ClarkConnect (CC) is a system of products that allow non-gurus to capture a lot of the value of Linux. See our earlier review for more info.
To a lay person, ClarkConnect is a web interface that is wrapped around many Linux command-line programs, all organized into a tabbed graphical menu system. The graphical interface allows you to use Linux to set up Ethernet cards, a Samba share or a porn filter, without the requirement of knowing 700 Linux commands and worse, the correct sequence in which the commands must be typed to get your system working.
Peter Baldwin, the president of CC is astonishingly sympathetic to the frustrations of non-Linux-gurus in getting infrastructure computer systems up and running. You can ask ClarkConnect for help, and they are in my experience, very generous about providing it before asking for money. At least they've never asked me for money in my three years of working with ClarkConnect. But, I was once so moved by how great ClarkConnect's support is, to send the programming team cookies via a Toronto-based bakery. RULE: Feed a programmer, starve a fever.
Before you boot your ISO CD we need to do the first step in installing ClarkConnect. Go to https://secure.clarkconnect.com/webapp/ and create an account (second option on menu at left). You don't have to pay to use ClarkConnect 3.2 home, but you do need to register to get all the benefits of free upgrades. Installation is easier if you register before you install the software. When you register, write down your user name and password on a note and stick it next to the desktop computer.
Follow these steps to install ClarkConnect
Step 1: Download the ISO image at http://www.clarkconnect.com/downloads/
Step 2: After the ISO image is completely downloaded, burn the ISO image to CDR. [See these instructions if you need help.]
Step 3: Boot the desktop PC you are making into a NAS from the Clarkconnect ISO image.
Step 4: Follow the instructions to install Linux and ClarkConnect 3.2.
• Use a fixed IP address so that you know where to find your server on your network.
• When you set your password, write "username = root" and then the password on the same piece of paper you used in Step 0. You will then have a username and password for logging in to ClarkConnect's website. And another user name (root) for logging in to your CC NAS.
• If you have trouble installing or bringing up the server on your hardware, use the ClarkConnect Forums at http://www.clarkconnect.com/forums/ubbthreads.php. Do not post to these forums. Treat them as read only. One downside to ClarkConnect is that the forums are policed by unforgiving silver-back gorillas that pretty much flame all newbies. Remember that CC is built on RedHat, so you can also search for RedHat information to solve any problems that crop up.
Step 5: After ClarkConnect 3.2 Home has finished installing and your desktop has rebooted from its hard drive, give yourself a high five. Stand up. And then walk to another PC connected to the same network.