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Advanced Options

The Yellow Machine's advanced options are divided into sections entitled as follows: System, Network, User, Security, Storage and Backup. There are too many options under these sections to cover exhaustively, but I do cover some of the more interesting ones. Along with typical options for changing the workgroup name and changing network parameters, I found menus to specify up to three alert email addresses. These are messaged when the disk fills up, or some other kind of disk or system problem occurs.

This screen is shown in Figure 4, which permits up to three addresses to be specified to receive error, warning, or alert messages. This looks like a nice feature, one which more network devices could emulate.

email recipients for alert and error messages

Figure 4: Designating e-mail recipients for error, warning, or alert messages

As a test, I set the default disk-full alert threshold at 1%. A few minutes later I received a warning email indicating that my disk had exceeded that threshold value. There is also a "System Log Check" option that is designed to send email based on events written to the global system log. I turned this on and received a long email with two sections : "Possible Security Violations" and "Unusual System Events". Unfortunately, this long message (over 1,000 lines of text) consisted mostly of standard informational messages, or indications that the system might be mis-configured by Anthology.

For example, one such configuration problem indicator read:

warning: not owned by group postdrop: /var/spool/postfix/maildrop .

Interestingly enough, in one such smaller message, I noticed that one of the two accounts I had specified for alerts was rejecting this email. My ISP rejected it because it identified itself as coming from "root@YellowMachine.yellowmachine.com", which is a non-existent machine. Thus, my ISP thought it was spam. One other interesting feature I noticed was support for the standard Unix network file system, NFS. This is a bonus for people like me who have a heterogeneous network. This feature would allow my Linux and OSX systems to use the device in a more natural way.

For user management, options were as you would expect. Menus were available to create and manage normal users, to create and manage user groups, and likewise for privileged accounts. These options appear in Figure 5, which shows the Yellow Machine's basic User Magagement screen.

Yellow Machine user & account management screen

Figure 5: Basic user and group account management screen

Under the "Storage" menu I found an option for "User Storage Quota." This is designed so administrators can assign disk space quotas to users. At first, I was a bit confused because none of my users showed up as available, nor were there any overt indications of any problems. After poking around a bit, and consulting the documentation, I learned that although there was no indication that initial set-up was needed to use this option, there were indeed a couple of steps that had to be completed before storage quotas could be assigned.

First, under the "Quick Network Storage" menu, the disk had to be "denied" to all users. Second, under the "Network Storage Configuration" sub-menu, specific users had to be granted read-write privileges. Only when these steps were completed, could user quotas then be assigned, as shown in Figure 6.

Yellow Machine user quota management

Figure 6: User quota management screen

To test this feature, I set up one of my users with a very small quota. Next, I logged into that account, then attempted to exceed the quota. As soon as I attempted to write more data to disk than my quota allowed, I received a "disk full" error message instead, as shown in Figure 7.

Yellow Machine disk quota exceeded error msg

Figure 7: Disk quote exceeded error message

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