Funny Windows experience

As I was working on setting up our testing room at BrainShare (where we
have to run Windows because the forms-based exams require it), we ran
into a problem with the network configuration for the printer in the room.

It turned out that in order to effectively do network printing, we had to
tell the system that it wasn’t using a network printer, but a locally
attached printer connected over a custom port that used an IP address.

Huh? :wink:

Just thought this group would find that amusing. Of course the Linux
configuration was straightforward and “just worked”. :slight_smile:

Jim


Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Administrator

Hey Jim
I’m sure it’s a patented concept too and called using the loopy-back
port…


Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 (x86_64) Kernel 2.6.27.45-0.1-default
up 5 days 16:53, 4 users, load average: 0.18, 0.31, 0.28
GPU GeForce 8600 GTS Silent - CUDA Driver Version: 190.53

It’s a good laugh, unless you have to work with it. I’d rather have it the proper way :slight_smile:

On Mon, 22 Mar 2010 19:04:14 +0000, malcolmlewis wrote:

> I’m sure it’s a patented concept too and called using the loopy-back
> port…

It well could be, just really struck me funny and another example of
Linux being easier than Windows. :slight_smile:

Jim


Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Administrator

Jim Henderson wrote:
> As I was working on setting up our testing room at BrainShare (where we
> have to run Windows because the forms-based exams require it)

whose forms based exams requires Redmond? and, why?


palladium

On Tue, 23 Mar 2010 08:11:35 +0000, palladium wrote:

> Jim Henderson wrote:
>> As I was working on setting up our testing room at BrainShare (where we
>> have to run Windows because the forms-based exams require it)
>
> whose forms based exams requires Redmond? and, why?

Any forms-based exam delivered through Pearson/VUE and/or Thompson
Prometric. They’ve written their apps as Windows apps, and that’s what
they support.

Those are the two major industry players in the testing business - not
just in IT testing, but in professional certification programs worldwide
(for things ranging from IT certs to dental hygienist certs and
everything in between).

There are cases where you have to work with the hand you’re dealt - and
that’s one of them.

Jim


Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Administrator

i’m sure you have already looked at it, and know whats what (i
remember your job there) and i’m admittedly not smart enough to ever
have taken any such (by the vendors you named) test so i wanna ask:

[stupid question i know, but]: why are the exams not taken via a
standards compliant browser, rather . . . ?

or will the local app not run in wine? (rotten eggs on them!)


palladium

On Tue, 23 Mar 2010 14:09:04 +0000, palladium wrote:

> i’m sure you have already looked at it, and know whats what (i remember
> your job there) and i’m admittedly not smart enough to ever have taken
> any such (by the vendors you named) test so i wanna ask:
>
> [stupid question i know, but]: why are the exams not taken via a
> standards compliant browser, rather . . . ?

It’s not a browser-based exam system.

> or will the local app not run in wine? (rotten eggs on them!)

Not supported, even if it does. They have very strict configuration
standards to prevent cheating and such, and Windows is what they know -
in order to prevent things like remote access to the machines,
screenshots being taken/e-mailed, they had to pick a configuration they
could work with. The delivery software, for example, checks to see if
Terminal Services is enabled, desktop sharing is enabled, VNC is
installed, etc, etc, etc. If any of those things are installed, then the
delivery software won’t run.

What we’re talking about “high-stakes” exams we’re talking about here -
the requirements are very specific and very strict, and any deviation
from the approved configurations can get your testing center’s status
revoked. Testing is big business, and this testing software is used for
professional certifications and licensing, so the standards by definition
have to be very strict - and the technology pre-dates Linux but is known
to work and meet legal requirements.

There are some places where Linux is indeed not an option, as much as I’d
like to be able to use it.

Jim

Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Administrator

thank you for your thoughtful and complete answer…i understand now…

i understand that is the way it “just happened”…when you have a
hammer everything looks like a nail.

like i’ve said before: isn’t it strange that in the name of security,
net-banks often FORCE us to use the least secure operating system and
browser on the planet…

seems like some smart retailer could make a bootable CD which could
easily be locked down to preclude all the cheat vectors you mentioned
and connect ONLY to the testing center servers…

could even include webcam and mic recording of the test taker…
fingerprint reader…
retinal scaner…

i think the days of M$ controlling testing should be numbered…


palladium

This isn’t that unique actually, and if you had used Linux in that setup, chances are you would probably require a similar procedure. I first learned about this in one of my system administration classes at school, and it has to do with the technical definition of a networked vs. locally attached device.

Actually, I have a network attached printer at home that I have to attach to all of my machines (both Linux and Windows) using a locally attached IP address port. Again, it isn’t anything to do with vendor lock-in, it is more dependent on the configuration of the printer and technical definition of local vs. networked device.

I don’t remember the technicality off the top of my head, but I do know I’ve always thought of it as splitting hairs.

On Tue, 23 Mar 2010 16:26:46 +0000, palladium wrote:

> thank you for your thoughtful and complete answer…i understand now…
>
> i understand that is the way it “just happened”…when you have a
> hammer everything looks like a nail.

That’s certainly true…

> like i’ve said before: isn’t it strange that in the name of security,
> net-banks often FORCE us to use the least secure operating system and
> browser on the planet…
>
> seems like some smart retailer could make a bootable CD which could
> easily be locked down to preclude all the cheat vectors you mentioned
> and connect ONLY to the testing center servers…

Well, remember as well that the delivery system is only a piece (and
actually a very small piece) of the infrastructure; there’s a whole
infrastructure on the backend that doubtless is dependent on MS database
software and such - so it’s not quite as simple as just swapping out the
OS on the delivery station.

I don’t disagree with you, though - but I don’t have a say in how this is
to be done from those vendors. :slight_smile:

> could even include webcam and mic recording of the test taker…
> fingerprint reader…
> retinal scaner…

Actually, we do have the ability (and rapidly reaching ‘requirement’ for
biometric validation of identity.

> i think the days of M$ controlling testing should be numbered…

In fairness, they don’t “control” testing; they are just the
infrastructure piece. There’s a lot of “closed network” setup as well
for this type of thing, so the risks of an external breach are much lower
than they might otherwise be.

When implementing any system with high security requirements, it’s all
about the total picture. Windows on its own does have significant
security problems, but many/most of those are resolved by using an
effective firewall solution that lets only specific data in/out of the
testing network, with only specific sources and destinations. That’s not
to say that such a network couldn’t be breached, but such would likely be
quite difficult to accomplish.

But it does require going that extra mile to ensure security is in place

  • but that would be the case regardless of what infrastructure was chosen.

Jim

Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Administrator

On Tue, 23 Mar 2010 17:26:01 +0000, srschifano wrote:

> hendersj;2140831 Wrote:
>> It turned out that in order to effectively do network printing, we had
>> to
>> tell the system that it wasn’t using a network printer, but a locally
>> attached printer connected over a custom port that used an IP address.
>
> This isn’t that unique actually, and if you had used Linux in that
> setup, chances are you would probably require a similar procedure. I
> first learned about this in one of my system administration classes at
> school, and it has to do with the technical definition of a networked
> vs. locally attached device.
>
> Actually, I have a network attached printer at home that I have to
> attach to all of my machines (both Linux and Windows) using a locally
> attached IP address port. Again, it isn’t anything to do with vendor
> lock-in, it is more dependent on the configuration of the printer and
> technical definition of local vs. networked device.
>
> I don’t remember the technicality off the top of my head, but I do know
> I’ve always thought of it as splitting hairs.

True, it doesn’t, it was just something that amused me. :slight_smile:

The linux stations that I set up for the learning lounge all were
configured with a network printer. Just the Windows systems needed a
“local” printer that was a TCP/IP address/port. :slight_smile:

Jim


Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Administrator

Doesn’t that mean that there is no spooler available on your network? Doesn’t that mean each computer has it’s own spooler and therefore can expect the printer to be available to it exclusively? Won’t you have conflicts?

Bart

On Tue, 03 Aug 2010 12:36:02 +0000, montana suse user wrote:

> hendersj;2141439 Wrote:
>>
>>
>> The linux stations that I set up for the learning lounge all were
>> configured with a network printer. Just the Windows systems needed a
>> “local” printer that was a TCP/IP address/port. :slight_smile:
>>
>> Jim
>
>
> Doesn’t that mean that there is no spooler available on your network?
> Doesn’t that mean each computer has it’s own spooler and therefore can
> expect the printer to be available to it exclusively? Won’t you have
> conflicts?

Didn’t have any conflicts at all - everything worked just fine. :slight_smile:

Jim


Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Administrator
Forum Use Terms & Conditions at http://tinyurl.com/openSUSE-T-C

On 2010-08-03 14:36, montana suse user wrote:

> Doesn’t that mean that there is no spooler available on your network?

A network printer can have it’s own spooler (with no computer).


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 11.2 x86_64 “Emerald” GM (Elessar))