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Beagle, Browsing, and Protecting Confidential Information

As part of my ongoing coverage of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 features, I offer this installment on Beagle, Browsing and "Confidential Financial Information." (The last term there does not start with a B, and is not a favorite category from Fark.com.) This comes from my "SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop Under the Hood" presentation, to be given at the upcoming UKUUG conference.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 provides users with integrated "Desktop Search," which is built on Beagle. The name Beagle is mostly hidden in the product, since the name "Beagle" would not mean much to many users.

Most people think of Desktop Search being all about files. The underlying Beagle foundation provides search for more than just files. Search results will also recall instant messaging conversations, emails and appointments, and web pages.

Web pages might present a bit of concern to some users. Be assured that Desktop Search only indexes non-secure web pages. Desktop Search does not index encrypted web pages, so they will not be added to the search index for later recall. Even then, you will sometimes need to visit a site that has highly confidential information that prefer not to get indexed. Of course, I'm talking about certain non-encrypted financial information, usually represented in jpg format.

You can turn off the Firefox plugin by clicking the Beagle plugin icon that shows up in the bottom-right of Firefox's application window:

Beagle-turned on in Firefox

When disabled, it indicates that it is disabled:

Beagle-turned off in Firefox

[Note: By the time SLED10 releases, the icon may change, as I filed a bug to have it changed today. I'm not sure whether it will be accepted or not.]

Additionally, you may store certain confidential data files on your computer (some that are so confidential that you don't even want your spouse to find them). Fortunately, you can configure Desktop Search to exclude these from indexing. Start in the Control Center and find Search Settings:

GNOME Control Center for Desktop Search

This is the Search Preferences main page. From here, switch to the Indexing tab:
Desktop Search Preferences 1st Page

On the indexing tab, you can add additional folders, as I have done with my Windows partition (I still use Windows for downloading Audible.com content). Under "Privacy," you can see how I have excluded my "Financials" folder from search indexing:

Desktop Search Preferences 2nd Page

When you click the "Add" button, you can exclude a folder ("Directory Path"), a filename pattern (like *.mpeg, which is one of the common extensions used on financial data files), and Mail Folders (from Evolution):

Beagle Exclude List

And that's that on some of the interfaces for configuring Desktop Search.

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5 Responses

  1. […] In questo post vengono illustrate alcune caratteristiche dell'integrazione tra Beagle e SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 (per gli amici SLED 10) […]

  2. I find it amusing that despite the strong Gnome trend in SUSE, this is still easier in KDE. The Kerry systray applet has a config page on the context menu!

  3. bear454:
    But isn’t it fair to state that KDE caters to a more sophisticated computer user than GNOME? KDE tends to be pervasively configurable, so putting this in the context menu is perfectly logical for sophisticated computer users. However, for less experienced users, too many options, or too many routes to the same place, might seem illogical or overwhelming.
    On a different note, the strong GNOME trend in SUSE Linux is more in SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. You will find that a majority of the SUSE developers in Nuremberg are devoutly attached to KDE.

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