. If you try to run notes again, it will print some logs and end, close to its end you could see the warning that the license hasn’t been accepted.
      • You may need to try several times to get the license window. But be patient, it takes the installer few (10s of) seconds to open it.
    2. LN finishes without actually doing something. You need to run it again (/opt/ibm/lotus/notes/note) to actually start it. (Still it sometimes happens to me that running it does nothing and I have to run it again.) It should open the new user dialog. Give it what it wants to get the main window open.
  6. Close LN. Now you’ve verified that it does indeed run.
  7. Move the newly created $HOME/lotus/ somewhere and move (or copy) back your original mail file.
  8. Start LN. Again you will be asked for a license confirmation (since you have a new lotus folder, it doesn’t rember you accepting it already) etc.

My environment

  • Ubuntu 9.0.4 (recently upgraded from 8.0.4 when the problem first appeared).
  • LN 8.5


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