Tony's ramblings on Open Source Software, Life and Photography


Adding Windows Drivers To Samba Server

If you're running a SAMBA domain server, you may want to share your network printers out to both your Linux workstations using CUPS and to your Windows workstations using SAMBA. Nobody likes having to run around to all the workstations, download drivers and install the new printer. It's much easier if the SAMBA server will automatically push the drivers out to Windows computers.

The setup for printer sharing is pretty easy, but it can be a headache to have the SAMBA server push out the Windows drivers needed for the Windows desktops to make installation simple.

I'm going to assume you have both CUPS and SAMBA already working, and you're just trying to solve the problem of pushing Windows printer drivers out.

Make sure your /etc/samba/smb.conf file has a [print$] section that looks something like this:

   comment = Printer Drivers
   path = /var/lib/samba/printers
   browseable = yes
   read only = yes
   guest ok = yes
   use client driver = yes
   # you can modify the next two lines to match your needed permissions
   valid users = "@Domain Users"
   write list = "@Domain Admins"

At the end of your /etc/cupsd.conf file, add the following lines:

application/octet-stream application/vnd.cups-raw 0 -


My Beef With Windows 7 Taskbar

I have a complaint with a Windows 7 design issue. My complaint is less about the underpinnings and more a general trend I've been noticing.

Shortly after flat panel displays were released, companies came out with displays that were "page view", in other words they were taller than they were wide, for editing documents. In the typical business environment this is a good idea. When you think about it, most web pages are even designed to be vertically displayed. The taller your screen is, the more usable space you have.

Then, digital movies caught on and suddenly everyone needed a screen that was the same shape and ratio as that big silver screen at the local theater. Now, for the average-joe user, by the time they've got a taskbar provided by Windows (or Gnome or whatever) then opened their browser, things get smaller vertically. Add in the file menu, bookmarks toolbar, various plug in toolbars (for those people who can't resist installing the Yahoo toolbar, Google toolbar and don't forget the SearchMyWay toolbar.)

Next thing you know you have 1/2 a screen to display actual data.

Look closely at the screen snippet of Windows 7 and the taskbar. Have you noticed that the taskbar is now nearly double it's original height? Instead of text buttons naming each window, there's a large square icon reminiscent of the NeXT design style. Sure it looks good and is probably very functional, but think about the screen real-estate lost.

Window decorations

Couple that with the window borders as shown here and you'll realize that everything you do will nickel-and-dime you for more of your vertical space. The sides of a window are still somewhat narrow, but the tops and bottoms of the window are increasingly large in a cartoonish sort of way.

Give me a nice thin busybox over that any day. Personally I run a nice thin Compiz / Emerald theme and have a very small taskbar. My second monitor has no taskbar at all so I can do a full maximize. I've even streamlined my Firefox buttons to eliminate vertical space for the navigation buttons and chosen a thin theme.

Some day people may wake up and realize that it doesn't matter if you have a 25" diagonal widescreen monitor, you are still going to feel cramped vertically if things continue down this road.

Where should we maybe be concentrating design? Put the handles on the sides of the window instead of the top, move the taskbar to a vertical bar, make menus pop out from the sides. Keep your widescreen monitors to watch your movies, but to maximize that I think the design needs to take in account where the wasted space is, and where we're running short. Sure, it'll be a paradigm shift in design, but it's the next logical progression.


Need I Say More?

Burning Windows


Microsoft Is Sick Of The Truth

Just ask Brad Brooks, Corporate VP at Microsoft: "Today we are drawing a line and are going to start telling the real story" about Vista.

Apparently unfazed by all the negative press surrounding Vista, Microsoft has drawn a line. Yeah. Stop saying our stuff sucks. Really, we mean it! Stop it or else!

The problem is, with enough marketing money they can quickly make the average Joe forget how bad it is. And considering that Brooks' resume includes marketing and sales roles with Enron, who knows to what lengths he'll go?

He looks kinda like a vacuum cleaner salesman I once knew.

Thanks to Vermyndax for originally linking this story