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Old 12-20-2006, 02:40 PM   #1
ostrowlaw
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Question File Format, etc.


Hi,

I am an attorney in a small office and currently administer a small Novell 4.1 and 5.0 network in my office (obviously, it is not my main job, just my "default" job). I am NOT an IT person. However, as time goes on, the problems with Windows XP have made me decide to jump to Linux. Windows is so buggy, it drives me crazy every day. So, here goes, here are a bunch of questions I hope I can have answered. I will have a million more later once I actually start the installation.

First, I found the Novell Netware Linux client, so I know that I can log into my office's network. But, once I log in, what will I find? Seriously, what is the file format like? I remember going from CPM to MSDOS -- all of the files needed to be converted. Is this the case with Linux or is there a compatible file format? Can I access the files from Linux just as I would access them in Windows?

We use the following programs: MS Word, Wordstar, Foxpro2 (LAN 2.0) and some Wordperfect. I know that there is a program or window in Linux to run DOS programs (WINE is it??), I just need to get into it. BUT, once I do that, if I keep the data and text files on the server, can we all access them equally -- can I access Foxpro databases from my Windows and Linux clients? Will the file locking work the same. Can I just load my DOS programs in WINE and will they run just as they do under Windows or DOS?

Lots of questions.

Yes, I did obtain Open Office, and I've tried it out in Windows, I assume it works similarly in Linux. Not totally crazy about it, there is a learning curve, I suspect there will be a HUGE learning curve all around here.

What about Wordperfect for Linux? Anyone use it? How does it compare to the Wordperfect for Windows? If its comparable, perhaps that's the way to go.

Thanks
Alan
 
Old 12-20-2006, 03:10 PM   #2
strick1226
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I experimented with the Novell client for linux last year.

It worked fairly well, if a bit "clunky" (and required a kernel recompilation in order to support novfs). However, there is a newer version out now, I think it's 1.2.

Regardless, I'd highly recommend reading the official documentation before you proceed:

http://www.novell.com/documentation/...ent/index.html

You can set up login scripts, drive mappings etc. Note that drives will be mapped to directories (e.g. /home/41server) rather than drive letters like in Windows...

Not sure if I'd recommend it or not. We ended up just sticking with XP boxes running the NWclient to access the Novell server.

If you're not necessarily prepared for a major re-education/training of users then it's probably best to avoid this transition, at least for the time being.

OpenOffice works rather well for me, both on my linux and Windows machines. However, some things require _genuine_ MSOffice for 100% compatibility with forms/spacing/misc., at least for now.

It will be interesting to see if people are willing to give OO.org a chance when they see how completely different the interface is in Office2k7.
 
Old 12-20-2006, 03:23 PM   #3
macemoneta
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No offense, but would you expect to have your office janitor prepare legal briefs or have your receptionist argue criminal cases before the state supreme court? I think lawyers are familiar with the expression "He that is his own lawyer has a fool for a client." In your case, using a lawyer to manage an IT platform transition will yield the same result.

If your office computing environment is of no value to you, then you are on the correct course. If you'd like to have this transition occur successfully without impacting your business, contact a professional in your area.
 
Old 12-20-2006, 03:41 PM   #4
ostrowlaw
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I have no problem with what you are saying. However, whether I do it myself (as I have been doing for the last 30 years or so, having started out on my CPM machines) or use a professional, I still refuse to jump into anything just relying upon "professional" advices. It is MY BUSINESS and MY CLIENTS and I need to know exactly how it works and how it will impact my business life. I will not allow my business to be hostage to any IT professional. I would go back to IBM selectric typewriters and index cards before I did that!

So, answer the questions please. Drop me a line, I'm in Manalapan also. Good professionals here are hard to find.

Thanks
Alan
 
Old 12-20-2006, 04:02 PM   #5
ostrowlaw
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By the way Strick1226 -- when you use the Novell client what did you get when you finally obtained access to the Netware server? Could you access all of your files as if you were accessing them in Windows or DOS? Were the files and directories accessable and useable?
 
Old 12-20-2006, 04:33 PM   #6
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macemoneta
No offense, but would you expect to have your office janitor prepare legal briefs or have your receptionist argue criminal cases before the state supreme court? I think lawyers are familiar with the expression "He that is his own lawyer has a fool for a client." In your case, using a lawyer to manage an IT platform transition will yield the same result.

If your office computing environment is of no value to you, then you are on the correct course. If you'd like to have this transition occur successfully without impacting your business, contact a professional in your area.
Whoa!!!--sounds like a complaint to the union shop steward.

In general, this advice is correct, but the OP can surely be his own SA if he/she wants to..

In some situations, I am my own SA, but I always stay on top of what the professionals do to my computers. Sadly, some of them are not the sharpest tools in the shed.....
 
Old 12-20-2006, 04:52 PM   #7
farslayer
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I would suggest looking at what applications you would use to access your data in Linux and start out by seeing if they run in Windows..

For instance OpenOffice.org. Runs in Windows and Linux. Install it on your Windows machines now and use it instead of MS Office. See if you can open and access everything and if it is comfortable. Try this for each app you wish to use. many run on Linux and Windows. Use them for a month or so before considering moving the desktop to Linux.

If this experiment goes well then try to move the workstation to Linux. If you can't pass the experiment of running OO.o on windows and be happy with it you will be less happy trying to get used to OO.o and Linux at the same time.

A gradual change will make things go a bit smoother for you.

just a suggestion. I use OO.o in an office environment where every other user runs MS Office. and for the most part I have no trouble with it.
 
Old 12-21-2006, 09:16 AM   #8
strick1226
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ostrowlaw
By the way Strick1226 -- when you use the Novell client what did you get when you finally obtained access to the Netware server? Could you access all of your files as if you were accessing them in Windows or DOS? Were the files and directories accessable and useable?
The applicable (per eDir/NDS) files and directories showed up just fine on the linux workstations. As I mentioned before, the layout is a bit different, as there are no drive letters, really, but the usual *nix-style mounts (/home/dir1/dir2 etc.). I didn't have any issues accessing the server shares, copying files, or verifying the correct rights for users.

Obviously I could not execute win32 executables without WINE, but copying text files, OO.org doc files, etc. between the workstations and Novell server should be fine. The biggest thing you'll need to plan for is a unified/standard application set that is compatible both on linux and Windows platforms--hence the many references here to OpenOffice.org .

Farslayer's advice is right-on. I got used to OO.org on a Win32 box myself, and now it feels "natural" under KDE. A slower transition may make a smoother one, as well--most importantly to your users.

The Novell client isn't too bad, although not perfect. Try setting up a test box and establishing a connection to your two servers to get a feel for how it works. Nothing beats experience.
 
Old 12-21-2006, 09:36 AM   #9
ostrowlaw
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OK, got it, thanks for the information. So, if I understand it, the bottom line is that the file structures and formats remain the same, but the only question is whether they are usuable across different platforms. So, for example, if MS Office made a Linux version, I would expect the files, format files, etc. to be compatible. Using Open Office under either platform will enable me to move back and forth.

Now, I need to find out if anyone has any experience in Foxpro 2.0 (LAN) under WINE.

Thanks again.
Alan
 
  


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