Enterprise Unix Roundup: The Return of the Prodigal Distro Page 2

By Michael Hall (Send Email)
Posted Jul 14, 2005

Main     In Other News     Recent Updates     Tips of the Trade

Recent Updates

  • The Eudora Internet Mail Server was updated to version 3.2.7, providing more than a dozen bugfixes.

  • SurgeMail was updated to version 3.2e, introducing some user interface refinements and bugfixes.

  • The JBoss application server was upgrade to version 4.0.2, fixing some bugs and adding a few refinements.

  • Apple released OS X 10.4.2 for servers, fixing some issues with OpenServer, AFP file sharing, and third-party compatibility issues. The company also released OS X 10.4.2 for desktops, introducing a number of bugfixes to filesharing and authentication, as well as refining Dashboard widget management to render users less vulnerable to problematic "widgets of mass destruction."

  • MIT has released a pair of advisories regarding kerberos. The first involves a potential denial of service attack, while the second could allow an unauthenticated remote attacker to execute arbitrary code. Vendor patches out so far include one for each from Sun (1, 2), as well as packages from Gentoo, Fedora, Red Hat, and Mandriva.

Tips of the Trade

Network and system administrators have long relied heavily on remote administration. It's a huge time and sanity saver. OpenSSH and VNC continue to dominate the product choices in this area for both Linux and Unix admins, as well as for admins of mixed Unix and Windows networks.

VNC is especially nice because it supports graphical environments on both platforms. You can sit down to a Linux box and connect to a Windows desktop as though you were sitting at the Windows machine, and vice-versa. The main disadvantages of VNC are that 1) the free version has no native encryption but sends all traffic in the clear, so you either need to tunnel it through SSH or purchase the commercial edition, and 2) there is a noticeable lag over a slow connection.

OpenSSH supports X Windows but not other graphical environments, and running X Windows over a slow connection can also be less than satisfying. Which brings us to FreeNX, a brand-new entry in the remote administration category.

FreeNX is perfect for the user who needs remote access to a Linux machine and wants to run a graphical environment like KDE or Gnome. You can log into your Linux box from a Solaris, Linux, Mac OS X, or Windows client. It performs well, even over a slow connection, so if you're stuck on dial-up, FreeNX is just what you need. It has native support for SSH, so transmissions are protected even over untrusted networks.

FreeNX lets you choose a graphical desktop, so you don't have to run the same one as the host system. IceWM is a nice choice on the client-side, as it is full-featured and lightweight. A nice bonus is the FreeNX setup wizard is the same on all platforms.

To learn more, see this howto and the FreeNX page at NoMachine.

Carla Schroder writes the Tips of the Trade section of Enterprise Unix Roundup. She also appears on Enterprise Networking Planet and Linux Planet, covering Linux from the desktop to the server room, and is the author of the Linux Cookbook.

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