Migrate to LINUX

Recently, the company has succeded running LINUX OS for daily operational at the branch offices computers spread all over the indonesia, after using Windows as illegally for more than 10 years. It had been runned for 4 months since it first installation in some main branches at Jakarta.

Althought there was a lot of problems we had faced, the spirits of open source system stills shock up some big majority peoples whom likes Windows as the computer OS. Anyway, there was a final decision made by directors not to using Microsoft products illegally. So, whether likes or not, there was a command had to do.

Me, as the only staff which have some knowledges about LINUX, had tried to made a serious researches and this is the mini-journey how to make it possible to run well. (P=Problem ; S=Solve)

P=What distro should I use?
S=It depends on what conditions do you have. The company has a peer-to-peer application built from Clipper/FoxPro 2.6 with DBase III database which overall system was just based on DOS. It was runned in a LAN (more than 3 computers) with having ability to printing locally or network and sharing for the database access file which stored in a choosen high-specification computer called server. I thought that what I need was a big well-known, lots of support, easy installation and hardware friendly distros which have a DOS emulator with high-compatibility to these such application.
Below here is a distro lists I had been checked:
a. SuSE 9.2
(hard way installation, hardware friendly, but not match with the newest dosemu)
b. Debian GNU/LINUX
(easy+slow install, hardware friendly for some computer and not match with dosemu)
c. Fedora Core 4
(easy+quick install, not plug and play for some configuration, dosemu running well and quite faster)
d. RedHat 9.2
(easy install, hardware friendly, but unable to display dosemu with fullscreen mode, dosemu speed still under FC4)
e. Mandrake 10
(easy-cake install, hardware friendly, but running dosemu 300% slowest than FC4)

After few days hard researches, formerly we had decide to had deep analyze especially for FC4. She shows good result to runing our DOS application, even primary hardware has failed to detected on some computers.

P=What about the file sharing?
S=As the result of my reviews, FC4 got running well at the minimum recommended specification of Pentium III 600 with 128MB RAM. In fact, there was many computers at the branches is below the specificaton. So, in order to support the daily routine processes, the computers under its recommended configuration will stills using the Windows. The file sharing it self has to configured using NFS (Network File Server - LINUX to LINUX file sharing) and Samba (LINUX to Windows file sharing).

P=Next problem is printing locally and network, how's that?
S=LINUX has capability printing locally and network under it's CUPS daemon configuration. So, there was no big deal about printing. The real big problem came since the application it self was based on DOS. We all know that pure DOS system does not support network transaction including printing operation as well as Windows did. Technically, I request some support from dosemu developer (you can read it completely here). After waiting for couple days, finally there was a new customized version of dosemu tarball source came next to me. All I had to do was following the readme included to support the fully networked and locally printing. And it was did it, even there was a bug when queue printing is below of 4 operations.

Overall system has a great progress until now and I stills making some improvements to minimized the bugs. Yeah, congrat to me please...


Eko Wahyudiharto
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