Initially your ClarkConnect server isn’t configured for DHCP so you will need to manually set the IP address for your workstation (eg address. , NEW • Distribution Release: ClarkConnect · Rate this project . and release notes for further information and upgrade instructions. Download. As usual, existing ClarkConnect installations can be updated online; for new installations . and release notes for further information and upgrade instructions .

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Linux provides an excellent platforms for web, email, file and print services. All three provide easily deployable multifunction server systems based on WindowsNovell Netware and Linux respectively.

I have used Clarkconect 2. ClarkConnect has a freely downloadable Home version and a commercially focused Office version. For the purposes of my testing I downloaded and installed the mb Home version and ran it through its paces.

On top of these services sits a very capable yet concise Web management console. This console enables management of server services and provides a user-friendly tool for configuring system settings, users and reporting. To round things off the Point Clark Network provides a range of subscription based online services that significantly improve the value of the server on the local network. I have never wanted to spend the extra money on these services but as a value-add proposition they definitely are worth a look.

During the text-based installation it is possible to configure RAID arrays and network settings. Hardware detection is automatic via Anaconda and this generally works without any input at all from the user. Once installation is complete the server reboots and after the fairly lengthly load sequence is complete a Lynx window with the Web manager console is shown onscreen.

ClarkConnect is not weighed down by any X-Window system or server side configuration tools. Instead all configuration clarkconnwct this point is done via a client browser on the internal network. All hardware was detected without issue and installation took about 20 minutes using the default partitioning scheme.

Performance was a tiny bit slow given the nature of the hardware but overall things ran very smoothly like every other ClarkConnect system I have installed. Day to day configuration and monitoring is performed via a web browser on a client machine on the internal network. By default the DHCP Server is not cclarkconnect so the network settings on the client computer must be set manually after the initial installation. Once logged onto the management console nearly all aspects of the server can be configured via a reasonably logical set of menus.

In order to receive updates you must create a free account at Point Clark. This process is quick and in the past year that I have been signed up I havent received any unwanted email. Once your account is created you can register the system with the Point Clark. This process enables updates, provides access to the subscription based online services and provides dynamic DNS and system status updates.

ClarkConnect uses the rpm package management system tied to the apt tool. The web manager provides a user-friendly way of managing updates and installed modules but for the more tech-savvy user it is easy enough to open a clarkkconnect line and run apt manually.

ClarkConnect uses a standard iptables firewall system. Group functionality has been included that allows a series of firewall rules to be enabled or disabled with one simple click. This is a massive improvement over the older, more manual system but takes a little getting used to if you are used to using the old system. To boost security there is also the very capable Snort intrusion detection system. Snort pulls updates off the Web and provides an excellent overview of attempted attacks and potential threats.


To protect and manage Web users there is also a content filter, popup blocker and bandwidth throttler that provide basic yet relatively effective controls on what your users can view and download off the Web.

There was much debate as to how this centralized system would work but eventually a propertary system was used with hooks into the PAM security system. The user configuration screens allow for simple management of users and their passwords. New to version 3. These are welcome security and functionality enhancements but in this area ClarkConnect still needs development.

Unfortunately group functionality for pooling users into functional working units is lacking. This feature is a definite requirement in offices that get above 5 to clwrkconnect users. Another feature that would be a welcome addition is a way for users to modify their personal details and passwords. In small networks where users don’t really want passwords in manuql first place this feature is not needed, but in larger manuao the ability for users to frequently change their passwords or contact details is a necessity, especially if management requires frequent password changes for security purposes.

Usermin is a relatively useful tool for this functionality and one that could be included in future ClarkConnect releases but it would require an interface overhaul as at present it is very ugly.

Service management is one of ClarkConnects strongest features.

From a single screen clrakconnect administrator can enable or disable all of the network services available on the system. Configuration of many of these services is via the Software section of the management console. Configuration is relatively straightforward and all clarkconnech removes manual editing of text files for all but the most complex of tasks.

It is possible to use the server as a Windows domain controller and provide roaming profiles to users.

As with previous versions if these advanced shares are required you must manually edit the smb. Both small business solutions from Microsoft and Novell offer this advanced functionality and providing this feature would significantly boost the native power of ClarkConnect. The IMAP server has undergone a significant upgrade in version 3. The new version allows creation of folders that contain both sub-folders and messages.

This is a big improvement over the previous IMAP server and eases user training. This feature is easily enabled and makes the email system far more rounded.

ClearOS 7 User Guide

Configuring email domains and user aliases is relatively straightforward yet powerful. This area worked well in version 2. ClarkConnect provides VPN functionality for connecting remote networks and desktops. I must admit I have never used these features due to the extra loading placed on the system, instead I have found SSH connections and tunnels to be equally effective and less trouble to configure and maintain.

Manhal it is nice to c,arkconnect this functionality is available should the need arise and it is good to see it is now a part of the Home version in the past I believe you have to purchase the Office version to gain this functionality. Previous versions of ClarkConnect included MySQL under the hood but management was not really integrated into the web management console.

PhpMySQL is very powerful and it is good to see these tools being included into the default installation. This is really useful when customization or problem solving is required as a huge knowledge base and file repository exists for clarkcknnect two distributions. Remote access for advanced management is available through SSH.


The reporting and logging features have always been strong in ClarkConnect and verion 3. There maanual a number of reports available that provide Web, Web Proxy, Mail and a number of server statistics. I have found this functionality amazingly useful in the past for identifying bottlenecks and problem users. The log viewer enables the standard Linux log files to be viewed on an aesthetically pleasing web page.

This functionality is useful but not nearly as valuable as the extensive reporting tools. Online help in ClarkConnect 3. This cparkconnect is very welcome and hopefully as time passes this mnual Wiki will grow to be a very useful support resource. It is very active and answers to nearly manal question can be quickly found. As per usual with technical discussion boards be very careful of how you post your questions manal always search for answers to your questions before posting else you will quickly receive a rather nasty message from one of the more experienced users.

Whilst ClarkConnect is very capable there coarkconnect a number of features I would like to see in the future and if I had some spare time I clarkcpnnect not mind helping out.

I have read that the unified user database provides hooks for such an LDAP source so hopefully this functionality will appear in a later release of Janual. Group functionality would be a very useful addition to the user management system, especially in the Office version where users have mixed file rights. In office environments I have provided group functionality through manual editing of the groups, passd and smb.

This is far from ideal and realistically an essential requirement for any environment with more than a few users. Installation of a Java VM and Tomcat is relatively simple. Finally I have found the ftp proxy Frox to be a very manuual addition to the ClarkConnect suite.

Adding this service to the ClarkConnect package is not difficult I have installed it on a number of systems and it is surprising such a service does not already exist. Dantz Retrospect is a powerful backup tool that I use extensively to backup my Windows, Linux and Apple systems. Unfortunately ClarkConnect in its gateway mode is not compatible with the Retrospect backup client.

This is annoying for users of Retrospect but most people will never face this problem. The new features are a welcome yet there is room in the future for more useful functionality. All the functionality required of a small business server are provided and can be easily configured and monitored by non-technical users.

This is a clarkconnet plus for clarkxonnect too small to justify round the clock IT support but still require the advanced functionality of more expensive systems. I believe the strength of the product is its reporting and configuration options but it is still relatively weak in user management and Windows networking.

With the introduction of a new user management system and Samba 3 these areas should be on the improve and with an experienced Linux systems administrator these deficiencies can be compensated for.

ClarkConnect 3.0 Review

I would recommend ClarkConnect to anyone looking for an easily configurable gateway in their home or small office. In offices of more than ten people a Microsoft or Novell product is probably preferable due to their enhanced user management and file permissions systems.

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