Wednesday 31 March 2010

Admin Notes: Extreme Database Corruption

Ever seen this in your server console?

I've tried just about everything I could think of to fix it. Updall, Fixup, Compact, nUpdall, nFixup, nCompact.

In the end, I killed the server and deleted the domlog.nsf.

Restarting the Domino service will create a new one. I'll just never get back what I lost... Oh well.

Tuesday 30 March 2010

Attention DCT: Windows != AIX

I was running DCT (Domino Configuration Tuner) and it flagged a certain setting as Critical for me.

That struck me as odd, so I took a look at it.

I had never heard of this setting before, and for good reason.  My Server is a Domino 6.5.6 server running on Windows, and the ini variable is for Domino 5.0 running on AIX.

So, who to I let know about this bug?

Admin Notes: Domino 6.x End of Support Reminder

Just a quick reminder that Domino 6.5.x, Lotus Notes 6.5.x and Lotus Enterprise Integrator 6.5.x support will end on April 30th.   That's only 31 days away.
That means no phone support or code fixes.
You can find the End of Serivce document here, and the Lotus Product Lifecycle website here for all your other Lotus products.
If you are like me, and have older systems to upgrade, the Upgrade Cookbook can be found on the Lotus Notes and Domino Wiki.
Oh, and those pretty Notes and Domino 7.x systems?    They end support in 13 months.  April 30th, 2011.

Friday 19 March 2010

Lotusphere Comes to Toronto

Courtesy of Mr. Brill.

Lotusphere Comes to You will also be in Toronto.  (As well as Ottawa and Montreal.)

Details here.

Thursday 18 March 2010

Exploring a Domino Date Bug

I've been exploring a date issue that landed on my desk earlier in the week.   That's one of the joys of being an Administrator that has a handle on how to develop web applications in Lotus Domino.

I'll set the scene.

  1. The client has a dual language system.  English and French.  They can choose in the application whether a particular user sees the English or French interface.
  2. Some users use an English browser, some use a French browser.  It's their choice.
  3. The client has a preferred date format.  In the English interface, it is MMM-DD-YYYY.  The MMM could be 'Jan' for January, 'Feb' for February or 'Mar' for March.  In the French interface, it is basically the same, but uses French language abbreviations.  'janv.' for January, 'fev.' for February, 'mars' for March.
There are 4 different usage scenarios.
  1. English interface, English browser
  2. English interface, French browser
  3. French interface, French browser
  4. French interface, English browser
They all work perfectly but one.  Number 2.  And only for a select few dates.

If you switch your Regional Settings to 'French (Canada)', and you are using the English interface of the application, and you enter a date like 'Mar-01-2010', Domino will store the date as '01/01/2010' (the server's date settings are mm/dd/yyyy).

It gets more interesting, if you enter 'Mar-08-2010', the date gets stored as '08/01/2010', yes, that's right, August 1st, 2010.

I ran some tests, and discovered the following, using the French regional settings and the English date format:
  1. The month of January ('Jan-01-2010' through 'Jan-31-2010') stores the correct date.
  2. The month of Febrary ('Feb-01-2010' through 'Feb-28-2010') stores the correct date.
  3. The month of March ('Mar-01-2010' through 'Mar-12-2010') stores the incorrect date.
  4. The month of March ('Mar-13-2010' through 'Mar-31-2010') stores the correct date.
  5. The month of April ('Apr-01-2010' through 'Apr-30-2010') stores the correct date.
  6. The month of May ('May-01-2010' through 'May-31-2010') stores the correct date.
  7. The month of June ('Jun-01-2010' through 'Jun-30-2010') stores the correct date.
  8. The month of July ('Jul-01-2010' through 'Jul-31-2010') stores the correct date.
  9. The month of August ('Aug-01-2010' through 'Aug-31-2010') stores the correct date.
  10. The month of September ('Sep-01-2010' through 'Sep-30-2010') stores the correct date.
  11. The month of October ('Oct-01-2010' through 'Oct-31-2010') stores the correct date.
  12. The month of November ('Nov-01-2010' through 'Nov-30-2010') stores the correct date.
  13. The month of December ('Dec-01-2010' through 'Dec-31-2010') stores the correct date.
So, it's only the first 12 days of March that cause an issue.  And it doesn't matter what the year is.

What causes this?
I've spoken with IBM support, and one of the application developers, and here is why it is happening:
Depending on your server settings (either on the Server document or in your Internet Site document.  See fig 1.), the server will either use the Server's regional locale, or the browser's accept-language.

Fig 1. Internet Site Document

In this case, it is using the browser's accept-language.  When you change your regional locale on your computer (Windows in this case) the accept-language of your browser changes too (Internet Explorer in this case).  Domino looks at the incoming date format ('MMM-DD-YYYY') and determines that it is not an acceptable date format for that accept-language.  The date ends up getting recorded incorrectly.

The part that confuses me, is why does 'Mar-13-2010' get recorded correctly, and 'Mar-12-2010' and earlier not get recorded correctly?  (For reference, 'Mar-12-2010' gets recorded as '12/01/2010'.)

What I've done
I've asked IBM for a fix, so we will see what will come of that.

The affected versions that I have tested are:
  • Lotus Domino 8.5FP1
  • Lotus Domino 6.5.6FP3
I'm guessing that this is also an issue in anything that falls between these.

Why this is important to me?
I'm from Canada.  We're a bilingual society where people can work in the language they prefer.  In this case, someone whose browser (and complete operating system) is in French, prefers to work with the English interface because it is easier to communicate with their co-workers who are English.

At this point I either have to:
  1. Force the user to work in the French interface. (Not going to happen.)
  2. Recode every document save to translate the date entered as 'Mar-DD-YYYY' to '03/DD/YYYY' before saving.
  3. Hope that IBM will release a fix for me.

Admin Notes: Securing the DomAuthSessId cookie or not...

When you log into a Lotus Domino web application the normal way, through a web browser using the default login method (ie, not using a custom library or script to create the session yourself), you are rewarded with a session cookie that allows you access to the server.

However, you do not seem to be able to specify the security of the session cookie.  It is neither secure, or does it have its access limited to HTTP requests only.

You would achieve these two states by adding the 'Secure' flag or the 'HTTPOnly' flags to the cookie.  In the context that I'm working in, those two settings would make some of the people I work with feel a little more warm and fuzzy inside.

Anyone come up with a solution for this that does not require me to rebuild the otherwise perfectly fine login functionality?

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Lotusphere Comes to Ottawa, Montreal

By way of David Clarke I have info regarding Lotusphere Comes To You (LCTY) events in Ottawa and Montreal.

You can see the event details and register via the links below.

Ottawa Link

Montreal Link

Monday 15 March 2010

Admin Notes: The collection has become invalid (The Erik Brooks Bug) ** FIX **

Thanks go to Ed Brill, Erik Brooks, Chad Scott and the IBM support teams for getting us a fix for this issue.

What are you waiting for?   Call support and get your fix(es).

Of course, why I can't just download my fixes is a mystery to me, but...

** Update**
Erik has released a great synopsis of what this fix actually accomplishes.  You can find it here.

Admin Notes: Troubleshoot Server not Responding

One of my favorite error messages:  "Server not responding"

Looks like someone over at the Lotus Notes  and Domino Wiki had the same frustration as me and wrote a nifty article on it.

Thank you to them.   I'll pass that on to my new admin.

Friday 12 March 2010

Admin Notes: Waiting on a Fix for Lotus Notes/Domino

I don't know about you, but based on Erik Brook's post, I'm gonna be keeping an eye out to see when fixes are released for the GetDocumentsByKey error in 8.5.1 (and other versions).

Not sure what I'm talking about?   Read up here and here.

I was hoping to have heard something by now so that I could test this weekend and maybe roll something out by early next week, but so far nothing...

I've identified that I need fixes for the following versions in my environment:

Lotus Domino Server 8.5 FP1 on Win32
Lotus Domino Server 8.5.1 on Win32
Lotus Domino Server 8.5.1 FP1 on Win32
Lotus Domino Server 8.5.1 FP1 IF1 on Win32
Lotus Domino Server 8.5.1 FP1 IF1 on Win64
Lotus Notes 8.5.1 Client on Win32
Lotus Notes 8.5.1 FP1 Client on Win32

Admin Notes: Domino 8.5 on AIX

What good timing...   I noticed that Notes from Lotus Support published an article on installing Domino 8.5 on AIX.

I'm in luck, as I happen to have a server capable of running AIX sitting at my disposal.

You can find the article here on the Lotus Notes and Domino Wiki.

Admin Notes: Familiarize a new Admin to Domino

I've got a co-worker who handles more of the physical infrastructure/desktop support in our company.   We've had a trainer in to give him an overview of how Notes and Domino work, but it's a lot of information to take in in such a short amount of time.  We also don't have the luxury of a lot of spare time to have him setup and play with a test environment to learn Domino administration.

I did come across an IBM publication this morning about administering Lotus Domino servers for Beginners.

Just what I needed.   Thanks IBM.

You can find the technote here.

And the PDF document here.

Thursday 11 March 2010

Admin Notes: Adding a Certificate to the Lotus Domino JVM Cacerts keystore

It seems that I get called upon frequently to add certificates to the Lotus Domino JVM cacerts keystore.   I think the developers are using it for some sort of web service request.

I thought I'd post it here in case there are other people like me who need to do this occasionally, and can never find the default password, or forget the syntax to install a new ssl certificate.

Fig. 1 - Navigate to the Domino JVM security directory

Step 1 - Navigate to the Domino JVM security directory.   For me, that's c:/lotus/domino/jvm/lib/security.  For simplicity sake, I put the .cer certificate file in the security folder.  It let's me quickly know which certificates I have installed in the cacerts on that server.

Fig. 2 - Install the certificate in the cacerts keystore

Step 2 - Enter the command to install the certificate in the keystore.   The tool to use is called keytool, and it's located in the jvm/bin directory.

The command line to install the certificate looks like this:
keytool -import -trustcacerts -alias certificate -file your_certificate.cer -keystore cacerts
The important part for you to change in the line above goes like this, the word after -alias signifies the name the certificate is referenced as in the keystore.  The word after -file is the name/location of the certificate you are installing.  The word after -keystore is the name/location of the keystore file.

Once you enter all of this, and press enter, you will be prompted for the password for the cacerts keystore.  The default password for the keystore is 'changeit'.  Clever, eh?   Enter the password (changeit) and press enter again.

Fig. 3 - Prompting to accept the certificate
Step 3 - You will be prompted to accept the certificate.  Type 'y' or 'yes', if you trust it.

Step 4 - Restart your Lotus Domino server or service.  Try to do it when there are no users on the server.  Causes less complaining.

Let me know if you found this useful.  I've added it to the Lotus Notes and Domino Wiki, and registered to win free stuff from WikiMadness.

Domino 8.5.1 Fix Pack 1 Interim Fix 1 and This Issue

So, Domino 8.5.1 FP1 IF1 has been released.

It solves some DAOS issues with 8.5.1 FP1.   Which is great, but I have an issue with the GetDocumentsByKey
problem that Erik Brooks mentioned here:⟨=en_us

Looks like I now need to call the support tech back and ask for yet another version of fix for that issue, as I'll be running Domino32 8.5.1 FP1 on a Win32 system, and Domino64 on a Win64 system soon enough.

That means that I'll need the following versions of the GetDocumentsByKey fix:

Domino32 8.5.1 on Win32
Domino64 8.5.1 on Win64
Domino32 8.5.1 FP1 on Win32
Domino32 8.5.1 FP1 IF1 on Win32
Domino64 8.5.1 FP1 IF1 on Win64

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Notes.ini settings that should be removed in Domino 8.5.x or higher

I found this through a call to IBM Support.

  1. NAMELookup cache enhancement: NLCACHE_VERSION=4 is now the default in Domino 8.5.x.

    To revert back to previous behavior, you may use NLCACHE_VERSION=2 which is the default on Domino 6x, Domino 7x and Domino 8.0.x.
  2. Debug_Enable_Update_Fix=32767 setting has become standard/default.

Default and Maximum values for Debug_Enable_Update_Fix

Version               Default      Max


6.5.5 FP2 - 6.5.6         0         8191

7.0 - 7.0.2               0         8191

7.0.3                     0         8191

7.0.4                     0        32767

8.0 - 8.0.1           16383        16383

8.0.2, 8.5            16383        32767

8.5.1                 32767        32767

Found on this technote:
Are there any Domino Server notes.ini settings used in previous Lotus Domino server releases that should be removed when installing/running Domino 8.5.x or higher?

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Backup Exec support for Lotus Domino 8.5.1

We've recently started using Symantec's Backup Exec here at work to backup our Domino Server.   I've wanted to do incremental backups for quite some time, and wasn't able to as the server I was using for my backups needed to be running DAOS (large nsf files with many, many attachments; over 65GB).  I've been waiting for Symantec to support Domino 8.5.1 ever since installing it.  I knew it was coming out this quarter, but could never get anyone to tell me a date.

Imagine my surprise when I found it on Darren Duke's Blog this morning that Domino 8.5.1 is officially supported for Backup Exec.

Here's the link to Symantec's site:

You'd think that since Symantec knows I own a license for Backup Exec, and a license for the Backup Exec Agent for Lotus Domino, that they would at least send me an email.   I get lots of other email from them...