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Accessing the Novell Support Connection Web Forums on the Internet

Articles and Tips: article

Marcus Williamson
SysOp
Novell Support Connection

Kim Groneman
Manager
Novell Support Connection Web Forums

01 Feb 1998


Novell Technical Services introduces a new support option: peer support forums on the World Wide Web. Find out how you can access this invaluable resource.

Introduction

The Novell Support Connection Web Forums are a collection of peer support forums sponsored by Novell and staffed by volunteer System Operators or SysOps. Through these forums, users of Novell products can seek technical information and assistance in using and supporting these products from the forum SysOps and from other product users. All discussion takes place publicly, thus ensuring that everyone can benefit from the questions, answers, and other technical discussions. Volunteer SysOps are invited by Novell to answer questions in the forums posted by those seeking support. However, all forum users are invited to join in on a conversation at any time to assist peers in the support and use of Novell products.

This AppNote provides an overview of the Novell Support Connection Web Forums, covering the following areas:

  • How to access the forums

  • Which forums are available

  • Frequently asked questions

  • Who the SysOps are

Like most online means of delivering information, the Novell SupportConnection Web Forums will be modified and improved over time. This overview is intended to introduce readers to the forums as they have be initially set up. The exact screens and messages you see may vary to some degree from those shown in this AppNote.

Please direct any questions or comments about the Novell SysOp program to Kim Groneman at kgroneman@novell.com.

How Do I Access the Support Connection Web Forums?

The Novell Support Connection Web Forums can be accessed in one of two ways :

  • Via a web browser (HTTP)

  • Via a news reader (NNTP)

Access Via a Web Browser

To access the forums via a web browser, such as Netscape Navigator, connect to the Internet and start up your web browser, then enter the URL http://support.novell.com/pforum/. Or, from the Novell Support Connection home page at http://support.novell.com, click on the FORUMS link underneath the page header. A screen similar to the one shown in Figure 1 will be displayed.

Figure 1: Novell Support Forums login page.

If you are accessing the Novell Support Connection Web Forums for the first time, you will have to register. This is done by clicking the Forum Registration button on the screen. This link will take you to the registrationscreen shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Novell Support Forums registration page.

You only need to register once for use of the entire Novell Support Connection. In the User ID box, type the name you want to be known by when logging in to the forums. Choose a password for yourself and enter it twice: once in the Password entry box, and again in the Re-enter Password entry box. Fill in the other information as requested. The Forum Settings are the default settings you will be given when you log in to the forums. When you have finished filling in the registration information, click on the REGISTER button.

Note: This information can be changed by clicking on the Edit User Profile button on the previous page (the forum login page shown in Figure 1).

Following successful registration which is immediate you will see a confirmation screen. Click on the Login button to access the forums. If this is the first time you are accessing the forums, you will be prompted to read and agree to the Terms and Conditions. Once you do that, you will have access to a list of forum areas (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: The available forum areas page.

Selecting one of the forum areas will take you to a list of available forums. For example, choosing the Discussion and Support Area takes you to the screen shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Available forums list.

From this page you select the particular forum of interest to you. As an example, let's take a look at the NetWare 3 forum. This forum, like several of the others, is divided into subcategories for topics such as Installation & Upgrade, Printing, and so on. For purposes of illustration, let's choose the Installation & Upgrade topic in the NetWare 3 forum. A screen similar to the one shown in Figure 5 is displayed.

Figure 5: NetWare 3 Installation & Upgrade forum page.

Note that the screen is divided into several windows, allowing you to easily select another topic or follow a particular message thread. Late-breaking newsitems are displayed in the window at the bottom of the screen.

From here, you can read messages and post replies in the chosen forum. When reading messages, you will see a screen such as the one shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Display format for reading messages posted to the forum.

Access Via a News Reader

In addition to access via a web browser, it is also possible to access the forums using a News Reader (NNTP) program. The address to use for access via your News Reader is news://forums.novell.com/.

When using the news reader, the options used to read and reply to messages will depend on the program you are using. All messages visible through the web browser interface will also be available via your news reader. Furthermore, any message you post within your news reader will immediately be available to users using the web browser interface.

Thus, you may choose web browser access, news reader access, or both depending on your location, software availability, and personal preference. The overall result will be the same.

Which Web Forums Are Available?

The following forums are currently available for public access on the Novell Support Connection. Additional forums will be added in the future to support new products as they are announced.

Operating Systems

  • IntranetWare & NetWare 4
  • IntranetWare for Small Business
  • NetWare 3
  • NetWare for OS/2
  • Personal NetWare

Advanced Services

  • Novell Web Server
  • NetWare Mobile
  • SFT III
  • NetWare Telephony Services
  • Replication Services
  • Macintosh
  • NetWare for SAA (IBM)

Network Clients

  • IntranetWare Client for Windows 95
  • IntranetWare Client for DOS/Windows
  • IntranetWare Client for Windows NT
  • IntranetWare Client for OS/2
  • Other Clients - VLM
  • Other Clients - NETX

Messaging, Calendaring, Workgroup Collaboration

  • GroupWise 5
  • GroupWise 4
  • InForms
  • SoftSolutions

Directory Services

  • Novell Directory Services
  • LDAP

Internet/Intranet Access

  • Border Manager
  • LAN WorkPlace Pro for Windows 95 and NT
  • LAN WorkPlace
  • LAN WorkGroup

Network Connectivity

  • Multi Protocol Router NetWare Connect

UNIX & TCP/IP Connectivity

  • NFS Services & FLeX/IP
  • Print Services for UNIX
  • NetWare/IP

NetWare & Windows NT Management Services

  • ManageWise
  • Novell Administrator for Windows NT
  • NetWare Management Agent
  • NetWare LANalyzer Agent
  • LANalyzer for Windows
  • Novell Application Launcher

Obsolete Products

Forum Rules

In order for these forums to fulfill the purpose of providing quality support, we have established a few forum rules, which are discussed below.

Posting Messages. To obtain technical assistance, post your message as a new topic in the appropriate forum and include as much information about your configuration/setup as possible. If you are receiving an error message, please post the the full text of the message including any numeric values accompanying the message.

Note: Technical support via e-mail is not provided by the volunteer SysOps or by any Novell employee. Please do not send e-mail to the SysOps unless specifically asked to do so.

Personal Security. For your protection, do not post product serial numbers, credit card numbers, CNE ID numbers, or any other private information in the forums.

Novell Security. Although "hack," "break in," or other products designed to circumvent normal network security are readily available at a number of sites on the Internet, these are not considered to be a real threat to network security if appropriate measures have been taken to ensure the physical security of the servers within your network. Novell has established a policy of non-discussion of these products in the case of persons trying to obtain them, other than to Call Novell Technical Support. In the forums, we will freely discuss protecting a network from these products as long as the discussion does not extend to actually obtaining them. This policy serves to reduce the likelihood of unscrupulous persons obtaining software of this type with the intention of breaking into a network. Public messages in violation of this policy will be deleted from the forum and may be grounds for being locked out of the forum.

Appropriate Language. We ask that you use the English language when posting messages in the forum. Please do not use any profanity in your messages; messages containing profanity will be deleted from the forum. Also, do not make any personal attacks on another member of the forum, or the SysOps. We want to maintain a friendly, helpful environment where everyone can participate without offense.

Commercial Messages. We realize there are vendors which have a product that may help customers resolve problems. We welcome and encourage vendors to participate in the forums. Product features may be discussed in response to an inquiry; however, to maintain a technical and non-sales atmosphere, we ask vendors to:

  • Restrict postings to customer inquiries which may be directly resolved by your product.

  • Specify vendor affiliation in your message.

  • Do not discuss pricing or purchasing requirements. If you want to engage

  • in a commercial discussion, please do so by e-mail or telephone.

Failure to adhere to any of these rules may result in being locked out of the forums. Indiscriminate posting of advertising messages (or "spamming") will result in immediate lockout.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following section contains a number of frequently asked questions about the Novell Support Connection Web Forums.

Q: Does Novell technical support monitor and reply in these forums?

A: Novell personnel do not officially monitor these forums, although you might see a Novell person visiting from time to time. Novell relies on the volunteer SysOps to respond to user messages. These SysOps are experts in their field with years of real-world experience. The SysOps have direct connections to Novell's technical support if needed, so you are really getting the best of both worlds. If you want to talk to a Novell representative or if your problem is urgent, call 1-800-858-4000 (US/Canada) or your local Novell Technical Support center for assistance.

Q: How long should I wait for an answer?

A: Most posted questions receive a reply within 24 to 48 hours. If your message goes 48 hours without any response, send a message to the Webmaster via the "feedback" link with the message number and the forum name. We'll try to get someone to look at it. Be sure to check back frequently for any replies, as the messages do expire from the forums on a regular basis.

Q: Is there a way to read and post messages offline?

A: Many third-party news reader applications will allow you to access our NNTP gateway and download messages for offline reading. We have tested our forums with the following NNTP news readers :


Gravity

available from http://www.anawave.com/

Agent

available from http://www.forteinc.com/

Virtual Access

available from http://www.vamail.com/(US) or

http://www.ashmount.com/ (Europe)

Q: I'm interested in becoming a SysOp. How do I go about it?

A: Our SysOps are here because they enjoy being here. In responding to other user questions frequently and regularly, you may be noticed and invited by Novell to become a SysOp.

Who are the SysOps?

Following are short bios of the current Novell Support Connection Web Forum SysOps, listed in alphabetical order by last name.

Alan Adams--Novell Clients and NetWare 4.x

Alan Adams is the network administrator at the Seventh-day Adventist Church World Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. He has been programming and working with computers professionally since 1989 and started working with NetWare and toward his CNE certification in 1994. Alan likes to tackle operating system integration issues with Novell Client software.

Richard Beels--GroupWise 4, GroupWise 5, SoftSolutions

Richard Beels is a network manager from Ferndale, Michigan. He has been involved in the computer industry for over a dozen years and has almost ten years experience in running NetWare networks. Richard holds ten Novell certifications. He is a co-author of the GroupWise 5.2 Administrator's Guide published by Sybex, and has been published and quoted in a number of networking and computer publications. He also has a number of other industry certifications and a Master's Degree in Business Administration.

Marcel Cox--NetWare 4.x and Novell Client

Marcel Cox is network manager at the Centre Informatique de l'Etat du Luxembourg (the Luxembourg State Computer Center). He has been working in his current position since 1991, dealing with a NetWare environment from the beginning. Marcel has been a SysOp on Novell Support Connection since 1997. He has a home page at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/mcox/netware.htm.

Don Crawford--User Files

Don Crawford is an independent consultant from Phoenix, Arizona. He has 35 years of experience with computers and data processing and has been working with NetWare since 1987. He is a Certified Computer Professional (CCP) and has a Master's Degree in Business Administration.

Duane Fish--Novell Clients

Duane Fish is a senior network engineer from Bloomington, Illinois. He has 15 years experience working with computers and data processing and has been working with NetWare since 1988. He holds Novell CNA and CNEqualifications and has taught computer and networking classes at Vo-Tech and community colleges in Nebraska for over 5 years. Duane has contributed computer and network-related articles to Strictly Business magazine. His home page can be found at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/duane_fish.

Paul Franz--NT Client & OS/2

Paul Franz lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and is a software engineer at Primavera Systems, Inc. He has 5+ years experience with Novell client products, giving him an excellent knowledge of the clients. He is a SysOp in the Novell Support Connection client and OS/2 forums. Paul Franz's home page can be found at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PaulFranz.

Kim Groneman

Kim Groneman, from American Fork, Utah, is Novell's SysOp Program Manager. He has been with Novell for 6 years working with Novell Technical Services. He has worked with managing electronic communications systems and programs for 11 years. Kim's home page can be found at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/kim_groneman.

Richard Guaraldo--Connectivity, NetWare 3.x, NetWare 4.x, Border Manager

Richard Guaraldo is the senior systems engineer for Light Industries in Millersville, Maryland. He has a BSE in Electrical Engineering, over 10 years experience with Novell products, and 20+ years experience with technology in general. He is a Novell Certified NetWare Engineer and a Microsoft Certified Professional. His speciality on the Novell Forums is connectivity.

Sandra Harrell--NetWare 3.x, Novell Clients, Novell Management

Sandra Harrell is a network consultant from Richmond, Virginia (originally from London, England). She has 7+ years experience with Novell products and 10+ years experience with computers in general. She has been a Novell Certified NetWare Engineer since 1994. Her favorite subject is network management and solving tough problems in the enterprise environment. Presently, she is co-authoring her first book and working on becoming an independent consultant.

Allen Harris

Allen Harris is a Technical Architect for Cardiovascular Provider Resources (CPR), located in Dallas, Texas. Prior to CPR, he worked as a senior consultant/system integrator for six years, and before that as a test engineer at Novell for four and a half years. Allen has spoken at several NetWare User Conferences and has served on the Board of Directors for NetWare Users International. He has also spoken at Novell's Developer Conference (before BrainShare), at BrainShare, and at NetWorld. He has served as a SysOp on the Novell Support Connection forums on CompuServe since 1990. Allen has a degree in Operations Management from Brigham Young University. He can be reached via email at aharris@technologist.com.

Jim Henderson--NetWare 4.x

Jim Henderson is a systems engineer from Salt Lake City, Utah. He has worked with NetWare since 1989, when he first installed NetWare 2.15 at his university. He also has 15+ years of programming experience in a variety of languages. He co-authored the book NDS Troubleshooting with Peter Kuo, has performed numerous technical reviews of NetWare-related books and magazine articles, and has spoken at the Twin Cities NetWare User Group conference in Minneapolis. He is currently the co-president of the Salt Lake NetWare Users' Technical Symposium, a chapter of NetWare Users International.

Brian Iverson--NetWare 4.x

Brian Iverson is a manager in the Information Risk Management practice at KPMP Peat Marwick LLP in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he specializes in enterprise network security services. Brian has worked with information systems for 10 years and has worked with NetWare since 1989. He has been a SysOp with the Novell Support Connection (formerly NetWire) since 1995. He has earned the Novell CNE-3, CNE-4, Master CNE, and Certified Internet Professional certifications, as well as the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. He has published several articles and has spoken nationally on network security issues.

Dave Kearns

Dave spent 10 years as a network manager, ending up as Information Services manager for the former Thomas-Conrad Corporation (now part of Compaq). In 1987, he was a founding SysOp of the Novell Support Connection service on CompuServe (then known as NetWire) and served as the first president of the Association of NetWire SysOps. He is a past recipient of NetWare Users International Nuggie award for "outstanding contributions." He also serves as a chapter head for Microsoft's ClubWin. He's a frequent beta tester for both Novell and Microsoft.

Robert Klein--NetWare 3.x

Robert Klein is a network administrator in Brookings, South Dakota. He has over 13 years of industry experience installing and configuring computer systems for a variety of clients. He has been installing and supporting Novell NetWare networks for over 10 years.

Scott Kunau--GroupWise 4.x, GroupWise 5.x

Scott is president of Certified Computer Services, Inc. a training and consulting firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is an independent consultant and trainer specializing in GroupWise, NetWare 4/NDS, ManageWise, NT Server and Exchange. He has been working in the computer industry for eight years and has 6+ years experience working with Novell products and 2 years experience working with NT. Scott is a Master CNE, Certifed Novell Instructor, Microsoft Certified Trainer, and Microsoft Product Specialist. Scott published his first book The Ten Minute Guide to GroupWise 5 in December 1996 and co-authored the GroupWise 5.2 Administrators Guide that was published in October 1997. He is a forum SysOp for GroupWise 4 and 5 and is active on the Master CNE Advisory Council.

Peter Kuo--Connectivity, Novell Management, NetWare 4.x, BorderManager

Peter Kuo, Ph.D., president of DreamLAN Network Consulting Ltd. (home of the NDS ToolKit), is based in Toronto, Canada. He is the first Canadian Enterprise CNE, one of the world's first Master CNEs and Master CNIs and is the world's first Novell Certified Internet Professional (CIP). Furthermore, he is a Certified Network Expert (CNX, Ethernet, and Token Ring). Peter has over 20 years of computer and related experience. He has worked with all versions of NetWare since v2.0a, including NetWare for VMS. His areas of expertise include advanced NetWare topics such as network management, Novell Directory Services, and IBM, UNIX, and Internet connectivity issues. In addition to presenting seminars at NetWorld+InterOp and NetWare Users International (NUI) conferences, Peter is a member of the Editorial Committee for the NetWare Connection magazine, and has authored, co-authored, technical edited, and contributed to many computer books (such as NDS Troubleshooting, NetWare 4.1 Survival Guide, and NetWare Web Development), Novell AppNotes, and other publications. DreamLAN's home page is at http://www.dreamlan.com.

Frank McCallister--NetWare 3.x, Novell Client, IntranetWare for Small Business

Frank McCallister is a retired USAF pilot in electronics since 1975, has worked with computers since 1983, and with Novell products since 1989 with NetWare 2.12. He is currently supporting NetWare versions 2.x. 3.x, 4.11 and IntranetWare for Small Business from a small home-based consulting company named COMPUMAC. He is currently a SysOp for Novell and for Corel on CompuServe.

Barry Merchant--GroupWise 4.x, GroupWise 5.x

With over 25 years experience in IT, Barry Merchant has been involved in mainframe and Unix application development. For the last 6 years he has been focusing on Novell products, particularly GroupWise. Barry designed and almost single handedly installed one of the UK's largest GroupWise systems. Go on, ask him something!

Suzanne Miles--Novell Client and NetWare 4.x

Suzanne Miles is a network administrator from New Jersey. She is a CNE, ECNE, and a Master CNE. Suzanne has been working with Novell networks for over 10 years. She was a contributing author for the book Special Edition Using IntranetWare and the NetWare 4 FAQ.

Dave Parkes--NetWare 4.x

Dave Parkes is the network manager for IMI Norgren in the U.K. He has worked in the computer industry for the last 17 years. Dave has a BA and MA Cantab and is a member of ImechE and the UK Engineering Institute.

John Pence--NetWare 4.x

John Pence is the network engineer for The Commercial Appeal, a regional newspaper in Memphis, Tennessee. He is a Certified Novell Engineer and has worked with NetWare since version 2.10. His speciality on the Novell Forums is SFT III. John's web page, which is eternally under construction, can be found at http://www.jpence.com.

Marilyn Ratcheson--Connectivity

Marilyn Ratcheson is a senior network analyst from Chicago, Illinois. After several years as a training manager, she began working professionally with computers and data processing in 1985, and with NetWare in 1990. Marilyn holds CNE, ECNE and Master CNE certifications from Novell. She began helping people with their computer and data communications questions as a CompuServe SysOp in 1988, and became active in Novell's Connectivity forum in 1993. She has been a NetWire/Novell Support Connection SysOp since 1994.

Barry Schnur

Barry Schnur is an independent consultant from Scottsdale, Arizona. He has 15 years experience with personal computing (first computer experience was in the 60s with an IBM 340/40 and FORTRAN IV) and six years hands-on NetWare experience starting first in the corporate world. As well as being a SysOp on the Novell Support Connection, he is also with Corel's CTECH program. He started doing CompuServe SysOp work in 1988 with Borland. He has BA from Yale University. His publications include a number of articles in Absolute Reference, Cobb journals for Quattro Pro, and work as a technical editor for Sybex. Speaking engagements have included the Borland Developers Conference and NetWorld - Boston.

Barry St. John

Barry St. John is the systems manager for First Federal Bank in Kansas City, a position he has held for the last 9 years. He installed his first NetWare system (NetWare/S) on a Novell 68B file server in 1985. Barry has been a user of the Novell Support Connection (formerly NetWire) since its inception on "The Source" online service.

Al Stearns--NetWare 4.x, NetWare 3.x, Novell Clients

Al Stearns is a computer systems integrator in the North Augusta, South Carolina area. His computer experience includes 6+ years with PC networking hardware/software, 14+ years with PC hardware/software, and 4+ years assisting users in solving problems on the Novell Support Connection (formerly NetWire). He has earned Novell's CNE, CNE-3, and CNE-4 certifications, and frequents the NetWare 3, NetWare 4, Novell Clients, and Novell users forums.

Marcus Williamson--NetWare 4.x

Marcus Williamson is managing director of Connectotel Limited, based in London, England. Up until July 1996, he was team leader of Novell Consulting (Europe) based in Duesseldorf, Germany. He was with Novell for over six years and has worked with NetWare since 1986. He has contributed many times to Novell AppNotes and other publications, including the NetWare 4 FAQ. He is a frequent speaker at Novell's BrainShare events in America and Europe. Marcus's home page is at http://www.connectotel.com/marcus.

Danita Zanrè--GroupWise 4 and GroupWise 5

Danita Zanrè is a consultant for Caledonia Network Consulting, a GroupWise Consulting firm in the Denver, Colorado area. She has worked with NetWare and GroupWise since 1989. A CNE-GW4 and CNE-GW5, Danita is the co- author of the GroupWise 5.2 Administrator's Guide by Sybex, Inc and a SysOp in the Corel CTECH program. The Caledonia Network Consulting home page is at http://www.caledonia.net.

Summary

Thank you for helping make Novell's networking products the best in the world. We hope your venture into our forums is a rewarding experience and we look forward to seeing you online!

With best wishes,

The Novell Support Connection Web Forum SysOps

* Originally published in Novell AppNotes


Disclaimer

The origin of this information may be internal or external to Novell. While Novell makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information, Novell does not make explicit or implied claims to its validity.

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