Sunday, January 21, 2007

Microsoft doesn't like me! ;-)

I've been doing a lot of grumbling lately, mainly about the problems caused by the loss of my main Linux server during the summer. The loss of the server is mostly my fault (backups!) and I'm paying for it pretty good right now. I've managed to get my dhcp, dns, samba (partially), cups, web page automation, Mr. House (home automation) and outbound email working again. Asterisk is suffering pretty badly as I lost a lot of custom files I created to integrate it with Mr. House. Right now my outbound email is through Comcast though I may make the effort of trying to connect to Google (Gmail). Inbound email is handled by Thunderbird. I wrote a Linux, Sendmail and - Howto which should make it easier to recover next time, at least for the outbound email portion of my setup. I've also booted up my NSLU2 and I've got the Unslung 6.8 firmware loaded on there. I'm having trouble with the NTFS, instead of seeing files I see $name. Looks like NTFS is going to remain hidden. I'll reformat it and just share it across the network (tftp, ftp, ssh, telnet and Samba). I tried to format the drive for VFAT but if I plug in the drive directly into my XP Home laptop it can't see it. Seems XP Home can only see NTFS not vfat on hard disks (but it can see vfat on USB jump driver, weird). I tried loading the ext driver on XP home but that didn't work very well either. Argh!

My next battle with XP Home was my printer. I have a nice Brother 2070N laser printer, an HP680C, an HP500C and a Panasonic KX-P1124 dot matrix printer. The last 3 are on HP Jetdirect network print servers. They work great with Linux and XP Pro (my work laptop) but when I went to share the printer with Samba (remember works for XP Pro) it could see it but not access it. OK, maybe I have something setup wrong in Samba. So I t ried to print directly from XP Home to the laser printer (wo! rks with Linux and XP Pro), no go! I ended up downloading an ipp driver to XP Home to print to the Linux box under CUPS because XP Home couldn't printer directly with SMB or IPP. I didn't put a lot of effort into trying XP Home and LPD. Good thing I have a Linux server or I wouldn't be able to use half the XP Home laptop. I've also tried to get tftpd running on XP home but that was a no go even after I turned off the firewall. I got around that by dual booting to Linux and running tftpd from there. Now that I can use scp with my Cisco routers (supported in 12.4 and later IOS) I won't need to depend on tftp anymore. I tell you, Microsoft really doesn't like me. ;-)

And before the Microsoft fanboys start in. Yes I know that these things are probably possible to do and that if I had been properly trained I wouldn't have a problem with any of this. But isn't this (Microsoft) the OS for the average user? I have more than an average idea how this stuff works. I've been using Micros oft's SMB since the days of DOS when you logged into the network with net login command and mounted shared devices with net use commands (btw, Microsoft has finally removed all those commands). If I have problems using this stuff how is the average user going to use it? I've been sharing printers and drive storage for more than 18 years.


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