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DAVROM CONSULTING Newsletter - Issue # 05 - Dated: Sat Oct 27 23:42:16 EST 2001

From the desk of David Clark

There are quite a few new readers of the newsletter and to them I extend a
very warm welcome and my thanks to those who continue to receive the
newsletter - in this day and age we often suffer from too much information
from too many sources so I will always try to keep the newsletters brief.

September/October saw a huge increase in business and SCO OpenServer
(now Caldera OpenServer) still holds the majority of the works done -
OpenServer is still being installed on a regular basis out there folks.
September was also the month of the Stallion ePipes in various configs from
plain terminal/print servers to full VPN solutions - simple to configure and
effective in application.
An on-going battle with GRE protocol on Linux was finally put to bed this
past few weeks as well and I don't recommend it for the faint hearted.

I would like to thank the reader for their time in reading this newsletter.

David.M.Clark


Samba or VisionFS

For those who have not heard of Samba or VisionFS, these are 'free'
distribution products that will allow your Windows PCs on your network access
the hard drives and printers on the UNIX server (SCO, Linux, SUN etc) as
Microsoft shared folders and printers. The folders shared out by the UNIX
server are simply mappings to UNIX directories, for example, the MS share
folder "public" which is seen when browsing the UNIX server via Network
Neighbourhood might be mapped to the UNIX /u/public directory. Likewise,
the printers are also seen in this fashion.

The question of which one do I install on a SCO server is a bit of a tough
one. Do we install Samba or VisionFS on SCO servers to allow PCs to see the
UNIX servers from our Windows network.

Samba has a huge install base out there in the world as it transcends the
boundaries of specific UNIX versions - Samba runs on Linux, SCO, HP-UX,
AIX, Solaris and so on. Some companies are implementing Samba on Linux and
existing SCO servers and installing products such as SUNs StarOffice for
their MS wordprocessing, spreadsheet and presentation needs - the only MS
products at these sites is the Windows OS itself on the client PCs.
Advantage, low cost outlay of application software and unrestricted
licencing.

VisionFS comes from the traditional SCO area and has versions for different
UNIX platforms as well. It is bundled free with the OS and does exactly what
Samba will do, the SCO server just looks like an MS server on the network.

Samba is the mainstream product and there will be more people out there
exposed to Samba in the UNIX field.

Both products can run as Wins servers and both allow either plain text
passwords or encrypted (Windows) passwords for authentication. Both
products offer a GUI or Web interface to configure them (SWAT for Samba and
VisionTools for VisionFS) and the command line side of administration is
not hard either once you are familiar with the syntax.

It is really a win/win situation no matter which one you choose for your SCO
server (apples for apples I guess).

-Please note that you can have both products installed on your SCO server
at the one time but only one of them can be active on the network.


Here boy, fetchmail

No it isn't a virtual software dog, fetchmail is a very useful and simple to
configure utility that allows a UNIX server to retrieve e-mail from a remote
server using POP (Post Office Protocol). For those sites that are
running an internal UNIX server and do manual Windows PC dialups to the
Internet to retrieve your POP based e-mail, perhaps your should consider
letting your UNIX server do the work for you, automatically.

Essentially all you need to do is setup the dialup (PPP Protocol) on your
UNIX server to your ISP and have a local UNIX server user run the
'fetchmail' command to login to the IPS's e-mail server and download your
e-mail. You then point your PC at the local UNIX server, logging in with the
username and password on the UNIX server (this can be anything you like),
and reading your e-mail. You can also then use the UNIX server as your SMTP
(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) gateway to send e-mail back out to the
Internet. (Having gone this far, you could even install Squid and use the
UNIX server as your Proxy server).

This suits us here at DAVROM - our ISP stores e-mail send to us @davrom.com
in a single POP mailbox on their mail server (essentially they are just
aliasing our user names to a single mailbox). A local UNIX user at our end runs
'fetchmail' to retrieve the e-mail sent to us. The downloaded e-mail is stored
in the mailbox of the local user. From here we can access the e-mail via
POP. (I have gone one step further and added a processor script that pulls
the e-mail messages apart and distributes them to other mailboxes on the local
server).

Why mess around with manual dialups from PCs? Let UNIX do one of the things
it was designed to do.


Tech Tip

If you run a local Linux server as I do for your desktop but need a clean
terminal emulation when accessing local SCO servers, why not just run
Xterm?

Here is a simple command line sequence to open a SCOTerm (X11 based)
session on your Linux GUI desktop (this is standard X so it will work for
any platform).

xhost gold
rsh gold "/usr/bin/X11/scoterm -ls" -display coast:0.0 &

The "xhost gold" sets permission on the local X session (running on the
server "coast") to allow it to open the X application which in this case is
the "scoterm" that resides on the SCO server.



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