The view from the top of IT with TechWorld Editor Rodney Gedda
I was preparing to move to my Linux desktop yesterday when all hell broke loose. It seems the SLED 10 box and its partner in crime Lotus Notes were having a very bad day. Let me recapitulate.
I turn on the Linux PC and it boots up fine. I log in, land on the desktop and start Notes by double-clicking on the desktop icon.
Waiting, waiting, waiting... for some reason it doesn't want to start. I immediately check the running processes. All indicators point to a running (or at least starting) Notes environment using Eclipse. At least 10 minutes later I think to myself this is never going to happen and kill the process manually from the command line.
Let's start again with the hope it was an isolated error. I launch Notes again and again it fails to start. Ah well, one can only try. After about three rounds of that process I give up for a while and thought – hang on, I started Novell's client software to connect to the network drives, maybe that is the problem?
I quit the Novell Client and try to start Notes again. No luck.
By about this time my frustration level is creeping up. I'm thinking I may as well reboot the machine and see if it can get out of the right side of the bed this time. The only saving grace is I did not have to reboot a perfectly good desktop because the X server froze on me!
That's right, before I knew it I was staring at a blue screen of death only the Linux variant. The display had crashed and was refusing to start again. Mind you. X is usually bulletproof so I have no idea what Novell did to SLED to make it crash like this.
So while not wanting to restart the machine I was quickly forced to. Reboot away!
The next time around Notes did start – yay! The only problem was I started as if it had just finished – the City to Surf!
Notes took about 10 minutes (I kid you not) to start and then took about two minutes to open an e-mail. It was a nightmare. If this is IBM's state of the art Notes release on Eclipse then it has a lot of optimization work to take care off. I'm using version 8.0 so let's hope there are many performance improvement to come with subsequent 8.x releases. It was painful.
My machine has 512MB of RAM, don't let IBM or Novell tell you anything less than 1GB is satisfactory.
I then started the Novell client again to access my files sitting on the network drive. It seemed to work fine. Then a co-worker asked me to e-mail him an image sitting on the network that he couldn't access at the time – so I did, all good. I then attempted to back out of the directory I needed to access and the Nautilus file manager froze in its tracks.
BTW, you know when some is freezing on SLED as the application windows turns a lovely shade of dark grey – just what you need to keep you inspired that the app is working.
Having exhausted all my patience for the day I left the machine as it was for the day in the hope I could begin using it for productive work today. I know, I know, one shouldn't leave a computer on overnight, but I am in testing mode so please excuse me.
I rock up to my desk this morning and what do you know – the machine is completely unresponsive and needed a reboot.
The only consolidation is Notes has worked fine (albeit slow) all day today. I still can't access the network drives as the Novell Client doesn't want to work, but I can still use Firefox to update the site, the Gimp (without some of the keybindings I'm used to) to manipulate images and OpenOffice 2.4 Novell Edition to write articles and blogs like this one.
Proprietary file and directory clients and services suck! There, that's the topic of another blog, but I said it.
IBM and Novell, the two of you are going to have to a whole lot better if you are going to think about challenging the Microsoft hegemony. I just hope I'm still around to see it!
Linux had one hell of a day, but it is improving – I hope.