Lotus Notes in 32bit Chroot

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Lotus Notes is an email, calendaring, todo, notetaking, and collaboration application developed by IBM. It is used most commonly in corporate settings as it contains fairly powerful features that surpass those offered by more traditional email/calendar applications like Outlook or Thunderbird. Specifically, Lotus Notes features database functionality that allows for the storage of user input from various forms (e.g. surveys). While the email and scheduling functionality is quite similar to that of other applications in this family, the database functionality is difficult to understand without firsthand use.

For those who use Linux in a corporate setting in which Lotus Notes is the default client, installation of this application is a necessity. While this is trivial on 32bit systems (such as Arch 686), Lotus Notes has not yet been released for 64bit Linux. As this is the case, those using Arch64 will need to install Notes inside a 32bit chroot. It may be possible to use a multi-lib setup, but the author of this article has no experience with that method and from his reading considers the chroot environment to be cleaner and simpler (easier to start over or remove altogether if functionality is no longer needed).

Obtaining Lotus Notes and FixPacks

You will at least need a Lotus Notes rpm package. The FixPacks that IBM releases are also recommended. The main author of this entry has experience with Notes 8.0 and 8.5[.1 and .2] on 64bit Arch.

Note: The IBM site can be confusing. For almost all downloads, multiple languages, versions, and OS choices are available. Make sure you download files with the following characteristics:
  • For Lotus Notes Client and not for Domino. Notes is the email/calendar client; Domino is the server application
  • For Linux (obvious) for rpm install (not deb)

Obtaining Lotus Notes

  • If you have a corporate ID with IBM, you may use the IBM Lotus Notes site for official download
  • Optionally, visit the IBM Lotus Notes Trials site for free trial versions that expire after 90 days
  • You may also contact your company administrator for a copy of Lotus Notes for Linux

The trials provided change frequently. For example, as of 10-21-2010, trials of both 8.5 and 8.5.2 were available. As of 03-07-2011, only 8.5.2 is available. Check the Lotus Notes trials page frequently:

Downloading FixPacks

  • Visit the IBM Fix Central site to find FixPacks
  • Input Product Group=Lotus, Product=Lotus Notes, the version you have, and Platform=Linux for the four fields
  • At the next page click Continue at the bottom of the page to see all possible FixPacks
  • Download the correct one

If you are using Lotus Notes 8.5.1, there is a dedicated page for incremental FixPack installers. There are currently 5 FixPacks released (as of 03-07-20110. Just download Notes_851FP5_Standard_RPMInstall_Linux (5th FixPack, rpm format for Linux) since each FixPack encompasses the previous versions. The page for the 8.5.2 fixpack is here.

Create 32bit Chroot (x86_64)

If using i686, skip to #Installing dependencies

The Arch Wiki already has a fantastic article on creating a 32bit chroot environment on a 64bit system: Install_bundled_32-bit_system_in_Arch64. Use the instructions there to do the following:

  • Create /opt/arch32, setup pacamn, and sync
  • Install base and base-devel
  • Create the arch32 daemon script
  • Link/copy the necessary files in /etc from the 64bit system to the chroot
  • Start the daemon

Important steps to remember

Having been through this process many, many times, there are some steps that are quite common to forget. Please remember to:

  • run the xhost command after starting the daemon:
 xhost +SI:localuser:usernametogiveaccesstogoeshere
  • chroot into /opt/arch32 with:
 # linux32 chroot /opt/arch32
  • edit your /etc/pacman.conf (from the chroot; the actual location is /opt/arch32/etc/pacman.conf)
    • uncomment at least one mirror
    • also, edit the line at the top of /etc/pacman.conf from:
 Architecture = auto


 Architecture = i686
  • Be sure to uncomment a mirror in /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist as well
  • sync pacman to ensure that everything is working properly:
 # pacman -Syy
  • lastly, run this to generate your locale files:
 # locale-gen

Installing dependencies

IBM has published a list of System Requirements as well as a list of Linux Packages that are required to run Lotus Notes. When attempting to install an rpm on a non-rpm based distro, rpm will also complain about missing packages if the --nodeps option is not provided. IBM's list and the errors from an rpm attempt were used by the author of this article (by repeatedly running 'pacman -Qo filename') to painstakingly generate a minimum list of packages that would pull in all of the Lotus Notes dependencies. The list below are the "top level" packages, and will pull all the rest along with them. Run this from the chroot:

# pacman -S gdb tcsh libart-lgpl alsa-lib atk libbonobo libbonoboui gconf gtk2 libgnome libgnomecanvas libgnomeprint \
libgnomeprintui libgnomeui gvfs libice libjpeg orbit2 pango libpng libsm libx11 libxcursor libxext libxft libxi libxkbfile libxml2 \
libxrender libxss libxt libxtst font-bh-ttf audiofile esound gnome-menus libgail-gnome startup-notification gnome-desktop \
gtk-xfce-engine xterm
Note: xterm is only required to get through the license agreement. When you run Notes for the first time, an xterm window will ask you to accept the license agreement. Once you do this and setup your Lotus Notes account, you can remove xterm if you wish.

Installing Lotus Notes

While still in the chroot environment, do the following:

  • unpack the tar file you downloaded (fictional file name, use whatever you have):
 $ tar -xvf /path/to/ibm_lotus_notes-8.5.2.tar

This should unpack the following:

  • ibm_lotus_activities-8.5.2.i586.rpm
  • ibm_lotus_cae-8.5.2.i586.rpm
  • ibm_lotus_feedreader-8.5.2.i586.rpm
  • ibm_lotus_notes-8.5.2.i586.rpm
  • ibm_lotus_sametime-8.5.2.i586.rpm
  • ibm_lotus_symphony-8.5.2.i586.rpm
  • license.tar
  • pub_ibm_lotus_notes.gpg
  • smartupgrade.sh

Ensure that your archive package is accessible from within your 32-bit chrooted environment. If you followed all the instructions in the previous document about creating a 32-bit environment within arch, particularly up to linking file/folders, a link to your home folder will exist in the /opt/arch32 folder. If you downloaded lotus notes off of a website in the 64-bit environment, there is a good chance it will exist in your download folder within your home folder in the 32-bit environment as well.

Now install the lotus notes RPM using the following command (Note: You may need to have rpm-orgAUR installed from the AUR):

# rpm -ivh --nodeps ibm_lotus_notes-8.5.2.i586.rpm

When that completes, you may install any fixpacks with:

# rpm --ivh --nodeps ibm_lotus_notes_fixpack-8.5.2.i586.rpm

Now run Lotus Notes for the first time with:

$ /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/notes

Note: To run the above command, you must not be root. If you installed as root, switch back to your user account with:

# su username

A splash screen should appear, shortly followed by an xterm window asking you to accept the license agreement. Type "1" (the digit, one) and then press enter. Lotus Notes should prompt its configuration screen and ask you for your name, server, user.id file, etc. When this completes, it will bring you to the Lotus Notes interface and you can revel in your accomplishment!

You can repeat the above process with any of the other RPM files included in the bundle if you would like as well (sametime, symphony, cae, activities, etc.). Perhaps archive the original tar file somewhere in case you need it again, and then delete the unpacked files you do not need/want.

Creating a shortcut

Now it is not unlikely that you will quickly get tired of monotonously using chroot and entering a long path every time you want to start notes. Fortunately, creating a seamless shortcut in your 64-bit environment is easy.

If you installed schroot, as mentioned in the article about creating a 32-bit environment within arch, you can place an extensionless shell script titled 'notes' into /usr/bin containing the following:

 schroot -- /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/notes

Ensure that you are listed as one of the users who can use schroot at the bottom of the /etc/schroot/schroot.conf file by uncommenting and adding your username to the 'Users' segment.

You should now be able to start notes by typing 'notes' and hitting enter in the terminal.

Installing on a 32bit system

I'm not sure why this is even covered because it's so simple, but just to have a mention of this somewhere in the Arch Wiki, just follow the procedure above for installation of the rpms. The additional reference this should provide is a list of required packages above, which I have not seen elsewhere. Hopefully this helps. The next section on troubleshooting should help as well.

Additional Steps on 8.5[.1]

If you are running 8.5 or 8.5.1, you may need to replace some libraries. This was mentioned several times in the IBM Developer forums in Ubuntu how-tos. One site that references it, along with two sources for these libraries is here


  • Notes on Gnome 3 Compatibility: Recently, gtk and Gnome related libraries underwent a transition to version 3. This caused a severe breakage in Lotus Notes. Reverting to gtk2/Gnome 2 libraries fixed things temporarily. A post was made to the IBM Notes community which suggested the fix presented on this blog. In summary, the fix suggests the following:
    • Download tar.gz from https://github.com/sgh/lotus-notes_gtk2.23.3 and extract
    • Edit the Makefile, inserting -m32 so that it reads: "gcc -Wall -Wextra -m32 `pkg-config..."
    • Compile by running "make"
    • Copy both libnotesgtkfix.so and notes-wrapper to /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/
    • From now on, to start Lotus Notes, run /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/notes-wrapper (instead of /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/notes, as before)
  • Recently on a fresh install of Arch and a fresh chroot, I could not get Lotus Notes even put up the xterm window for license acceptance, and in looking at the logs in ~/lotus/notes/data/workspace/logs noticed the error-log was complaining about the file in /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/framework/rcp/plugin_customization.ini. The error was about proper permissions. I chmodded did the following:
# chmod 755 /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/framework/rcp/plugin_customization.ini
# chown username:users /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/framework/rcp/plugin_customization.ini
  • Typically, after the license agreement step, Lotus Notes immediately brings up the configuration setup process. The last time I installed 8.5.2 from a scratch system/chroot, however, this was not happening. I got a license agreement page but nothing else. In looking at the output of top, the notes2 process would just vanish. In a fluke attempt, I just ran /opt/ibm/lotues/notes again... and it went right to the configuration process. I had several additional packages installed, but wiped out ~/lotus, removed them all, and re-tried and can reproduce the behavior. If you got a license agreement but nothing more, perhaps try to run Notes again.
  • In my last fresh install, I had issues using rpm on the 8.5.2 fixpack as well as with trying to remove Lotus Notes 8.5.2 (not that you'd want to, but I wanted to know why the fixpack was not working). I received errors like this for the fixpack:
 %pre scriptlet failed error status: 85

and when trying to remove Lotus Notes with 'rpm -ev --nodeps pkd' I got:

 glibc detected **Double Linked List**

For some reason, using the aur package rpm-orgAUR worked perfectly for both installation and trial removal of Lotus Notes 8.5.2, and installation of the 8.5.2 fixpack. While perhaps not the "best" method, to clean up everything after uninstalling rpm and installing rpm-org, I ran (from the chroot):

 # pacman -Rsc rpm
 # rm -r /var/lib/rpm
 # rm -r /opt/ibm

Then I proceeded to install rpm-org with yaourt and repeated the steps above to install Lotus Notes and the fixpack.

Post install

  • Fonts: As included above in the dependencies list, make sure you have the font-bh-ttf package installed. One user has reported that this was still producing ugly fonts. He has since confirmed that installing the ttf-ms-fontsAUR package fixed this issue.
  • Theme/Icons: Your default icons and theme may not look right. Copy over your applicable folders from /usr/share/themes and /usr/share/icons and configure your chroot environment with those same themes/icons. I have noticed that even if Notes uses my proper cursor icon, it changes to an ugly basic one on certain links/buttons and am not sure how to fix this.
  • Mail Preview Pane Glitch: In either 8.5 or 8.5.1, I had issues with the mail preview pane locking up or creating multiple adjustment bars. I believe setting the option "Disable embedded browser for MIME email" was what fixed this issue.