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New To linux

By degwell ·
i missed a job opportunity at a great ISP because i was clueless about linux. so i decided i would fight a big fight and learn the most. its now 3 months down the road and and i can say i would not get stuck if i stood face to face with a linux machine..I can atleast shutdown(kidding)to get where i am i installed and formated 47 times not counting the 3 hard disks i wrote off.
i am happy to say i have a redhat dhcp server serving my windows machines very comfortably and can fumble my way around apache... sendmail mail not quite...samba that one i will have to meet an expert to giude me through, bind ver 8 am just too ballistic.
the problem is it takes me years to figure out very small things is there any way i can have a more productive learnigng experience... please advise

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two things

by apotheon In reply to New To linux

First, to specifically answer a specific question you implied: Go to http://safari.oreilly.com/?XmlId=0-596-00256-4 and have a look at _Using_Samba_ (second edition). It's one of the best sources of information about configuring and running Samba in the world, and it's available for free at the O'Reilly website.

Second, join a local LUG (Linux Users Group). LUGs are about the greatest resource available for people that want to know more about how their computers work. Use http://www.linux.org/groups/ to find a LUG near you and sign up on the mailing list. They exist worldwide (not just in the US), often include members who are authors of well-known Linux related references or other luminaries of the open source world, and tend to have a generally friendly, welcoming, helpful overall tone to them.

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Thanx apotheon

by degwell In reply to two things

thanx a bunch that was fast!! i happen to be from Uganda and there was no link but its quite helpful i will see if i can join the Kenya LUG
thanx

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welcome

by apotheon In reply to Thanx apotheon

You're quite welcome. I hope you enjoy your Linux experience.

You might also try signing up on one of the international LUGs. They're not as location-specific (obviously).

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Some handy URLs

by romeroGT In reply to New To linux

Seems you got a good attitude and aptitude for Linux, that will be your best friend. LUGs are also a good source.

Here are some links I like a lot:

https://www.redhat.com/docs/
http://linux.wikiverse.org/
http://fedora.redhat.com/docs/
http://fedora.redhat.com/projects/docs/

And last but not least:
http://www.google.com/linux

Hope this helps a little.

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Cant Exprees my gartitude, thanx romeroGT

by degwell In reply to Some handy URLs

i got my first bind server to host multiple domains last night i was so excited i just stayed up making hits at it and locking at the logs thanks guyz for all the help now i can go ahead and figure out sendmail... thinking of shifting from redhat to mandrake are the any issues i should know about

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RH vs. Mandrake, plus others

by apotheon In reply to Cant Exprees my gartitude ...

I've heard from reputable sources that Mandrakes is one of the least stable-running Linux distributions. That'd still place it well above the Windows standard, but from what I understand Mandrake tends to run over the bleeding edge sometimes, running not-fully-tested software as a default part of the distribution. The end result, predictably, is a distribution full of eye-candy that occasionally flakes out.

I hear that Mandrake is absurdly easy to install (almost as easy as MEPIS) and absurdly easy to maintain (almost as easy as Debian and, well, MEPIS). That lack of stability issue doesn't sit well with me, though. Nor does the fact that I hear now and then that Mandrake actually uses a lot of proprietary software, which is part of the reason Mandrake has a more draconian than average licensing arrangement than most Linux distributions.

For those that like Mandrake's style, I'm sure it makes a great kitchen-sink style desktop OS, but I wouldn't recommend it as a server. If you absolutely must run a kitchen-sink distro as a server, I'd recommend RHEL (or Fedora), or SuSE. If you want to run your server the "right" way ? with minimal bloat and no GUI, since servers shouldn't be used as desktop systems ? I'd recommend a leaner distro, such as Slackware or (my favorite) Debian.

Progeny Debian and Ubuntu are two Debian-based distros that use the kitchen-sink approach, if you want to try something with more features than you'll ever use and still get Debian's legendary ease of system upkeep. They both get very good reviews. If you're interested in taking a whack at it, you might also look into FreeBSD, OpenBSD, or NetBSD ? particularly FreeBSD and OpenBSD, as FreeBSD is apparently the easiest of the three and OpenBSD is apparently the most secure. The various BSDs aren't technically Linux distributions, using the BSD Unix-like kernel, but both BSD and Linux are open-source unices, so making the transition between the two shouldn't be too difficult. The BSDs tend to run slightly more out-of-date than Linux distros do, though, because they don't have the same fast development cycle as the Linux kernel.

Ahem. I guess, in short, this is my advice:
If you're looking to move away from RH to something else as a server, I'd recommend learning Debian. If you are thinking of trying out Mandrake simply because you want to try it out, go ahead, but I wouldn't recommend it for a server ? only for a desktop system that you can play around with.

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Ditto of the Server Suggestion

by Gorto In reply to RH vs. Mandrake, plus oth ...

I consider myself a not so new newbie and have migrated all of our Mandrake Servers to RHEL and CentOS. CentOS is a free clone of RedHat Enterprise and is very stable. It also updates very easily using YUM. Another suggestion is to use the command line as much as possible. It greatly reinforces the GUI and is great to know when you have to work remotely.

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Eh? Reputable source?

by vdanen In reply to RH vs. Mandrake, plus oth ...

I have to take a little bit of issue with this... reputable source of
yours. Yes, Mandrake on the desktop, with all of the eye-candy
and such, can sometimes be a bit instable. However, using
Mandrake for servers isn't the same because a sensible person
will strip all of the desktop stuff on install. I can't say how well
10.1 works on servers, but 10.0 is pretty good and so is the
older versions. If you want real solid Mandrake, the Corporate
Server line is exceptionally stable. One of my webservers is
running it and has been for two years without a hitch. I'm also
not sure what you're talking about for proprietary software.
Care to add some names to that? Yes, there are some
commercial packages on the Powerpack boxes and via Club, but
these aren't forced on anyone. Mandrake is perhaps one of the
most open distributions around, except for perhaps Debian.
The only real proprietary stuff that is often used is the nvidia
and some ATI drivers... for obvious reasons.

My recommendation for a server (although I'm biased) is
something like Openwall or Annvix; they're both very stable and
very secure and very minimal (less bloat than almost any other
distro). Annvix is still in pre-release development but it's very
promising. Openwall has been around for a while and the lead
is a very respected member of the security community. Oh...
and Annvix is based on Mandrake (guess it can't be that bad).

Honestly, using Mandrake as a server will only get you into
trouble if you're also using your server as a desktop machine.
But if you're doing that, then you kinda deserve what you get.

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disagreement

by apotheon In reply to Eh? Reputable source?

Mandrake tends to run "cutting edge" with package selections. It's performance-oriented distribution, as opposed to a stability-oriented distribution, generally speaking. That's not to say that you can't run a stable Mandrake server, of course, or even a mandrake desktop, but it takes more micro-managing of package selection to get to that point. It also doesn't keep its URPMI repositories as carefully segregated as Debian does its apt repositories and Fedora its atp/YUM repositories.

Mandrake has been plagued with some high-profile stability issues in recent years. One glaring example was what happened to dual-boots when the 2.6 kernel was first introduced to Mandrake. Mandrake uses parted for partitioning and GRUB for its bootloader, by default. Combined with BIOSes on a large selection of motherboards that were mildly "buggy", there were some extreme conflicts arising between parted, the BIOS, GRUB, and the 2.6 kernel in Mandrake. As a result, many machines ended up with their boot sectors blued, screwed, and tattooed when attempting to set up a dual-boot with Windows and Mandrake.

Unfortunately, no, I don't have any proprietary software package names handy for you. It only takes a quick glance through the licenses for Mandrake installs to see where this comes up, though. It's not as bad as Linspire in this regard, but it does suffer a bit.

Your characterization of Mandrake as "one of the most open" may or may not be accurate, depending on your definition of "open". According to the Debian definition, however, it is not very "open". Fedora has moved more in an open-source-only direction than many competitors, including Mandrake. Gentoo has been basically all open source all along (necessarily, since it uses compile prepared "ports" rather than binary packages as its primary software management model). Then, of course, there's Slackware.

I have to wonder what you mean by "open" if it doesn't end up with all of the above in front of it in line for that label.

Unfortunately, I can't really comment on either Openwall or Annvix. I don't really know anything about them. I do, however, know that new distributions that are built on the model of another distribution end up often being less like the originating distro than some other distributions. Knoppix, for instance, is Debian-based, but in some ways reminds me strongly of SuSE. Progeny Debian actually feels pretty much exactly like Fedora. Heck, Xandros (which is also supposedly based on Debian -- a lot of distros are) looks, acts, and feels more like Windows XP than Debian in a lot of ways.

There's a GNUStep distro built on Debian that looks like the now defunct NeXTStep/OpenSTEP operating systems, and Debian HURD is just freakish. Then again, HURD is a modular kernel completely separate from the Linux monolithic kernel, so I'm not entirely certain that counts.

Anyhow, a distribution "based on" Mandrake may well make for a great server, but I'm sure its success in that regard has little or nothing to do with the Mandrake lineage.

While niche distros like that are often great for "toy" servers -- one-man pet projects -- they aren't really ideal for production environments in medium-sized WANs, or really in almost any business environment. The reason for that is simply that without as strong a corporate or community support network and diligent development-team crew maintaining patch distribution and testing for the distribution, eventually all such niche distros that don't explode into community stardom are pretty much doomed to fall behind on package (or port, or tarball) management. From what you say, it sounds like Openwall might not suffer that failure of niche distros, but I'd characterize that as an exception instead of a rule -- and that's assuming a lot of success, present and future, about Openwall based solely on the tenor of your discussion of it.

Generally, I'd expand your characterization of using the server also as a desktop as being likely to get you in trouble so that it also encompasses installing a graphical user environment on a server. The vast increase in potential security and stability issues, as well as greatly increased resource footprint, is just Not Good in a server. When you consider that servers simply don't need to have a GUI at all anyway, it's sort of a no-brainer to make the right decision.

Anyhow, that's my take. Your mileage may vary.

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great to learn from all of you...

by romeroGT In reply to Cant Exprees my gartitude ...

Your welcome emiruthelion, but the fact is we are just learning together and there are others very good postings from people with a lot of experience like apotheon that allways have something to learn about.

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