What were they thinking?

by Volker Weber

Lotus Notes Fatal Error Message

When Lotus Notes 8 (Eclipse version, New Coke) dies, it throws this error message. As you can see, it does not fit on the screen, so you can neither see the OK button nor the real message. What you see instead are the parameters passed to the Java Virtual Machine when Notes was loaded.

This message is utterly useless, confuses the user and may cause quite a few support calls which will leave both the user and the support person shrugging their shoulders, putting all the blame on the vendor, in this case IBM.

If I can provoke this error message, so can IBM. It makes me wonder what they were thinking before shipping the product.


I am back on Notes 7.0.2 in a VM running XP on my Linux desktop. This configuration runs approximately ten times(!) faster than Notes 8 (Eclipse) native on Linux.

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2007-09-04

Does IBM still sell hardware? This might be an initiative to sell large screen displays. Maybe the OK button show on a 23"-screen!

Ole Saalmann, 2007-09-04

I work with an 23" -Screen, and I can tell you: I can definetly NOT hit the OK button :-(

Alexander Kluge, 2007-09-04

Is this Linux specific ? How about Notes 8 (Eclipese) native on Windows XP ?

Tim Toron, 2007-09-04

looks like the standard eclipse error message telling you that your vm has died. seems like a good idea to change the default behaviour to something more suitable for a non-development environment...

so, how did you manage to kill your java? ;)

wolfgang gottesheim, 2007-09-04

It is not a problem to get this "utterly useless" message box at all. Moreover, I find the process very well documented.

Just hit [Notes 8 program dir]\nsd.exe -dumpandkill and there it is.

For documentation, hit [Notes 8 program dir]\nsd.exe -help.

It seems to be crossplatform :-))))

Stipe Sumic, 2007-09-04

The format of the error message is crossplatform - but on Windows you are able to press the OK button ;-)

Alexander Kluge, 2007-09-04

Why are you always so negative? It's pretty obvious what to do.

Simply visit:


Then click "Partners", then "Clarify Error Message". Then Sign in with your Partnerworld ID. Then click next. Then click "Request Error Message Translation". Then type in the error text presented from Eclipse. Then click next. Then login to the PartnerWorldErrorMessageClarificationWorld service. Then click next. Then your problem will be solved.


Ross Hawkins, 2007-09-04

Ross, glad to see the url to login is SLIGHTLY shorter than the error message...

John Keys, 2007-09-04

I see this a lot. Not because Notes crashes, but because it hangs every time I try to use the "Open in Client" option from Domino Designer without the Notes client already loaded.

Charles Robinson, 2007-09-04

I honestly thought this was a simple beta artifact when I got it during the beta, a way to gather extra debugging information if needed while testing. I thought it was so obvious that I didn't even mention it on my own site, much less the beta forum. I was really surprised to see it in the Gold build. This can't be deliberate, can it? Has anyone been told by IBM that this is "working as designed" or is the existence of this dialog in the Gold build a bug?

Rob McDonagh, 2007-09-04

@Rob - it was communicated more than once ... and I agree, it is bad this made it into the gold product. I will make a comment about it for 8.0.1 through the DP program.

John Head, 2007-09-04


Be sure to post on the LDD 8.0 forum.


Bruce Elgort, 2007-09-04

Tim: I guess the slowness is Linux-specific, but I already spent my time budget for trying out Notes 8.

That's why I stick to 7 in the VM. It is stable. I'm not a Notes Tester, I am a Notes User. The 8 is a nice try, but IBM can't be serious about charging license money for it. If they charge money for it, it is imperative that their software runs fine BEFORE shipping. Otherwise they should open source it and stop charging money for it. Perhaps I will test it again, then.

I spent quite some time, writing mails, formulating ideas, documenting bugs, discussing UI designs and so on via email. Marybeth and her colleagues always had an open ear and an open mind, but there's so little left of their magnificient work in the final product. Feels a bit like a piece of software that is "broken by process".

FWIW, think about what will happen with the Notes/Domino and Exchange world when the key players in online services, take Google for example, combine their bits and pieces (eg. Gmail, writely, spreadsheets, calendar, gears, groups, code, talk with voip and filetransfer, you name it...) and make it run in your browser, also when you're disconnected from the internet. Think about spending a fraction of the cost of your Notes/Domino License now in a hosted all-in-one remote collaboration platform that gets replicated anywhere you want and just needs a web browser to run on almost any platform. Think about getting rid of large parts of your infrastructure while reaching a 99.998% availability. Think about getting rid of spam. And so on. Do we really need a Notes 9 client? You get the point.

Needless to say, but this is my personal opinion and it has nothing to do with my employer ;-)

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2007-09-04

Oddly, after weeks with no trouble on the ND8 client I got the same error this morning. I had to reboot XPpro to get Notes to start. I never thought I would miss the "NSD is running..." error message.

Ed Maloney, 2007-09-04

You do not have to reboot. Just killing ntaskldr should do it in most situations (never had to kill more than 3 processes).
You can close the message with just hitting [ENTER] on W32 and I see the ok Button running at 1600x1200.
So far I have had some complaints about Notes 8 but none was about the crash screen.
To be fair it is as useless as an IRQ L NOT LESS OR EQUAL bluescreen.

Henning Heinz, 2007-09-04

@Karsten: Sicherheitsexperten empfehlen, auf Ajax komplett zu verzichten. So viel dazu.

Quelle: Ajax macht Hacker glücklich

Thilo Hamberger, 2007-09-04

IBM finally got rid of the infamous Red Box of Death dialog and users are still not happy... Sometimes you just can't win ;-)

As Wolfgang said, I believe that this is part of Eclipse behavior when the JVM crashes. Probably fine for an IDE, not so much for a desktop app run by "normal" users. Not sure how deeply embedded in Eclipse this code might be. Perhaps it was not possible to change before the R8 release without getting the Eclipse gods to agree to an appropriate change. If so, it's understandable although would point to a potential problem with using shared source. If not, did someone decide that this was better than the RBOD? If so then they need to add a Share Your Pain button. ;-)

Bob Congdon, 2007-09-05

Vowe - It was a last minute entry for your own contest. :)


Henry Ferlauto, 2007-09-05

Just curious. If you give focus to the error screen, and press the enter key, will it go away?

I run at 1920x1200 and have seen it a few times (mostly in beta, but 2-3 times since gold) and can always see the button. But that's just me and my still very good vision...

Rob Novak, 2007-09-06

I run at 1920x1200 on Ubuntu and can't see the button. I thought it was a debug build thing too.

Alan Bell, 2007-09-06

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