Open Source

Make Linux and NT play nice on the same network

Looking to integrate Linux and Windows NT on the same network? Blane Warrene explains one method that's worked for him.


Understanding and using Linux is becoming easier with its growing acceptance in corporate MIS. Introducing a Linux box into your Windows NT domain is also a painless process for testing on your LAN.

During a Linux installation (in this author’s case—Red Hat 5.2), you’re prompted for LAN parameters including your domain, host name, TCP/IP address, and any additional networks you may access. You can easily access these configuration settings on your NT Primary Domain Controller (PDC) or your test NT server if you have the luxury of a development network.

At your NT server, right-click on the Network Neighborhood icon and open the Network properties sheet. The first menu shown will specify your domain (Figure A).

Figure A
The first menu specifies your domain.


The second portion of information will be IP addressing for your Linux machine. Click on the Protocols tab and select the properties of TCP/IP Protocol (Figure B). Here, you will find your Default Gateway, Primary Nameserver, and DNS information.

Figure B
Click on the Protocols tab and select the properties of TCP/IP Protocol.


In this case, DHCP and WINS are running with no DNS on this portion of the LAN. However, the DHCP scope excluded a server range of IP addresses. The Linux box was put in this range as a static IP (more on that in a few). In addition, you simply use your PDC as the primary nameserver for Linux. At the NT server, you’ll also want to create an NT user account with whatever group membership and permissions you prefer.

Armed with your NT data, you can configure your Linux machine to begin accessing or providing IP services on your LAN.

If your Linux machine is already set up, you can easily reconfigure network settings via Linuxconf or using the X11 GUI Control Panel or system admin tools available in Caldera, Red Hat, and a majority of distributions.

In Red Hat, you access the Control Panel under the Administration menu, then choose Networks. This will provide you with a menu to edit settings for your Names, Hosts, Interfaces, and Routing.

Within the Names screen you can add your hostname (for this example, Linux.KRAMER) and your domain (KRAMER), as well as your primary nameserver IP address.

Use the Hosts menu to build your hosts file (found in the /etc/hosts file for manual edits). This will include your loopback address (127.0.0.1), your public IP address, and any hosts you want to define. These can include remote hosts used on your LAN for TELNET and FTP sessions.

Use your Interfaces menu to verify that your correct network interface card settings are correct.

The Routing menu is not critical during your initial experimentation phase. You can use it to broadcast your address on a multi-homed system. These settings can be also be set via the /etc/resolv.conf and /etc/sysconfig/network files.

You now have one last file to edit. Open /etc/smb.conf, the primary Samba configuration file. There are several settings here you can customize, but for this task, we need only a handful.

Each parameter you change in smb.conf is preceded by specific instructions as to the aspect of the setting. Scroll down the page until you see the global settings. Here, you need to edit your NT Domain name, server string (announced in Network Neighborhood), and the Hosts Allow (to match your general IP addressing scheme).

Although Linux does not require a restart, it’s recommended to refresh network protocols. Prior to your reboot, be sure to create a user with the same user name and password as the user you previously set up on NT.

Once you log back in, you will be accessing IP services on the domain, such as proxy Internet or Intranet services, and network utilities, such as PING, NET, FTP, and TELNET.

As I mentioned earlier, if you use a static IP address for your Linux machine, you can access the Apache Web server services throughout the LAN from all browser-enabled clients, as well as any FTP files. You can place HTML and executable files you create or download on the Linux machine into the /HTTPD/html and /FTP directories under /home for these clients.
Without activating password encryption for Samba on the Linux machine, your LAN clients cannot access drives—however, that is a topic for another day. Just be sure to activate password encryption for Samba if you want your LAN clients to have this access.The authors and editors have taken care in preparation of the content contained herein, but make no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for any damages. Always have a verified backup before making any changes.

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