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Conducting Virtual Meetings with Linux, Part I - page 2

Online Conferencing on the Cheap

  • May 14, 2002
  • By Rob Reilly

The client-side hardware does not have to be overly powerful. I join the meetings on a PII 300 MHz clone laptop with 128 MB of memory, 4 GB drive, CD and 14.1 inch XGA screen. The ESS 1968 audio chip handles the sounds and Trident 9397 video chip with 4 MB video memory handles the graphics. Network duties are controlled by a 3Com PCMCIA 10/100 ethernet card.

The laptop has SuSE Linux 7.3 Professional (2.4.10 Kernel) running in a 2.1 GB partition. There's about 100 MB of swap and two other partitions of 1.2 GB and 600 MB. ICEWM is my window manager of choice.

One time I pressed a 486 box with 16 MB of memory and a 540 MB disk into meeting service when my laptop was down. It had an Opti sound card, some old video card with 1 MB of memory and a Viewsonic 5E monitor. Networking was done through a Linksys (NE2000) ethernet card. It ran Redhat Linux 6.0, had about 20 MB of swap space and WindowMaker for its window manager. I had to use X11amp (audio player) and old versions of Xchat and Netscape. Participating in the meeting was still easy with good sound quality and snappy response.

You can even join a meeting if you are on a Windows box, although I can't give you much help there, mainly because I don't have Windows running on any of my machines anymore. I have listened to meetings using WinAmp under Windows 98 in the past. Xchat is available for Windows and you probably already have Internet Explorer. The settings and addresses are applicable across platforms, so you should be able to get up and running without too much trouble.

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