Engage 2024 – Some random reflections

The venue – As usual, when you think Theo can’t do better than last time, he surprises you with something wonderful.

This time it was the Handelsbeurs, the old stock exchange. Is a Gothic building, really extraordinary. I did not take pictures, but my good friend Hogne Bo Pettersen did and on the Engage website you will find a link to his great job and pictures taken by others. He told me “it doesn’t happen every day that you can take a picture of a speaker with the background from Game of Thrones”. This should give you an idea of the location we were.

Hogne Bø Pettersen Media

The sessions – As usual great content from the members of the community and HCL people in their sessions, HCL did not make any big announcement in the OGS but pointed to the concept of Community, which fits perfectly with us. As expected, Volt MX Go was mentioned often and there were several sessions on it.

Like every year, the quality of the session is so high that often there are two or three you want to attend, happening at the same time. Unless Engage lasts a week, this is a price you have to pay.

The people – at least 50% of the motivation for me to attend Engage is the chance of meeting with the people I know. Yes, we do chat all year long using the Discord servers for the Ambassadors and from OpenNTF, but seeing your friends face to face is invaluable. And as usual I bring back home good memories. As more than a person said, it feels like family, because in essence that’s what we are. And Theo has shown how much he cares for this family once more, setting up again a wonderful event.

I have only one woe, and this happens every year: the participation from Italian people. This year there were only 7 of us. I understand that in my country customers and partners prefer to speak native language, as in many other countries, but Engage is a really excellent event for those who work with HCL solutions.
If you are Italian and are reading this, it means you can understand English well enough, so please join Engage 2025, you will not be disappointed, trust me.

My sessions – Though I did not have a session as a single speaker, I co-hosted the two OpenNTF sessions, where six of us Directors were present. I believe those went well, I was surprised to see 20+ people attending a session on Open Source at 8 a.m.; I was not thinking there would be only the six of us, but attendance was above my expectations.

End of an era and the future – This year was special; it was the last Engage Theo organized all by himself and we were curious to see what was in plan for 2025. The good news is that Engage will continue under the helm of 2 new skippers, two people I know well and appreciate much: Kris De Bisshop and Tom van Aken. I have worked together with them, they were the organizers, together with us of OpenNTF, of the developer contest we did a couple of years ago. Knowing them, I am sure that the legacy is in good hands and that the next Engage will be a success!
A tip: if you come to Engage 2025 ask Kris about the dancing frog 😊

Theo – it’s not a surprise that he (and Hilde too) received lot of love from all the participants, and more than a few gifts as a recognition from all he has done for this community in the last 15 years organizing Engage. At the OGS he was presented with several gifts: first Richard Jefts gave him a set of beautiful wine glasses engraved with the location of every Engage, just to let you know how beautiful and precious are those glasses, it took two weeks to custom sketch each venue for the engraving, HCL really put a lot of effort in this

Matteo Cogliati

Then Theo was awarded the C3UG (that’s the Canadian user group in case you don’t know) North Star Award. Immediately after that the Directors of OpenNTF gave him a proclamation, naming him “fellow Emeritus” of OpenNTF.

The most emotional moments were at the end of the CGS. On behalf of the whole HCL Ambassadors community, me and Bill Malchisky went on stage with a surprise for Theo and Hilde.

We worked some months in the community, i.e. all of us Ambassadors except one (thanks Maria Nordin for setting up a “top secret” channel where we worked on this) to find the perfect gift and in the end we came up with two, a small one and a bigger one.

First, I presented them with two “environments” of Lego, custom made by our friend and professional Lego builders Warren and Teresa Elsmore. Now Theo and Hilde can show a Lego figure with their faces and brag about it 😊

Warren and Kitty Elsmore
Warren and Kitty Elsmore

Then Bill stepped up and presented them with the main gift. A long weekend in Tuscany visiting Florence, and a Wine masterclass in Montepulciano.

I was fortunate to be on stage at that moving moment so I could see Theo’s face up close, his expression clearly represented the emotion he felt in receiving the love from all the members of our family. You can see it for yourself in this video. https://youtube.com/watch?v=2vi3fTIT36s&feature=shared

Fun, or not so fun, things – On the train from the airport to Antwerp someone stole from my jacket my credit card holder. He must have been in a hurry and took what he thought was valuable, but thank God, he left me the rest of the stuff I had: the passport, the home keys and the wallet, that contained cash. It was the perfect lose-lose situation: he gained nothing, because even before the train arrived in Antwerp I blocked my cards, and I lost time and a welcomed memory with my friends. Because of the situation, I skipped the Ambassadors drink to spend the late afternoon in a Police station in Antwerp dealing with policemen who did not speak and barely understood English. Plus, the nuisance of having to do the duplicates of my driving license and health insurance card.

Had he taken the wallet both would have been happier. I couldn’t block the cash so he would have gained some money, and I wouldn’t have to go thru the hassle of getting duplicates of everything.

I believe my story became a popular topic at Engage, more than one person I did not tell this tale to directly, asked me about the theft when we talked.

I want to publicly thank my friend Marianna Tomasatti, who basically paid everything for me with her cards. The joy of an almost cashless country… I would have been lost without her. There were some jokes about me being her slave for the week, since she had my life in her hands (or rather in her wallet).

On the first day, my friend Hogne came to me with a gift.

I was completely unaware that the figure represented (is called “la linea”) was popular in Norway. Is a cartoon that was popular in Italy in the 80’s. Hogne told me that every time he came to Italy, he tried to find a t-shirt with that but couldn’t find it; then he found it in his country!!!
It was completely unexpected for me and I was really moved by the thought.

And Hogne took this “crazy-cool photo” of me (definition by Devin Olson 😊)

Hogne Bø Pettersen Media

Like every year, I came back home energized and happy for having learned something new and having seen my friends again.

HCL product documentation is Open Source

This is not strictly news, though at Engage HCL announced that the product documentation is now Open Source (and many other things, see this presentation)

anyone who used the official documentation for e.g. Sametime has noticed that is on GitHub.

This is great news from various points of view: it confirms the commitment HCL has for Open Source, see the above presentation (and as a Director of OpenNTF this is great for us), and for the first time gives us users the possibility of improving the documentation.

Now, I know that if you are an Admin you may think “not for me, GitHub and the like are developer stuff”, but this is not true. I am an Admin and I made some changes to the Sametime 12.0.2 official documentation! 🙂

First of all you may want to get familiar a bit with GitHub if you aren’t already. The presentation from the OpenNTF webinar we did on that topic will help you https://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/august-openntf-webinar-git-and-github-explained/250012401

What I did.
I opened the repository of the documentation here https://github.com/HCL-TECH-SOFTWARE/sametime-doc and made a fork (basically is a copy that I can edit)

Then I switched to my fork here https://github.com/rboccadoro/sametime-doc and changed the documents that contained some small errors.

Now, the two copies are different, mine contains the corrections and the HCL one doesn’t. What do you do to have the changes posted in the official repository? Just click on the link in the homepage of your fork, here

This will bring you back to the HCL GitHub repo and you can click here

You will see this

Now fill in the form and submit it.

HCL documentation team (the owner of the repository) will review the changes you propose and if they accept them, they will become part of the official documentation

If you open the HCL repository and click on “Pull requests” you can see that I submitted two and they have been accepted, which means that HCL is really listening to suggestions.

Good job HCL!

Verse 3.2.1, DOMI and Sametime

Verse 3.2.1 has shipped and one of the new things in this release is DOMI. If you lived under a rock in the last years and do not know what DOMI is, it’s a feature that allows you to dynamically create a link to meetings on the following services – GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Zoom, and Sametime when creating an invitation. Until now it was available only in Notes, but now is available on Verse too.

There is an issue, though, when using Sametime 12.0.2: when you create a meeting, the online meeting is not created and you see an error message.
I opened a case with HCL Support and they acknowledged that this is a bug and found a solution in a very short time.

1)You have to open a case and they will send you a link where you can download a file “custom-meet.conf”.
2)Place the ‘custom-meet.conf’ into the sametime-config/web/nginx folder
3)Edit the custom.env and update the entries like below.
CONTENT_SECURITY_POLICY=frame-ancestors https://*.company.com
4)Restart Sametime

This additional step is not required from the next release(12.0.2 FP1) onwards.

Sametime 12.0.2 client IDs

The new version of Sametime introduces new client IDs, as usual.

These are the new values:

0x1317 for the standalone client
0x14e0 for the web client
0x122c for the embedded client

Issue with Verse and Excel attachments preview

With Domino 12.0.2 and above, and Verse 3.1 and above there’s a new feature that allows the users to preview file attachments in emails using the Domino POI service.

A customer of mine found an edge case, when this feature doesn’t work. If the attachment is an Excel file with more than one tab, it will not be shown and Verse will throw an error.

He reported this to HCL and there’s a SPR open to fix it in a future release.

Using Domino Leap on V14

If you are using Domino Leap you should know that in V14 something has changed. I found that stopping and restarting dleap in V14 is different from the previous Domino versions

I have tested this with Domino Leap and

To launch Leap you go in the server console and issue the command
tell http osgi ss dleap
if everything is OK the result is this

Note the first new thing, in V14 all the commands related to osgi show at the end this line
osgi> gosh: stopping shell

to stop Leap you issue the command
tell http osgi stop dleap

The command does not return anything but leap is stopped
To check issue again the command tell http osgi ss dleap, the result is this

Now, here is the difference between V14 and the previous versions. Until V12 to restart leap you issue the command
tell http osgi start dleap.
This does not work in V14
if you try, you will get this

To start leap again you should note the number of the process, in my case 129, and issue the command
tell http osgi start 129

It does not return anything

but is you now issue again tell http osgi ss dleap you will see that it is active

I am not sure if this is working as designed or is a bug or if is due to the different Java version that is in V14. But now I know how to make it work

Upgrading to Domino 14 on Windows. A reminder

I just finished the upgrade of our production Domino server to V14, and since I remembered the issues that can happen when you use the Local System Account to run the Domino service (which is the way to do up to V12) I read again the excellent post from Daniel Nashed and avoided any problems.

I encourage ( encourage just because I can’t force 😉 ) every admin who wants to upgrade to Domino 14 to read Daniel’s post, before you call Support for a server crash.

Sametime upgrade – A thing to be aware of

Today I noticed that Sametime awareness was not working in Verse. Since it did until a few days ago I started to look what could be wrong. I tried to log in to Sametime and could not.

Alas, time to look at the logs on the server; doing so I noticed a strange error in the community container log. A timeout when connecting to my LDAP server. I checked my Domino server, which is my LDAP and everything was fine. So I started a remote session with my Linux box where I have installed Sametime and all of a sudden weird errors appeared when I tried to change directory from / to /sametime. A look at the filesystem left me horrified. I had the disk full!!!

How could it have happened ? I did nothing recently on that machine.

In quick chat with my friend and Lifetime HCL Ambassador Daniel Nashed he suggested me to install ncdu to see what was eating up my disk. I did so and found out that the /var/lib/docker directory was more than 70 GB! I checked what I had in Docker and found out that all the images from the ST12.0.1 installation were there. That makes sense, since I upgraded my server from 12.0.1 to 12.0.2 and the upgrade does not automatically delete the old images.
I did not bother at the time to delete the images of 12.0.1 but now I did so and the disk is now 40 GB lighter

So my advice is, if you plan to upgrade an existing Sametime server from 12.x to 12.0.2 remember to delete the old images once everything is running fine.

Domino upgrade to V14, a consideration

I was asked by a friend, who is mostly a developer and not a Domino Admin about upgrading his dev server from V12 to V14.
He told me that he uninstalled V12 and installed V14 but then the Domino server would start in setup mode.

The reason in simple, but if you were not part of the V14 beta program you may have missed it.

In Domino 14 the notes.ini file is not anymore in the program directory, but in the data directory.

In the beta program forum there were different opinions on this move, not everyone believes is a good idea, but anyway it is what it is.

So what happened to my friend ? The uninstaller left a copy of notes.ini in the Domino program directory and when he ran the V14 installer he noticed that that file was renamed notes.ini.old. There is now a new notes.ini in the Domino data directory, but is an “empty” notes.ini, i.e. it contains only the first 6 or 7 lines, so when the server starts, it goes in setup mode.
NotesProgram=C:\Program Files\HCL\Domino
Directory=C:\Program Files\HCL\Domino\Data

How to solve this?

The solution is easy, edit the notes.ini.old file in the program directory and copy everything below the line FaultRecovery_Build=Release 12.0.2FP2 (or whatever is the version you are upgrading from).
Then copy it in the notes.ini in the data dir just below the line FaultRecovery_Build=Release 14.0
If there are those lines:
CFP_LP_PREV=Release 12.0.2|November 03, 2022
CFP_LP_BASE_VERSION=Release 12.0.2|November 03, 2022
CFP_LP_CURRENT=Release 12.0.2FP2|July 12, 2023
delete them.

Now restart your V14 server and it will not go in setup mode anymore.

Note that if you do NOT uninstall the V12 server, but just run the V14 installer on top of your existing installation, the installer will take care of everything and it will create the correct notes.ini in the data directory with all the values from the V12 one.

You should use the option of uninstalling only if you are upgrading a server that is pre-V9.0.1

Sametime 12.0.2 – an issue with upgrading

I upgraded my server, yes the production one, (what else do you expect from me?) from ST 12.0.1FP1 to 12.0.2 and I ran into an issue.

In 12.0.1 the LTPA token could be placed anywhere you like then you had to change the file .env and set the path in LTPA_KEYS_FILE_PATH=
Now in 12.0.2 the default path is /sametime/ltpa-config, which means that you have to copy the ltpa.keys file in that path.

The problem I found is that when you upgrade or install a new ST12.0.2 in that path there is a directory named ltpa.keys that gets created and this breaks everything, since ST expects to find a file named ltpa.keys and not a directory.

The obvious solution is to delete the subdirectory ltpa.keys from /sametime/ltpa-config and then copy the file ltpa.keys in there.

I reported this to HCL and they confirmed is a bug that will be fixed soon.