I remember my first encounter with a computer was in high school calculus, an Olivetti Programma 101. It was part of our curriculum to program the arithmetic steps for summation equations. A decade later, I was learning DOS on a military computer. Not the underlying technology, I became the training guru for our Enable office suite. I also wrote all the automation scripts in Enable for the forms we had to process. I still use a copy of Enable O/A in my XP Mode emulator on Windows 7.
If you are running RHEL, you are already running a mail server. It's installed by default and setup to run. Of course, it only delivers mail locally, and only from sources within your own machine. Right now, there are no sources, so there is no mail. But the server is running.
In my explorations with RHEL 6, we have come a long way towards a useful computing environment. One piece we have not taken time to explore much, however, is one of the most important for many users: file sharing. If you intend using your RHEL machine to serve files amongst Windows machines, one of the first things you should consider is using Samba.
Our site name was once a clever way of telling you we were promoting Open Source technology for use in business or the home office — “Open (Source) for Business.” Much has changed over the last ten years, but we remain here for the same reason: we are passionate about the topics that appear on these virtual pages.
The bundled Open Java on RHEL is okay. It's also painfully slow, particularly compared to the competition. Most people still call it Sun Java, though it's now owned by Oracle. Because we have installed the development packages, we have the Open JDK (Java Development Kit) so we'll have to replace it with Oracle's JDK for Linux. This is so much faster, there simply is no comparison, at least on desktop applications. That would be things like Jedit (a java-based text editor), the Bible Desktop or "JSword" (java version of Crosswire's Sword Project) and any number of java games.
For our last desktop oriented article, I promised we would build one item using the generic Open Source scripted building process. For this project, I chose something only slightly complicated, and likely to be favored by most users: PySolFC, the Python Solitaire Fan Club Edition. It's not just a collection of card games, but more card games than you've ever seen, along with a wide array of Mahjongg based games. It also comes with background music.
In my last column, we learned the basics of RPM, the software management tool of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (and numerous other distributions). With a little less hand-holding this time, I am going to outline for you building a bigger SRPM project which has lots of dependencies. As scary as that may sound, it is really fairly simple in practice.
You probably know everything on your computer is just zeroes and ones, grouped together in eights and sixteens, and so forth. You might know a bunch of folks type out lines of instructions ("code") for computers which have to be converted into those ones and zeroes, in a process called compiling. You may have heard compiling stuff on Windows requires you to buy expensive software suites to do that sort of stuff. Maybe you know Open Source means the entire process from start to finish is wide open and free, and if you take a notion, you can compile your own software because it's all part of the package. This is why I recommended you install the Developer Workstation package profile. You can take all those instructions people write and make it into zeroes and ones yourself.
Linux is capable of superior font display handling. On my hardware, it's better than any version of Windows if those capabilities are taken advantage of. However, its capabilities are not turned on in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (or many other distributions) by default. There are several issues involved, but never fear — they can be solved.
There is a world of difference between Windows and Linux in file handling. Your immediate need is to understand the business of permissions. One of the fundamental security advantages in Linux is every file is owned by someone, and the owner gets to decide what happens to those files. Ownership, of course, is limited to those who have an identity on the computer in question.