2001 12 27

                    LINUX NEWS
        Resources & Links From CramSession.com
            Thursday, December 27, 2001


1) Sean’s Notes

2) Linux News

KDE Beta Ready
Red Hat Linux - The Best of the Best
SUN Still Top UNIX Vendor
Hurry Up and Get StarOffice 6

3) Linux Resources

Sendmail Denying Relaying?
Automating Network Administration
Calling the Elite...
Become Your Own Employer
Alternative Rescue Disk

4) App o’ the Week

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1) Sean's Notes

A while ago, I talked about X-Windows, and mentioned that it
was network transparent.  Simply put, an X application
(client) doesn't care where the display (server) is, since it
communicates through Xlib.  Xlib, in turn, connects over a
socket to the server.  This socket can be on the local host
(such as a directly attached monitor) or across the world.
Therefore, you can run your web browser, xterm, or anything
else from any X-Windows station, assuming you've got a network
connection.  Think of it as a thin client...you can have a
relatively slow machine running applications over the network.
You can also mix local and remote services, such as having
everything run local, and fire up xterms to remote servers,
or maybe a special application.

XServers aren't limited to Unix, though.  Wouldn't it be
nice to run some Unix apps on your Windows box?  How about
a Windows XServer?

I use StarNet's X-Win32 (http://www.starnet.com), which is a
commercial product.  You can find a list of shareware servers at:


This week, I'm going to show you how to use the Cygwin port
of XFree86.  While it's a lot heavier than some of the other
products, you end up with a lot of UNIX utilities on your

First, download and install Cygwin, which is a port of UNIX
utilities to Windows.  Cygwin centers around the Cygwin DLL,
which emulates the UNIX libraries.  Most UNIX sources can
then be compiled on a Windows machine (it even has gcc!)

Browse to http://cygwin.com and select the "Install Cygwin
Now" link off to the right.  You can select the "Run from this
location" option if you'd like, or save the .exe to your hard
drive.  Upon running this, you'll be presented with some
options.  The easiest is to select "Install from Internet",
which will download and install packages in one step.  Pick
a mirror, and then a temporary directory.

Now you'll be presented with the options for packages to
install.  The default selection is good, though you'll want
to add "bunzip" and "ssh" because we'll need them later.
Let it cook for a while as it downloads all the packages and
installs them.  Once completed, you'll have a shortcut on
your desktop which brings you to a bash shell.

Back to http://cygwin.com --look for the Xfree link off to
the right.  Find a mirror site from there, and browse to the
xfree/xc-4-binaries/4.1.0 directory.  Download everything to a
temporary directory.  For now, I'll assume this directory is c:\x.

Fire up that bash shell I told you about earlier.  If you type
"mount", you'll see that your drive C is mapped to /cygdrive/c.
So, our X files will be in /cygdrive/c/x.

$ cd /cygdrive/c/x
$ bunzip2 extract.exe.bz2
$ ./Xinstall.sh

This will get the X installation script going.  The defaults
are fine.  When you get to the stage where it asks you for
extra packages to install, I installed the following:

- font server
- 100 dpi fonts
- Speedo/Type 1 fonts

Once that's all done, there are some helper scripts you can use:

$ cd /usr/X11R6/bin
$ tar -xzf /cygdrive/c/x/startup-scripts.tgz

>From /usr/X11R6/bin, you can start X-Windows:

$ ./startxwin.sh

You'll get the plain old twm window manager, but for our
purposes, that's great.

>From this point, there are a few ways to run remote X clients
on your local display.  The first is pretty simple.  First,
in the xterm window that popped up, allow your remote machine
to connect:

local$ xhost +

(assuming is the IP of your remote Unix box).
Telnet into that machine, and set your DISPLAY environment

remote$ export DISPLAY=windowsmachine:0.0    (sh)
remote$ setenv DISPLAY windowsmachine:0.0    (csh)

where "windowsmachine" is the IP or DNS name.

Now, run the command in the telnet window, and it should
appear inside the local window:

remote$ xterm &

The big problem with this is that the remote machine must be
able to initiate a TCP connection back to the local machine,
which will likely be blocked by the firewall.  SSH to the

local$ ssh -C -X -l username
username@'s password:

The -C and -X switches enable compression and X forwarding,
respectively.  You'll notice the DISPLAY has already been
set for you

remote$ echo $DISPLAY
remote$ xterm &

This method has the advantage of added security, and it is a
bit cleaner.

The third, and final method I'll talk about lets you run your
whole session from the Windows machine.  You'll need XDMCP
enabled (GNOME users can do this from the main GNOME login).
>From the Cygnus bash prompt,

$./XWin -query

will initiate a remote session to  You'll get
the regular login window, just as if you were sitting at the

With the addition of some simple software, you can run X
software remotely on your Windows-based machine.  Due to the
network transparency aspect of the X-Windows system, it's
just a matter of setting an environment variable.  With SSH's
compression, it's also quite efficient, and will work across
the Internet.

Happy New Year, and long live the Penguin!


2) Linux News

KDE Beta Ready
Many features have been added to the development KDE tree,
and the developers have released it as 3.0b1. Other than
bugs, nothing is supposed to change to the 3.0 release, so
if you're a KDE fan that likes to be on the leading edge,
get downloading!


Red Hat Linux -- The Best of the Best
"Professional Server 7.1 gets one of our Best Of The Best
nods because of its overall excellence rather than for
superlative performance in any one area. It begins with a
solid software package that includes the operating system
along with utilities and applications for creating a variety
of task-specific servers, ranging from Web servers to


SUN Still Top UNIX Vendor
There is no mention of Linux, but in terms of commercial
Unix vendors, it would appear that SUN is on top. If you're
looking to pick up a second Unix flavour to round out your
Unix skills, Solaris is still a great choice.


Hurry Up and Get StarOffice 6
Anticipating the release of Star Office 6.0 by July '02,
SUN is cutting off the downloads of the beta by Dec 31. If
you haven't got it yet, I'd suggest doing so, as it's a huge
improvement on 5.2.


3) Linux Resources

Sendmail Denying Relaying?
Later versions of sendmail really clamp down on relaying,
which is the method that spammers use to send their email.
However, if not set up properly, you might not be able to
use your own mail server! This document explains how to fix
that up, and selectively grant the relaying privileges.


Automating Network Administration
I'm a big fan of automating any work that I have to do. This
article is part one in a series that will eventually cover
many aspects of automation. Part One of this series explains
what the goals of automation are.


Calling the Elite...
This recently-created board on Cramsession.com is devoted
to sharing those clever hacks you've created. Since Unix
lends itself to clever hacks, come and share your stories,
and listen to those of others.


Become Your Own Employer
Even though it looks like jobs are scarce, the problems faced
by business haven't gone away. Maybe venturing out on your own
is the way to go? This Cramsession Infocenter article looks at
one person's experiences with the self-employment way of life.


Alternative Rescue Disk
This crash recovery toolkit looks pretty handy. It was
developed out of frustration with the Red Hat rescue CD.
Some form of rescue disk is a necessity!


4) App o' the week
"WikkiTikkiTavi" is a Wiki Engine. A Wiki is a living
document that anyone can edit, and is smart enough to
eliminate most of the hassle associated with running an
intranet documentation site. The concept is probably a new
one, but the web site for the project is a Wiki itself, so
you can see how it goes.


(C) 2001 BrainBuzz.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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