I snagged Red Hat 9

I snagged Red Hat 9 the other day. You can grab a copy of my .iso files from my work machine, they're the ones called "Shrike". I installed it today while waiting for the Satellite Guy, and I really like it. I'm writing this post in it right now. I'm a Linux poker, I poke at it every now and then, and have a mail server that uses Libranet, as well as a web server I set up for some faculty. I'm not proficient, but I'm not helpless either. I really like apt-get, and the ease that Debian gives you to install packages, but I've got to say, Red Hat has done a great job. Installation was painless, other than requiring 3 entire CDs of stuff. It autodetected all my hardware, and worked great, other than forgetting to get my DNS servers via DHCP at first. It's possible I missed something there during the setup, but really, the default when specifying DHCP, should be to automatically retrieve DNS servers that way. After I fixed that minor glitch, all was well, I actually like their "Blue Curve" themed X experience. Menus are organized logically, if you know where something is in Windows, you can probably find it here, and all the essentials are already on the menus for you.

The thing that pleased me most, and it's somewhat simple, is that now I can adjust screen resolution and color depth in the GUI. I don't have to mess with my config files for Xfree86, I just do it the same way that I have for years in Windows. I've been griping about that for at least 5 years, since I first laid hands on a Linux box, and I'm really glad to see that someone has finally implemented it. Let me also say that it's possible this was done before, in previous versions, or distributions, and that this is just the first time I've personally seen in on a machine I've set up.

I easily connected to my printers here on the home network, they're attached to my Windows 2000 Server, and I configured them without great difficulty, though I did have to manually enter the queue names, it'd have been nice if it auto-detected them.

I have two places where I'm not overly enthusiastic though, and one of them is Gaim, the instant messaging client. I normally use Trillian, which is great, and it lets you talk on multiple protocols all at once. Gaim will let you do that too, but it's not quite as nice about it. For one, it can't retrieve your ICQ buddy list from the ICQ servers, so you either have to wait for all your friends to message you, or import/enter that list manually. That stinks. For two, it has no integration with the taskbar. It'd be nice if I could just minimize Gaim to an icon in the System Tray area, but I see no way to do it, though I'm sure there's some arcane method of doing so.

The second place I've broken down, is setting up a VPN connection to work. Okay, this isn't exactly a total newbie task, but really, it shouldn't be that hard. I just want to use PPTP (the proprietary Microsoft VPN protocol) to connect to my workplace. I found the page of a site that offers a PPTP client, and even got it installed, but configuring it isn't exactly simple. I'm sure I'll get it working when I take an hour to devote to the task, but something like that should really be built into the GUI, in my opinion.

Maybe in Red Hat 10?