A few Domino on Linux pointers

Thought I'd pass on a few links, tips and thoughts from my past few weeks spent with Linux and, more importantly, Domino on Linux. Surprisingly, it's not been all that hard. The only skill required is the ability to use the web to find the answer to any problem. Because, as we all know, the answer to everything is on the internet in one form or another. An email I received after mentioning my new Linux setup asked me to suggest how to do something similar. Books, articles or web-sites? I've yet to reply but the response is going to be the suggestion that you have to throw yourself in to it head first. When you hit a hurdle you Google it and find the answer. You can bet somebody else has asked the same thing. No question is to stupid for linuxquestions.org. This is the approach I took and it works. No book or article is ever going to fit your exact requirements. If you want to run your own Linux network you have to be willing to take a few risks and spend hours upon hours pondering your decision to do so.

The first problem I had was getting Notes started on Linux. If you're like me you'll want to be running the latest and greatest. Hence my combination of Red Hat 9 and Domino 6.02CF1. If you follow suit you'll probably need to read this one-man thread from the forums. The .bashrc file it refers to is a hidden file in the home directory of the user you created to run Notes. Usually called Notes. This bring me on to another point. In the IBM Redbook called Lotus Domino for Linux they recommend you set this user's home directory to be the same as the Notes data directory - "While not required, it simplifies administration". Well, here's what happened when I did that and opened the server from the client. You get to see all the user's hidden files. Not nice and I recommend you leave the Notes user home directory as something normal like /home/notes.

Screenshot of Notes Open Database Dialog

The next thing you probably want to do it get Domino to start as a service. There are numerous scripts out there for doing this. The only one I got to work actually came from the Redbook I mentioned. You can get it from the RedBook site or an updated version exists on the Double 6 site.

Don't go thinking this is all you need to know to get yourself a Domino on Linux install. It's nothing like as easy as its super-easy Windows counterpart. For a start you have to understand how the filesystem works on Linux and how to set permissions and whatnot. It takes some getting used to but it's well worth it. The best part being that it's all free and you can proudly boast to having your very own unix servers. I'll leave you with a few other links I found useful. Tomorrow I will talk about how I got this to work.

How to disable Roaming Profiles on Windows machines - Now I am using Samba as my PDC I need to tell it not to bother trying to sync my whole profile every time I log off.

How to mirror the contents of a directory - After installing Notes I decided it would be a better idea to store all the .NSFs on a separate and larger drive. The drive was mounted in the directory /mnt/hdb1. Instead of changing the Notes settings to point there I just mirrored them. I have no idea if this is good practice or not. It works and I am happy.


  1. With regards to the Notes data on a seperate drive, you're proably better off just mounting hdb1 on /home/notes instead of /mnt/hdb1. This can be done by editing it's entry in /etc/fstab. Unless for whatever reason you need it to be both /home/notes and /mnt/hdb1 (which seems to be what that mirroring thing is about).

    It's common practice in larger installations to actually have separate partitions (on separate drives too) mounted as /home and /usr.

    • avatar
    • JaKe
    • Sun 9 Nov 2003 06:58

    Thanks Marcin. Will change it to simply mount there. But then how does that effect other files on that drive? For example, that drive also mirrors my Apache www directory...

    By the way. Did you know that your Apache proxy settings for Domino don't work with Apache 2? I had to do some re-working to get it to run.

    • avatar
    • Jim G
    • Thu 11 Sep 2003 10:15

    Most people will opt for RH/Suse/Mandrake etc but for those that want something different the following specialist Linux distros are worth a look. These are server only distributions meaning they have no X client and install only the packages needed for them to do their job.

    Engarde - {Link}

    This simple to install distro includes Apache, MySQL, Mail (Postfix), DNS etc all managed via a web browser. The main feature of this distro is its security. Its also a very suitable platform for a Domino production server whether R5 or R6. As Jake discovered the Community Edition does not include Samba but it is possible to handball it in although there is then no easy to use web interface in such circumstances. The commercial version - Engarde Secure Professional - allows separate purchase of Workgroup Suite which adds Samba and web config tools amongst other things.

    Mittel SME Server (formerly eSmith) - {Link}

    Similar to Engarde but not quite as secure. This is a distro firmly aimed at SME's hence the name and can be installed in three guises - as a server only, as a gateway & server or as a private gateway & server. All services are configured via an easy to use web interface. Includes all of the above services but even the free version incorporates Samba, also included are PHP, LDAP and webmail. The email retrieval options in SME include single POP3 download via a re-written fetchmail script for those that do not wish to run a full SMTP server.

    Not impossible to install Domino but hard work due to the fact that all config files are written from perl script and it is impractical to edit them without serious consideration of the results.

    TIP - The user documentation link from www.e-smith.org points to edocs.mitel.com - from there the ones you are looking for are those relating to the 6000 Managed App. Server. The 6000 server being a maintained hardware product running this software. Just ignore the relevant bits of the documentation.

    Everyone should have a copy of Knoppix also. This full desktop Linux resides on a bootable CD - absolutely great for getting to your file system when Windows refuses to boot. {Link}

  2. Ahem, how did those questions and answers appear on the internet in the first place?

    Isn't the internet about sharing one's knowledge? :-P

    • avatar
    • Jim G
    • Thu 11 Sep 2003 10:24

    PS - We would have recommended eSmith instead of Engarde to Jake but thought he wanted to run a production Domino server on the box.

  3. Jake - Ideally you would actually have two separate partitions on that drive for your Notes stuff and your www stuff, then you mount each partition where you need it within the filesystem. I'm no expert, that's just how i've always been aware that it's been done.

    With regards to the Domino / Apache stuff I never did get around to revisiting it for Apache 2 (and/or Domino 6). I may do at some stage, there is still some interest based on the emails I get occasionally.

  4. Hi Jake,

    Just to inform your community of readers that trillian just released Trillian 2.0...

    Just a must have !


    • avatar
    • sp
    • Fri 12 Sep 2003 06:06

    long live domino r5...err.. r6...r7...db2...


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