Friday, February 24, 2006

Blogs and RSS and Notes

Why is this Domino Blog not hosted by Domino?
Good question. The main reason is that I don't own our domino server, My employer does.
I know that Domino is a very capable blog hosting system and there's plenty of blogs out there that use it... but, while I'm reasonably sure that my employer wouldn't be too concerned about hosting a small blog I'm not willing to take the risk. is free, flexible and works rather well, so I'm happy enough here.

What is this RSS stuff and what is it good for?
Put simply, RSS is a way of downloading the headings and a small extract of text on blog sites. If you have an RSS Reader, then you can easily look through the recent postings without them cluttering up your mailbox.

Where can I get an RSS Feed Reader?
You can get these apps all over the net, but in my case I wanted a Lotus Notes based one.

I looked a few Lotus Notes RSS Feed Readers and finally settled on one called News Miner from Digital Insites.

This product is free and works rather well.

The only drawback with this product is that it currently can't read ATOM XML RSS Feeds, like the ones produced by blogger. I've emailed the author, Michael Wagner, and have been told that he's working on it.

I'm happy with the rest of the product, so I'm happy to wait at this stage.

RSS Feed from this Blog
Until today, I didn't know that this blog was producing a feed. I've now adjusted it to use extracts rather than the whole text and will produce some links.

The first of these links is here.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Upgrading to Lotus Domino Release 7.0.1

This morning I upgraded our 2 servers and my workstation to Release 7.0.1 of IBM Lotus Domino and IBM Lotus Notes respectively. All went well.

The Reason for the Upgrade
Normally, I don't like to stay too close to the current version of software, but these days it's starting to look essential. My only reason for upgrading was to comply with a number of security advisories.

I've listed the security issues below. All are fixed by version 7.0.1.

Domino iNotes Client Script Insertion Vulnerabilities

Notes HTML Speed Reader Link Buffer Overflows

Notes Multiple Archive Handling Directory Traversal

Notes TAR Reader File Extraction Buffer Overflow

Notes UUE File Handling Buffer Overflow

Notes ZIP File Handling Buffer Overflow

The Upgrade Process
I received the Advisories by email yesterday and went looking for them on the IBM site. Strangely enough, this is the first time that I've ever managed to find the correct Domino downloads on the IBM site, either their delivery mechanism has improved or I'm getting better at second guessing their strange logic.

An aside - getting notified about these advisories
For a while there, I was subscribed to just about every kind of security broadcast there was. It wasn't helping much though. I've since changed my method. Now I have a Google Alert set up to look for Lotus Domino in the news and web once per day. It's fantastic. If you're not using Google Alerts, you should seriously consider using them.

So, I stopped our Domino service, and ran the upgrade. It took minutes and finished with a non-specific warning about not being able to replace a file. I rebooted the server, Notes started and then failed. I noticed it was still writing version 7.0.

I thought... oops, I might be in trouble here. On a Microsoft system, I think you'd be taking pills at this stage - but then nobody in their right mind would consider upgrading a Microsoft Exchange system with only 90 minutes to go before the workday started.

So I calmly went through the installation again and about 5 minutes later I was able to start the notes service. I let it do the database upgrades and all was well.

Another impressively easy upgrade.