The Role of a Linux Computer

You can configure Linux as a server or as a desktop computer. Linux is flexible; you can install it on many older computers that you might otherwise have to scrap.

Red Hat includes a number of additional programs and applications that enhance what Linux can do on the desktop, for small organizations, and for the enterprise.

Linux as a Server

Linux is built for networking. You can set it up as a server to manage many different kinds of resources for your network. Table 1.3 lists just a few of the Linux services that you can configure. Many of these services have their own individual daemons. Others are associated with the Extended Internet Services Daemon ( xinetd ) described in Chapter 23 .

Table 1.3: Linux Server Services

Service

Description

Chapter

crond

Runs scripts on a schedule

13

cups

Manages the Common Unix Print System

25

httpd

The Apache Web Server

30

named

The Domain Name Service

24

nfs

A Network File System server

28

sendmail

A common e-mail transport agent

26

smb

Samba, which makes Linux computers members of Microsoft Windows networks

29

sshd

Secure Shell

23

vsftpd

The Very Secure FTP Daemon

27

xinetd

The Extended Internet Services Daemon

23

ypserv

A Network Information Service server

28

It s common to install Linux on older computers. You can set up a Linux computer as a server with limited functionality. In many cases, this does not require a great deal of RAM or hard disk space. For example, you could set up a Linux computer as a modern print server or a firewall. You would not have to purchase dedicated hardware for these purposes.

Linux on the Desktop

Linux is a serious alternative on the desktop. As you ll see in Chapters 15 17 , Linux provides essentially the same basic GUI applications and configuration tools that you can find in any version of Microsoft Windows.

In addition, three major office suites are available that you can use in place of Microsoft Office. Mozilla and Konqueror are fully featured web browsers; alternatively, you can still install Netscape or Opera on Linux. Evolution provides an alternative to Microsoft Outlook.

People are taking a serious look at Linux on the desktop. As of this writing, Wal-Mart is selling five different computers with Lindows ( www.lindows.com ), a version of Linux that is customized to run a number of Microsoft Windows applications. Linux is getting a serious look as a desktop alternative outside the United States.

Game manufacturers are creating ways to play on Linux. Tux Games is an online store ( www.tuxgames.com ) with a warehouse of interesting games. There s even a version of The Sims for Linux, courtesy of TransGaming Technologies ( www.transgaming.com ).

Applications available for Linux may not meet everyone s needs. In the personal finance area, GNUcash, in my opinion, does not compare well with the latest versions of Quicken. Other Linux personal finance programs are listed at www.linuxlinks.com/Software/Financial/Personal_Finance/ .

If you need a few Microsoft Windows programs, multiple solutions are available. CrossOver Office ( www.codeweavers.com ) allows you to run Microsoft Office 97/2000, Quicken, Lotus Notes, and more. You can set up Microsoft Windows inside a virtual computer inside Linux, courtesy of VMWare ( www.vmware.com ) or Win4Lin ( www.trelos.com ).

Red Hat Linux for Desktops

Red Hat started a recent push toward the desktop market with version 8.0. According to Erik Troan, senior director of product marketing for Red Hat, the company is targeting the Red Hat Linux desktop for both the personal and corporate markets. At least for now, Red Hat s focus is on markets such as financial institutions and call centers. It is also looking toward high-end users who want heavy-duty software, such as computer-aided design (CAD) and applications on the same computer.

To this end, Red Hat is moving toward configuring both GNOME and KDE with a similar look and feel. The changes that Red Hat has made to GNOME and KDE is known as Bluecurve.

GNOME, the GNU Network Object Model Environment, is described in Chapter 16 . KDE, the K Desktop Environment, is covered in Chapter 17 . These are the two most popular GUI desktops in use for Linux today. They ve also enhanced available GUI tools for both desktops, as described in Chapter 18 .

Desktop users may be pleased with the wide array of applications that come with Red Hat Linux 9. They include:

  • OpenOffice, a fully featured office software suite.

  • Mozilla and Konqueror, web browsers as fully featured as Microsoft Internet Explorer.

  • Internet utilities such as Instant Messenger, news clients , remote desktops, and more.

  • Multimedia applications that allow you to write CDs and even DVDs at full speed.

While the Red Hat desktop graphics utilities don t yet have the CMYK (cyan, magenta , yellow, and black) graphics software such as Paint Shop Pro, a number of movie studios do create animation and special effects on Linux computers.

Note  

CMYK is a color model more popular in high-end graphics applications than the original RGB (red-green-black) standard.

Red Hat Linux for Small Businesses

Red Hat Linux can be a fantastic option for a small businesses or organizations. You can install it on all desktops and servers. You save the cost of the operating systems and applications that you would otherwise have to install.

Red Hat Linux is fairly easy to configure in a network, even if you have Microsoft Windows computers. You can even configure Red Hat Linux as a primary domain controller (PDC) in a Microsoft Windows “style network. Once Samba is properly configured (see Chapter 29 ), other Microsoft computers won t be able to tell the difference.

With the right configuration, you can easily connect your network to the Internet. You can also protect your network from many of the ravages of the Internet with appropriate settings on your firewall and other network tools.

Red Hat Linux for the Enterprise

Many corporations use enhanced versions of Red Hat Linux, such as Red Hat s Enterprise Server line. When configured with other tools, such as Oracle databases and the Stronghold web server, Red Hat Linux can be a powerful tool for the enterprise.

Amazon.com has saved millions by converting to Red Hat. Google runs its search engine databases on a cluster of over 8000 servers running Red Hat Linux. Red Hat is becoming more popular for other large organizations as well, such as BP, Kenwood, and MIT. In a Red Hat case study, Toyota actually found slightly lower support costs after converting their computers to Red Hat Linux.

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Reporting Problems

Linux is a work in progress. Developers are constantly adding and revising features for new software and hardware. It s possible that in your journey with Linux, you ll run into a problem or two. There are four ways to look for a solution:

Newsgroups As described earlier, many users bring up problems that they have in different newsgroups. Google collected recent newsgroup messages into a searchable database through groups.google.com . If you want to post on a newsgroup, it s best to use a newsgroup reader such as those described in Chapters 16 and 17 . Alternatively, you can post messages using Google s interface (registration is required).

Mailing lists Red Hat has a series of mailing lists on different topics and versions; you can sign up at www.redhat.com/mailing-lists/ . The developers of a number of different applications maintain their own mailing lists, which you can find on their websites .

Red Hat support If you ve paid for an official copy of Red Hat Linux, you can get some amount of support for your issue. The support may be limited by the version that you ve purchased.

Bugzilla If you re certain that the problem is with Red Hat Linux, you can submit a bug report to Red Hat. Navigate to bugzilla.redhat.com and click Login Now. Create an account if you don t already have one. You can then search through the Bugzilla database to see if someone else has already raised the issue with Red Hat. If not, and if you ve exhausted the other resources, submit a bug report through the Red Hat Bugzilla system.

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Mastering Red Hat Linux 9
Building Tablet PC Applications (Pro-Developer)
ISBN: 078214179X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 220

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