Another Linux installation experience

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OK, now it's time to start making improvements. When I did the RedHat Enterprise installation, I chose the KDE desktop. KDE is another memory-hungry application, and I learned a couple of years ago that it's easy to replace it with the Xfce window manager. This in no way prevents you from using individual KDE applications such as kopete or knode. I was able to locate RPM's for Xfce at To add Xfce to the list of login choices when the computer is initially booted, I had to tweak the files /etc/X11/xdm/Xsession and /etc/X11/xdm/kdmrc.

RedHat Enterprise 4 comes with version 1 of OpenOffice, which is an essential application for a laptop. Version 2 of OpenOffice has a lot of significant improvements. So, I removed the three RPM's that make up the RedHat-supplied OpenOffice, then went to and downloaded and installed the most recent version (the “with bundled JRE” one).

Finally, there's a program I use called gkrellm that I've used for a long time that displays useful information about your computer's CPU and bandwidth usage. It's especially useful in this situation, because it shows you the charge level of your battery. I got a pleasant surprise with gkrellm; even though my principal system runs RedHat version 9 (with lots of updates), it's still binary-compatible with RedHat Enterprise Version 4. So, all I had to do to install gkrellm was tar up the directory where I had previously compiled gkrellm, un-tar it on the laptop, then “make install” to put all the files used by gkrellm in the right places; no compilation necessary.

Now, any article of the nature has to have a screen shot in it somewhere, so here it is. (Click here for an actual-size version.)


This shows gkrellm on the right edge. If you look at the upper right corner, you'll see that Xfce has a system tray, and there are two KDE applications running, kopete and kwifimanager.


0 #7 Guest 2006-06-16 07:01
Rather then manually setting DISPLAY to run X over your lan and having to deal with the cumbersome task of bypassing the X security features, e.g. using "xhost +" and enabling TCP connections, you could've used the SSH built-in ability to tunnel X connections.
All you'd need to do in that case is enable X tunneling on the SSH server by adding "X11Forwarding yes" to your sshd_config file, and then start SSH sessions from the client with the "-X" parameter.
SSH will do the rest, it will setup the DISPLAY and proper X secrity for you so you can avoid the insecure "xhost +".
0 #6 Theodore Kilgore 2006-06-16 03:32
First, let me say that I approve very much the idea of setting up the printer by hand. I use Slackware and I still use lpd in spite of the fact that it has recently been dropped from the distro. The following comments are based upon the successful setting up of a printer hooked to a machine on my home network. There are two possible problems that I see in what you did.

You said:


"Pretty simple, right? This just says that if you make an attempt to print on
the device lp, it will be routed to a printer named devps on a machine named

Are you sure that the printer on crow is actually called this? If the line
in crow's /etc/printcap says this is the name of the printer, then good.

"The problem is, this didn't work. I got a permission error, and I never
figured out what the problem was."

Perhaps you did not also set the option


in /etc/lpd.conf

and if you did not do this, then lpd is looking for an attached printer and
refusing to print over the network, no matter what you put in /etc/printcap.

Unfortunately this is only in recent versions of lpd, so anyone who did not
use lpd in the past couple of years probably does not know this. This config
file simply did not previously exist.

Hope this helps.
0 #5 Guest 2006-06-16 03:31
RHEL4 (or CentOS 4) is fine as an operating system. Especially for somewhat older systems where hardware support is guaranteed.

The advantage of an enterprise operating systems is that you can run it for 8 years from GA with security updates without needing to upgrade your system.

Even if upgrading takes half a day, why would you want to spend half a day to upgrade one system every 6 months to get basicly the same functionality.

Fedora is nice and you'll have the latest stuff, but often 'having the latest stuff' is not the most important. For desktops it might be, for servers it never is.

When RHEL5 is released later this year, it will be newer than FC5, will be 'more ready' for the desktop and will have again 8 years of security fixes. We can only hope the Gnome libraries are stabilised by then so we can recompile Gnome programs released in 2008 on RHEL5 without requiring to upgrade Gnome to the latest release.
0 #4 Alex 2006-06-16 03:30
I see that you are well versed in the way's of 'nix, but why choose rhe4 for the laptop? You'd have a much easier time with a distro like ubuntu, mandriva, or mepis. The 128Mb of ram would be an issue for any of the large desktops, so damn small linux or puppy may have been better due to their modest system requirements.
0 #3 Guest 2006-06-15 22:09
So you were concerned about memory footprint, but use OpenOffice and Firefox?

If you actually ran the KDE desktop with Konqueror and KOffice (1.5.1 is quite good) you'd probably find it much lighter overall since they all share the same libraries and are generally lighter than their "stand-alone" counterparts.

I've run KDE in this configuration comfortable in as little as 96MB of RAM (uncomfortably in less, but that's no fund) on systems as slow as 500Mhz.

Of course, Red Hat's KDE (and most other of their desktop packages) aren't the swiftest, so perhaps that has coloured your perceptions somewhat.
0 #2 Guest 2006-06-15 15:08
RHv4 is quite a bit behind Fedora Core 5, especially at supporting laptops since RH4 is really for servers and big iron machines.
0 #1 Guest 2006-06-15 13:23
I have a similar laptop but a little slower with the same amount of Ram. I am thinking of putting Xubuntu on it.

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