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


  1. Hi, I tried what you have described above and ... it doesn't work for me. In the Konsole of OpenSuse 13.1 KDE /opt/ibm/notes/notes leads ony to "create RCP process failed" I changed the GTK style to Adwaita before I tried to install Notes. I got during the installation process several warnings concerning a key - that was all.

    1. My best guess is something to do with your install binary. Might be corrupt,amongst other possibilities

    2. Hi, have tried to install 2 other application (RPM files) without problems. Have increased my / partition by 15 GB as I ran into less than 2 GB with IBM Note3s installed in /opt. Now after installation I simply get "/opt/ibm/notes> notes
      If 'notes' is not a typo you can use command-not-found to lookup the package that contains it, like this:
      cnf notes"
      Further ideas how to tackle the Notes installation problems ?
      TIA, Joe

    3. /opt/ibm/notes> ./notes OR from any other directory /opt/ibm/notes/notes
      search for the GUI launcher in SUSE -> Applications -> Office -> More Programs -> IBM Notes.

      Hope this helps. :-)

  2. Doesn't work. Tried it now on another OpenSuse 13.1 computer - same problem. Can't install fresh OpenSuse on all our PC's just for IBM Notes. Will continue to use Notes on WIn7 in a virtual box. Hope one day IBM is able to deliver an installer that works also on Suse or OpenSuse. Or maybe on a newer version of Wine ... dreaming.

  3. It now worked for me in an OS 13.1 in a brand new VirtualBox machine. Indeed no problems, as you described it above. But on my OS 13.1 host system - no way.
    That's really strange. Thanks for your description !

    1. Congratulations and you're welcome. Just weird to heard that it doesn't work on on host but in a VM. Oh well... :-)

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  5. Sorry for the off topic question, but are you the same Wen@Softlayer.com who took an Uber trip to pick up your car in the DFW area?

    1. No, that wasn't me. I'm on the other side of the planet... although I have had the pleasure of visiting the DFW region on 2 occasions in the past... loved the BBQ and hospitality! :-)

    2. Thanks for your reply, glad to hear you enjoyed it.