Using Graphical Configuration Tools

As mentioned earlier, if you are new to networking or still becoming proficient with the command line, the graphical configuration tool is your best method for configuring new hardware in Ubuntu. Like most graphical tools, network-admin allows you to fill in the blanks; press the proper buttons, and the tool modifies the required files and issues the proper commands. Remember, you must be root to run network-admin.

There are two ways to start network-admin: from the command line of an X11 terminal window with the command network-admin, using the panel's Run Application menu item, or by clicking the Networking option under the System, Administration menu (In either case, you are prompted to enter the root password.)

After it is started, you will see the screen shown in Figure 18.1.

Figure 18.1. Use network-admin to configure your network devices.

Figure 18.1. Use network-admin to configure your network devices.

Click the DNS tab to configure your system's DNS settings, hostname, or DNS search path. Click the Hosts tab, and then either click the Add or Properties button (after selecting a host) to create or edit an entry in your system's /etc/hosts file, for example, to add the IP addresses, hostnames, and aliases of hosts on your network. See Figure 18.2 for an example of editing a host entry.

Figure 18.2. Highlight an existing entry, and then click the Properties button to change /etc/hosts entries in the Hosts tab of the Network

Configuration screen.

Ubuntu does a great job of detecting and configuring your network interfaces, leaving you with very little work to do. However, you may need to assign a static IP address, which you do by selecting the appropriate network interface in the Connections tab and clicking the Properties button. This is shown in Figure 18.3, and you can see that you can elect to have a static IP address. Just make sure you enter in all the details and everything should work when you click OK.

Figure 18.3. Assign a static IP address to a network interface.

Figure 18.3. Assign a static IP address to a network interface.

Note

Bootp is the initial protocol that DHCP was built on, and it has mostly been replaced by DHCP.

You can also assign locations to your computer, especially handy if you are on a laptop and move between several networks each requiring different configurations. Just select the gray bar at the top of the network-admin window and select Create Location. Enter a meaningful name, such as Home and then repeat this again to create another location, Work. Each time you switch between locations, Ubuntu detects that it needs to use configurations specific to those locations, so for instance you might want to use DHCP at work, but not at home. Simple; just select the Home location, configure your ethernet connection to use a Static IP and you are all set to switch between your home and corporate networks.

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