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DistributionWatch Review: Red Hat Linux 6.2 - page 6

Introducing Red Hat Linux 6.2

  • April 4, 2000
  • By Kevin Reichard

The assumption here is that you'll be doing most of your work under X, a not unfair assumption these days and 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 insist 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 in presenting a single face to the many different operating-system configuration chores.

Sadly, linuxconf is seriously buried under multiple menus when using KDE: you literally need to go down three menus (K | Red Hat | System) before finding it. Why Red Hat would choose to bury this useful tool is beyond me, but in general Red Hat has done a pretty poor job in organizing its KDE desktop interface. Instead of including worthless Internet links to Red Hat, it should have been providing useful onscreen tools and links to text editors and linuxconf. If you plan on using KDE, plan on spending a lot of time configuring the desktop.

Why are we so heavily criticizing Red Hat Linux for burying linuxconf? Because 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. It 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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