Assignment 8 - Installation of Netscape RPM and Oracle Corporate Time Calendar (X Win)
INLS 183 - Distributed Systems (new window)
November 11, 2002
Send comments to: bhayes@email.unc.edu

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Introduction / Background

Through my work in this course, I am increasingly opting to work in the Linux OS on my home computer instead of my Windows XP OS. To facilitate this, I am working on setting up key applications in my Linux environment for communcations (Mozilla email, Gaim instant messenger), file creation and management (OpenOffice), secure connectivity to campus computers (Cisco VPN client), and work schedule management (Oracle's CorporateTime calendar software).

Of these key software packages, CorporateTime calendar and the VPN client are the two UNC extras that that did not come with my RedHat 8.0 upgrade. I downloaded (UNC Onyen/authorization required) and attempted installations of both the VPN and calendar clients this week. However, since the VPN client is going to require a little more work with my kernel, I plan to write that up for a future (security-related) assignment. For this assignment, the calendar client proved a good X-windows based software installation and provided and unexpected opportunity to do a source rpm installation.

Software Overview

Oracle's CorporateTime is a site-licensed, graphical calendar client used widely at UNC. It allows anyone with a campus LDAP account to schedule time for meetings and other events on a one time or regularly repeating basis. Proposed meetings/ events can be scheduled for a group of individuals as long as the individuals each have a campus LDAP account. Email notification about these proposed meetings may be sent to the involved parties. Schedules may be viewed by the day, week or month.

I use the Windows version of this client heavily on my Windows 2000 work computer. When I learned from my collegue and INLS 183 classmate, Kevin Lanning, that UNC had made a Linux / Solaris version of this very useful software available (CorporateTime 5.0.2 for Motif), I was eager to install it.

Per the Release Notes, Netscape Navigator or Communicator 4.0 or higher must be installed and in the user's $PATH in order to use the CorporateTime online help. Having declined a Netscape install during my RH 8.0 upgrade, I decided to install it via RPM prior to installing CorporateTime. Other relevant system requirements are 26 MB of disk space and Linux X86 2.2.x kernel or later.

Instructions for CorporateTime Calendar installation/ uninstallation are available in the Readme file.

Installation and Troubleshooting Narrative (see script)

PREPARATION: NETSCAPE 4.79 INSTALLATION
After establishing that neither CorporateTime (ctime) nor Netcape were already installed, I checked my home directory for "netscape" profile type files that might be overwritten by a new install since I had had Netscape installed and setup on my old RedHat 7.3 system. I found a couple of netscape directories, but since they were empty, I did not bother to back them up.

I used rpmfind.net to locate a Netscape 4.79 source RPM file and downloaded it to my system via my Mozilla browser from ftp://ftp.rpmfind.net/linux/redhat/7.3/en/os/i386/SRPMS/netscape-4.79-1.src.rpm. I (as root) copied the netscape rpm file to /opt, cded to /opt, became root and after initially trying unsuccessfully to install this like a binary rpm (rpm -ivh), I remembered it was a SOURCE RPM and moved onto the rpm --rebuild command. At it turned out, rpm --rebuild did not work because it has been replaced by a new command, rpmbuild (with various arguments), that is now used to compile and install source rpm files. So after consulting man rpm and man rpmbuild I did the suggested all in one step compile, install and clean up command:

$ rpmbuild --rebuild --recompile netscape-4.79-1.src.rpm

This created 3 rpm binaries in /usr/src/redhat/RPMS/i386

  • netscape-common-4.79.1.i386.rpm
  • netscape-navigator-4.79.1.i386.rpm
  • netscape-communicator-4.79.1.i386.rpm

  • I used the rpm -i --test command to check each of the 3 binaries for dependencies, conflicts or other problems; both communicator and navigator require netscape common as a prerequisite. Running rpm -qpi on netscape common rpm confirmed that it needed to be installed prior to installing either communicator or navigator. So I first installed netscape common and then netscape communicator.

    $ rpm -ivh netscape-common-4.79-1.i386.rpm
    $ rpm -ivh netscape-communicator-4.79-1.i386.rpm

    After these installations (took a few minutes), "which netscape" now shows that netsape is installed in /usr/bin/netscape. Now on to the CorporateTime installation.

    CORPORATETIME (CTIME) INSTALLATION

    1. Download ctime502_linuxre_en.tar.gz via ftp from /afs/isis.unc.edu/pkg/corporatetime-502/dist

      sftp> get ctime502_linuxre en.tar.gz
      Fetching /afs/isis.unc.edu/pkg/corporatetime-502/dist/ctime502_linuxre_en.tar.gz to ctime502_linuxre_en.tar.gz
    2. Copy ctime package to /usr/local, cd there and unpack it:
      $ tar xzf ctime502_linuxre_en.tar.gz
    3. cd into new CorporateTime directory and set an environment variable CTIME_ROOT to point to /usr/local/CorporateTime (the directory I'm in). Check to be sure this directory is in my path:
      $ cd CorporateTime
      $ export CTIME_ROOT=/usr/local/CorporateTime

      $ echo $CTIME_ROOT confirms that the variable is pointed correctly.
      $ echo $PATH run from the root account and from my account indicates that /usr/local is both account paths.
    4. Run Ctime calendar:
      $ /usr/local/CorporateTime/ctime.sh

      The familiar CorporateTime login box comes up. I set up a profile for myself to the UNC Calendar server, Health Sciences Library node based on the settings from my Windows CT Calendar settings. I was able to login to my calendar successfully.

    Instructions for Use

    After logging in, some typical uses of CTime calendar include tracking appointments, meetings, and key events, proposing meeting times for a group, creating a task list, and finding an available day/time for a meeting across multiple calendars. The graphical interface provides both buttons and pull down menu selections for various tasks. One can also search the calendar for text words. Calendar views include by day, week or month. In addition to the online (connected to the unc calendar) mode in which I typically use the calendar, it can also be set to offline mode where one can track one's own time; interactive function with other's calendars is not available in this mode. Calendar data can be exported/backed up to a text file using the FILE/EXPORT function. Altogether, CTime calendar is a very helpful time management tool.

    Functionality (see function script 1)
    I was able to login to the CTime calendar, view my calendar and set up a couple of meetings with others. The above linked script shows the ctime process running successfully. The application is running fairly well, but seems a bit unstable; it crashes periodically giving a segmentation fault error (see function script 2) and sometimes an indication of a windows manager error. I've tried switching from the Gnome to KDE desktops to see if this makes a difference. In KDE the calendar does fit into the screen better; in Gnome the calendar window extends off the screen and must be manually reduced in size. The segmentations faults seems to occur less frequently as well though they have not been eliminated yet. Key functions (creating meetings) are working well enought for me to call it a successful install. I'll investigate segmentation errors and window managers further to see if I can't optimize functionality further.
    nbsp; Send comments to: bhayes@email.unc.edu