Developing code using IBM Notes in Eclipse on Mac OS

I’m cleaning out my drafts folder and stumbled unto this one I never posted. The steps has changed slightly after IBM Notes 9.0.1 for Mac was released as that release works fine with the never JVM’s for the Mac. Actually there are very few steps you need to do to make the code work. To complete a standard console app that prints the username from the current session to stdout do the following:

  1. Write the code – could be something like this:
    import lotus.domino.NotesFactory;
    import lotus.domino.Session;
    import lotus.notes.NotesThread;
    public class Main {
       public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
          Session session = NotesFactory.createSession();
  2. Run the code as a Java Application. This will fail as the JVM cannot load the required libraries.
  3. Edit the Run Configuration (click the dropdown next to the green run button and choose “Run Configurations…”)
  4. Switch to the “Environment”-tab
  5. Add an environment variable called DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH with a value of “/Applications/IBM” (without the quotes)
  6. Click Apply and Run

This was done in Eclipse neon on Mac OS El Capitan (10.11) using Java 8.

IBM announce dates for bringing TLS v. 1.2 to IBM Domino

So in October of 2014 I wrote about the upcoming TLS (transport layer security) enhancements that IBM was planning to bring to IBM Domino as part of the industry wide panic about the POODLE attack which I still consider mainly theoretical. I was a bit critical towards IBM as they chose to patch their seriously lacking SSL v. 1.3 implementation and implement TLS v. 1.0 on top of IBM Domino v. 9.0.x (IBM Domino, POODLE, SHA-1 and why it’s also sad when IBM decides to update the security stack). The reason I was critical was that I thought that you either take security serious and bring the stack to the front of the line (TLS v. 1.2, v. 1.3 in draft) or get out of the game.

Since then I have been pleasantly surprised to hear about the initiatives IBM has going on. At IBM ConnectED 2015 I attended a very nice session by David Kern from IBM and Daniel Nashed (IBM Business Partner) on the TLS and security improvements planned for IBM Domino. Among others was massive cipher suite updates incl. upcoming support for Diffie-Hellman and perfect-forward-secrecy. Cool stuff! Yesterday I was very pleased to see that IBM now has announced the support for TLS v. 1.2 coming in Q1/Q2 of 2015 (the technote is a bit confusing as to when it will be out).

So all appears to be good and IBM is moving in the right direction with this. Very nice.

An important tool results from the whole POODLE/SHA-2 debacle

My stance on the POODLE / SHA-2 issues with Domino is well known and I haven’t been holding anything back. And now – after a while – IBM is starting to release the promised tools to lay the foundation for SHA-2 signature support and TLS 1.0 support on IBM Domino. As part of my IBM Support Updates today I saw and entry called “Planned SHA-2 deliveries for IBM Domino 9.x“. This is a technote outlining how IBM is bringing TLS 1.0 and SHA-2 support. This is all well and good and great that IBM starts to deliver on its promises.

But that’s not all… And by far the most interesting thing to find in that technote.

Burried within this technote is a mention of a tool called kyrtool which replaces iKeyman as the way to work with the KYR keystore file used by IBM Domino. It’s a command line tool and allows for import of standard x509 certificates generated using OpenSSL or similar and produces a KYR and a STH (stash) file as the result. There is documentation about the tool in the wikis (Generating a keyring file with a self-signed SHA-2 cert using OpenSSL and kyrtool). As an added bonus the examples with OpenSSL is done on Dave Kerns paranoia Linux box (dskern@paranoia).

The release of this tool is very good news and cannot be overstated and in my eyes far overshines the support for TLS 1.0 and SHA-2 as it allows administrators to work with the KYR files on Windows versions newer than Windows XP. It ever supports win32, win64, linux32 and linux64. How do you like them apples?

Thank you IBM.

IBM Domino, POODLE, SHA-1 and why it’s also sad when IBM decides to update the security stack

Over the last few weeks the news hit about the PODDLE attack and the withdrawal of SHA-1 as an acceptable hash algorithm by Google Chrome. This is turn has prompted IBM to update the security stack in IBM Domino for all web protocols incl HTTP, LDAP and SMTP. While this is VERY good news and it will be very welcomed that we do no longer have to resort to fronting IBM Domino by IBM HTTP Server or Apache to get adequate TLS protocol support I find the whole situation a bit sad. In full disclosure I have to say that I get most of my security updates these days from the Security Now! podcast on the TWIT network and the discussion on both POODLE and the SHA-1 debacle as opened my eyes. The sad part about these updates to IBM Domino is that it has taken a theoretical attack on SSL v. 3 (POODLE) and a premature hash algorithm withdrawal by a single browser vendor (SHA-1 and Google) to have IBM update the stack. To be fair Microsoft is also removing SHA-1 support from their security stack in their OS’es but from 2017 giving customers ample time to fix it.

In other words if these attacks hadn’t come out IBM would have left IBM Domino customers with ancient protocols and keystore formats – remember it takes Windows XP to run an iKeyman old enough to edit the .key files used in Domino.

Besides being good marketing and blowing some life into the dying embers of IBM Domino it’s almost a sad move when it’s done so late. And then IBM doesn’t even take it seriously enough to go all the way. Instead they outlines their “plan to deliver SHA-2 support for Domino 9.x” and promises a fix to bring TLS 1.0 to IBM Domino. Version 1.0 – seriously?! TLS is in version 1.2 at present and the draft for v. 1.3 is out. Now I know that implementing TLS for SMTP is much different from doing so for HTTP but security cannot be done half heartedly so if you want to make it a priority do that. Do not stop short and plug a hole by not going all the way. In all honesty I would rather have IBM discontinue SSL/TLS all together on Domino than doing this. I know it’s sad but it’s how I feel about it right now.

For a very nice discussion of the PODDLE attack, and why it’s a theoretical attack, do listen to Security Now! episode 478 from 33:22 minutes in.

Fixing an IBM Connections Social Mail CPU spike problem

The other day we did a test upgrade of our internal IBM Connections 4.5 environment from CR3 to CR4 before doing the real upgrade. After the upgrade the CPU of the WebSphere Application Server node (we are in a single node architecture) would spike to a 100%. After some digging and perusing of log files we narrowed the problem down to IBM Social Mail and that component being loaded. Actually even more specifically to the Discovery Servlet which is used to discover the mail service for a particular user. The issue appeared to be a hung thread as indicated by the below stacktrace. See highlight in bold.

[4/30/14 13:39:51:534 CEST] 00000040 ThreadMonitor W WSVR0605W: Thread "WebContainer : 5" (0000014b) has been
active for 770854 milliseconds and may be hung. There is/are 1 thread(s) in total in the server that may be hung.
at org.eclipse.osgi.internal.baseadaptor.DefaultClassLoader.getBundle(
at org.apache.aries.jndi.Utils.getBundleContext(
at org.apache.aries.jndi.Utils.doGetBundleContext(
at org.apache.aries.jndi.Utils.access$100(
at org.apache.aries.jndi.Utils$
at org.apache.aries.jndi.Utils$
at org.apache.aries.jndi.Utils.getBundleContext(
at org.apache.aries.jndi.OSGiInitialContextFactoryBuilder.getInitialContext(
at javax.naming.spi.NamingManager.getInitialContext(
at javax.naming.InitialContext.initializeDefaultInitCtx(
at javax.naming.InitialContext.getDefaultInitCtx(
at javax.naming.InitialContext.internalInit(
at javax.naming.InitialContext.(
at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(
at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(

We dug around a little without success so I reached out to a friend at IBM and the answer came back. This is an issue that has been seen before and is solved by fixpack 8 of IBM WebSphere Application Server so we upgraded to and sure enough we are back up and running. Apparently fixpack 8 is now supported and actually reading through the detailed system requirements lists that (“IBM Connections 4.5 CR4 and above recommends WAS WAS with required fixes is still supported (see the detailed report for CR3) .”)

Thanks to friends at IBM.

Servers upgraded to 9.0.1 and what a difference a point release makes

Yesterday night I upgraded two of our internal Domino servers to Domino 9.0.1 incl. Traveler and the new Social Edition components. The entire process for two servers took just about 15 minutes over remote desktop and VPN incl. the restart of the server which strictly speaking was superfluous.

Pretty impressive but hey it’s Domino!!

The upgrade was from Domino 9.0.0 and what a difference a point release makes. Not for the Traveler server but for the Social Edition server that runs the embedded experiences (EE’s) for us (mainly from IBM Connections). Before the upgrade we had some issues with EE’s not loading incl. timeouts when users connected from home over VPN. After the upgrade these timeouts are gone and the performance is much much better both remotely over VPN and in the office. Previously we had a noticeable delay for the remote rendering of the EE’s but now it’s just there when an email opens up.

So sweet!

So if you’re using EE’s and haven’t yet upgraded to 9.0.1 I would highly recommend you get on it.