[K12OSN] Off-topic: SuSE Linux 9.2, LTSP, and MS Exchange Server

"Terrell Prudé, Jr." microman at cmosnetworks.com
Thu Jan 6 02:19:25 UTC 2005


I have successfully gotten SuSE Linux 9.2 Professional working as a LTSP 
server.  That by itself would be of little importance to this group.  
However, it's the LTSP-ifying part that might make it relevant.

SuSE Linux Professional distributions are, like those from Red Hat, 
known for being very good server distros.  However, SuSE Linux 9.2 
Professional also makes a *terrific* desktop for typical Windows users.  
The GUI administration tools that come with it are, I find, really 
good.  But for our purposes, there's a problem.  SuSE 9.2 Pro, though it 
comes with the slick new Evolution 2.0, does not come with the Evolution 
Connector that lets you talk to MS Exchange 2000/2003 groupware 
servers.  Look high and low, and you will not find the RPM for SuSE 9.2 
Pro.  Call up Novell's SuSE tech support, and they'll tell you that SuSE 
9.2 Pro indeed does not include the ExchSrvr connector and that you need 
to go to Novell Linux Desktop.  This ordinarily would make SuSE 9.2 Pro 
unsuitable for "Microsoft shops" that use Exchange Server.  That's 
unfortunate, because SuSE 9.2 Pro is quite low-cost and will soon (this 
month, Novell says) be a free download, like SuSE 9.1 Pro is.  Schools 
on a budget seem to be outta luck.

This has been worked around, by me, as of today.  I installed 9.2 on my 
laptop (previously ran Slackware 9.0) for the "easy wireless 
configuration" ability, since our schools are now wireless-enabled.  The 
wireless does work well, but I couldn't connect to my Exchange Server.  
Then, I remembered something called Red Carpet, which is no longer 
included by default in SuSE 9.2 Pro, but you can still install it.  I 
found the Novell/Ximian FTP site with Red Carpet, downloaded it, and 
used it to download and install the ExchSrvr connector for Evolution 
2.0.  Worked great, and now I'm Exchange-Server-enabled...wirelessly.  :-)

Then I got the idea, "waitasec.  Some schools are contemplating giving 
email accounts to their students.  Of these, I'm sure that some of them 
have pre-existing Exchange Servers.  If we could get this SuSE 9.2 Pro 
LTSP-ifyed, then these schools could give their students email without 
having to worry about a bunch of virus/spyware-susceptible Windows 
boxes."  So, I popped LTSP on there (it's an eeeeeaaasy install now), 
and it worked.  I had terminals running Evolution + ExchSrvr Connector 
with multiple email logins (I switched to the 100Mbps NIC for that, of 

This would also be a low-cost way to set up the staff on the LTSP 
architecture.  Office staff don't need TuxType, TuxPaint (sorry, 
Bill--no offense meant), KVerbos, and so on.  They do need email, office 
productivity, and perhaps a Web browser (our district uses some 
Web-enabled apps).  These are easily handled by Evolution, OO.o, and 
Firefox.  Will you still need CALs for Exchange Server?  Yup.  Will you 
save money by not having to buy a bunch of new powerhouse thick 
clients?  Yup.  Will it reduce your time to maintain a bunch of infected 
Windows boxes?  Most definitely.

If anyone is interested in the details, just let me know, and I'll be 
glad to share.

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