Cost-Effective Services for the Office

How the Linux operating system made possible cost-effective company e-mail and created opportunities for adding useful services.
Recent Projects

In order to add more functionality to the Intranet, I implemented the search utility HT://DIG on IPkeeper. It has proven to be one of the most useful features I have added. It allows our users to type in any keyword and instantly see a list of corresponding documents. I am also currently evaluating the Cyberscheduler application for calendar and scheduling services.

An LDAP (Lightweight Distributed Access Protocol) server is being implemented for internal use on Gatekeeper so that users who are using Netscape Communicator can get to a company e-mail directory and utilize company mailing lists more easily.

Samba has also been enabled on both Linux machines, and I am setting up home directories in order to lessen dependency on the aging Novell server.

Future Projects

The company has been investigating computer archive solutions for old report data and converting report files from the business accounting and manufacturing package to HTML so that the files can be indexed and viewed with a browser. The plan is to set up a system which will automatically process the report files, eliminating the need to print monthly or weekly reports as they will be easily accessible through the browser. Seth Golub's (seth@cs.wustl.edu) txt2html program is being used to convert the text report to an HTML file. The most likely solution for indexing will be to index only the report headers, which contain the necessary information for locating a particular report.

Final Comments

For a mid-sized business such as ours, Linux was an obvious choice. The company would have been years away from implementing all the services we added if Linux had not been available. No other operating system can allow as much scalability and flexibility for its price.

Kim Henderson has been involved in Information Systems for nine years in both financial and manufacturing businesses. She has been involved with her husband, Darrin, even longer and owes much to him for his love and support. Kim spends her free time renovating their 40-year-old home, coordinating activities for the East Missouri Linux Users Group and maintaining a basement computer network with her husband and their dog, Linus. She can be reached at kim@mo-biz.com.

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