IUG 2001 Conference Proceedings

Table of Contents

Session: J11/M4

Running Millennium on Alternate Platforms - Linux, Mac, NT Terminal Server

Coordinator/Presenter:
John Rutherford, Central Connecticut State University

Presenters:
Carol Wu, Brock University
Doug Randall, Innovative Interfaces, Inc.


Handouts:


Alternate Platforms and OS X

Doug Randall began the session by stating III welcomes the use of alternative platforms but users need to realize III's experience is primarily in the mainstream Windows environment. This session dealt with alternate platforms that fall into two categories - 1) those that are Java supported, and 2) those that are special Windows applications.

The Millennium client is now available in the Linux and Citrix environments as well as Windows and Mac (using OS X) using the Java 1.3 runtime environment (JRE). The client installer program however has not been completed for Linux and Mac. This however does not prevent the System Administrators from "manually" installing the client.

The current Windows installer installs the JRE, unicode, iiirunner applet, and makes the desktop icon. These processes will be included in the development of the Mac installer program. Doug pointed out that what is needed is the iiirunner.jar, JRE version 1.3 (available from III or Sun Microsystems) and a jardir directory. If you look at the properties of the desktop icon you can see exactly what is needed to install the client effectively.

Right now the "direct printing" option only works in the Windows environment. III wrote a "workaround" to make this happen. They get around Java by sending text directly to the printer by writing to a file (c:\prn).

Doug noted that if libraries are running Millennium on alternate platforms should also have the client installed on a Windows PC. This aids in troubleshooting problems between the Millennium software and the alternate Operating System.

Apple released their Operating System 10 (OS X) on March 24, 2001. The current JRE (1.3) is newer than what OS X contains but Apple has agree to continue to upgrade their JRE versions with OS updates. Based on past history OS X will slowly enter the marketplace since there are few applications that can take advantage of the new Operating System.

System requirements for Mac's are: OS X, 128 Mb RAM. III has tested their Millennium client software on G3's, G4's and IMacs. They have found that USB peripherals (receipt printers, barcode readers, etc.) are harder to find.

Linux

John Rutherford reported on his experiences installing and running Millennium using the Red Hat Linux Operating System. Since the Installer program has not been written John went through the steps he made to install the various parts of the program. What's needed: RedHat Linux 6.2 or 7.0 or equivalent, Sun JRE 1.22 or 1.3 (1.3 is required with RedHat 7.0), the Millennium iiirunner.jar, a user account configured with a Millennium working directory, a Gnome desktop icon and a startup script (available at: http://wilson.ccsu.edu/iug2001/ (username - iug, password - santaclara. Documentation on the entire installation process is available at: http://wilson.ccsu.edu/iug2001/

John then proceeded to cover some of the pros and cons of why a library may/may not want to install Millennium in the Linux environment:

Pros:

Cons:

John noted that he has not seen any significant performance increases over running Millennium in the Windows NT environment. Linux however does use less RAM allowing a 64-96 Mb platform to run MilAcq and MilSerials.

Two other sources of Linux information were noted:

1) Linux Terminal Server Project. This project provides a low cost thin client environment similar to Citrix.

2) Panacea. Jim Willis provides software at this site to configure RedHat to perform as a public access terminal (kiosk mode).

Copies of John's presentation materials can be found at: http://wilson.ccsu.edu/iug2001/

Windows Terminal Server

Carol Wu's presentation centered on her experiences in running Millennium via the Windows NT Terminal Server (Citrix) environment.

In 1999 Brock went through an evaluation of their 50 public workstations. Their Dell 486 Mhz PCs were running a mixture of operating systems (DOS, Win 3.1, Win95). Most of the PCs had 500 Mb or less hard drive space and were running on either 8 or 16 Mb of RAM. Since the costs of upgrading this equipment were prohibitive the campus IT department suggested purchasing a server to run Citrix.

Carol reported the advantages of running a Terminal Server environment were as follows:

In April 2000 Millennium was installed and staff hardware was reviewed. They did experience a JRE bug but that was fixed in May 2000. Staff are now also using the terminal server and are experiencing improved speed and added functionality.

Carol has discovered however that their system response time has been decreasing. Applications currently running on the server include: Netscape, Millennium, the MSOffice suite, telnet, CD ROM programs, pay-for-print software as well as additional plugins and some other small programs. She has found that 80-90 workstations are logged in at a given time with 60-70 stations logged in full-time. Optimally their quad processor server should only be handling about 50 workstations at a given time. Since their server is being overworked they are looking a purchasing an additional server for staff only. The added server will then allow them to add additional public workstations.

In addition to installing the new server they are looking to test the Windows 2000 Advance Server with terminal server capabilities.

Q & A:

Q: Have other distributions of Linux been used?
A: John stated that he has not tried over versions and noted that there may be differences with putting icons on the desktop. Overall "Caldera" has better installers and "Mandrake" is good.

Q: One institution reported having problems with e-reserves in "view mode" on Macs using OS X.
A: Doug stated this was ore a case of the browser software not handling Java very well as opposed to the Mac OS handling the JRE. The view and printing of e-reserves relies on the browser' Java capabilities. OS X ships with Internet Explorer 5.1 preview, which does not have good Java support. Doug also noted that WAM Management Reports may also be a problem since they display and print via a browser window.

Q: Has Brock experienced "freezing" problems that other institutions have reported with Millennium?
A: Carol stated they have had freezing problems but also realize that their server is being overworked.

Q: Has Brock experienced other millennium problems such as communications with the server?
A: No.

Q: Is the order of installation important with Linux? Can you install the JRE first and then the Millennium application?
A: John stated that it is possible to install the components in any order.

Q: Does Millennium run under Windows 2000?
A: Doug - yes it will run under Windows 2000. Windows 2000 is a lot more stable than Windows 9x versions. Carol reported that they have Millennium running on a stand-alone workstation and it runs fine but the workstation does require additional RAM because the Windows 2000 operating system uses more RAM.


Reporter:
Keven Riggle, Marquette University Libraries