Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Installing IBM Lotus Notes 8.5.1 - Or Maybe not

I've just had a terrible user experience this morning with four failed attempts to install IBM Lotus Notes 8.5.1. I'm usually not one to give up but I have lots of work to do, so I'm going back to my old faithful 8.5.

I'm not the only one either it seems. I've talked to a few others and I've had a good look around the internet. There seems to be a very high percentage of people with 8.5.1 installation problems.

The problems themselves are varied. In my case, I got the core product working (after an extremely long installation - that bit, apparently, is common to everyone) but although I got the Administrator client running, the designer (and really my only reason for interest in the upgrade), simply refused to start.

Other people seem to have different problems and indeed there's a whole list of them in the comments on vowe.net. (http://vowe.net/archives/010922.html).

I tried uninstalling, deleting folders, running NotesKill and a whole host of other things to no avail.

A History of Bad Installs
What makes this particularly annoying is that after years of having (in my own words about version 3), "the worst installation program of any piece of software on any computing system", IBM/Lotus was finally starting to get things right. Now, they're right back to square one with the first installation program I've used in years where I've had to give up on the product.

A Matter of Timing
The other problem of course is the timing. Of all the times to have a bad installation, IBM would have to pick the version which they've released FREE** to developers.

So, have I lost faith in Notes? No, I guess I'm a sucker for punishment and every company is allowed to have at least one Vista or one Windows ME moment.

I'll still be here to report (hopefully) astounding success on perhaps 8.5.2 - Hint: IBM ... don't even think about giving us a post-install fixpack.

** Don't even get me started on their definition of FREE.


Anonymous said...

What did IBM support have to say when you reported the issue to them? Were they able to help?

Vaughan Rivett said...

Sorry to hear about the issues you have had. I have not had any issues with the 8.5.1 release. I was rather impressed.

What OS are you installing it on?

Gavin Bollard said...

Good Point.

I haven't rung helpdesk support for any IBM or Microsoft product in the last 10 years. I was hoping to not have to start now... but stay tuned.

Gavin Bollard said...

and the OS is Windows XP SP3.

Anthony said...

I've done a few installs of Notes 8.5.1: most were reasonably fast and one was quite slow. My current theory to explain the slow installation is that I was doing it over the top of an older installation where I had a number of plug-ins and widgets. So: out of interest: had you installed any plug-ins and widgets with your earlier Notes installation?

Gavin Bollard said...

I did several installs - and all were slow.

I did have plug-ins and I did try an "upgrade" first. After that my other three installs were complete uninstalls followed by deletion of everything that the uninstall doesn't remove...

Yep, that's right, I killed my desktop and my names.nsf too. I'm not too attached to them anyway.

Ed Brill said...

You need only look to the PlanetLotus bloggers to see hundreds of successful installs of 8.5.1. OTOH a good friend of mine struggled for a week in his environment. There have been reports of interference from Adobe Air, Symantec and other security products, etc. It shouldn't be this way, but definitely worth checking in with support to find out what might be uniquely happening here.

And I'll grab the bait -- what's wrong with the definition of "free" in Free Domino Designer? You download it, you use it locally for free. You connect to a server you need an access license.

I mean, the only other option would be to make it free to use Designer on the server; that would be a huge challenge since Designer also includes the Notes client, essentially meaning we'd be giving it all away. We're looking at some sandbox models that would allow for limited server use for testing etc. with the free Domino Designer.

Anonymous said...

Gavin, my recollection of your environment includes a particularly tetchy anti-virus and Firewall product on the PCs. Did you disable that before you installed?


Gavin Bollard said...

Thanks for your reply. I'll look into the reports. In the meantime IBM haven't yet responded to my call (but I did say it wasn't high priority).

It may surprise you but since I don't work for IBM and I'm not a business partner - and I don't get any revenue from IBM/Lotus... I don't actually care how many systems it's been reported working on.

As an end user, a representative of the great majority, I only care that it doesn't run on my system.

I guess it's the same as buying a replacement car and driving on the same road. Nothing has changed on that road since yesterday, just the car... and yet, it won't drive.

I've talked to the car manufacturer and they've told me that there are lots of other cars running happily on other roads.

Would you be satisfied as an end user?

Hubert said...

If you uninstalled Notes and 'cleaned' the registry then I would suspect that your problem is somewhere in the Notes\data\workspace directory. Not sure how that can be 'cleaned' manually.

Myles said...

I found that if you had no notes services running, perhaps after a fresh restart, it will install or upgrade without issue. If you do start notes or any of it's services before installing or upgrading this will usually fail