Being the weekend is seams wrong to be doing any real work so have been learning a little bit more about the system and how it could be used in the home or office.
One thing I feel quite strongly about is the ability to share documents over a network. This can be used simple for sharing files or folders with other systems you use, or as a form of backup. The Ubuntu system makes this fairly easy. To be honest it is very similar to the Windows shared folder concept. You can opt to share a folder from within your system browser and other systems within the network will be able to access, download or update files/folders that are located within your designated shared folder.
If you are running the KDE desktop you will find a little bit of an annoying “bug”. Whilst file sharing can be accesses from the file menu, it doesn't actually work without installing kdenetwork-filesharing, and you will be given no prompts to install this. To install this software you will need to access the “synaptic package manager” this should have been installed by default.
You will then need to install further software to make the options usable within the network sharing setup dialogue. You will need to install NFS and SNB servers. NFS is “network file system”. SMB is short for Samba. Its a server that allows you to share your files within a Windows network. Again you will need to obtain these pieces of software and their dependencies from Synaptic package manager. I think KDE should inform you that you need to install additional software to use file sharing when you try and enable it, as opposed to doing nothing. Even providing a link to a help file would be enough. Once you have installed kdenetwork-filesharing, SNB and NFS you are good to go.
If you go into your file browser and select the folder you would like to share simply right click the folder to bring up its options menu. From the Menu select properties and select the sharing tab. You will then have the option to set up and configure file sharing. You can simply use the enable/disable check box to quickly remove the folder from the sharing pool.
If there are other systems on the network that have got sharing set up you will be able to browse these folders as if they where a part of your file system. They will be default be mounted at root/shared.
NFS in its self is an extremely useful tool. It lets you share one computers file system and allows you to browse it as if it was part of the local file system. In the past I have used NFS mounts to enable me to access multiple remote systems through one WAN IP address, NFS has many uses.
Samba is not quite as powerful, but it allows you to share folders with Windows based machines, in exactly the same way you would of you where using another Windows machine on the same network.
This is something I have never really had any cause to use, but I can see reasons why this might be very useful. It could be used for providing full access to a remote system for teaching or training. It could also be used as a way of accessing software without having to run it locally. The desktop sharing utility was actually easier to use than I thought it would be. I tested it under Gnome and it worked as planned.
You need to set up the system you want to access as a server, then requests assess to this system from your other system acting as a client computer. You can do this from within Gnome by accessing preferences > Remote desktop
From there you will be presented with a form. You need to check the boxes next to enable sharing and enable control. You can also optionally ask any incoming connection to provide a password. You specify the password within the form.
The computer that wants to connect to your system will then need to access console and run the following...
vncviewer -fullscreen ip.address.of.other.machine
The computer receiving the incoming connection will have the option to allow or refuse the connection. The application used to view the remote desktop is VNC viewer. Performance was good over LAN, but connection speed would be a factor if you where to enable this over a wider network or the Internet.
Thanks to a recommendation from ergophobe [webmasterworld.com...] I how have NetBeans set up and running and have been “playing” with that for most of the day. It is a much closer match to VS.net in terms of the UI, but again there is quite a bit of a learning curve. I am still undecided between NetBeans and QT. Both are very similar, yet each has its strengths and weaknesses. To be honest I think I am the major weakness on both counts :)
It's sad to say but the main thing I miss about Windows is my games. I am a long time fan of Microsoft Flight Sim, and there really isn't a lot that can compete with that game. I have tried FlightGear and it's a nice program, but it doesn't come close to FSX.
Linux does however have a massive selection of games for you to choose from. Most Linux games are fairly simple, but a lot are also very addictive. I found a nice chess game last night and have been using that from time to time. Its fare to say through, that games are not what Linux is all about.
Its been a pretty good week so far, and I have not hit any major problems.