Linux Project

Users and groups, printers, evolution, kmail, nautilus, dictionary, weather, calender, star office
Thursday, 31 Jan 2002

Our systems are taking shape, but our users still need some support. As part of the installation process we created a user account for the multicephalic user cs428. Now we need to create a few more individual accounts (one for each team member), set up those users' email accounts and access to printers, and arrange for proper assignment of individuals to groups.

Groups. You may find that your system at this point contains only one user group, cs428 with gid 500 (ie., group id 500), which was created for that user account at initialization time. Modify /etc/groups to change the name of that group to student. Add another group named faculty with gid 501, and still another named staff with gid 502.

Creating user accounts. To create user accounts, one can use the command useradd. Read the man page for that command and then try something like this to create a new account for staff member Joi Johannsson:

useradd -c "Joi Johannsson" -g 502 -n johannsson

Now cat /etc/passwd to verify that there is a new user on your system, use passswd to assign our conventional password to Joi, and then login to Joi's account to verify that all is in order.

There is a tool named kuser from the KDE suite which you may find to be more convenient for manipulating user accounts. Launch kuser, click on the menu item Help:Contents to see its user manual, and then try creating a few user accounts using kuser.

Deleting user accounts. User accounts are removed with a command like

userdel -r <login>

or by using kuser. Read the man page for userdel.

Printers. Launch printtool and add the following three HP LaserJet printers to the system. Click New to add a new printer. Step through the wizard as indicated below:

Click Finish, and then Edit the resulting entry to add two aliases for that printer: wl136 and WL136_LaserJet_2100.

Click Finish, and then Edit the resulting entry to add two aliases for that printer: wl133 and WL133_LaserJet_4000N.

Click Finish, and then Edit the resulting entry to add two aliases for that printer: wl131 and WL131_LaserJet_2100.

Make sure that wl136 is selected as the default printer (select the appropriate printer entry, so that it turns blue, then click Default). Select File:Save Changes. Test each of your configurations by selecting a printer (entry turns blue) and then selecting Test:US Letter Postscript Test Page. Fetch your page from the printer. To print a page from the command line, try something like

lpr -Pwl136 myFile.txt

Notice that we are saying "wl136" as in "WL136" -- two letters + three digits.

Ximian Evolution. Ximian evolution is quite a nice personal organizer that was downloaded by Red Carpet from the Ximian Gnome channel. Launch Evolution from the Programs menu. Select View:Shortcut Bar or View:Folder Bar to see your options. The software includes an email program, a calender, a To Do list, a rolodex, and things of that sort. Click around to get a feel for what's there.

Let's configure the email client. Step through the wizard answering its questions. Since mine is already set up, I can only tell you the final results. To check your installation agianst mine, go into the mail client, select Tools:Mail Settings:Accounts and select the account you created (mine says "cparrish pop (default)"). Click Edit. Under the tab Identity I have the following:

Under the tab Receiving Mail I have the following:

Under the tab Receiving Options I have the following:

Under the tab Sending Mail I have the following:

As for the rest, just use the default settings. Test Evolution's email client by sending yourself and someone else an email message. You may also wish to experiment with kmail from the KDE suite.

KMail. KMail is the mail client from the KDE suite. Step through the KMail Wizard to set up a mail account. Here are the most important settings from my own installation, accessed through KMail's Settings:Configure KMail menu choice:

Click on the blue bar highlighting the above Incoming Mail Account, or select it and click on Modify, and chect the following fields:

Check your new mail account by sending and receiving a few email messages.

Nautilus. Nautilus is an elegant integrated workplace and window onto your filesystems. It is always available by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting New Window. Do that now. Click through the tabs in the lefthand panel: Help, History, News, Notes, Tree and experiment a bit by subscribing to some news sources and navigating through several views of your file system. Try clicking and right-clicking on a few files of different types. It's easy to open emacs on a text file or open gimp on an image file just by right-clicking an icon. Clicking on a news headline opens the article in a browser-like panel. This is the Konqueror browser. It's not as sophisticated as Mozilla, but it does a nice job on ordinary web pages.

Dictionary. From the Ximian Gnome panel, select Programs:Applets:Utility:GDict. A little dictionary applet will insert itself into your Ximian Gnome panel. Type a word into the white insertion box, say, "home" or "dictionary" or "man," to get a definition. Click on Help:Manual to see how to use this dictionary to check spelling. Use it to correct the following first attempt to come up with the word which means "a list of musical pieces which a person has rehearsed and is prepared to present": repetoire [sic].

Weather. From the Ximian Gnome panel, select Programs:Applets:Utility:GNOME Weather. A little applet will insert itself into your Ximian Gnome panel, which displays a very condensed version of the current weather. Right now mine says "Fog 2 Degrees." If I hold the cursor over the applet for a second it displays "Nashville: Moderate Mist." Right click on the applet to see a more detailed five-day forcast or to change the target city or to see a weather map. Local choices include Nashville and Smyrna, but it is just as easy to choose the Bahamas or Bolivia.

Calender. The upper righthand corner of the Ximian Gnome desktop displays an icon representing the currently active application. Place the cursor over this icon and press the left or right mouse button. You will see a menu of all the open applications, and you can go to one of these applications by selecting its entry. Just to the left of the current application's icon is a display of the current time. Place the cursor over the time to display the day and date. Place the cursor over the time and press the left or right mouse button. You will see a menu with choices like Today, This Week, This Month. Select them to see what happens. These three components of the Gnome Calender application are included in Evolution.

Star Office. Star Office is a complete office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software, etc) which is meant to be compatible with another Office suite whose name I don't remember right now. It was downloaded from your Red Carpet Star Office channel. Give it a try!

Congratulations! If you have done all of the above, you have a constructed a pretty nice place to work!