Open Source

Setting the record straight on Red Hat setup

Who says you can't use a GUI in Red Hat? Jack Wallen, TechRepublic's rabid Linux guru, takes issue with a PC World article that says dial-up, printer, and network settings must be configured from arcane command lines when using Red Hat.


I subscribe to three magazines: Linux Magazine, Linux Journal, and PC World. Each mag offers a different take on the computing industry, and each has its strengths and weaknesses.

As a journalist, I understand the need for a quick news fix and the necessity of providing readers with different slants on various topics. However, I do have a problem with inaccurate reporting.

In the December issue of PC World magazine, there was brief coverage of the then-upcoming (now out) Corel Linux distribution. The article puts the fledgling Linux flavor in a very good light, but it does so at the expense of Corel's competition. The piece also calls credibility into question because it’s inaccurate.

How can I make such a bold statement? Simple. Within the article, PC World asserts:

“But first you have to configure things like printers, dial-up connections, and networking—just as you would when installing Windows. Getting these essentials working under Red Hat Linux or almost any other competing version means using Linux's collection of arcane command-line utilities and configuration files, a task that has driven more than one Linux newbie back into Microsoft's arms.”

With the release of Red Hat 5.2 (and up), the configurations of nearly all devices are accomplished via GUI interface tools (although the user can opt to configure said devices via those arcane command-line scripts). Dial-up networking, for instance (Red Hat 5.2-6.0) is handled through the netcfg tool—probably the simplest (and most robust) dial-up tool around! With netcfg, the user can even configure PPP, SLIP, PLIP, Ethernet, Arcnet, Token Ring, and Pocket (ATP) connections.

As of Red Hat 6.1, dial-up connections are made even simpler with the Red Hat Dial-up tool. The rp3 utility has taken user-friendliness to yet another level. A standing front-end for the Wvdial configuration, rp3 is simple to configure. As a testament to its simplicity, here is a step-by-step guide to setting up dial-up networking with Red Hat 6.1:









Red Hat 6.1 offers a GUI for configuring dial-up settings.


Dial-up networking could not be any simpler.

And what about printing? In Red Hat Linux, printing is handled through the printtool front end—yet another GUI configuration tool. With printtool, the user can configure nearly any type of printer (local, remote, smb, and even NetWare), all in one simple interface.

Jack Wallen is TechRepublic’s Linux guru and a TechProGuild editor-in-chief. He’s an avid cyclist, sports a few tattoos, and believes the Colts can go all the way in 2000.

Have any Linux questions or suggestions for hot Linux topics you want to see covered? Send 'em in! If you'd like to share your opinion, please post a comment below or send the editor an e-mail.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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