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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Living with Linux on the Laptop: Configuring the Software

Obviously, one of the keys to using any computer today is support for email. Janet and I use Exchange extensively for collaboration, contacts, calendaring, tasks, and email, so this is one of the “deal-breaker” components.

I chose Evolution for it’s ability to somewhat closely emulate Outlook. In order to use it with Exchange, I added support for MS Exchange in Evolution client. I didn’t know for sure that Exchange was still supported, although previous versions of Evolution included native Exchange support, so I did a yum search for "exchange" (”yum search exchange”) and found evolution-connector.i386. I installed it (yum install evolution-connector.i386) with no problems, but then the fun began.

We use 1and1 as our Exchange provider and they don’t support anything out of the ordinary (and don’t even THINK of calling them for tech support!). So, I struggled with connecting to 1and1’s Exchange server. After many different configs, I finally got it working with my 1and1 username (e1600XXXX) by itself and the OWA URL

I found a great resource for configuring Linux on the desktop at I added the Xine DVD player, per suggestion at

yum -y install xine xine-lib xine-skins xine-lib-extras-nonfree libdvdcss

I then configured Xine to be the default player of DVDs with the following commands:

gconftool-2 –set /desktop/gnome/volume_manager/autoplay_dvd_command \’xine –auto-play –auto-scan dvd’ 'type=’string’

Added support for MP3s in XMMS and Rhythmbox:

yum -y install xmms xmms-mp3 xmms-faad2 gstreamer-plugins-ugly libmad libid3tag

The guy at recommended banshee, so I installed it. Thoughts about it later…maybe. (By the way, I’m actually writing about this as I’m doing it, but some of this is on a plane or in other places where I don’t have Internet access, so some of the posting dates/times may seem oddly close together even though I didn’t write this stuff all at once.)

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