posted by Niall C. Brady on Tue 25th Mar 2003 16:51 UTC

"Getting More Out of Red Hat Linux 9"

Now that you have come this far, you probably want to add those features you consider missing in Shrike, either that or you just want to expand on its possibilities. Below, I give you some examples of what I did to get my system up and running the way that I wanted to. You, of course, are free to choose the way you set up your own installation but hopefully this will give you some ideas.

Configuring the Desktop.

Click for a larger view Before I get into details, you probably should know that my preferred window manager in Red Hat is the default Gnome Bluecurve theme. I've always liked Gnome, and Red Hat's implementation of it is nice and smooth in my opinion. So apologies to KDE lovers, this article really isn't about KDE versus Gnome, its supposed to give you an idea of what Shrike is actually like.

The first thing I do after installing any new operating system is to configure the desktop for my personal tastes, and with Red Hat 9 it was relatively easy to do.

I changed icons around, removed a lot of the default icons (such as OpenOffice and Evolution) in the Red Hat 'taskbar', so that i now have quick access to my frequently used icons, x-terminal, GAIM, xchat, gftp and battery monitor. Adding an icon to the taskbar is quite an easy process - click on the Red Hat icon (start menu) and (in this example we'll add xchat) click 'Internet' followed by 'more Internet applications'. Put your mouse cursor over xchat and drag it down to the taskbar where you want it and release. Thats it. Drag and Drop functionality works quite nicely in Red Hat 9.

What's missing in Gnome Bluecurve? Oh yes, there's still no icon for 'show desktop', I mean why can't they include this in Gnome, since most Windows users are used to it being there and it's a very useful icon, so why is it absent? You can actually duplicate the functionality of the missing button by pressing CTRL+ALT+D and voila! you can see your desktop. Press those keys again and all your applications are back where they were, I can't understand why something as useful as this isn't included by default in the taskbar. Well, it actually is included but its hidden away from view. You have to right click on the taskbar, choose 'add to panel' and then choose 'show desktop button'. Please, Red Hat, can you ship the next OS with this button on the taskbar as default?

Configure GAIM to use Your MSN Messenger Account.

I use MSN Messenger on my Windows computers and my Red Hat Linux computers and it's my primary Instant Messenger method to contact my friends and family. Having the ability to use this in both Windows and Red Hat Linux is great so I've included that information here for those of you that don't already know.

To setup GAIM to work with your MSN Hotmail account, click on Red Hat start menu/Internet/instant messenger and GAIM will start. once it has started click on plug-ins, then click on the Load button. Choose the libmsn.so plug-in and click OK. Now click close and then accounts on the main gaim menu. choose ADD and select MSN as the protocol. Enter your Hotmail account details and thats it, instant messaging in Red Hat 9.

Configuring Wireless Networking.

Now that I have my desktop configured to my liking, I set about configuring my mini-pci wireless network card using the the built-in Internet Configuration Utility. To set it up, click on the Red Hat, choose 'system tools' in the menu and select 'Internet Configuration Utility'. I picked Wireless Connection, it identified my Dell True mobile Mini PCI wireless card as a Lucent Orinoco and Prism II-based Wireless, so that was cool, went with that, input my SSID and channel and typed in my WEP key in plain text.

This was a pleasant change: now this time I don't have to input the WEP key in hexadecimal unless i want to. I now have a choice of hex or text, and this is good because in Red Hat 8.0 the WEP key field did not stipulate how you should enter the key and in what format, now its clearer and will help people avoid issues of WEP not working properly.

After i entered that info, it informed me that I'd probably have to restart the network service but I ignored that and tried networking anyway. I could ping my wireless access point but could not do DNS resolution so reading the info, I rebooted. After the reboot and logging in to Gnome, wireless networking was working fine so I was ready to go.

Table of contents
  1. "Installing Red Hat 9"
  2. "The Default Install - What is it Like"
  3. "The Default Install - Part II"
  4. "Getting More Out of Red Hat Linux 9"
  5. "Getting More Out of Red Hat 9, Part II"
  6. "Should I Upgrade to Red Hat 9?"
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