Page Two

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2005-07-05 Print this article Print

A related minor annoyance is that OpenOffice 2 will not save to SMB drives. At first I thought this was the result of a known Linux bug, which can be fixed by simply inserting the line "unix extensions = no" into Sambas master configuration file, smb.conf, but this time this workaround didnt take. So, I had to save my OpenOffice files to a local drive and then copy them over to my SMB drive. Im sure Novell will deliver a fix for this problem soon, though. In the weeks that Ive been using SLP, Ive automatically and transparently received such updates as the security fix to Firefox, which brings it to version 1.03, and the latest version of Adobe Acrobat for Linux, via its automatic update program, SuSE Watcher.
This program can be set to check daily for security patches; users can decide to have any patches or new programs automatically installed or choose to select only those items they want installed. In either case, SuSE Watcher then invokes the master SLP administration program YaST, and it proceeds automatically from there.
Installations and patches have never been easier. Which Linux desktop is right for you? Click here to find out. As a higher-end Linux distribution, you could run SLP on a slow Pentium with as little as 128MB of RAM and 500MB of hard-drive room. Lets not be silly about this, though. Youll be much better off with at least a 1GHz Pentium-class chip, 256MB of RAM and 2.5GB of storage space. For my test run, I really wanted to see what SLP 9.3 could do, so instead of putting it on one of my older, slower machines, I installed it on an inexpensive Insignia 300a, Best Buys house brand desktop PC. This box comes with a 2.8 GHz Pentium IV, 512MB of RAM, and an Ultra ATA/100, 7200 RPM, 60GB hard drive. The system also came with Windows XP Home. Since I have no use for XP Home—XP Pro is a different story—I blew it away. Had I wanted to though, I could have kept XP Home around and run the system in a dual-boot configuration. The total installation time was about an hour. Most of that was spent syncing the desktop up with my Hybrid Mode NT Domain/Active Directory-based LAN. The actual installation was a snap … for someone who knows Linux 101. The installation was, however, complex enough to move SLP 9.3 out of the realm of such beginner-ready Linux distributions as Xandros 3 or Linspire 5. Once up, SLP ran well, but far from flawlessly. The core operating system and all the fundamental applications worked well. The problem children were the newer, more interesting programs. The first problem I ran into was that Im a confirmed KDE user. Ive nothing against the GNOME interface; I just prefer KDE and use it on all my machines. And, no question about it, SLPs KDE 3.4, with such new handy features as better right-button context, works well. Next page: Beagle still needs housebreaking.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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