Sametime Name Change

Having recently done an upgrade from Sametime 3.1 to Sametime 7.5.1 I have to admit that I am a bit disappointed with the way IBM choose to implemented the maintenance of names for this product. I expected some closer integration into the Lotus Notes/Domino product range. To make things worse the Administration Guide reveals misleading information.

But let’s start from the beginning. Everyone familiar with Lotus Notes and Domino knows that the AdminP process is quite an efficient fellow when it is made responsible for the change of user names. I am therefore wondering why someone has decided to run things different in Sametime (7.5.1). Examining the structure of the IM contact lists that are stored for each individual user within the vpuserinfo.nsf database on the Sametime server it is obvious that the AdminP name field maintenance won’t work. While the contact lists itself are stored in Notes documents, the fields contain a custom arbitrary data type that structure appears to be close to the XML format. I therefore understand quite clearly that the AdminP supported maintenance of names can not just be enabled. However, I do fully support the idea jam call to implement the maintenance of Sametime contact lists into the AdminP functionality.

So what needs to be done to have name in instant messaging contact lists changed? As mentioned above the manual itself is a bit misleading.

As a start a name change task needs to be defined. This is done at the Server Administration -> LDAP Directory or Domino Directory (depending on your configuration) -> Name Change Tasks page. The Name Change Tasks lists all scheduled name change tasks and allows the creation of new tasks. New tasks are submitted in creating a comma separated list (CSV-file) and uploading this to the server. This task will be placed in the stnamechange.nsf and will be listed as scheduled in the task list. When creating the csv file it is important to note, that the names have to be full hierarchical and need to be enclosed in quotation marks. The example on page 468 of the Administration Guide unfortunately doesn’t include them.

"CN=Christian Petters/OU=Sales/O=Cubetoon","CN=Christian Petters/OU=Marketing/O=Cubetoon","Christian Petters"

Speaking about Lotus Domino and Sametime on Windows, page 464 of the Administration Guide explains that a scheduled task will be executed at the time specified in the Configuration -> Community Services page. Unfortunately the Community Services settings does not include such a parameter and it appears to me that IBM development team did not have enough time to implement this feature while the documentation people already described it.

To finally run the name change tasks stored in the stnamechange.nsf the StBlConversation.exe needs to be run by the Administrator while, and this is important, no one is connected to the Sametime server. The StBlConversation.exe is located at the installation directory of the Sametime server. While it is pretty easy to prevent anyone connection to the Sametime server in terminating the staddin (tell staddin quit) it really appears odd to me that this task requires to be run after hours while it is becoming more and more difficult with these days flexitime arrangements to find a large enough after hours window for all the required maintenance tasks.

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