Domino 12, Sametime 11.6, Nomad Web – Get Your Goodies Early

Today HCL made available for download major releases of their core products plus some new products that have been in beta. There’s a lot to be excited about and before I go any further I suggest you first register for the big launch event on June 7th at

Then login to Flexnet and download Domino 12, Sametime 11.6, Traveler 12 and take a look at Nomad Web 1.0 with SafeLinx 1.2.

As an administrator there are many reasons to upgrade to Domino v12 and I’ll be blogging on those individually. I started to type my favourites things in Domino, Sametime etc but that was getting really wordy so I’m going to do separate entries. Some highlights for me which I’ll go into more detail on in the coming days:

1. ID Vault enhancements enabling us to upload IDs manually and a new “queryvault” command
2. Groups populated by LDAP search
3. AD integration including password sync with both Notes IDs and HTTP passwords
4. ID lockout for internet services based by ip address
5. Using PEM keys instead of KYR for SSL
6. New certificate process to automate requesting and processing TLS certificates
7. .New built in backup and restore functionality

There are lots of new features including an entirely redesigned and more efficient search interface in the Notes client and an entirely new client in Nomad Web – a web application that can be deployed on any desktop as simply as a browser. It behaves so that side by side an application in the Notes client and the same in Nomad web are almost indistinguishable making it a great option for deploying a lightweight, low touch, low maintenance “Notes client”.

Glad to be back blogging and I have a lot more to say about the flood of new products HCL have brought us over a week early and in most languages on release day as promised. See you here for more updates and online on the 7th to hear directly from HCL.

Guest and Anonymous Access

HCL have today announced their new Complete Collaboration (CCB) licensing model – see here for the full details and an explanation from Uffe Sorensen , Global Director of DS Stragey. I wanted to highlight some key points as they make a big difference to how many of you may choose to license Domino and associated products.

  • The CCB per user per month model which allows you to use any of the client products with as many servers that you need with no further charge is now extended to include what HCL are calling “Guest” access.
  • There are now two types of Guest users that do not need to be explicitly licensed, Anonymous web access users and Guest users who can authenticate but are limited to “Depositor” access in the ACL of any database
  • The Anonymous entitlement grants read only access to your websites and removes the need for the Utility server that was previously licensed by a complex PVU calculation under IBM
  • Guest access enables things like surveys and other data collection systems using Domino web applications

This streamlining of the licensing and expansion of the Guest model makes Domino a very appealing option for publishing your websites with no additional per user cost. A nice job by HCL in listening to their customers and working to come up with a solution.

Sametime Proxy “Loading” Problem

Having recently installed a new Sametime 11 environment on Linux with Sametime Proxy I ran into a problem with the proxy client where it would continually show “loading” when starting a conversation. Awareness of users on other servers worked, type ahead worked, it would open a chat window but just show a looping circle that never ended. Even if I tried talking to myself (usually a good test).

I have been working with HCL for a few days on this and it seemed to point to an issue with Mongodb as they found a failure to connect in the logs. That was odd because Mongo is installed on the same server as the ST Community server and was binding to localhost on, it didn’t appear to have any problems but the chatlogging service couldn’t connect so the Sametime Proxy clients wouldn’t work. It’s worth knowing what I subsequently found out which is that if the chat logging service doesn’t start up correctly, the Sametime clients will continue to work but the Sametime Proxy clients won’t.

Thanks to HCL identifying that the issue was with Mongo, I got it fixed and here are the changes I made.

Wanting Mongo to bind to the fqhn of the machine not localhost – originally I edited /etc/mongo.conf to use bindIpAll to bind all ips and that should have worked but instead I ended up using bindIP to explicitly bind the mongo service to the ip that the fqhn resolved to. That worked but to access the mongo console I had to then type “mongo –host fqhn” .. if I just typed “mongo” I’d get connection refused as it would default to using

Now Mongodb was listening on the right port and hostname I had two other places to change in Sametime so they matched. The sametime.ini MONGO_URI setting and the chatlogging.ini CL_MONGO_HOST setting.

With all of that set I restarted Sametime and the proxy worked fine.

Some Stumbles Installing Sametime 11 FP1

This week I was installing Sametime v11 on Linux as a test for a customer where I needed to confirm code written specifically for Windows would compile and work for Sametime on Linux. I hit several (now resolved) problems during the install that I wanted to share here.

Environment: RHEL 8.2 , no GUI, MongoDB, Domino v11 (not FP1), Sametime v11 FP1 Community Server

After installing Sametime v11 using the silent install option (edit the file in the install “Server” directory and use the -i silent switch when running install.bin), the Domino console threw continual java errors trying to load staddin.

I did have the missing / broken symlinks similar to Darren Duke’s post here (not all the same ones but many of them) however once that was fixed I thought to go straight to upgrading to FP1.

On upgrading to FP1 (which can use the console installer) the program first uninstalls v11 then installs FP1. It said it completed successfully but when starting Domino and staddin I saw lots of errors about missing jar files. I checked the files and saw not only were the directories servlet , cgi-bin and html now entirely missing from /local/notesdata/domino many of the sametime files in /local/notesdata (ls -l st*) were suddenly missing too.

So something was wrong. I thought to uninstall and do over but unfortunately the uninstaller.bin didn’t exist (neither did the _uninst directory). So I opted to reinstall v11 over v11 FP1 again which worked and put all the missing files and folders back, I took copies of them then installed FP1 again and this time it did work. Sort of – I still got a NSD on launch.

The NSD was being generated by staddin trying to load the stchatlogging library which was strange, Mongo installed fine and was running, I set the logging criteria correctly in stconfig.nsf so I was at a loss. I opened a PMR and they found that the error was in the server not finding the stchatlogging.nsf database. Well that database was definitely present and I could get at it BUT the ACL looked completely wrong (see below) it looked like the ACL of a template not a database. I cleaned up the ACL and also put the Sametime server in it explicitly and everything then loaded perfectly.

So I got there in the end but it’s worth knowing that I got no errors on any of the installs, all of them said they completed successfully. Hopefully this saves some of you some time.

A couple of important 11.0.1 technotes

Domino and Notes 11.0.1 is now available for download and there’s some really nice new long awaited features including SNI – here’s a full list of new features but first I wanted to highlight a couple of technotes related to 11.0.1 regression bugs that were found too close too shipping and will be fixed in IF1. Many of you will be unaffected by these but they are worth knowing about now.

Some Domino Designer crash behaviour when performing specific actions

Error ” Illegal Null Parameter Passed To Security Function” when trying to add or remove vault replica servers from the ID Vault configuration

An Amazing Engage

Last week I was at the Engage user group event in the Netherlands.  Theo Heselmans and team put together people, sessions and entertainment for over 400 attendees and this year (by my count of hands) nearly 30% were attending for the first time.  There are only a few IRL (in real life) conferences I can manage to get to each year and I’m always pleased by what I get out of them, but this year’s Engage was for me the best event for several years primarily because of contributions from HCL and all their news about what they have been working on. Oh, and the location!  Theo always manages to choose a special location and the Burgers’ Zoo conference center in Arnhem that had us walking through a rainforest with the sound of birds each day was certainly that.

This guy walked me in on the first day, giving me side-eye pretty much the whole way.


The only thing that confused me was the milk that was put out for the tea and coffee.  I’ve never seen milk of that color before and since we were in a zoo there was a debate about the animal that produced it.  Maybe Giraffe…?


On the closing night Theo organized a trip to a pub/brewery in Arnhem called Taphuis for us speakers.  They had over 100 beers and a contactless card you tapped as you poured out your choice.  I’m not a big beer drinker but I “tapped” a lot of 5cl tastes and then came up with the not very smart idea of everyone choosing a beer that matched their age.  Let’s just say it worked out for some better than for others.  

An idea that I think really worked was having an open speaker’s area where people could gather and catch up with each other, with other attendees and with HCL.  I had several informal meetings there and having no doors encouraged everyone to come and take a seat.  The unlimited Belgian chocolate and waffles didn’t hurt either.

So, at this point, with major updates to Domino, Connections, Sametime and new products like Nomad for mobile, the question for me was: Where are HCL taking things next?  The theme for the conference was “Evolve” and although I didn’t get to attend as many sessions as I would have liked, there were lots of “a-ha” moments for me where the work I’d been hearing about for a year suddenly clicked into place as solutions for customers.  

I could write a lot more on what I came away excited about, but these are my highlights.

Let’s start with Sametime.  The biggest issue since v9 of Sametime (we’re now on v10) was the IBM-driven design that was dependent on the WebSphere and DB2 architectures.  I do a lot of Sametime installs and a clustered environment would be in the region of 30 individual server elements.  When HCL bought Sametime and asked for feedback on what we all wanted the biggest request was to simplify the install and get rid of WebSphere.  Since then, HCL have released v10 and v11 of Sametime, which were primarily the Community (chat) servers and new web and mobile clients, so this time at Engage we got to see and hear about the v11 Sametime Meetings due in the next few months.

Sametime v11 already has user-side integration with any conferencing provider, but Sametime Meetings will now be delivered as a single Docker container (instead of nearly 20 servers) with everything needed to deliver its own meetings, audio, video and screen sharing in one single install.  The entire architecture for Meetings has been replaced with open source servers, removal of java, and a fast, lightweight browser client.  The focus for v11 has been ease of use for clients and simplification for administrators and it looks like they are delivering.  

If you’re interested in the new Sametime v11 mobile clients, you can register for the beta here.

As development continues on Domino, including making it the backbone for many of the other products, it was tremendous news to hear that they are now extending the investment in its function as a mail server.  The news that Domino continues to be updated and enhanced, such as adding 2-factor authentication for both web and Notes clients in v12, is what many of us had been hoping to hear from HCL.  For on-premise customers, Domino continues to be the only strategic mail solution and the only one currently being extended.  

HCL Nomad Web
Hopefully you already know about and are using Nomad for mobile, available for iOS, iPadOS and (as of last week) Android.  The Nomad brand delivers the Notes client experience through a mobile OS allowing you to access your existing Notes applications on your Domino servers without installing any server-side software or making any programming changes.  The next Nomad product is Nomad Web which is truly a new option as a Notes client.  It’s not a replacement client but it will be a go-to for many people who want to access Notes applications without managing a client infrastructure.  

Nomad Web is based on browser technology so it will work on any operating system (Windows, Linux , Mac) that can run any standard browser, giving you a “Notes client” with a small install footprint (they are aiming at less than 100mb) and running anywhere.  This is all very exciting; it looks like a Notes client, it doesn’t require a client install, it can run on multiple platforms, and since there is no server-side installation it will work against older versions of Domino as well as current.  

That’s innovation, offering an easy-to-maintain-and-deploy client as an option to both existing and new customers.  HCL Nomad Web will be going into public beta in the next couple of months.

Domino Volt
Volt is a Domino-based, visual, low-code development environment that is delivered through a browser.  What does that actually mean? I attended a workshop at Engage to learn how to develop an application using Volt because I’m absolutely not a developer and so consider myself a good test case.  After logging in to the Domino server I can click to create a form, drag and drop to position all kinds of fields, images and text, and even click for simple workflow.  It provides a way for anyone to create simple applications that can be extended for more complex work by a developer who can still use all the Domino programming tools, integration, and reporting technologies.

The introduction of an entirely new development tool aimed at non-developers and delivered through any standard browser is really interesting and I recommend attending the upcoming webinar as well as signing up for the Volt beta that is now publicly available.  Working with the beta allows you to feed back to HCL on what features you think might be missing and to contribute into getting the product right.

Register for the Domino Volt beta here.
Register for the Domino Volt webinar here.

If you go to the Engage site, you can already download many of the presentations. It’s not the same as being there in person, but there’s a ton of valuable content even for those of us who didn’t get to as many sessions as we wanted.

Looking forward to Engage 2021 already!

It’s Not Dead – It’s Evolving

The most revelatory thing I saw at Engage was a presentation from Doug Conmy and Thomas Hampel on HCL Nomad Web. I’d been aware of its development but it was only from watching the presentation that I realised what it means for customers. What it means in the future is that you will be able to deploy an application through any browser and then run it as a standalone desktop application. It should give you access to your Notes applications as if it were a Notes client but without being a Notes client. It’s not intended to replace Notes but for many customers who want to access their mail or some Domino applications, they simply don’t need the full feature set of a Notes client.

Here’s the thing though,

  • It looks just like a Notes client
  • The target download size will be under 100Mb
  • It still uses a Notes ID downloaded from the vault like any other client
  • It can run against any older Domino server since it uses port 1352 and there’s no additional server configuration (although you will need to have up-to-date licensing)
  • Since it supports most common browsers it can be deployed on Windows, OSX, Linux or any platform those browsers can run on
  • Multiple Nomad applications opened as separate desktop entities will be aware of each other as if they were in the same client window
  • It uses 1352 encrypted traffic but has a Nomad web proxy you deploy that will tunnel over 443 from the client so you won’t need to have a Domino passthru server or open any 1352 ports from the outside

Mind. Blown.

For companies struggling to deploy or maintain the full Notes client this is a huge deal. Having a centrally managed, low impact, multi-platform client that can access any Domino database on a Domino server without either the application or the server needing to be upgraded is something no other software company is doing. I hate to overuse the word but this is true innovation and it goes into public beta in the next few months with a beta timeline of at least 4 months.

HCL are taking getting this right very seriously because if they can get it right it really is a game changer.

Sametime v11 Meetings

I attended a presentation at Engage on Sametime 11 and the upcoming Sametime 11 Meetings. There has been an enormous amount of work done since v10 was released last year and a good part of that is the removal of WebSphere and DB2 pre-requisites whilst maintaining and expanding on Sametime’s features. Already we can connect from Sametime chat to external conferencing systems via the client, but in the coming months we should see the release of Sametime 11 Meetings, which will provide not only meetings but audio, video and screen sharing with no client side plugins and only a single docker container to deploy. I understand it’s already been in fairly heavy use inside HCL for a few months.

From the presentation here is the positioning of Sametime Meetings. That single docker container replaces between 6 – 9 other complex servers. They did so much more than just remove WebSphere.


The team also shared the Sametime strategy and timeline going forward, with v11 due in the next few months and then moving on to v12 and beyond.

Engage Redux

This week we were at Engage in the Netherlands presenting, learning and meeting up with customers and friends. Another big thank you to Theo, Hilde and Femke for all the work they put into this event, by my count of hands during the keynote around 20% of attendees were there for the first time which is fantastic.

The word of the conference from HCL was “Evolve” and even I came away surprised by several of the technical projects HCL have progressed, including Volt, Sametime and Nomad for web. Each of those deserve their own blog entry so I’m publishing those individually alongside this one.

Sametime Meetings

Nomad Web

My presentation at Engage was around the delivery of the Discussions template for Nomad phone and tablet, a project I have been co-ordinating since last year. We had more technical issues with the projector and cables than I’d like, so thank you if you came along and watched the purple-tinged version, and here is the original. There is also a technote published by HCL on Wednesday containing both the template and a whitepaper detailing the design and code elements. I hope you find it useful