Congratulations! You have officially arrived as a card-carrying Linux Desktop user. What next? It's now time to tune your environment for maximum productivity. See the following segments to find out how.
BUTTONED-DOWN BUSINESS PRODUCTIVITY
> Evolution 2.6
The premier e-mail and collaboration client for Linux, Evolution sports an intuitive interface that makes e-mail and calendaring easy. Evolution tightly integrates with a number of back-end e-mail environments including GroupWise, Exchange and any POP- or IMAP-enabled system.
Connect to GroupWise
Open Evolution, choose Edit and select Preferences. Choose Add+ and follow the steps in the configuration wizard. Select Novell GroupWise from the Server Type drop-down list, enter the Server address and specify what type (if any) of encryption will be used. On Receiving Options, ensure you choose the correct Post Office Agent SOAP Port. (The default is 7191, but check with your GroupWise administrator if you are unsure.) When you complete the wizard, Evolution will connect to GroupWise. Once connected, you can send and receive e-mail, appointments and tasks. If the connection fails, recheck your settings, especially the encryption options and the SOAP port.
Note: your GroupWise back-end system must be version 7 or higher to use Evolution.
Connect to Exchange
Open Evolution, choose Edit and select Preferences. Choose Add+ and follow the steps in the configuration wizard. Select Microsoft Exchange from the Server Type drop-down list, enter your Username and specify the OWA URL (the same URL used to login to Outlook Web Access). On Receiving Options, enter a Global Catalog server name for address book lookups. (Again, check with your Exchange administrator if you are unsure.) When you complete the wizard, Evolution will attempt to connect to Exchange. When it connects, you'll be using the Exchange back end with Evolution on the front end for your collaboration tools. (See Figure 1.)
> Lotus Notes
A native Linux Lotus Notes client is available and certified for SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. For details, see: www-306.ibm.com/ software/swnews/swnews.nsf/n/nhan6rfrrb?OpenDocument&Site=default.
> OpenOffice.org 2.0
With the release of version 2.0, OpenOffice.org reaffirmed it's position as the leading open source office suite on the market. You know it can open and save to multiple file formats, but how can you train users to save to the right formats for your organization? Further, what if some of your organization is still using Microsoft Office? Can everyone still collaborate seamlessly? Yes! The next two tips show how to set the default file save format in OpenOffice and how to easily export any document to PDF.
Set Default File Format
To set the default file format, open OpenOffice.org Writer, go to Tools, Options, Load/Save, General. Under Default file format, select the "Always save as" drop-down list and select the desired file format. If you choose Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP, you can easily share documents and collaborate with Microsoft Office users without having to manually convert any files at all–ever. Of course, when saving a document, you still can explicitly choose the file format.
Export to PDF
It's right there on the tool bar, but are you using it? Integrated export to PDF allows you to export any OpenOffice document (including those in Microsoft formats) to a read-only PDF file. Simply click the button on the tool bar. You can also export to PDF from the File menu.
Instant messaging improves productivity? Yes, and for many organizations, it's already a necessity. GAIM Instant Messenger (like Evolution for e-mail) plugs natively into several messaging back-ends including GroupWise Instant Messenger, MSN, AOL, Yahoo, ICQ, Google Talk and Jabber to name a few.
GroupWise Instant Messenger
Launch GAIM (gaim), select Accounts, Add+. Choose GroupWise from the Protocol drop-down list, enter your Screen Name and Password. (Select Remember password and Auto-login as desired.) Click Show More Options and enter the GroupWise Messenger Server address and port.
In GAIM (gaim), select Accounts, Add+. Choose MSN from the Protocol drop-down list, enter your Screen Name and Password. (Again, select Remember password, Auto-login or New mail notification as you want.)
Launch GAIM (gaim), select Accounts, Add+. Choose Jabber from the Protocol drop-down list, enter your Screen Name, "gmail.com" in the Server field, "Gaim" in the Resource field and your password. (Select Remember password or Auto-login if you want.) Click Show More Options, and check Use TLS if available, enter "5222" in the Port field and "talk.google.com" in the Connect server field.
Gnome Keyring and CASA
After signing in to your first gaim account, you'll be greeted with the New Keyring Password Dialog. (The GNOME Keyring manages multiple passwords for keyring-enabled applications.) Enter a matching password in both fields. After logging into the desktop, the first application that requires credentials from the keyring will prompt you to enter the keyring password. Thereafter, any app that requires credentials from the keyring can retrieve them.
For many, the keyring is not an ideal situation. You would like to sign on once to the desktop and not have to enter multiple passwords to access different applications. Novell CASA Manager (Common Authentication Services Adapter) can solve this problem.
To suppress the keyring prompt on future logins, go to the Control Center on the Computer menu. Click the Novell CASA Manager icon under the Personal section. Choose Yes when prompted to Configure CASA using YaST. Enter the root password (when prompted) and click the Configure CASA button after YaST launches. You'll then be prompted to click OK, then click Finish. Log out of the desktop and log in again. Go to Control Panel and click Novell CASA Manager. Enter a master password (this must be at least eight characters long) and click OK. The CASA Manager now launches and begins waiting for credentials. If you close the manager, it will continue to run in the task bar. Launch GAIM and enter the keyring password that you entered before (not the master password for CASA). CASA captures the credential and will now pass it in the background on future logins, keyring prompt gone!
For progressive, peer-to-peer types that enjoy chat, voice conversations and the ability to call any land-line or mobile phone, a full-featured skype client is also available. To download this gem, browse to skype.com/download/skype/linux, choose "RPM for SuSE 9 or newer." Open the file with the zen-installer. The integrated Software Installation tool will walk you through the rest. You can then find Skype under More Applications on the Computer menu.
> Desktop Search (Beagle)
Integrated Desktop Search. We've understood this concept for a while now as it applies to the Internet, but it's yet to be leveraged to it's full potential on the Desktop. Enter Desktop Search, never lose another document, Web page, chat or e-mail again.
Desktop Search, based on a search technology called Beagle, combs your personal information space to find whatever you're looking for. More than just filenames and extensions, Beagle can search document contents ranging from PDFs to music and video files. Don't worry about remembering file path names and directories any more, use Desktop Search to find whatever you're looking for.
To use Desktop Search, go to the Computer menu. Enter any search term in the Search field and press Enter to view the results as they populate. Depending on your results, you will see chats, documents, pictures, music files and Web pages. Beagle not only indexes file names and their contents, but also can perform smart regular expression matching. For example, entering "save" as a search term will match on "save", "saved", "saves", "saving", etc.
> Tomboy Notes
Think of Post-it's without the clutter. Tomboy is an easy-to-use desktop note-taking application that lets you rapidly capture ideas, information and notes as they come up throughout your day. Tomboy also helps to tie all this information together in a readily searchable and organized way.
To create a Tomboy Note, click the sticky-note-and-pen icon to the right of the Computer menu. Select Create New Note and enter the information you want to remember or reference later. The contents are automatically saved and also searched using Desktop Search.
> Terminal Server Client
Need to access a Windows Terminal Server or your old XP Professional Workstation? (Surely that's tucked away in the back closet by now.) Well, if you do, break it out and use Terminal Server Client (tsclient). Tsclient seamlessly connects to Windows systems using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) so you can see and use your fully functional Windows desktop computer from your Linux machine! VNC, Xnest and Citrix ICA connection protocols are also supported. What can this do for you? Now you don't have to shuffle back and forth to your windows workstation to run an application or utility. Instead, use tsclient and RDP to connect to other systems from your Linux Desktop and either run the Windows apps or find the files you need.
Connect to Windows XP Professional
On your Windows XP Professional system, right-click "My Computer" and select properties. Choose the Remote tab and check "Allow users to connect remotely to this computer" and click OK. (By default, any administrator level accounts have remote access if they have a password. Addition nonadministrator users can also be given access.) (See Figure 2.)
On your Linux Desktop, find tsclient under More Applications... Type tsclient in the Filter and launch the application. Enter the DNS name or IP address of your Windows XP system. (If you don't know it, open a command prompt on your Windows system and enter "ipconfig". This will display the IP Address of the system.) Choose RDP from the Protocol drop-down list. Enter a valid User Name, Password and click Connect. You can also use the other tabs available in tsclient to change the display characteristics of the terminal session. If you're having trouble connecting, try disabling the firewall on the Windows System, after which you can re-enable it and add port 3389 or the Remote Desktop application to the exception list. (See Figure 3.)
> Windows Interoperability
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 integrates with your existing IT infrastructure. You can leverage Active Directory, eDirectory or any LDAP directory to manage usernames and passwords. Of course, local accounts can always be used too. You can also easily map drives to existing Windows shares and create "Windows" shares of your own.
Map Windows Shares
Mapping to existing Windows shares on your network is easy. To begin, open the File Browser (Nautilus) from the Computer Menu or by double clicking your home directory on the Desktop. Click the notepad icon directly below the Back button, and this will change the path tool bar to a Location text field. In the text field, enter the path to the share, starting with "smb://" (i.e., smb://192.168.1.1/share). At this point you'll be prompted with the Authentication Required dialog. Enter your username and password for the share. (The Domain should already be filled in.) You can also mark the checkbox to have your password remembered for the session and save it in the keyring.
You can also add the share as a bookmark. To do this, go to Bookmarks (in the File Browser) and select +Add Bookmark. This will add the share (or any directory) to the Places side pane for easy navigation.
Create Windows Shares
To share a directory that both Windows and Linux systems can connect to, select a directory to share. Right click the directory and select Sharing Options. Check "Share this folder" and choose the Share name. It defaults to the folder name. You also have the option to allow others to write to the shared directory. Click Create Share. You can now connect to this share from Windows or Linux systems.
In a nod to the open source business model (and the XEN virtualization project), VMware now offers free virtualization products including VMware Server and Vmware Player. You can use these products for free and only pay for support if needed. VMware and other virtualization technologies allow multiple operating systems to run on a single desktop or server. Haven't quite weened yourself from Windows just yet? Run Windows (and other OSs) in VMware hosted on your SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. (See Figure 4.)
VMware Player lets you run existing virtual machines created with VMware Workstation, Server or ESX Server. Configure the virtual machines to your heart's content with the above tools, then easily run and distribute them to others using VMware Player.
VMware Player for Linux can be downloaded from vmware.com/download/player. Choose the link "for Linux (.rpm)."
To install, choose open with "zen-installer" when prompted by Firefox. The Software Installation tool will walk you through the rest. You can also save the rpm package and double click the icon after it downloads. This will launch the Software Installation tool as well.
Yes, it's all about the cube. XGL and Compiz bring stunning visual effects and enhanced usability to Desktop Linux. This includes window translucency, drop shadows, a true 3D desktop environment and application animations. You have to see it to truly appreciate what it can do.
Once installed, make sure you have the kernel-source, kernel-syms, gcc, gcc-c++ and make rpms packages installed as well. To do this, use Software Management in YaST or Install Software from the Computer Menu. Once you have all of the packages installed, open a terminal by right clicking on the desktop and selecting Open Terminal. Switch the user to root (su -) and type vmware-config.pl. Follow the text-based wizard in the terminal. You can safely select the defaults in most cases and will likely want to create a virtual network so any virtual machines have network access. Bridged, nat, or hostonly virtual networks can be created. For a more exhaustive how-to on VMware installation on SUSE Linux, visit en.opensuse.org/Setting_up_VMware_on_SUSE_Linux.
To enable seamless resolution resizing and full-screen support for VMware Player (and other VMware products), open the following file in a text editor: /home/< username>/.vmware/preferences. Ensure that the pref.autoFitFullScreen equals "fitGuestToHost" (pref.autoFitFull Screen = "fitGuestToHost"). Save the file and restart VMware Player.
GRAPHICAL EFFECTS, MUSIC AND MORE
> External Software Repositories
OpenSUSE 10.1 (the underpinnings of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10) draws a large community that hosts software repositories built for the distribution in addition to those hosted by opensuse.org. These repositories contain software packages not included in mainline openSUSE. Because these packages (or RPMs) are built for OpenSUSE 10.1, the majority are compatible with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. Some of the more popular repositories include Packman, Guru and Beryl.
Additional Repositories (or Installation Sources) can be added using YaST or the zen-updater. For a listing of available repositories and instructions on how to add them to your system, browse to en.opensuse.org/YaST_package_repository.
Once you've added a repository, you can use Software Management, which is also part of YaST in the Software section, to install the additional packages. Install Software, found in the upper right of the Computer menu, can also be used.
Some of the regular packages that I add to the Desktop after installing SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 include the latest Totem (video player) and w32codec rpms from Packman. The Azureus rpm (a bittorrent client) from Guru is also a favorite.
Yes, it's all about the cube. XGL and Compiz bring stunning visual effects and enhanced usability to Desktop Linux. This includes window translucency, drop shadows, a true 3D desktop environment and application animations. You have to see it to truly appreciate what it can do. To see XGL and other features of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, check out the demo at: novell.com/products/desktop.
> How to enable
To enable Desktop Effects, go to Control Center (from the Computer menu) and launch Desktop Effects under Look and Feel. In the Desktop Effects Settings application, see if your graphics card is supported. Any card from Nvidia, ATI or Nvidia with 32MB or more of RAM usually works. For specifics, check out en.opensuse.org/xgl.
Follow the steps outlined in the application, either downloading an ATI or Nvidia driver, configuring your graphics card for 3D support or enabling XGL. Note: Registration with the Novell Customer Center is required to download drivers from ATI and Nvidia. Do this during the initial installation or in YaST afterward.
On enabling Desktop Effects, you'll be asked to log out and log in again. On log in, your compiz effects are ready to go. You can then use the same Desktop Effects application to fine tune your desktop settings, such as wobbly windows and transparency. For a complete list of keyboard shortcuts to control your desktop cube and other features see: en.opensuse.org/compiz. A step-by-step how-to is available at reverend Ted's blog: reverendted.wordpress.com/2006/07/02/its-not-xglits-desktop-effects/.
For the adventurous souls out there who want the latest in graphical effects and window themes, check out the beryl project at: beryl-project.org. Beryl repositories are also available on opensuse.org. See the external repository page for details: en.opensuse.org/YaST_package_repository.
> Helix Banshee
Banshee is a full-featured audio library, player and "podcatching" application. With Banshee, you can import CDs, sync music playlists to your iPod or other mp3 player, create both audio and MP3 CDs and subscribe to podcasts. Podcasting is available in Banshee 0.11.x series or later.
> Updating Metadata
Mismatched or missing track titles, albums and album art getting you down? Use the included Metadata Searcher plugin to update any of the metadata attributes of your music files. You can configure this plugin by choosing Edit, Plugins... and selecting Metadata Searcher. Select the Configuration tab and choose which attributes you want to have added or corrected in your music files.
The Audioscrobbler plugin automatically updates your profile on Last.fm with the music you are listening to. Using Last.fm, you can allow others to view your listening history and view charts of what you have listened to. Last.fm is also a great place to find out about new bands and music. A nice companion to Audioscrobbler is the Music Recommendations plugin, which is available in the 0.11.x series of Banshee and the software repository you can use to get it is referenced below.
> iPods and MP3 Players
Most iPods and mp3 players are supported by Banshee. To transfer tracks from your audio library to your device, plug it in. You'll see your device displayed in the side pane. Select it and you can browse and search the tracks that are on the device. Select your Music Library in the side pane and the tracks you want to transfer to your device icon in the side pane. You can select multiple tracks and transfer them in a single drag-n-drop. Select your device and choose Synchronize iPod (or other device), in the upper right corner of the application. To synchronize individual tracks, click Save Manual Changes. To synchronize your entire music library, click Synchronize Library. You can now enjoy your tracks on your iPod or mp3 player.
> Latest Banshee
Development on Banshee continues at a rapid pace with new features and improvements constantly being added to the project. To get the latest of what Banshee has to offer, built specifically for SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, add the following external repository to your Software Updater or Installation Sources: dist.banshee-project.org/SLED-10.
(As of this writing, the banshee external repository is hosted at banshee-project.org. Check back with the external repository page mentioned under External Software Repositories at opensuse.org if you can't find it.)
Phew!, you made it. Your desktop environment is now tuned for maximum productivity. You are a Linux Desktop Champion!