Focus on Software

Everywhere I look, I see (and install) more and more Linux desktops.
Linux Terminal Server Project:

I don't know if any of you have had the need to set up a diskless workstation on a system served from another Linux system via TFTP. I remember the ordeal well. The HOWTO was woefully inadequate in many parts. So, I decided to repeat the experiment using ltsp. In just about 30 minutes, it was up and running. Okay, so I had a head start having done it once before. Drawback: unless you're running Red Hat, Debian or Caldera, be prepared to do it by hand or hack the install scripts. (That's what I had to do on my Caldera system because it didn't understand Caldera 3.1, only 2.4.) Requires: installed and running XDM, KDM or similar, DHCP server, TFTP. Workstation capable of a network boot or floppy boot.


Tax time is past, but it's coming around again fast. And while gTaxEstimator isn't yet ready for prime time, it could be by next tax season. Personally, I'm hoping for support for Schedule 2555 soon. The interface is simple and clean. This is probably the most promising piece of software I've seen in a while. Let's face it, if you live in the US (or even if you don't but are a US citizen), there's no escaping the Internal Revenue Service. Requires: libgtk, libgdk, libgmodule, libglib, libdl, libXext, libX11, libm, libz, glibc.

Make CD-ROM Recovery Utility:

The mkCDrec utilities allow you to do several different things. They allow you to make an el-torito bootable CD for system rescue. They also allow you to back up your entire system to multiple CDs. You'll also need the mkCDrec utilities if you want to do system restores. You can backup systems that don't have burners, either by creating the iso image(s) and transferring them for later burning or using NFS to write the ISO image(s) to the system with the burner and burn later. Either way, this utility is convenient. Requires: Running system w/ mkisofs gzip, access to a system with cdrecord, mkisofs, gzip.

Until next month.

David A. Bandel ( is a Linux/UNIX consultant currently living in the Republic of Panama. He is coauthor of Que Special Edition: Using Caldera OpenLinux.