Managing Multiple Cooks

Marcel offers an intranet recipe called Grand Salmar Station.
Working with the Intranet

There are two different faces to the intranet. What everyone else sees and has access to and a few little items strictly for the administrator's eyes. The administrator's menu is available via your favorite browser at http://yourmachine_name/scimaint/admin/.

From here, you can set various configuration parameters. The first option allows you to create, modify or remove posting categories. You'll see that as “Update Categories” on the menu. The Posting Category Heading is what your users will see when they look at the public face of the intranet. The default category is “News”, but you can set it to documents. News items will show up in the user menu under “All the News” while documents will show up under “All the Documents”. Both will appear briefly in the “What's New” menu, but you can decide to override that default at this point.

You can also define who is allowed to post here. Your choice is between allowing only administrators or making it a public category and letting everyone have a go. Have a look at Figure 2 for a special category created by your chef.

Figure 2. Creating Posting Categories

Another choice you have at this point is whether to allow internet links. Links can refer to sites anywhere else on the Internet, internally, or for that matter, company documents somewhere on your local network. You can then decide on posting order: whether alphabetically or by date, ascending or descending. Finally, you specify whether the system will take care of expiring and removing these links automatically.

Grand Salmar Station offers many other options. For instance, you can change the style of the intranet—in essence, the look and feel of it. You will find six styles included with the distribution with such exotic names as “Beach Time”, “Copper Kettle” and “Blue Skies”. Mais oui, of course you can create your own. Any style you choose can then be propagated across your entire intranet.

The phonebook can also be administered from here (if you chose to install it) as can other intranet defaults like expiration dates. Explore. Enjoy. And, bien sur, be sure to read the accompanying documentation, also available from the Administrator's menu.

If you want to get a feel for what a user will see, use http://yourmachine_name/scimaint/admin/demoreset.html to generate a demonstration database along with some sample entries. Ah, oui. The users—they have their own path into the intranet: http://yourmachine_name/sciintranet/.

Have a look at Figure 3 for a peek at their “What's New” screen.

Figure 3. What's New on the Intranet?

Mon Dieu, mes amis. It is late, non? François, please, refill our guests' wineglasses before they go! I hope, mes amis, that you will enjoy working with our intranet. Sally and I are quite proud of it, and we hope you will find it useful as well. In the meantime, I must thank you for coming tonight. Finish your wines, relax and make sure you join us next time at Chez Marcel. Your table will always be waiting.

A votre santé! Bon appétit!


Marcel Gagné lives in Mississauga, Ontario. In real life, he is president of Salmar Consulting, Inc., a systems integration and network consulting firm. He is also a pilot, writes science fiction and fantasy and is coeditor of TransVersions, a science fiction, fantasy and horror anthology. He loves Linux and all flavors of UNIX and will even admit it in public. In fact, he is currently working on Linux System Administration: A User's Guide, coming soon from Addison-Wesley Longman. He can be reached via e-mail at You can discover lots of other things from his web site at