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DistributionWatch Review: Red Hat Linux 6.1 - page 8

Red Hat Linux: A Mainstream Linux

  • December 6, 1999
  • By Kevin Reichard

The assumption here is that you'll be doing most of your work under X, a not unfair assumption these days, one that should be followed by the rest of the Linux development community. It's one thing for us old UNIX hacks to feel comfortable at a command line for most of our work; it's another thing for us to expect that less-experienced casual users remember which UNIX commands to use and where text-based configuration files are stored.

That's why linuxconf may be the most important piece of programming within Red Hat Linux. Basically, linuxconf is a graphical outline-based tool that works like a Windows configuration tool in presenting a single face to the many different operating-system configuration chores.

There are some in the Linux community that grumble about linuxconf, with the chief gripe being that it's too complex for regular use. We hold the opposite view: it's so incredibly convenient to have all the important configuration centralized in one location. In fact, there's precious little that can't be configured with linuxconf. While linuxconf isn't new in Red Hat Linux 6.1, it has been expanded to include more areas, focusing on network connections and Internet services. (Alas, it lacks the power to configure sound cards. Too bad, as by and large Red Hat Linux does the best job in the Linux world of working with sound cards.) Specifically, linuxconf covers server configurations (DNS, Apache, mail, FTP, news), user accounts, Internet connections (modems, PPP, routing, NIS), LILO, system logs and various services. Having a different configuration screen for every aspect of Linux is not a good thing for users (who really don't want to be moving between X, GNOME, KDE, linuxconf, and text-based interfaces) and centralizing and standardizing configuration is always a good idea.

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