by September 17, 2003 0 comments

Want your PCQLinux 8.0 PC to look stunning? And add new features to make your day-to-day work easier? Try Ximian Desktop-2, which has a whole bunch of tweaks and add-ons for the Gnome desktop.

You won’t find any dramatic new features in it, but hundreds of small changes, which will help you use Linux better in a heterogeneous network environment with Windows and Linux systems. Some useful and cool features in Ximian are 

  • l A clean-looking interface with over 1000 new and descriptive icons and lots of attractive desktop themes
  • lBetter compatibility with Windows machines on a network, with an improved OpenOffice. This saves documents you create in the Office XP/2000 format by default
  • lUpdated Nautilus with CD-writing, fonts management, printer management, SMB (also there in 
    PCQLinux 8.0) and built-in NFS support
  • lUpdated Ximian Evolution 1.4 email client with support for Microsoft Exchange
  • lRedcarpet for managing packages and software.

Install Ximian Desktop-2
To install Ximian Desktop-2, we recommend that you have a full installation of PCQLinux 8.0. The only reason for this is that Ximian Desktop-2 depends on many PCQLinux packages, and it would be quite difficult to install them one-by-one separately. So it’s better to have everything installed and ready in the first place. The only thing you can omit is KDE as this is not needed by Ximian Desktop-2.

You’ll find Ximian Desktop-2 under the Linux section of this month’s PCQXtreme DVD. It’s a huge 800 MB file, and you need about 2 GB free to be able to extract and install it. The file is huge because we have manually sorted all the dependency problems and put all the files needed by PCQLinux 8.0 to install Ximian desktop-2 in one place. If you don’t want to use up so much HDD space, you can opt for a version that installs over the Internet. For this go to  products/desktop/download.html

But, if you choose to install from our DVD, you need to first copy the file from the DVD to your home directory as follows.

#cp Ximian.tar.gz ~/

Extract this file using the tar -zxvf Ximian.tar.gz command, which will unzip the Ximian tar ball and produce a new folder called Ximian. Go to this directory and you’ll find three files here, glibc.tar.bz2, redcarpet.tar.bz2 and xd.tar.bz2. 

The glibc.tar.bz2 file contains the latest version of glibc (2.3.2) needed by the Ximian Desktop-2. The redcarpet.tar.bz2 file contains the package manager from Ximian, which we will use to install the Ximian Desktop-2 and finally the xd.tar.bz2 file contains all RPMs for the Ximian Desktop-2 and Evolution 1.4. 

First update your old glibc files to the new 2.3.2 version by issuing the following commands.

#tar -jxvf glibc.tar.bz2
#cd glibc
#rpm -Uvh –force –nodeps glibc*.rpm
#rpm -Uvh –force –nodeps nscd*.rpm

Next, untar the redcarpet.tar.bz2 and xd.tar.bz2 files as follows. 

#tar -jxvf redcarpet.tar.bz2
#tar -jxvf xd.tar.bz2

We will use Red Carpet to install Ximian Desktop-2. Please note that the extraction and installation of the packages are time-consuming. After extracting the xd tar, it will produce a folder called xd containing 299 rpm packages. Now go to the redcarpet directory and install it using the following command.

#rpm -ivh r*.rpm 

Run redcarpet by simply issuing the ‘red-carpet’ command from a terminal window. It will open a window that will ask you for the server from where you will run the installation. Select the “Connect to this system” option and continue. It will open up a window like shown in the Redcarpet visual.

Here click on the file menu and select Install from file. It will again open a window. From here open the ~/Ximian/xd directory. On the right side it will show all the 299

Select all the files by holding the Shift button and scroll down with the down arrow or Page Down button. Hit the OK button. Now you will find the complete list of all the packages you have selected and the operation that needs to be done on them (Update or Install) in the main window. 

To start the installation, click on the Run Now button at the top left corner of the main window. It will take some time to calculate the dependencies for those packages and show you the final list. If you have a full PCQLinux 8.0 installation and have followed each and every step mentioned above, you should not have any dependency problems. 

Click on the Continue button and go and have a cup of coffee as installation will take some time, depending on your system speed. We installed it on a 500 MHz
P-III machine and the process took around 45 mins to complete. After the installation, just restart your Xwindow and start the Gnome session and you will find the new Ximianised Gnome. 

You can now remove the initial tarball and extracted Ximian folder using the rm -rf Ximian* command tofree up space on your system.

Work with Ximian
When working in Ximian Desktop-2 for the first time, you will notice many small changes. The first thing that you will notice is the My Computer icon on the desktop. The next will be the Windows button, which opens up a Ximian Desktop-2 Start Menu. The Ximianised Gnome also has the upgraded version of Nautilus (that is 2.2.4), which has many new add-ons like direct CD writing. Just type burn:// or select CD Creator from the Go menu and drag and drop your files to the Nautilus windows and write the CD by pressing a new button at the top right corner of the toolbar “Write To CD” and it will start writing. The other features of Nautilus are direct browsing capability of SMB (was already there in
PCQLinux 8.0) and NFS network by just typing smb:/// and nfs:/// respectively in the address bar of Nautilus. 

You can also manage, add or remove new fonts and configure your printer from this new Nautilus.
The shortcuts to do all this are in My Computer. 

In conclusion we would like to add that this whole article has been written on the Ximian Desktop-2 with OpenOffice and we are quite happy with it.

Anindya Roy

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