Configuration Utilities

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2002-10-14 Print this article Print

Configuration Utilities

Red Hat 8.0 ships with 10 new configuration utilities, including user-oriented tools for configuring display settings, sound cards, keyboards and mice. Also new is a package management tool that makes it much easier to locate and install the applications that ship on Red Hats installation disks.

However, Red Hats package management tool is less full-featured than the KDE-native Kpackage application with which were most familiar and which is not included in Red Hat 8.0. KDEs Kpackage enabled us to set FTP sites as package sources and allowed us to browse the packages installed on a particular system. Wed like to see similar functionality make it into a future version of Red Hats package tool.

One of the trickiest challenges for any multiuser operating system is balancing safety and convenience when managing user rights. Tasks such as software installation require root or administrator permissions, but users are discouraged from using administrator-level accounts for day-to-day computing.

Most Linux distributions prompt users to enter their root password as needed when carrying out these tasks, which is what Red Hat 8.0 does. When we entered our root password, however, a key-ring icon appeared in our task bar to indicate that we were working with root privileges. By clicking on the icon, we could either "keep" or "forget" this authorization to carry out further administrative tasks without re-entering our password, or return to our normal user rights.

Also encouraging in this release is the extension of Red Hats very good network device tool for setting up wireless connections, a capability lacking in the Linux distributions weve previously tested.

Technical Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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