Middlebury

Difference between revisions of "Linux"

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Out of curiosity and to stay true to my dislike of Microsoft, I installed Ubuntu 8.04 on my Dell Latitude D630. I chose to have a dual-boot Ubuntu/Windows XP system in case I ran into trouble somewhere down the road. The installation went smoothly with the Ubuntu installer managing everything for me and all my hardware working after the install...well almost all, the light that indicates wifi availability didn't quite come on. But I never recall it being on ever so I guess all is well.
 
  
==Hardware==
+
Linux is a free, open-source operating system. Some College computers use Linux (examples include the lab computers in MBH 632, which run Fedora, and the thin clients, which connect to a Windows OS but themselves use Linux). A few members of the College also elect to use Linux on their personal machines. It can be advantageous to run Linux because it is available for free, it generally does not take up much hard drive space, and it tends to foster a greater knowledge of how computers work.
  
I noted that the following worked right out of the box:
+
However, '''Linux is not officially supported by Middlebury College'''. This page is merely intended to be an overview of the best things to try in order to get Linux to work with Middlebury systems. Feel free to contact the Helpdesk for additional support, but please understand that we do not guarantee that Middlebury systems will work with Linux, and Helpdesk consultants may be unfamiliar with Linux or with your specific distribution and may not be able to help you.
* Keyboard
 
* Trackpoint and trackpad (including scrolling and double-tap)
 
* Wireless card and button
 
* Audio buttons (volume up,down and mute)
 
* Power Button
 
* fn-button cobinatinons
 
* suspend on lid closing
 
  
Depending on your system, you may need to do special configuration for the following items. For popular models, configuration how-to steps can be easily found online.
+
Lastly, because Linux is such a broad category, with many different distributions and numerous individual configurations, all contributions to this page are much appreciated.
* Wireless card
 
* Sound
 
* 3D graphics support
 
* DVD reading support (proprietary codecs, so legally can't work out-of-the-box)
 
  
==Configuring for the Middlebury network==
+
== Accessing the Middlebury Network ==
  
====Registration====
+
=== Wired Internet ===
  
Registration with Campus Manager supports Linux by offering a small .sh script for download instead of the RSA.exe file run on Windows. This script must be downloaded and run, requiring that basic compile-related packages be installed (particularly libgcc), so ensure that the necessary packages are installed or available on the default system before trying to register.
+
You should be able to use an Ethernet cable to connect to the network without a problem. If you're having trouble and want to troubleshoot, here are a couple pieces of relevant information:
  
====midd_secure====
+
*To find your IP address, go to the terminal and type in '''"ifconfig"''' (not "ipconfig" as on a Windows machine!). There should be a section for each connection. For a wired Ethernet connection, the section you want is probably '''eth0'''. There should be a line beginning with '''"inet addr:"''' and then your IP address. If there isn't, you aren't connected via Ethernet.
 +
*Releasing and renewing one's IP address can solve some connection issues. To do this on Linux, use the command '''"dhclient eth0"'''. You may have to run it as root ("sudo").
  
Knowing that midd_secure is a WPA2 Enterprise network from tinkering around Airport and Vista:
+
 
  
* Click on the wireless icon on the Ubuntu panel (looks alot cell-phone reception bars)
+
=== Wireless Networks ===
* Select ''Connect to Other Wireless Network...''
 
* For ''Network Name'' type '''midd_secure'''
 
* Choose '''WPA2 Enterprise''' for ''Wireless Security''
 
* Choose '''PEAP''' for ''EAP Method''
 
* Leave ''Key Type'' and ''Phase2 Type'' to their default values
 
* For ''Identity'' type your midd username and your password in the password field
 
* Leave all the remaining fields blank and click ''connect''
 
  
If this does not work:
+
You should be able to connect to MiddleburyCollege without a problem. Here are the relevant settings:
* Repeat the steps to make sure you have the correct username and password
 
* Try leaving the password field blank and hitting connect so that you are prompted for the password after a connection is established.
 
* Make sure that the you are in an area under the covered by the midd wireless network. (''This can be checked by clicking on the wireless icon and seeing if midd_secure and midd_unplugged are listed as wireless networks. Also, you may not be able to connect to midd_secure stably if the signal strength meter is less than 50%.'')
 
* If you still have no luck try connecting to midd_unplugged. (''If this works then your setting are incorrect. If not you may be in an area with no midd wireless network cover.'')
 
  
====Working With File Servers====
+
*The network name is '''MiddleburyCollege'''.
 +
*The method of security is '''WPA2 Enterprise'''.
 +
*The authentication protocol/EAP method is '''PEAP'''.
 +
*The inner authentication method is '''MSCHAPv2'''.
 +
*''Key Type'' and ''Phase2 Type'' should be left to their default values.
 +
*Do not require an authorization certificate.
 +
*Your "credentials" or "identity" or "username" will be your Middlebury email address, and the next field should let you enter your password.
 +
*Leave all remaining fields blank or at their default values.
  
This was a big concern for me since I rely heavily on servers during the school year when sharing files between computer and also as my chief form of back-up. Shocking to me, the ''Windows Share'' option did not work at first attempt so I had to use the ''Custom Location'' option. The Ubuntu bookmarks make remembering steps a non-issue. As with any other OS, you can only access the file servers if you are using ehternet or midd_secure.
+
If this does not work, one thing to try is leaving the password field blank, so that you are prompted for the password after a connection is established.
  
Before proceeding, let me just list a few terms listed here that might be confusing:
+
General information about our wireless networks can be found [[Wireless|here]]. Remote Access
* ''Midd/midd'' - Middlebury
 
* ''Username'' - This is your Midd username. It is the first part of your Midd email address (i.e. '''username'''''@middlebury.edu''
 
* ''servername'' - Name of server you want to connect to. Popular servers include:
 
** ''Tigercat, Classes, Snowleopard, Ocelot...''
 
  
=====Connecting to file servers=====
+
==== VPN ====
  
This has worked each time for me:
+
Linux versions of the Pulse Secure client can be found in the [https://middleburycollege.sharepoint.com/:f:/r/sites/ITSSoftwareDistribution/Shared%20Documents/VPN%20Clients%20-%20Pulse%20Secure?csf=1&e=SxylOq VPN client repository]. Download the installer appropriate for your Linux version. Instructions from Junos on how to install and configure the client [https://www-prev.pulsesecure.net/download/techpubs/current/1212/pulse-client/pulse-secure-client-desktop/ can be found here].
  
# On the panel click:
+
==== Ubuntu Remote Desktop ====
:''Places'' -> ''Connect to Server...''
 
# For ''Service Type'' select '''Custom Location'''
 
# For ''Location (URL)'' type '''smb://<severname>/vol1'''
 
# Check ''Add Bookmark'' and give the bookmark a name that makes sense to you (preferable the same are the server name)
 
# Click connect and type in your username and Password.
 
# it is up to you to select how long the password is to remembered for. I suggest the ''until I log out'' option. It is convenient for work done in one sitting and it also covers against complications that arise when passwords are changed.
 
  
This has worked with an attempt to recconect:
+
Ubuntu has a built in remote desktop client. The client uses VNC to more or less transmit a video of your computers screen to the remote machine. To enable, do the following:
  
*On the panel click:
+
#System menu->Preferences->Remote Desktop
:''Places'' -> ''Connect to Server...''
+
#Check Allow other users to view your desktop
*For ''Service Type'' select '''Windows Share'''
+
#Check Allow other users to control your desktop
*For ''Server'' type '''<''servername''>'''
+
#Not required, but highly recommended:&nbsp;check the Require the user to enter this password box and enter a secure password.
*For ''Folder'' type '''vol1'''
+
#You can find your computer name and IP address in the yellow box that should appear under Sharing when you check the two boxes in step 2 and 3.  
*For ''User Name'' type your midd username
+
#Connect using the VNC viewer of your choice (tightvnc is a good cross platform choice, vinagre works well from other linux boxes)
*For ''Domain Name'' type '''midd'''
 
*Check ''Add Bookmark'' and give the bookmark a name that makes sense to you (preferable the same are the server name)
 
*Click connect and type in your Password.
 
:it is up to you to select how long the password is to remembered for. I suggest the ''until I log out'' option. It is convenient for work done in one sitting and it also covers against complications that arise when passwords are changed.
 
  
*An error will pop up about an inability to mount volume. Just click OK
+
Troubleshooting
*Navigate to your bookmark under:
 
:''Places'' -> ''Bookmarks'' -> ''<bookmark name>''
 
  
=====Disconnecting from file servers=====
+
*Able to connect successfully but the screen doesn't appear to refresh?
 +
**You need to disable compiz: System->Preferences->Appearance->Visual Effects tab, then check None 
 +
*Unable to connect?&nbsp;
 +
**Double check your computer's IP address. If you connect through a router (ie have a 192.168.x.x IP) you may not be able to connect without configuring your router
 +
**Try using your computer's name 
  
The server shortcuts will appear on your Ubuntu desktop and on top left-hand section of the ''File Browser'' as ''vol1 on <servername>''. To disconect, right-click on any of the shortcuts and select ''Unmount Volume''
+
== Working With File Servers ==
  
==Applications==
+
Note that Linux suffers from the same lack of compatability with our new DFS (read middfiles) system that Macs do, only worse. As of 9/4/09, Linux is almost entirely incompatible with DFS.&nbsp;The exception is a terminal based tool that allows only very basic functionality. There is a workaround, but is inelegant, time consuming, and requires the use of (potentially) large numbers of bookmarks to implement. Here we go:
  
====Web browsing====
+
A few terms:
  
Mozilla Firefox 3 is the default web browser on Ubuntu.
+
*''Username'' - This is your Midd username. It is the first part of your Midd email address (i.e. '''username'''''@middlebury.edu'')
 +
*''Distributed File System'' - Middfiles is an implementation of DFS. If you don't know what middfiles is and are still trying to find your tigercat or classes folder, try looking [https://mediawiki.middlebury.edu/wiki/LIS/DFS here] or [http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/lis/about/lis_do_you_know/2009/lis_lecturesevents_633792089828837871.htm here].  
 +
*&nbsp;
  
====OpenOffice.org====
+
=== Finding Middfiles Server Names ===
  
Stable and full-featured. In many places, OpenOffice is used as a zero-cost alternative to Microsoft Office.
+
The real reason why Linux is incompatible with&nbsp;DFS has to do with what what DFS is. DFS is essentially a set of symbolic links used to connect a bunch of different servers. Linux is incapable at the moment of recognize where these symbolic links point. This means you can connect to one level of middfiles, but as likely or not, when you try to open a new folder, DFS will try to send you on a link to a new server, which Linux can't follow. The solution therefore is to bypass middfiles entirely and connect to the underlying servers directly. The first step then, is to determine the names of the underlying servers:
  
When setting up anyone with Ubuntu, '''strongly consider setting document file format defaults'''. By default, OpenOffice saves documents as .odt, .ods, OpenDocument format. It's a good format but MS Office doesn't support it. In OpenOffice under Tools -> Options, under the Save/Load category, you can set OOo to automatically save documents in the Microsoft format.
+
#Connect to middfiles using your username and password on a Windows System (see below)
 +
#Go to the parent of the folder you are trying to access - e.g. if I want to map my home folder (username sjudd) which is located at middfiles/home/S-Z/sjudd, I would instead navigate to middfiles/home/S-Z
 +
#Right click on the folder you want to be able to access in Linux and click on Properties
 +
#Click on the DFS tab
 +
#Under Path you should see a link in the form \\name\parent, where name is typically an animal (MOOSE, HOUND, ALPACA etc.) and parent is the name of the parent folder you opened in step 2. Record this path.  
 +
#Translate:&nbsp;name is the name of the server you are trying to connect to. parent is the name of the share you want to connect to
  
====Email client====
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As a final note:&nbsp;It is likely these server names will change every once in a while. Just because the name of the server on which my home folder is stored happens to be MOOSE now doesn't mean it won't change to PARASTRATIOSPHECOMYIASTRATIOSPHECOMYIOIDES (ok well maybe not that name...) in the future. This is actually a feature of DFS:&nbsp;the overall structure of the filesystem remains stable even when the underlying server names change around. As a result, if you notice that you can't connect to a server that used to work, it may be because the server where the folder you are trying to access had a name change.
  
The default email client that comes with Ubuntu is '''Evolution'''. '''Thunderbird''' is a better-known alternative that you may want to consider. Both are good, sturdy email clients and both can connect via IMAP to Midd servers.
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=== Accessing a Windows box from Linux ===
  
Evolution has support for connecting to MS Exchange servers versions 2000 and 2003 but ''not'' version 2007, unfortunately.
+
Neccessary for a number of tasks, including any that require access to exchange but can't be done on webmail (DFS permissions/distribution lists primarily), as well as advanced DFS tools (restore from backups, determining underlying server names).
  
====For older computers====
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Your options for getting access to a windows system from Linux (in order of most to least preferable, although option 3 might be more practical than option 2. Then again this is linux, if you wanted practical you would not be using linux):
 +
 
 +
#Connect to Coal (available to all middlebury users on campus, a remote access windows server) - use the command 'rdesktop coal.middlebury.edu' in a terminal. Enter your middlebury credentials to connect. If the command rdesktop doesn't work, you likely need to look up a way to install rdesktop for your particular distro (sudo apt-get install rdesktop for Ubuntu)
 +
#Connect using rdesktop or a VNC client to another windows box elsewhere on campus...
 +
#Cheat! Use a public lab computer, a friend's computer, dualboot windows, beg and plead from windows using friends
 +
#Consider paying for software like crossover.
 +
 
 +
=== Connecting to File Servers ===
 +
 
 +
#In the panel: ''Places'' -> ''Connect to Server...''
 +
#For ''Service Type'' select '''Windows Share'''
 +
#For ''Server'' enter: the name you looked up in windows
 +
#For ''Share ''enter: the name of the parent folder you navigated to windows
 +
#For ''Folder'' enter:&nbsp;the name of the folder you want to access (note that this isn't actually neccessary, if you want to access multiple folders on a single share or even if you don't feel like filling it in, you can leave this blank. Only a Server and a Share are strictly neccessary).
 +
#For ''User Name'' enter:&nbsp;your middlebury username
 +
#For ''Domain Name'' enter:&nbsp;MIDD
 +
#Check Add bookmark if you plan on connecting to this folder repeatedly and name it whatever you would like (best to mention the folder name and the server it is on, but if you want to be a rebel go ahead, it doesn't matter). Note this assumes you are using Nautilus and Ubuntu, may be different for other file managers/distros.
 +
 
 +
Troubleshooting:
 +
 
 +
*Ensure you are connected to the network using an ethernet cable or via midd_secure
 +
*Spell the server and share names correctly
 +
*Avoid using any kind of smb:// or / or \ in the server or share name. As long as you select Windows Share for the service type, linux will do all this for you
 +
*Double check that the domain is MIDD and that your username and password are correct.
 +
*Google!
 +
 
 +
=== Disconnecting to File Servers ===
 +
 
 +
If you saved your server as a bookmark: (again for Nautilus and Ubuntu)
 +
 
 +
#Open Nautilus
 +
#Open the Bookmarks menu and select Edit Bookmarks...
 +
#Select the bookmark for the server folder you want to delete and click Remove
 +
#To disconnect the server for your current session, see below
 +
 
 +
To disconnect from a server for the current session:
 +
 
 +
#Right click on the server folder on your desktop&nbsp;(it will appear when you first connect) and select Unmount Volume
 +
#Open Nautilus and click the disconnect symbol next to the server folder name that appears under Places:
 +
 
 +
== Applications ==
 +
 
 +
==== Web browsing ====
 +
 
 +
Mozilla Firefox is the default web browser on Ubuntu.
 +
 
 +
==== LibreOffice ====
 +
 
 +
Stable and full-featured. In many places, LibreOffice is used as a zero-cost alternative to Microsoft Office.
 +
 
 +
When setting up anyone with Ubuntu, '''strongly consider setting document file format defaults'''. By default, LibreOffice saves documents as .odt, .ods, OpenDocument format. It's a good format but MS Office doesn't support it. In LibreOffice under Tools -> Options, under the Save/Load category, you can set LibreOffice to automatically save documents in the Microsoft format.
 +
 
 +
==== Email client ====
 +
 
 +
The default email client that comes with Ubuntu is Mozilla Thunderbird. However, while Thunderbird supports the IMAP mail protocol, [https://mediawiki.middlebury.edu/LIS/Multi-Factor_Authentication_Readiness Middlebury College is transitioning to multi-factor authentication] which does not work with IMAP. As a result, your best option for mail access is to use [https://mediawiki.middlebury.edu/LIS/Webmail_Help Outlook webmail]. If you really desire a native Linux email client that works with Exchange, [https://www.hiri.com/ Hiri] is an option (not free).
 +
 
 +
 
 +
==== For older computers ====
  
 
For older computers, Linux has a host of light-weight programs available as alternatives to the more popular ones. Consider:
 
For older computers, Linux has a host of light-weight programs available as alternatives to the more popular ones. Consider:
* Epiphany Browser, instead of Firefox
 
* AbiWord and Gnumeric, lightweight word processor and spreadsheet programs that can replace some of OpenOffice's functionality
 
  
If the system has 128MB RAM or less, consider the alternative distribution Xubuntu. Xubuntu is great for older/slower systems and comes with many such programs pre-installed.
+
*[https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Web/ GnomeWeb] (formerly Epiphany) or [http://www.netsurf-browser.org/ NetSurf] web browsers, instead of Firefox
 +
*AbiWord and Gnumeric, lightweight word processor and spreadsheet programs that can replace some of LibreOffice's functionality
  
====Wine====
+
If the system has 128MB RAM or less, consider the alternative distribution [https://xubuntu.org/ Xubuntu]. Xubuntu is great for older/slower systems and comes with many such programs pre-installed.
  
If you're adventurous, you can get some Windows programs to work great under Linux using Wine Windows Emulator. More details pending...
+
==== Wine ====
  
==Getting Help==
+
If you're adventurous, you can get some Windows programs to work great under Linux using Wine Windows Emulator.
 +
 
 +
== Getting Help ==
  
 
Greatest thing about Ubuntu is that it has a huge support/fan base and chances are whatever you are stuck trying to figure out, someone has a solution out there. Google and conquer.
 
Greatest thing about Ubuntu is that it has a huge support/fan base and chances are whatever you are stuck trying to figure out, someone has a solution out there. Google and conquer.
  
Unfortunately, Ubuntu is not an officially supported Operating System by the Helpdesk.The level of support that you will receive from the helpdesk will be limited. However, if you are stumped by an issue, you should not hesitate to place a call or preferably stop by the Walkin section of the Helpdesk for assistance. The knowledge pool of the consultants is pretty impressive and a solution or answer to your problem is likely to be found.
+
There are also a few linux users at the helpdesk and elsewhere on campus.
 +
 
 +
Unfortunately, Ubuntu is not an officially supported Operating System by the Helpdesk. The level of support that you will receive from the helpdesk will be limited. However, if you are stumped by an issue, you should not hesitate to place a call (email might be somewhat better, you are likely to get the "Ubuntu is not supported" line either way though) or preferably stop by the Walkin section of the Helpdesk for assistance. The knowledge pool of the consultants is pretty impressive and a solution or answer to your problem is likely to be found.
 +
 
 +
[[Category:Linux]]

Latest revision as of 15:44, 5 May 2020

Linux is a free, open-source operating system. Some College computers use Linux (examples include the lab computers in MBH 632, which run Fedora, and the thin clients, which connect to a Windows OS but themselves use Linux). A few members of the College also elect to use Linux on their personal machines. It can be advantageous to run Linux because it is available for free, it generally does not take up much hard drive space, and it tends to foster a greater knowledge of how computers work.

However, Linux is not officially supported by Middlebury College. This page is merely intended to be an overview of the best things to try in order to get Linux to work with Middlebury systems. Feel free to contact the Helpdesk for additional support, but please understand that we do not guarantee that Middlebury systems will work with Linux, and Helpdesk consultants may be unfamiliar with Linux or with your specific distribution and may not be able to help you.

Lastly, because Linux is such a broad category, with many different distributions and numerous individual configurations, all contributions to this page are much appreciated.

Accessing the Middlebury Network

Wired Internet

You should be able to use an Ethernet cable to connect to the network without a problem. If you're having trouble and want to troubleshoot, here are a couple pieces of relevant information:

  • To find your IP address, go to the terminal and type in "ifconfig" (not "ipconfig" as on a Windows machine!). There should be a section for each connection. For a wired Ethernet connection, the section you want is probably eth0. There should be a line beginning with "inet addr:" and then your IP address. If there isn't, you aren't connected via Ethernet.
  • Releasing and renewing one's IP address can solve some connection issues. To do this on Linux, use the command "dhclient eth0". You may have to run it as root ("sudo").

 

Wireless Networks

You should be able to connect to MiddleburyCollege without a problem. Here are the relevant settings:

  • The network name is MiddleburyCollege.
  • The method of security is WPA2 Enterprise.
  • The authentication protocol/EAP method is PEAP.
  • The inner authentication method is MSCHAPv2.
  • Key Type and Phase2 Type should be left to their default values.
  • Do not require an authorization certificate.
  • Your "credentials" or "identity" or "username" will be your Middlebury email address, and the next field should let you enter your password.
  • Leave all remaining fields blank or at their default values.

If this does not work, one thing to try is leaving the password field blank, so that you are prompted for the password after a connection is established.

General information about our wireless networks can be found here. Remote Access

VPN

Linux versions of the Pulse Secure client can be found in the VPN client repository. Download the installer appropriate for your Linux version. Instructions from Junos on how to install and configure the client can be found here.

Ubuntu Remote Desktop

Ubuntu has a built in remote desktop client. The client uses VNC to more or less transmit a video of your computers screen to the remote machine. To enable, do the following:

  1. System menu->Preferences->Remote Desktop
  2. Check Allow other users to view your desktop
  3. Check Allow other users to control your desktop
  4. Not required, but highly recommended: check the Require the user to enter this password box and enter a secure password.
  5. You can find your computer name and IP address in the yellow box that should appear under Sharing when you check the two boxes in step 2 and 3.
  6. Connect using the VNC viewer of your choice (tightvnc is a good cross platform choice, vinagre works well from other linux boxes)

Troubleshooting

  • Able to connect successfully but the screen doesn't appear to refresh?
    • You need to disable compiz: System->Preferences->Appearance->Visual Effects tab, then check None
  • Unable to connect? 
    • Double check your computer's IP address. If you connect through a router (ie have a 192.168.x.x IP) you may not be able to connect without configuring your router
    • Try using your computer's name

Working With File Servers

Note that Linux suffers from the same lack of compatability with our new DFS (read middfiles) system that Macs do, only worse. As of 9/4/09, Linux is almost entirely incompatible with DFS. The exception is a terminal based tool that allows only very basic functionality. There is a workaround, but is inelegant, time consuming, and requires the use of (potentially) large numbers of bookmarks to implement. Here we go:

A few terms:

  • Username - This is your Midd username. It is the first part of your Midd email address (i.e. username@middlebury.edu)
  • Distributed File System - Middfiles is an implementation of DFS. If you don't know what middfiles is and are still trying to find your tigercat or classes folder, try looking here or here.
  •  

Finding Middfiles Server Names

The real reason why Linux is incompatible with DFS has to do with what what DFS is. DFS is essentially a set of symbolic links used to connect a bunch of different servers. Linux is incapable at the moment of recognize where these symbolic links point. This means you can connect to one level of middfiles, but as likely or not, when you try to open a new folder, DFS will try to send you on a link to a new server, which Linux can't follow. The solution therefore is to bypass middfiles entirely and connect to the underlying servers directly. The first step then, is to determine the names of the underlying servers:

  1. Connect to middfiles using your username and password on a Windows System (see below)
  2. Go to the parent of the folder you are trying to access - e.g. if I want to map my home folder (username sjudd) which is located at middfiles/home/S-Z/sjudd, I would instead navigate to middfiles/home/S-Z
  3. Right click on the folder you want to be able to access in Linux and click on Properties
  4. Click on the DFS tab
  5. Under Path you should see a link in the form \\name\parent, where name is typically an animal (MOOSE, HOUND, ALPACA etc.) and parent is the name of the parent folder you opened in step 2. Record this path.
  6. Translate: name is the name of the server you are trying to connect to. parent is the name of the share you want to connect to

As a final note: It is likely these server names will change every once in a while. Just because the name of the server on which my home folder is stored happens to be MOOSE now doesn't mean it won't change to PARASTRATIOSPHECOMYIASTRATIOSPHECOMYIOIDES (ok well maybe not that name...) in the future. This is actually a feature of DFS: the overall structure of the filesystem remains stable even when the underlying server names change around. As a result, if you notice that you can't connect to a server that used to work, it may be because the server where the folder you are trying to access had a name change.

Accessing a Windows box from Linux

Neccessary for a number of tasks, including any that require access to exchange but can't be done on webmail (DFS permissions/distribution lists primarily), as well as advanced DFS tools (restore from backups, determining underlying server names).

Your options for getting access to a windows system from Linux (in order of most to least preferable, although option 3 might be more practical than option 2. Then again this is linux, if you wanted practical you would not be using linux):

  1. Connect to Coal (available to all middlebury users on campus, a remote access windows server) - use the command 'rdesktop coal.middlebury.edu' in a terminal. Enter your middlebury credentials to connect. If the command rdesktop doesn't work, you likely need to look up a way to install rdesktop for your particular distro (sudo apt-get install rdesktop for Ubuntu)
  2. Connect using rdesktop or a VNC client to another windows box elsewhere on campus...
  3. Cheat! Use a public lab computer, a friend's computer, dualboot windows, beg and plead from windows using friends
  4. Consider paying for software like crossover.

Connecting to File Servers

  1. In the panel: Places -> Connect to Server...
  2. For Service Type select Windows Share
  3. For Server enter: the name you looked up in windows
  4. For Share enter: the name of the parent folder you navigated to windows
  5. For Folder enter: the name of the folder you want to access (note that this isn't actually neccessary, if you want to access multiple folders on a single share or even if you don't feel like filling it in, you can leave this blank. Only a Server and a Share are strictly neccessary).
  6. For User Name enter: your middlebury username
  7. For Domain Name enter: MIDD
  8. Check Add bookmark if you plan on connecting to this folder repeatedly and name it whatever you would like (best to mention the folder name and the server it is on, but if you want to be a rebel go ahead, it doesn't matter). Note this assumes you are using Nautilus and Ubuntu, may be different for other file managers/distros.

Troubleshooting:

  • Ensure you are connected to the network using an ethernet cable or via midd_secure
  • Spell the server and share names correctly
  • Avoid using any kind of smb:// or / or \ in the server or share name. As long as you select Windows Share for the service type, linux will do all this for you
  • Double check that the domain is MIDD and that your username and password are correct.
  • Google!

Disconnecting to File Servers

If you saved your server as a bookmark: (again for Nautilus and Ubuntu)

  1. Open Nautilus
  2. Open the Bookmarks menu and select Edit Bookmarks...
  3. Select the bookmark for the server folder you want to delete and click Remove
  4. To disconnect the server for your current session, see below

To disconnect from a server for the current session:

  1. Right click on the server folder on your desktop (it will appear when you first connect) and select Unmount Volume
  2. Open Nautilus and click the disconnect symbol next to the server folder name that appears under Places:

Applications

Web browsing

Mozilla Firefox is the default web browser on Ubuntu.

LibreOffice

Stable and full-featured. In many places, LibreOffice is used as a zero-cost alternative to Microsoft Office.

When setting up anyone with Ubuntu, strongly consider setting document file format defaults. By default, LibreOffice saves documents as .odt, .ods, OpenDocument format. It's a good format but MS Office doesn't support it. In LibreOffice under Tools -> Options, under the Save/Load category, you can set LibreOffice to automatically save documents in the Microsoft format.

Email client

The default email client that comes with Ubuntu is Mozilla Thunderbird. However, while Thunderbird supports the IMAP mail protocol, Middlebury College is transitioning to multi-factor authentication which does not work with IMAP. As a result, your best option for mail access is to use Outlook webmail. If you really desire a native Linux email client that works with Exchange, Hiri is an option (not free).


For older computers

For older computers, Linux has a host of light-weight programs available as alternatives to the more popular ones. Consider:

  • GnomeWeb (formerly Epiphany) or NetSurf web browsers, instead of Firefox
  • AbiWord and Gnumeric, lightweight word processor and spreadsheet programs that can replace some of LibreOffice's functionality

If the system has 128MB RAM or less, consider the alternative distribution Xubuntu. Xubuntu is great for older/slower systems and comes with many such programs pre-installed.

Wine

If you're adventurous, you can get some Windows programs to work great under Linux using Wine Windows Emulator.

Getting Help

Greatest thing about Ubuntu is that it has a huge support/fan base and chances are whatever you are stuck trying to figure out, someone has a solution out there. Google and conquer.

There are also a few linux users at the helpdesk and elsewhere on campus.

Unfortunately, Ubuntu is not an officially supported Operating System by the Helpdesk. The level of support that you will receive from the helpdesk will be limited. However, if you are stumped by an issue, you should not hesitate to place a call (email might be somewhat better, you are likely to get the "Ubuntu is not supported" line either way though) or preferably stop by the Walkin section of the Helpdesk for assistance. The knowledge pool of the consultants is pretty impressive and a solution or answer to your problem is likely to be found.

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