Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My openSUSE 13 Journal 1: Getting IBM Notes 9.0.1 to work!

Its a new year (belated) and 13.1 has been out for quite a while now.  I had it running in a VM as an evaluation and did not really move my desktop setup from 12.3 up to 13.1 until last weekend.

In the meantime, a few readers has corresponded with me via comments in my previous post about getting IBM Lotus Notes 9 Social Edition to work on 13.1.  My initial favourable responses were based purely on a very quick install and startup tests (it all looked good).  Unfortunately, there appears to be a little bug with the combination of openSUSE 13.1 and IBM Notes 9.0.1 but it is a very small one and the resolution is ridiculously simple (but not immediately apparent).

I hope to blog more on 13.1 at a later date but will only focus on getting IBM Notes 9.0.1 working on 13.1 in this entry.  I have been having some difficulties in my personal health lately and that only takes time away from pursuing my hobbies (blogging here being one of them).

First, I would like to acknowledge Craig for bringing to my attention the challenge and so proactively providing the links to his discussions in the Lotus forum (here).  I would also like to Thank Ashu for his encouraging comments left on my previous blog entry and hope this entry will be just as useful to those out there who share the same fascination of using openSUSE and IBM Notes.

Installation - Easy as pie

As documented in previous blog entries, installation of IBM Notes 9.0.1 is really a piece of cake.  You download the binaries (NOTES_9.0.1_LINUX_RPM_EN.tar), untar it into an empty directory and you will find 5 RPMs (i586 - 32-bit) and a few other files.

As root, execute the following in the same directory:

zypper in *.rpm

Done!  You will find the IBM Notes icon in the Recently Installed Apps folder in KDE4.  Alternatively, the launch icon can also be found in the KDE::Applications::Office::More Programs::IBM Notes.  Right-click and Add to Favourites to easily find it the next time.

First sign of trouble

First sign of trouble, at least for me, only occurred after successfully launching IBM Notes and when I get into my mailbox, view calendar or log into SameTime.  The GUI would freeze and then IBM Notes would terminate and NSD runs.



My first guess was it has got something to do with GUI libraries... and I wasn't far off.

Cause of problem

From the robust discussions from Craig's link, I figured it was a GTK theme issue.  If you are interested, you can read this blog entry by Ben Kevan here.

Easy Resolution

In a nutshell:

  1. Open Configure Desktop
  2. Select Application Appearance
  3. Click on GTK icon on the left-hand panel
  4. Under GTK Themes, change the GTK2 Theme using the drop-down list from default oxygen-gtk to Adwaita.


That's it!  Restart IBM Notes 9.0.1 and everything works just as it should.

Alternative Resolution

If for some reason, you need to use the oxygen-gtk theme in GTK2 for your desktop setup, you may download a wrapper script [notes-wrapper-gtk2-rc-1-26.1.i586.rpm] and install it as root with the command:


Start IBM Notes 9.0.1 using the command /opt/ibm/notes/notes-wrapper and its all good now.  The wrapper sets the GTK2 variable to empty.  Credit for this wrapper goes to Ben Kevan, his blog entry here.

Final Polish

Finally, as a final polishing touch to making IBM Notes 9.0.1 looking good.  As root, execute:

zypper in fetchmsttfonts

Restart IBM Notes and enjoy!  :)

Links to my previous IBM Notes on openSUSE entries

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