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Ron van Herk

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Member since 12/6/2007


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Author Archives

Birds of a Feather

Ron van Herk

March 12, 2007 7:01 am



flying dove

Many customers get to BrainShare to learn about the Novell products, BrainShare however isn’t just about Novell educating it’s customers it’s also about customers educating Novell. For many of the Novell employees it’s a perfect opportunity to get feedback on things they have been working with, talking to people in the lab or during a session does give a huge amount of info for us at Novell as well.

The Birds of a Feather (BOF) sessions at BrainShare are a special type of sessions where we’ve got open discussions about certain topics. The idea behind these sessions is to have customers share their thoughts and experiences on certain topics, with this customers can learn from each other but at the same time these sessions are a great opportunity for us at Novell to gather some info on customer experiences and expectations. This year I’m moderating three different BOF sessions, “ZENworks in a WAN environment” (BOF140), “Architecting and Scaling your ZENworks solution” (BOF142) and “Tips and Tricks on Application Packaging” (BOF240). These sessions will be a great learning experience for me as well, having people discuss issues involved with WAN links and scalability just at the time that we are working on our new generation ZENworks will give me some great info that I can take with me and feed back to the test-teams that do scalability tests.

Looking forward to Share some Brain next week 🙂

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Don’t throw it away!!!

Ron van Herk

February 6, 2007 2:40 pm



Ethernet Hub

People will be amazed about what we as support engineers can get out of a network trace.

In general logfiles are the first thing to look at when you run into some issues, logfiles however do not always get you to the root cause of an issue. In some situations a network trace is the perfect way to get the information about what happens and at what exact point thing’s go wrong. Taking a trace however isn’t always easy, many customers are using high-end ethernet switches and taking a network trace will often require some assistance from the people managing the infrastructure so that they can take the trace from a monitoring port on the switch.

The first thing I always ask to a customer if they need to take a trace on the workstation side is if they have an old ethernet hub available somewhere. Just connect the problem workstation to the hub and connect a second workstation to take the trace. Unfortunately these day’s it isn’t that easy to find an old hub, many customers replaced their old hubs with a switched environment and the old hubs just get thrown away as garbage. So now you know, if you still have some hubs available, please don’t throw them away but keep one or two as a troubleshooting tool, at some point in time it might save you some time.

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Linux and Vista compatibility

Ron van Herk

January 29, 2007 4:11 pm



Linux Magazine

Last week Ken Muir wrote about the Windows Vista HELL and his problems after he installing Vista on his dual-boot workstation. During the install of Vista the install will just overwrite the MBR and as such that will be the end of your dual-boot configuration.

Today a few of my friends from Novell Australia pointed me at an article about Linux and Vista in Linux Magazine, great reading material for everyone using both Vista and Linux. Would have saved Ken some time 😉

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Flash presentations

Ron van Herk

January 20, 2007 2:38 pm




Like many others at Novell, I always prefer to do life demos when I need to deliver a session. A running demo environment allows you to be flexible while doing a presentation and in general the audience finds it more attractive to see the real thing. In some situations however it’s more easy to just show some Flash presentation with a recording.

Today as was preparing myself for a demo I need to deliver next week, and due to the fact that the time I’ve got to run this demo is very limited, I decided to play safe and use a Flash presentations instead of running a real product installation. To create demo’s like this I’m using Wink, it’s a great freeware tool that allows me to capture what happens on the screen (both Windows and Linux) and allows me to edit what I’ve captured. I can add “Next” buttons so it will hold the presentation while I’m running it, it allows me to skip some of the time it takes to perform the install and I can export the demo into a Flash or EXE file (you may guess what I’ll be using to run the demo on my SLED workstation 😉 ).

Are you using screen captures for training or demo, and if so what tools are you using to create these? Any tips or tricks?

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Goodbye Filefinder

Ron van Herk

January 18, 2007 3:49 am




Don’t you hate that, when something you’ve worked with for several years, something that you just can do with your eyes closed, if something like that gets changed?

Well, that’s what Novell just did, we changed our filefinder and moved our patches to the Novell downloads site. Unfortunately with the old filefinder and the patch-building process behind it, we where running into more and more limitations and as such it was time for some change.

OK, so is this new tool the perfect thing? Hmm, I still need to get used to it and many of my customers and co-workers seem to have the same feeling. Probably we all just have to get used to the new download page and have to get familiar with the search options, however I know there are several issues and enhancements that are being worked on (like the problems for people in France that have some difficulties to get access to the patches).

If you want to know more about downloading patches through the new system, have a look at the FAQ page that got created for this (this page will probably updated when some additional questions will be asked frequently).

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java.exe, java.exe, java.exe and java.exe

Ron van Herk

December 19, 2006 7:25 am



Task Manager

I recently had a customer that had some problems with his ZENworks install on Windows, one of the java processes on the server was generating lots of connections to eDirectory. The unfortunate thing on Windows is that when you have a look at Task Manager it shows several instances of java.exe it however doesn’t tell you what each of these processes are.

There are some debug java utilities within the JDK however these are not too easy to use, so I had a look to see if there was an easy way to find out what each of the java.exe instances where doing. I ended up using the process explorer from Sysinternals, it’s a great tool that shows exactly what each of the java processes does.

Process Explorer

So, in case you ever wonder what java.exe, java.exe, java.exe and java.exe are doing…….

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ZPM 6.3 available

Ron van Herk

December 4, 2006 2:18 pm




A few weeks ago Shaun already wrote about the next ZENworks Patch Management release, ZENworks 7 Patch Management powered by PatchLink Update 6.3.
PatchLink already released their 6.3 release two months ago but unfortunately there where some issues that made Novell decide to hold the release and get these issues fixed prior to releasing the Novell branded version to our customers. Well, finally it’s out and available on our download page. For those people that might want to read the documentation, also the online documentation is updated.

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Moderating comments

Ron van Herk

December 2, 2006 1:01 pm



Full Trash
A few months ago, Martin Buckley posted a blog post about “Comments and our editorial policy”, within his post Martin indicated we try to be very open with our comments – and our policy on accepting comments. Moderating the blog comments mainly means taking out the Spam posts that we get in, fortunately many of these are recognized automatic but still we take out a fair amount of spam posts manually.

Besides spam, our general policy is to be very open in allowing people to provide their comments. It’s important to have people with different opinions providing feedback, some people might like a certain decision while others might disagree. Feedback is useful as it shows us what people think about what we do, however sometimes I question what to do with comments people provide. I just saw the following comment:

Stupid Novell, you’ll pay the price you deserve!

This specific comment was one of the comments that got in as a reaction on the “Ubuntu’s Open Week – and openSUSE” post from Andreas Jaeger. I understand people might have different opinions on certain issues, people have different backgrounds, different jobs, different culture, different thoughts about what happens at Novell. Does this justify a post like this? I don’t think it does.

If you disagree with something, explain why you disagree. If you just want to rant, wait for another day and tell us why you wanted to do so.

Comments please……

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Working at Novell?

Ron van Herk

December 1, 2006 3:13 am




Anyone with ZENworks knowledge that would like to work at the Support Center in the Netherlands?

We are trying to extend our ZENworks support team, Novell Support is growing and as a result of that we need someone additional for the team I’m working for. We just need to find the right person for the job, some ZENworks knowledge and if possible with some additional language skills. If you are interested take a look at the job description.

Do you think working at Novell might be interesting but you are not into ZENworks or you don’t want to live in the Netherlands, have a look at the career page for other jobs in the US or EMEA.

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Winners and losers in the New Linux World

Ron van Herk

November 17, 2006 7:14 am



Linux Watch

Last week I wrote down my thoughts about the response on the Novell – Microsoft agreement. Well, a week has passed and people have had some time to think about what this cooperation really means. Today I saw a nice post from Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols on Linux-Watch, “Winners and losers in the New Linux World”. The article discusses how the Linux business (yes, Linux and Open Source are business, also Red-Hat does make some money ;-)) is changing and what this might mean for Linux and for companies like Novell, Oracle, Red-Hat and Microsoft. Interesting reading from a Linux & Open Source Editor that took some time to think…

So, what does it all mean? Rather than make a snap judgment I decided to sit, wait and watch before trying to make sense of it all. Now, I’m ready to give you my two-cents on who are the winners and losers in this post-deal Linux world.

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