My little Linux diary

Lotus Notes 8 on Fedora

I am a stupid user. I studied economics, not software engineering. The first years in business I worked as a trainer and consultant. I am not an engineer. I am not a software developer – according to our “real” software developers who take Notes application development not for serious.

That said I planned to install Lotus Notes 8 Beta on Linux with the support of our Linux geeks. I never used Linux before. I don´t know anything about Linux or UNIX and the good old command line stuff. I never wanted to know anything about shells except when I spent my vacation at the beach.

But Open Source software is our daily business here at XCOM. I work with OpenOffice more than two years, and I have no Microsoft Office anymore on my notebook. So the next big step should be using Linux instead of Windows.

Well, ok then. I ordered a Dual Core 2 GB RAM brandnew HP desktop – much faster than my X60. It comes with Microsoft Vista preinstalled – you even can not order it without Vista.

So on Day 1 I installed Microsoft Vista. Installation went fine, no problems. Vista looked good on my desktop – but I don´t want to have Vista. So next step was: Configure the machine for dualboot. Ok, Vista has an own routine for configuring a dualboot. But my Linux geeks have no trust in Microsoft and installed a more reasonable Linux based tool. So we defined two partitions and the tool started to work.

“11:31:00 hours remaining” I wondered. The answer is “yes” because this is a reliable Linux based partitioning tool. It works precise, therefore it needs time.

One day later I had a look at my new machine. “12:14:00 hours remaining” I wondered. Yes, because the first step was the simulation, next step is the real partioning work. Ah, ok. I understand. This software is not MS crap. It is precise. It need 24 hours for 160 GB.

Day 3: Partioning job is done. Great. Now I have a Vista partition and a Linux partition. Dual boot should work. Perfect. Lets see if Vista still boots.

Fatal exception. Hey, I did not spent three days with that cool partitioning job to finally realize we crashed the Vista install! Well, the Linux geeks have the answer: This is because Redmond delivers such a bad operationg systems which can not handle my highly sophisticated new configuration. OK, now we have a useless Windows partition and still no Linux.

Day 4: Lets install Ubuntu because our customer wants to test Notes 8 on Ubuntu. Linux geeks don´t like Ubuntu so they initially refused to touch any Ubuntu install CD. Unfortunatly Ubuntu does not like my brandnew HP desktop PC. Installation failed several times. The Linux geeks know the answer: Ubuntu tries to behave like Windows. Everything is configured automatically. No user interaction. No command lines. Not good at all. So we tried several other install parameter, checked the log files: Installation always stopped while configuring ACPI. Nobody needs that ACPI support I was told. So we disabled ACPI support. Again, Ubuntu failed. And we gave up.

Day 5: Linux geeks like CentOS or Fedora. So my helpfull colleague installed Fedora 6. And installation went smooth. Fedora started – and I felt like home immediatly: “236 updates available.” Fedora told me after startup. Yes, I know this kind of message. So Fedora spent hours and hours to download updates and to install it. Unfortunatly one of the updates killed the driver for the network card. System boots, but no network connection anymore. No problem, the Linux guys said. Just open a terminal session, enter some cryptic commands, and there it is: Network device rebooted, Internet connection established. But this happens at every startup, I asked. Well, just reboot the network device after startup with the command lines, the Linux geek told me. This is one of the main advantages of Linux, he said. You don´t have to shutdown the whole system. Well, ok then. I start to love it.

Day 6: Finally installing Notes 8 Beta on Linux was easy. Downloaded the installer (700 MB), unpacked the files (1500 MB!!!), and everything went smooth without any problem. There are some bugs in the Beta like empty bookmarks, missing tabs and non functional “open attachment” dialog boxes – but most of the features work fine. With 2 GB RAM on the machine Notes 8 beta utilizes around 300 MB. It works fast and I had no crashes on the first day.

So the real challenge for me is not installing and running Notes on Linux. It is Linux itself. My screen resolution on my flatpanel is not supported, it reconfigures the resolution sometime down to 800 * 600 without any reason. The network adapter problem is still unsolved. Even if it works it feels like a 64 k ISDN connection.

Do not get me wrong: I don´t want to bash the Linux geeks. And I am not a big fan of the MS stuff at all. But my first experience tells me: This stuff might not be ready for everybodies desktop.

Well, it´s a big experiment. I will play around with that configuration for a while and try to use it for my daily life in business. A life without Microsoft. But still with Lotus Notes.

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