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Deploying SUSE Linux with Intuit QuickBooks and Other Applications

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Buck Gashler, Jani Sue Muhlestein

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Updated: 10 Jun 2005
 

Introduction

The title "solution provider" is often interchangeable with terms such as "Value Added Reseller (VAR)" or just "Reseller." An up-to-date distinction is actually quite appropriate. As the name implies, solution providers are the ones that successfully combine various network operating systems, security applications, backup products, accounting applications, and more, in order to deploy comprehensive solutions meeting the needs of the customer.

When putting a comprehensive solution together, a sizeable amount of solution providers in North America include Novell's Small Business Suite along with Intuit's QuickBooks products. This allows for QuickBooks documents created on Windows workstations to be securely stored, retrieved, shared, and printed using the networking services provided by Novell NetWare.

With the release of Novell Linux Small Business Suite, many solution providers are eager to deploy the new exciting Linux suite with QuickBooks. There have been some perceived incompatibilities in the past, however, this guide will walk you through the actual steps on how to set up Novell Linux Small Business Suite with QuickBooks to create a powerful solution.

QuickBooks, and just about any other Windows-based application for that matter, can easily utilize the Novell Linux Small Business Suite's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server the same way the application works with a Microsoft Windows or Novell NetWare server. This document will demonstrate how to set up such a solution. To begin, below is a brief overview of Samba and CUPS, important features provided with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Samba

Samba provides Windows file and printer emulation that makes a Linux server appear as a Windows server to Windows clients. With Samba, Windows users are able to access and share files, and access printers on a SUSE Linux server with no special client or utilities.

This is because Samba is a variant of SMB (Server Message Block). Samba is an open source implementation of the SMB protocol. Like SMB, Samba provides a method for client applications (such as QuickBooks) on a computer to read and write files on and request services, such as print services, from server programs on a network.

Samba also allows a non-Windows server operating system such as Linux to communicate with the same networking protocol as the Windows products. This means that through Samba, someone running QuickBooks on a Windows workstation can save files to, retrieve files from, share files through, and print files through the Novell Linux Small Business Suite SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

This document will show you how to quickly set up Samba on a Novell Linux Small Business Suite server using YaST.

CUPS

CUPS stands for Common UNIX Printing System. CUPS is a standardized cross-platform printing solution based on the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) allowing users to securely print to remote locations across the Internet using authentication and encryption.

CUPS works on Linux, Solaris, and a lot of other UNIX-type operating systems including FreeBSD and Apple's OS X. CUPS is not supported on Windows, but Samba's smbspool is used to integrate Windows printing with CUPS.

Section 1

Determining where QuickBooks shared files will be stored and shared
Prior to setting up files for sharing, you must decide where your QuickBooks files will be stored. If the policy is to store files only in users' individual home directories, then skip this section and proceed to Section 2.

If files will be stored in directories that will need to be accessed by multiple users, you must first create these directories. For example, you might create directories such as "Invoices," Deposits," etc. Based on the preference of the business, this may be a few or an extensive number of directories.

There are a number of ways to create directories including the Linux Shell and through Konqueror . For information on creating directories, see http://www.novell.com/documentation/suse.html.

Section 2

Setting up Sharing through Samba
From the Graphic User Interface (GUI) at the Novell Linux Small Business Suite's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, do the following:

  1. Click the icon in the lower-left corner and select System > YaST.

    The YaST utility is launched.
  2. In the left panel, click the Network Services icon.
  3. In the right panel, click Samba Server.

    Novell Linux Small Business Suite does not install Samba Server as part of its installation packages. You are therefore asked in a dialog box if you want to install it and you are notified to insert the Core Version 9 CD 2.


  4. Insert the CD and click Continue.

    A dialog box appears informing you that Samba Server is being installed. When finished, the Initializing Samba Server Configuration dialog box appears - a two-step process.

    Samba Server then attempts to locate Microsoft Windows workgroups or domains.



  5. Select the workgroup from the drop-down menu. If "WORKGROUP" is not present in the menu, you can type "WORKGROUP" yourself.

    If there are workgroups set up in the network, choose the appropriate workgroup from the drop down list. If there are no specific workgroups listed, all Microsoft Windows workstations have a default "WORKGROUP" as part of its network services.


  6. Click Next.

    The following dialog box appears.


    While you can make the Samba Server the primary or backup domain controller, in most cases you won't. For a detailed discussion on domain controllers and determining what is best for you, see http://hostopia.samba.org/samba/.

  7. Choose No Domain Controller and click Next.

    Note: This documentation proceeds with the assumption that No Domain Controller was selected in Step 7, rather than either of the other two options.

    The Samba Configuration screen appears.



  8. Make sure the Startup tab is selected and choose Enable Services Automatically and Start on Booting.


  9. Click the Shares tab.

    On this screen, indicate what directories you want shared. For example, identify the "Invoices," Deposits," etc. directories you want accessible by more than one person in your network.



  10. Conditional: If your QuickBooks files will be stored only in a user's home directory and accessible by that user only, click Finish.


  11. Conditional: If you created separate directories for storing your QuickBooks files that you want to be accessed by more than one person, click the Add button.

    The Add New Share dialog box appears.



  12. Enter a Share Name and a Share Description in the appropriate fields.

    Note: This is the name that will appear in the Microsoft Windows network.

    For example, name the Invoices share "Invoices."


  13. In the same dialog box, select the Directory option.


  14. In the same dialog box, browse to the directory you want.

    In the same example, you would browse to the "Invoices" directory.


  15. Click OK to save.


  16. Conditional: To allow anyone access to the share, click Edit in the shares list. On the Edit Share screen, click Add and in the Selected Option dialog box, click the down arrow, select "Guest OK," and click OK. In the Current Option dialog, check the box and click OK. Click OK again to get back to the shares list.


  17. Conditional: To limit access to the share, instead of doing the previous step, do the following:
    1. Decide on an existing user or create a new user to use for controlling access to the share. If you want to create a new user, go to YaST > Security and Users > Edit and Create Users. Click Add in the User and Group Administration dialog box and follow the prompts to create a new user. For example, let's suppose the user name is qbuser.


    2. Change the file permissions to allow the user that was created (for example, qbuser) appropriate rights to the share. One way to do this is to click on the Personal Files icon on the desktop, click the Root Folder icon, and browse to the share directory. Typically you will want to specify "users" as the group and apply permissions to all subfolders.


    3. Open a Terminal Program (shell) window and, as root, run smbpasswd to assign a password to the user. For example, type "smbpasswd -a qbuser" and follow the prompts to set the password.

      For more information on creating users and granting permissions, click the SUSE Help Center icon on the desktop.


  18. Click the Shares tab to access the list of shares.


  19. Highlight the share that you just created and click the Edit button.


  20. Click the Add button.


  21. In the Selected Option drop-down menu, select oplocks and click OK.

    Note: "Oplocks" is a nickname for Opportunistic locks, which allow a workstation to reserve a specific file on the server for that workstation's exclusive use. When using a multi-user version of QuickBooks, Novell recommends that the oplocks setting be set to false (which Steps 18-24 explain how to do).


  22. Click OK.

    The following dialog box appears.


    Note: A checked box means oplocks is true or enabled. An unchecked box means that oplocks is false or disabled.


  23. Leave the box unchecked and click OK.


  24. Repeat Steps 11 - 23 for each directory that will be shared.


  25. Click Finish in the shares list when finished creating all shares.

    The Saving Samba Server Configuration message box comes up and a dialog box appears requesting a Root user password.


  26. Enter the root user password twice and click OK.


  27. Click Close to exit the YaST utility.

    The shares are now set up for viewing from a Microsoft Windows workstation.

Section 3

Viewing and mapping the shares from a Microsoft Windows Workstation

  1. From the Start menu, select Run.


  2. In the Open field, enter the IP address for the server where you just installed and configured the Samba Server and click OK.

    Note: the format should be using backslashes. For example: \\10.10.2.1

    Note: To see all shares, simply enter the IP address in the format shown above. To access a single share, put the name of the share after the IP address as follows: \\10.10.2.1\share_name

    After connecting to the server, you are prompted to enter a username and password.


  3. Have the user that will be using this machine enter his or her username and password and click OK.

    Upon logging in, the accessible shares now appear in view.


  4. Right click one of the shares and select Map Network Drive. Select the drive letter you would like to use and click Finish. Repeat this step for each of the shares.

    With the drives mapped, you (and users permitted access to the shared files) can now access, store, and share QuickBooks files on the Novell Linux Small Business Suite SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 server.

Setting up CUPS for Printing

CUPS printing software comes installed with the Novell Linux Small Business Suite SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 server. CUPS is the easiest way to set up network printing for Windows workstations in a Linux network environment.

  1. Run the Linux shell by clicking the shell icon .


  2. Once at the shell, as root user, type lppasswd -a root and press <Enter>. This tells lppasswd to create an admin user (root) and give it a password.



    You are then prompted for a password. The password must be at least 6 characters long, not contain your username, and contain at least one number and letter.


  3. Once you have created the administrator and password, exit the shell and open a web browser.


  4. Type http://localhost:631

    This brings up the CUPS Administration Tool in the browser.



  5. Click Manage Printers. The following page appears.



  6. Click the Add Printer button.

    The following dialog box appears.



  7. Enter the admin name and password you created in Step 2 of this section and click OK.

    The Add New Printer page appears.



  8. In the appropriate fields, enter a name by which the printer will be known on the network, along with the physical location, and a general description of the printer. When finished, click Continue.

    The Device page appears.



  9. From the drop down list, select a device that best matches the printer device (or the communication protocol between the server and the printer) and click Continue.

    For a description of device types, click Help or refer to the CUPS documentation at:

    http://www.cups.org

    The following page appears.



  10. Enter the URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) for the network printer in the format shown in the examples, using the IP address of the printer. Click Continue.

    The Model/Driver page appears.



  11. From the drop down list, select the appropriate model/drive for the attached network printer.

    The list is somewhat comprehensive and you should be able to locate your printer.

    A follow up list appears asking you to select the specific model for the selected printer vendor.


  12. Click Continue when finished.

    Your printer is now set up. You may want to print a test page. You can do this by clicking the printer name and then clicking the Print Test Page button.

Summary

The simple steps outlined in this deployment guide will arm you, as a solution provider, with the power to provide Novell Linux Small Business Suite with QuickBooks, as well as other Windows-based applications, to your small business customers. Samba and CUPS, provided with Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9, are proven, reliable tools that allow your customers to realize the true value of Linux. By using Linux, customers gain added security, manageability, flexibility, and, most of all, cost savings.


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