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Help with Setting up Linux Server

By rkuhn ·

I have a old, spare server that I want to play around with to learn Linux.


Pentium III Duel 450 Mhz
512 MB RAM
5 9GB Hard Drives in RAID 5

I know, pretty old but it currently has MS Server 2003 on it and runs pretty well aside from taking forever to boot up. But once booted up, it actually runs pretty well.

I know nothing about Linux. So, I need something that will run well on old equipment and an easy install, GUI that is user friendly, and plenty of wizards.

I guess what I need is a Linux for Dummies but a server version.

I plan on running it at home next to my other 3 servers...domain controller running MS Server 2003, game server running Win XP (America's Army), and a web server running MS Server 2000.

Any ideas or suggestions?

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I wouldn't call it a quick reference....

by Navy Moose In reply to Must be the quick referen ...
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The 3rd book I've seen...

by RayJeff In reply to I wouldn't call it a quic ...

in Books-A-Million, but it's not the book I'm talking about. I don't know, I could be mistaken, but there's another book by O'Reilly that's a Linux quick reference book, but it's's the size of a pamphlet and it has the same color as the "Linux in a Nutshell" book. Unless it's a trimmed down version of it?

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by DelMonte In reply to Help with Setting up Linu ...

I haven't tried this yet but it is definately on my list of things to do.

edited to add: I've just seen your follow up post. This link is specifically for a terminal server and diskless clients. It may not be what you are looking for.

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by Jaqui In reply to Help with Setting up Linu ...

use debian as the distro.

install apache, email server, ftp server, dns server, an sql server

Apache != webserver, it is an advance extranet server, that can be used for file server, application server, secure intranet server, ...

using bind [ the dns server ] as a secondary dns server isn't going to hurt anything.

do you need to have an active ftp server?
[ doesn't hurt to learn how to work with them even if you don't need one ]

email, while it may not be the simplest one, it is also the only one you don't have covered.

with file / application / network server use, you will need to use samba or windows client won't understand the network protocol, linux does not use the smb protocol by default like windows does.

editing to add:

Mandriva has gui based wizards for configuring all of the servers, Debian doesn't. using Debian means actually learning about the software, using Mandriva means learning to run a wizard and if something goes wrong at any time not having a clue how to fix it.

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I've Already Tried Mandriva

by rkuhn In reply to ideas

As a desktop and hated it.

Nice and pretty, but lots of issues with some of the software I wanted to run.

Grant it, that may well have been my lack of knowledge of Linux but Mandriva didn't impress me much.

Thanks for the suggestions though. Debian might be more than I want to chew at the moment...maybe later though.

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Rick leave Debian alone until you have a bit more experience

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to I've Already Tried Mandri ...

Under your belt. It's the most robust and solid Nix available but it's certainly not the easiest to use.

I would start with something simple and as you've already tried Mandriva which has an excellent Software Library that you can access and didn't get on well with it try Fedora Core 5 is the current version. It has the slight advantage for beginners of using RPM's to make installing easier.

But while it's easier to use that doesn't mean that you are actually learning how to work things properly or why it works the way that it does and more importantly how to fix something when the thing doesn't work as expected.

The hardware really isn't old enough for any of the restricted Distro's I've got a really old Quad 200 MMX running the latest Debian which is fine though slightly slow to load.

While I haven't used any FC versions recently I have fond memories of the old Red Hat which is still running on several ISP's that I do work for and by current standards they are very old hardware something like Red Hat 3 or 4 if I remember correctly but it's a bit hard to tell as everything is CLI without a GUI as they don't want to waste processing power on useless add on.

I wouldn't bother with the RAID setup at first till you've had a decent time to play with the OS and get the idea of how it works although if it's picked up on the install what the Hell go with it.

Lets know if you need any help


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Running Mandrake 7 or 8 ...

by Too Old For IT In reply to I've Already Tried Mandri ...

... or some such as a print server on a P-200MMX, 128 mb RAM, dinky little 2 gig HD.

Works. Never have seen a reason to upgrade that box.

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I'll second that from experience

by klam1994 In reply to ideas

I subscribe to Mandriva and while their package is very good in some ways. You don't learn much, so when things go wrong your screwed.
I started with Mandriva (mandrake then), and have tried Unbuntu, Debian, CentOS and Fedora plus a couple of others.
Of these I would advise giving Unbuntu a miss somewhat quirky,
Debian good but steep learning curve I found few user freindly configuration tools. It may be a good package once you have some experience. bleeding edge is Fedora as you might expect as it appears to be Red Hat's public development tree.
CentOS very stable, but as its based upon RH's ES public release, I have found it to be a little behind in its support for some hardware. While this may not be a problem for the older HW you wish to use it is something to be aware of.

I would be interested in your experience, though I am not sure how you could tell us.
Anyway best of luck.

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Whatever you do...

... don't install (or if you install them, don't use them unless you're actually working on it) GNOME, KDE, X, etc. They are complete system resource hogs and have nothing to do with the day-to-day operation of a server. If you can't get by in a UNIX without a GUI, you really should not be administering UNIX.


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Thanks for the Advice

by rkuhn In reply to Whatever you do...

But if you're telling me that I have to spend hours and hours and hours learning about command lines, no thanks. Maybe that's why so many people don't like Linux.

I agree with what you are saying ultimately, but come on, I just want to get my feet wet first, maybe a toe at a time, and not dive in completely, all at once.

I have some spare equipment, some but not a lot of spare time, and thought I'd branch out a little.

I know the GUI is a resource hog and a crutch, but a noob like me at Linux sure could use the help of a GUI just to get started.

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