The Alternate Reality, Episode 5: The Nirvana Sighting (Domino Designer 8.5.1 running under Wine)

Mat Newman  November 3 2010 08:04:10
Following an update to my system (Ubuntu 10.04) last Friday - which included some new Wine features - I have been able to run Lotus Domino Designer 8.5.1 on Linux.

The first realisation that some tweaks to Wine had improved interaction with Notes was when I opened my calendar and the coloured backgrounds for my entries appeared.  Under Wine, this had been the one feature of Notes 7 that 'didn't work'.  I have been running Notes 7.0.3, Designer and Admin quite happily under Wine since switching to Ubuntu in July this year.

Domino Administrator 8.5.1 has also been working running the same configuration, and opening up to do some quick management of my Domino system revealed a 'smoother' look and feel to Admin 8.5.1 as well.

Hmmm, me thinks. I wonder...

So I opened the Lotus Notes client (this has never worked before) and it launched.  Then I decided to really push my luck, opened a Database and chose an Open in Designer feature and...

Image:The Alternate Reality, Episode 5: The Nirvana Sighting (Domino Designer 8.5.1 running under Wine)

There it was.  No additional tweaks to my system required.  The latest update to Wine now allowed Designer to start.


To start Designer, it has to be launched by opening a database and then choosing one of the design options from the Notes client running under Wine:
  • View (menu) -> Design, or
  • Database Tab -> Right Click -> Open in Designer.

The Notes client itself under wine has some slight issues - it won't show any of the Java views.  I have been trying to work that one out since last Friday afternoon when it first started working.

Also, you need to change the Designer preference for the script editor and turn off the Java editor option, otherwise none of the script prompts (drop-downs, etc) for classes and methods will appear.

And I can't seem to be able to edit any Agents, I get a java null pointer exception when double-clicking any agent in the design navigator.  You can create them, you just can't edit them!

To summarise, the issues I have encountered so far are:
  • No java views in the Notes client,
  • Can't use the java editor to it's full potential for script-based code, and
  • Not able to open an agent once it's been created.

Other than that it runs pretty smoothly.  The 'ten minute' wait experienced under Windows to open a database in Designer has been dramatically reduced (the database is rendered in Designer almost instantaneously).

Since Friday I've been running the Native Notes 8 client for Linux, then starting Notes under wine, which then allows me to start Designer, and then shutting down the Notes client under Wine.  It's a bit of a work-around, but hey - it's faster than starting a VM just to have the Designer client running.  Also, since the Notes 8 native client is running in a completely separate thread to Domino Designer running under wine, I can switch between programs seamlessly without any issues.

Setting up the environment is pretty simple:
  • Take a working Notes-Designer-Admin install on Windows and COPY the entire \IBM\Lotus... folder path to EXACTLY the same location in your Wine drive,
  • Run 'regedit' from a terminal and insert the standard keys into the Wine registry (there's a simple way to do this),
  • Create a Launcher for the Notes client with the command line: env WINEPREFIX="/home/mat/.wine" wine "C:\Program Files\ibm\lotus\notes\notes.exe" "=C:\Program Files\IBM\lotus\Notes\notes.ini",
  • Notes will launch happily from there, now start designer,
  • Admin will also execute from it's own launcher with the command line: env WINEPREFIX="/home/mat/.wine" WINEDLLOVERRIDES="oleacc=n" wine "C:\Program Files\IBM\Lotus\Notes\admin.exe

Note: The /home/mat/.wine path will need to be modified to match your own home folder location, and the Wine DLL Overrides for the Administrator launcher are required or stuff breaks pretty quickly.

I will write a detailed step-by-step on this process with more detail in the next couple of days.

In the meantime I'm just happy that I haven't had to start a VM just to access Designer, for an Alternate Platform user it really is: 'A glimpse at Nirvana'


1Ray Davies  11/03/2010 10:44:19  
The Alternate Reality, Episode 5: The Nirvana Sighting (Domino Designer 8.5.1 running under Wine)

Good work Mat! I will try as well and let you know my findings.

Mat Newman

THE Notes (formerly IBM/Lotus Notes) Guy. Productivity Guru. Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. Former IBMer. HCLite. Views are my own.

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