For individuals who have used Google Desktop in the Windows world, having the tool available on Linux may ease the transition to a new desktop operating system. I started using the Google Desktop on my Linux system. This blog will go through the installation process and show how it works on a Linux desktop.
Installing Google Desktop
The Google Desktop recently added 64-bit support for Linux operating systems, so now is a good time to consider enterprise-wide deployment. From the Google Desktop Linux version website, a quick 7.7 MB download will have the application on your system. I have been installing the 64-bit version on Red Hat with a .RPM install file option. The quick and painless installation has Google Desktop listed in the window manager environment after reboot:
When you have the Quick Search Box open, you can search for all kinds of stuff on your file system, on the web and within system control operations. For example, enter “Display” here and the display applet from /usr/share/applications will be executed to select screen resolution, color depths and dual-monitor configuration. And of course, you can make Google Internet searches within the Google Desktop application.
Local web server
It is important to note that installing the Google Desktop application on Linux starts a local web service to access your data. The default configuration is to run on port 38642 TCP as the local host. In most configurations, the port and web service are not available outside of the local host’s browser. The website makes a great interface for you to do searches on your local file system as well as Internet resources, but a rather extensive indexing needs to occur to organize all content locally available. When accessing the local web service, an indexing status message will appear similar to the image below:
Once the indexing is complete, and this is entirely dependent on the contents of your local system, you will have your own personal Google running locally. Give it a test drive and throw in some search items. Even try searching for log message entries, as the Google Desktop engine will spider your local log messages as well as your file system contents of normal content such as OpenOffice documents. Your search results will be broken out into categories such as emails from a local email application, files locally available on the file system and your own web history.
Learning curve tool
Having the Google desktop on Linux operating systems can aide users who are new to the Linux environment and help ease the transition. One issue to watch is policy aberration. By having this type of tool available, standards such as authoritative storage may not be enforced. Overall, the Google Desktop application gets a thumbs up from me in being able to find files locally.
If you are like me, you are passionate about your browser preferences. Lately, I have been installing Opera 9.25 as my browser of choice. To make it the preferred web browser in Gnome, follow along as I install the browser on a RHEL 4 system.
Opera does a good job making the install distribution specific for 13 distributions. Some generic class distributions are also available. I choose to install via the .rpm file for convenience. I download and run the small 5 MB opera-9.25-20071214.5-shared-qt.i386-en.rpm file.
Opera requires a few dependancies during the install, such as libstdc++.so.5, that may not be available on all distributions. For my RHEL 4.6 system, I had to provide disc 2 of the installation to satisfy the Opera requirements. After that small administrative task, Opera is ready to go in my Gnome environment:
Now that Opera is installed, right-click the generic web browser icon, and by selecting properties, change the settings to use Opera as the default web browser. In the Launcher properties window, set the command to ‘opera’ and change the name to Opera Browser. The Gnome environment will also replace the generic web icon with the slick Opera ‘O’ which looks much better.
The Novell-sponsored openSUSE Build Service recently added support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS. This community project provides a development platform for future openSUSE Linux distributions . This is in addition to distributions including Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu and others. With this build service framework, developers can make packages with increased compatibility across distributions. The openSUSE build service with additional distribution compatibility is available now.
The management of the openSUSE Build Service has a direct line to Novell for influence of future releases. More information on the new compatibility can be found at the openSUSE news site.
The up-and-coming LiMo Foundation recently announced that, in March of 2008, a Linux-based platform for mobile computing platform will be available.
A development application programming interface (API) specification available now for third-party developers to make packages for the platform. Basic characteristics of the platform include embracing open-source code and being modular and portable. More information on the platform release can be found at the LiMo website.
While the latest version of BackupPC is 3.1.0, the latest available version in the Ubuntu repositories is 3.0.0. Normally, I wouldn’t split hairs over a point release, but 3.1.0 has some very nice, new features of which IT administrators may want to take advantage.
The problem with downloading the 3.1.0 source and manually installing it is that the source doesn’t install cleanly over the Ubuntu version and ends up breaking BackupPC. Luckily, the Debian repositories already have an unofficial 3.1.0 package in them; however, the Debian version depends on some packages not present in the Ubuntu repositories, such as www-common. So you may want to extract the contents of the Debian BackupPC 3.1.0 package and repackage them for Ubuntu, without the dependencies that Ubuntu does not have.
You can download BackupPC 3.1.0 for Ubuntu at my website.
When you need to keep files on a remote system synchronized, you want to protect its contents should it end up in the wrong hands. You can use rsync to keep the contents up to date, but natively no encryption method is used. Rsyncrypto is an encryption package aimed at transferring the changed blocks of a file with encryption, making for a more efficient transfer during the synchronization operations when using rsync.
Installing is quite easy by downloading the tar file, then extracting and running the ./configure script. I used a C++ compiler and argtable2 on a CentOS 4.2 system during a test implementation.
Once you have installed rsyncrypto, you can set up encryption for files to be synchronized as they change, with the encryption on blocks of the file with a specified key. Please note, this encryption within rsyncrypto is not as robust as some of the newer PGP encryptions (like GnuPG) when using rsync for an entire file. Rsyncrypto is currently at version 1.06 and is currently available for download from SourceForge.
On Friday, Canonical released Ubuntu Hardy Heron Alpha 4 to the mirrors. Alpha 4 brings with it many updates to the Ubuntu desktop, but how does it impact enterprise customers?
Alpha 4 is the first release where KVM is an official part of the Ubuntu repositories, and lib-virt and virtmanager have been added to the platform as well. The kernel shipping with Alpha 4 also includes the new virtio instructions which provides incredible performance enhancements when running Ubuntu as a guest OS in a VM.
Review all the changes that Hardy Hero Alpha 4 brings over at the Canonical website.
Last week, fellow SEL blogger Rick Vanover discussed how RHEL 4 is still getting releases from Red Hat, despite the availability of RHEL 5. Considering that Red Hat still requires RHEL 4 for some of their own major products, such as Red Hat Proxy and Satellite servers, it makes sense that they would continue to update RHEL 4. But Red Hat still doesn’t support Oracle 10i (or 10 anything) for Satellite, making you wonder how long it will take for Red Hat to get on the ball with current releases.
For almost two months now, I have been attempting to get Red Hat Satellite successfully installed on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.4 and 4.5. The installation proceeded smoothly until Satellite attempted to start: Tomcat5 would always fail to initialize. I went back and forth with Red Hat support several times in order to figure the problem out (by the way, the folks at Red Hat support are great — thank you.)
The Red Hat Satellite documentation clearly states that port 443 needs to be open in your firewall for Satellite to work. Tomcat connects over port 443 on the default interface (not the loopback interface) in order to initialize Satellite over HTTPS for the first time. The problem is that the installer for RHEL 4 does not open port 443 even if you explicitly tell it to allow web traffic (WWW – HTTP/HTTPS) in the firewall configuration screen of the installation program.
Red Hat has recognized this as a bug. It has been reported and will hopefully be fixed in RHEL 4.7. I don’t know if this problem persists in RHEL 5. Would someone like to test it out for me?
Ubuntu server version 8.04 (which is currently available in alpha 4, released on February 2 as Hardy Heron) will feautre the 2.6.24 Linux kernel. This will be the first of the major enterprise Linux distributions to be released with the new kernel. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is at 2.6.18 with RHEL version 5.1. Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) is at kernel 22.214.171.124 for Novell SLE 10.
Canonical Ltd. has confirmed they will support version 8 of Ubuntu upon its scheduled April release, with the new kernel.
One of our users, James Lowden, emailed us to say that our recent 77 useful Linux commands and utilities guide missed a couple of his favorites:
I’m a NetBSD guy, but I have RHEL at work.
As for commands, I like:
pax better than tar
hexdump better than od
tnfpt better than wget
Pax has a much better command-line interface than tar, especially for copying trees. Consider:
$ pax -rw -pe src dest # to copy a tree
$ pax -wzf file.pax.gz src # to create and archive
hexdump -C is what you almost always want.
Tnftp (a port of the NetBSD FTP client to other systems) is a much saner way to fetch stuff. Why the GNU world focuses on wget instead is a mystery to me. It doesn’t do anything tnftp doesn’t do, and it doesn’t do anything better, either.
If you would like to share your opinions of our essential Linux command guide, feel free to drop us line and share some of your favorite commands with the Enterprise Linux Log.