by August 8, 2003 0 comments



RedHat 9 (for a change it’s not RedHat 9.0) is the latest offering from RedHat. Based on the kernel 2.4.20, users will surely find that RedHat 9 is much more stable and easy to use compared to its immediate ancestors. According to its release notes, the minimum requirement for a graphical install is a 400 MHz Pentium-class processor with a 128 MB RAM. We tried it on a Celeron 500 MHz system with 128 MB RAM and found that it’s just about workable. It worked perfectly fine on a PIII system.

Installation
The installation has changed quite a bit. Finally, Fdisk is removed from the Disk Partitioning setup screen. But, if you are addicted to it and, for some reason, don’t want to use Disk Druid, you can still use it through the shell by typing (Alt + Ctrl + F2) and running the fdisk command from there. If you want to upgrade to RedHat 9 and have multiple RedHat OSs installed on your machine, the installer shows you a list of them from which you can select the one to upgrade. It reads entries from the redhat-release file and prints out a list. So, in case an entry is changed, you may not find your OS listed. There is also an option to do a fresh install here.

Writing CDs with Nautilus

Another thing that we liked about the new installer is the ability to get screenshots during the installation. Just hit Shift + PrintScreen and the screenshot of the immediate installation screen will be saved. You can retrieve the images after booting into your newly installed Linux machine from /root/anaconda-screenshot directory. This is beneficial for those who want to write help documents or books regarding the installation process of Linux.

Graphics
With XFree86 4.3, the stability and features of X Window has been greatly enhanced. Now, you have the ability to lock the switching to text mode (using Alt + Ctrl + Fn) just by adding a couple of lines in the /etc/X11 /XF86config file. To do this, create a section in the file (if it is not present) called ServerFlags and enter the following line in it.

Section “ServerFlags”
Option “dontVTSwitch” “On”
EndSection

This feature will be useful if the Linux Box is used as a kiosk.

The KDE 3.11, shipped with RedHat 9, has a host of useful features, such as Desktop Sharing and Tabbed browsing. (You can get a full list of its features from page 129,
PCQuest, July 2003). Gnome (now 2.2) has also been enhanced. The file explorer in Gnome, Nautilus-2.2.1, has some very useful utilities for CD-writing. Now you can write your CDs just by dragging and dropping the files in to a folder. To do so, simply open a Nautilus-2-2.1 window and click on the Go menu and select CD Creator. This will open up a new window, which will have an extra button on the tool bar (Write to CD). Just copy your contents to that folder and click on it and it will open up a
dialogue box. From this box, you can select your CD-writer and fire up the writing process.

The installation automatically detects all previous versions of RedHatLinux installed and displays them in a drop-down menu

Adding new fonts to Gnome has also become very easy. RedHat 9 has an additional fonts subsystem–Fontconfig. According to the RedHat 9 release-notes, the fontconfig/Xft will replace the traditional core X font subsystem. The newer Fontconfig subsystem allows applications direct access to the font files. Installation of fonts in this subsystem is very easy. Simply copy the font files into a hidden folder called .fonts present in your home directory to get the fonts.

Printing
CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) is now the default print spooler in RedHat 9. CUPS has been carried as an alternate print spooler from the days of RedHat 7.3. But now it is used by default. The benefit of CUPS over the traditional print spooler LPD is that, it supports IPP (Internet Printing Protocol), which has now become the standard for accessing Network

Printers.
We have an Epson EPL N2050 network printer installed in PCQ Labs and when we installed RedHat 9 on our machine, it automatically detected the printer and installed it. RedHat also provides a Web-based CUPS configurator (cupsconfig) from where you can manage printers, jobs and classes with just a browser as the front-end.

Because of licensing issues, RedHat is now not including MP3 support for xmms. Still, you can download the plug in from
“http://havardk.xmms. org/dist/xmms-1.2.7-rh8-rh9-rpm/xmms-mpg123-1.2.7-21.i386.rpm”.

“tsclient” is added as a GUI front-end for rdesktop users. If you use PCQLinux 8.0, you will definitely know what tsclient and rdesktop are. Otherwise, you can refer to page 87 of PCQuest March 2003.

The Bottom Line A feature-rich distributionthat is stable and easy to use.

S
N A P S H
O T

Price : Rs 2,200
Meant for : Linux buffs, desktop workstations
Key specs : Linux kernel 2.4.20, New KDE 3.11 GUI
Pros : A very stable kernel, very easy to install, easy CD-Writing
Contact : RedHat India, Mumbai.
Tel : 22881326/27.
E-mail : info-india@redhat.com

Anindya Roy

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