Notes from CentraLUG: 1-Dec-2008

Five members attended the December meeting of the Central New Hampshire Linux User Group, one chapter of the Greater New Hampshire Linux User Group, held as usual on the New Hampshire Technical Institute Library Room 146. (Note that there will not be a January meeting at NHTI, as the facility will be on break.)

A good time was had by all. We discussed and demonstrated the new Fedora 10, released on 25-November. Attendees were impressed with the depth and breadth of the Network Manager, version 0.7.0. We reviewed the dialogs with configuration for wireless, wired, broadband mobile (cell), DSL and VPN configurations. Bill Sconce did some Googling and reported that Network Manager, the application, was available for several other desktop managers, including his favorite, Fluxbox.

We also admired the updated “Monitor Resolution Settings” available off the System|Preferences|Hardware|Screen Resolution GNOME menu. In combination with the latest X.org, the interface gave us the ability to detect the projector and adjust the laptop’s screen display and arrange the geometry of the two outputs, either mirroring them or placing them side-by-side or top-to-bottom. Very slick!

We talked about the ease of upgrade: I had Fedora 9 installed on this laptop and used the Fedora-supplied “preupgrade” package to stage the laptop and perform the upgrade very easily. A restart into the new kernel and confirmation that the /etc/fedora-release version was correct, and I was upgraded! I have never seen an easier upgrade in a RedHat-family-based system.

We discussed the challenges in digging up solutions to more complex troubleshooting problems, not Fedora 10 related. Mark talked about a problem it took him months to track down that eventually pointed to remarking out a single module in rc.d. Dave referred us to A.P. Lawrence.com where he was able to come up with the magical incantation to correct the timezone settings on an SCO box.

Meanwhile, back at Fedora 10, we looked at the new OpenOffice.org 3.0 and talked about some of the compelling features in the new version. The ability to edit PDF files was something that generated a lot of interest. Bill pointed out that there is no concept of text flow within a PDF, so while you can correct a typo, you can’t expect the text to be reflowed.

There were questions on OO.o compatibility with other office packages, like MSOffice and WordPerfect. Novell has come out with a translator to read Office-BASIC macros and translate them into OpenOffice.org’s StarBASIC. Version 3.0 can apparently read the new proprietary Office DOCX documents. We talked about where to find good resources for OpenOffice.org (suggestions welcomed!). Bill mentioned that Jim Kuzdrall’s presentation on OpenOffice.org styles (see Sept 20, 2007 for links to notes and slides) was a real help in him getting OpenOffice.org working. We also mentioned that Solveig Haugland’s blog was a great resource for more information.

Thanks to Bill Sconce for bringing the projector, to all for participating and to the New Hampshire Technical Library for the great facilities. Note that there is no January meeting planned at the moment, but keep an eye out for a February announcement.

2 Responses to Notes from CentraLUG: 1-Dec-2008

  1. pcunix December 14, 2008 at 2:49 pm #

    I’m glad Dave was able to find what he needed at my site, but had I been there I would have wanted to ask him why he hasn’t yet gotten that customer off SCO and on to Linux.

    The usual answer is some irreplaceable application but even then they might want to consider trying to put the SCO in a VM under Linux. I know some folks have been able to do this with VMWare; I’m not sure if anyone has managed with Xen or anything else.

    Better to wrap the beast inside a good OS than let it run free.. aside from very real security concerns, what will they do if the hardware dies? SCO 5.0.7 will run on most hardware right now, but 5.0.5 won’t and driver support is drying up fast.

  2. tedroche December 21, 2008 at 9:31 am #

    I’m glad Dave was able to find what he needed at my site, but had I been there I would have wanted to ask him why he hasn’t yet gotten that customer off SCO and on to Linux.

    Well, that’s why we encourage people to attend the sessions in person. Dave is a regular at the meetings and has discussed in detail his business and his relationship with SCO. And he attends a Linux User Group meeting for good reasons!

    Hope to see you at a future meeting!

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