Report on Lindows' version of KDE as seen by a novice user
dank at kegel.com
Sun Sep 21 03:48:59 BST 2003
My friend Greg went to http://msfreepc.com and exchanged his
California MS settlement rights for a free copy of Lindows.
He downloaded the live demo CD, burned it, booted it, and
was up and running (slowly), but couldn't figure out the
Network Neighborhood thing. So he loaned me the CD and I
had a look. I'm a Unix/Linux network developer, and I've
used smbclient, so I thought this would be easy. I was wrong.
It looks like Lindows uses version 3.0.1 or so of KDE;
their Network Neighborhood thing is just Konqueror viewing the URL smb:/
Konqueror's "Help" says "Browser 3.0.1 (CVS >= 20020327)".
(That looks fairly old... Red Hat 9 uses KDE 3.1, I think.)
Unfortunately, KDE's smb:/ only shows you a list of
computers if there's a browse master on the LAN.
This thoroughly confused and annoyed both me and my friend.
On Lindows, it also kept asking for a username and password, which one
should not need to look at the computers on a LAN.
This further confused and annoyed us.
(Red Hat 9's KDE 3.1 wasn't quite so password-happy.)
Poking around on Google, I discovered that KDE also has
a URL lan:/ which browses without a master. It uses the
'lisa' service to figure out what hosts are on the LAN.
Sadly, the 'lisa' service is not configured properly
in either the Lindows Live CD or Red Hat 9 out of the box,
so even knowing this secret would not have helped my
'lisa' is controlled by the file /etc/lisarc,
and I found I had to edit it to get things to work.
Lindows does provide a GUI for configuring 'lisa',
but just playing with that didn't tell me enough.
To get it to work, you have to set AllowedAddresses
to match the IP address range of the local network.
You also need to set SearchUsingNmbLookup=1
(the default on Red Hat 9, but not on Lindows Live CD).
And then you have to restart lisa. Annoyingly,
silently fails on Lindows (though it works on Red Hat)
so I had to kill lisa manually and then start it.
(On Red Hat 9, lisa doesn't start by default, but you can
use ntsysv to change that.)
Lisa will find the Windows machines using the command
so try that by hand and verify it spits out a list of
You can then test lisa by itself with
telnet localhost 7741
so try that and verify you see the same list of machines
(possibly mixed in with a bunch of others that responded to lisa's pings).
Anyway, once you verify that lisa is running, you can browse
the network neighborhood by opening URL lan:/
in Konqueror. So although the functionality was there, it wasn't
polished enough to be usable.
The upshot was, my friend Greg gave up on Lindows after
being foiled by this. He really did try; he even searched
the Lindows support forums. (I did, too, and there was no help
for this. I can only conclude that the folks at Lindows never
tested their Network Neighborhood feature in a home networking
environment, which is odd, considering Lindows is for home users.)
He's back to Windows 98 on the machine he was trying Lindows on.
Sad, but true: hurt the user once, and he moves on, leaving you behind.
I do hope KDE gets its network neighborhood browsing act
together in the upcoming 3.2 release. Perhaps it already
has; I haven't tried the alpha (I use LWM, I have no need of KDE
myself, I only got involved to help out Greg).
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