We have started playing around a little bit with RedHat Linux. We
may implement a Linux server or two, but this is simply for testing purposes. Our main focus remains on
Microsoft Windows 2000 Servers.
Feel free to message us if you have any Linux experience. We have zero, zilch, none, nada, etc... We can't
even get it to utilize the Internet connection that is sitting right on its NIC card. We have a question into
RedHat about this. We'll keep you posted ... hehe ... fun!
Guess What! RedHat Linux support got back to us already ... Support does not provide support for connecting to
the Internet. Hehe ... fun while it lasted, but if this isn't as easy as pointing someone in the right direction,
that machine that now sports Linux will be sporting Windows 2000 tomorrow ... Ridiculous!
We searched and searched the RedHat site and the Internet and couldn't come up with documentation on a constant
connection to the Internet via NIC card. This is simply ludicrous.
Definitely, FEAR THE PENGUIN!
A recent trip to the local CompUSA to purchase an optical mouse found another browsing at the Linux rack. This
time, FreeBSD came in a whole package for $49.99. Yes, we know, we know, Linux is a free download, but a pre-packaged
solution is what Microsoft has trained us to expecting.
In all fairness, when the original RedHat install took place and the Internet could not be reached, the same thing happened
to the subsequent MS 2000 install. It turned out to be the cable connection to the NIC card.
So the FreeBSD install wasn't as pretty as the Red Hat, but it worked, sorta. Once installed, it was nearly impossible
to use. The "X" system wouldn't load and KDE never could be brought up. So fearing nothing, we popped in the RedHat CD.
RedHat recognized the hardware with ease whereas the FreeBSD had to be defined and not all of the hardware had an exact match.
It's installed on an "old" machine. A Dell OptiPlex GX1.
We got much further this time! You can visit the Linux box at http://linux.icuhost.net
Wish the FreeBSD would have worked ... we like the little daemon instead of the guy
with the red hat, but guess we'll deal ...
Linux for Windows NT/2000 Administrators The Secret Decoder Ring written by Mark Minasi, Dan York & Craig Hunt arrived today.
(Click on the cover to buy it for yourself.) The book comes with a CD distribution of Mandrake Linux 7.1. According to the book,
it is a derivitive of the Red Hat version of Linux. The book is written to cover Linux for a person already familiar with Microsoft
Windows Operating Systems.
The book covers the history of Linux, where and how it came to be and also covers brief overviews of installations of Linux and why
there's so many different choices. It also covers the theories behind Linux including the Open Source alternatives.
This book was purchased because of the author. We have Mark Minasi's previous books on NT4 Server, W2K Server, W2K Professional,
W2K Registry and Active Directory (many come in Mark Minasi's Resource Kit). His writing style and obvious attitude
towards Microsoft's ways are very familiar.
Now at http://linux.icuhost.net we're running Mandrake 7.1 (8.1 is currently available).
It has installed and started running Apache, Mail services (including POP) and an FTP server. Although pretty scary its done this,
it seems as though they're secure so far. We will go through Mark's book and learn and eventually upgrade the versions that came
with the initial distribution.
Now running Mandrake Linux 8.1.
Updated the News section of the web site with our Linux project. Was going to add some more stuff over there, but felt this was
the more appropriate place. Yes, Linux is a very different animal. Yes, there is a sort of religious war over the Microsoft-Linux
decision. Mark's book shown above addresses this very war. It all just simply makes sense. There are pros and cons to either
system. The best thing about Linux is, it's FREE! You can load it on a Microsoft machine and Dual-Boot, but we chose to dedicate
a machine to it. Don't need any dual-boot failure issues to deal with. If we get frustrated enough, we can just load MS on there
and forget about the whole thing.
Since starting, a couple things we've come to realize is this. RedHat completed turned us off. FreeBSD is Unix, not Linux. They come
from different backgrounds. For this simple fact, we're still interested in getting a BSD box up (if not for the simple fact that we
can post their little devilish Daemon all over the place). The Mandrake-Linux is a version of Linux based on the RedHat distribution and
we have found it very friendly as well as with their online presence. Still, Linux online is pretty crazy. Another thing that was quite
impressive was that we could download the CD images of the distribution and burn our own CDs. (you might not want to try this over a modem).
Since succesfully bringing up Linux, it has made us better web designers. When we viewed some of the web sites we made for customers, they
looked down right horrible! The Linux world requires just a little more attention from within the web page authoring and we are thankful
for the opportunity to see this with our own eyes. So, most of our sites are now Linux friendly, and of course all future sites will be as well.
At the last Microsoft seminar we attended, you were able to sign up to receive a couple packages for interfacing Linux with Windows. Not even
running Linux at the time, who were we to turn down something Microsoft was giving for free, so we signed up to receive it. So we have Services
for UNIX 2.0 and Interix 2.2 ready to go to see how this differs from Linux's Samba. Yes, a whole new lingo to learn, but the Linux people are
kinda creative when it comes to naming. To share a name explanation from Mark's book; When developing a web server for Linux, the first couple
releases were bug ridden, and of course this is the case with any new piece of software. They released patches after patches to fix the reported
problems, and it got the reputation of being "a patchy" web server. So, that's how Apache got its name.
Went to FreeBSD's web site and there is a new release of FreeBSD as well. The boxed package we got from
the retail store was 4.2 and when visiting their web site saw 4.3 was the latest. Now after thinking of FreeBSD again, 4.4 is available. Wonder
how often they upgrade? Anyway, they also have the ability to download their CD image so we did that and we'll see if this version is any better
for the newbie guys. If not, we can just throw Mandrake back up ... Okay, brought up BSD for the afternoon and found it is a much better install
than 4.2, but, a little too Unix. Kinda like NT compared to W2K.
We went back to Mandrake as there seems to be a lot more available in the stock distribution and add-ons.
There's a firewall, a port sentry utility. Apache is optimized for the operating system. SSL is enabled by default. The networking even seems
better. But ... still ... this is a learning process. We'll keep you posted.
AnonymousFTP setup ... Latest Sendmail setup.
A strange scenario ... Last Wednesday, my wife & I went to the hospital for the delivery of our second son together. While in the hospital, I was
prepared for a long day and toted along the digital camera, the digital video camera and the laptop. Images from the digital camera were easily loaded
into the laptop via the SmartMedia slot. I created a page and displayed the pictures for anyone wanting to see an immediate picture of the new baby.
Ironically, I never thought to bring along passwords for the FTP access to the sites that I would upload the pictures because I don't use FTP to update
sites while on the network, I simply go to that directory and update or copy to, whatever. One site I remembered the password to I figured I could use,
but I had problems uploading to it. I didn't know what the problems were, and when I got back to the network and viewed logs, I still didn't find the
answer. So, what I did was log into the FTP site on the Linux box and was able to upload everything with no problems. Then when I tried to access the
page from the WWW I got a FORBIDDEN message ... I still haven't been able to fix this, and I still don't know where the FTP problems lie. More things
to work on, but I was impressed by the Linux FTP server.
I could upload all the pictures and send via email a link to where the pictures were, it was just that this forbidden message was prohibiting this. I
moved the picture the next day to the site where they belonged and fixed everything, so people had to wait another day. I was however able to email people
a picture directly ...
Being a member of several different mailing lists that circle the world we run into a lot of people. On one such mailing list (in fact two of them) the
subject of migrating from Windows to Linux has been mentioned and discussed. On one such list, the mention of setting up a list for Win->Linux converts
could go to pick each other's brain and learn together. Since we have that capability, we took it upon ourselves to set up a list and make it public.
If you would like to join this list, simply send a message to email@example.com and once subscribed you
will receive an email instructing you how to post to the list. Hopefully this will aid our learning curve as well as help others along the way.
Wow! I must be snoozing, I came here to add the information about the list and see I already updated this. But, there is an update to this project as
well. A support site has been created for the list at http://linux.wombatsweb.com.
Went and installed FreeBSD 4.4 again at http://linux.icuhost.net. I guess the Mandrake was becoming a little
stagnant for me and the resolution to the userdir wasn't working. Although I got an answer after I installed BSD, I didn't get a chance to try it,
and it may have been resolved. So, with the default installation of BSD, there are some security issues such as ports being left open to the world
and no easy way to close them has yet to be discovered. Maybe the best bet is to go back to the Mandrake Linux? Maybe I should learn the operating
system before attempting a more advanced operating system. Anyway, the more I do this, and the more I poke around, the more I learn, so it's all good.
Registered http://www.iculinux.net couple days ago. Didn't like the idea of the open ports with BSD and didn't
know exactly how to close them so went back to Mandrake. Many things in Mandrake are just better anyway. Even the default console. The console is
about 37 lines with Mandrake whereas the BSD was standard 80x25. (DOS people are still with me)... Installed Sendmail with the previous Mandrake
install and started working on Mailman (a mailing list package) .. problems .. after talking to Mailman people, Sendmail was receiving a bad rap.
So, since the problems with sendmail/mailman and the little things done to the Mandrake install, blew it all away and re-installed from scratch. Fun.
But, this has been the best setup thus far ... Also left Postfix in place rather than switching to Sendmail because of what the Mailman users had to
say so we'll see if Postfix does everything Sendmail can do. As with the MS/-U/Linux war continues, so do the little fires on every aspect of the
operating systems. So now we have a basic default install of Mandrake 8.1 (using all distributed RPMs) with the Mailman RPM installed from the 'net.
So far, so good, and a port scan locks me out of the box. Eggsellent Batman!
One of the main problems working on the Linux box is its location. It's stacked with 2 high Dell Optiplex Desktop boxes with a NEC MutiSync XE15 on
top. I'm sharing the monitor, keyboard and mouse between the two machines, and I have to swap them when I want to use either machine. I just ordered
a KVM switch online so it should arrive this coming week sometime. Because I'm more comfortable at my main work machine, I decided to install some
packages on my main machine such as mySQL, PHP and Perl. They all run on W2K and have their own Win32 distributions. They've been on the main servers
('cept mySQL) since ICU's start. I myself just never used them. So not necessarily planning this, I have several packages released for Linux running
on the Windows box. Just read somewhere that Amazon.Com converted a bunch of their servers to Linux and saved almost 3 million in licensing and hardware
upgrades. I've been floating the question around about staying with a Windows 2000 platform and upgrading the open source aspect with these certain
services. For example, to upgrade the Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server license to Microsoft Windows .NET Advanced Server is probably going to be
a couple thousand dollars. To put Linux in its place costs, $0. This isn't necessarily the plan. Have to see how Microsoft comes through. But, with
this development environment on my workstation and the impending delivery of the KVM switch (and many books ordered from Amazon.Com), this will surely
speed up the development of these technologies and render a better educated decision on the direction of our projects.
Ran the latest and greatest Red Hat 7.2 new Enigma release today for 10 minutes, then went back to Mandrake. What a waste of bandwidth downloading those
*.iso files a couple weeks back. First off, the kernel is a release back. Perl is a release back. It's an old (unsecure) version of Sendmail included.
What were they thinking?! Mandrake 8.1 was released like October 1, 2001 and here is RH a month or two later with outdated releases on their latest and
greatest .... hmmmm .... oh well ... If you EVER consider Linux, there is no doubt ... Get Mandrake.
There's now two Mandrake Linux 8.1 machines running at our location. The implementation is basically the same until more is learned about networking.
Many books to read and online sites to explore. Spent the last few days or hours (they all run into each other) implementing the setting up of Virtual
Web Sites on the newest server. Also downloaded Mailman 2.0.8 and compiled from scratch this latest version and moved the main list over to the other
machine. Got hold of a web based email package called Twiggi that not only provides email via your browser, but adds scheduling, calendaring and a ton
of other stuff you would probably never use. First tried sqwebmail, but didn't have the development libraries for MySQL and couldn't find them anywhere.
What was found conflicted with what was already on the machine. Figured out quotas on the FTP server so can limit disk space used on the individual web
sites and also how to keep them from browsing the hard drives outside of their root. A lot has happened, and these are the main things. Obviously,
more to come.
Upgraded to the latest Mandrake Linux version 8.2 which brought all other packages up to date (including PHP 4.1.2).
Wow! It has been a long time since an update. Currently there's 3 systems running Mandrake 9.0 and one running FreeBSD 4.7. There was a stint in there
with SuSE and RedHat (again) as well. RedHat lasted about 2 minutes (again) and SuSE was fun for a day or two. Can't say that any of the current
installations are doing any major tasks, but the more they're used, the more familiar they become. Thier major uses currently are Counter-Strike game
servers, IRC servers and web servers. There is FTP running on them as their drives are not shared on the internal network. The FreeBSD machine is doing
our network stats every 5 minutes from the Cisco routers and switches SNMP. Eventually this will be available online, and if you're really interested,
send an email for a link. There are plans to move in more Linux based services since we now have a C class at our disposal. We are looking into
DNS and mail servers. The DNS needs to become more reliable and RFC compliant as Microsoft isn't. Also, in implementing mail services, we hope to cut
down SPAM much more effectively. Hopefully the next update won't be so far away.
All machines that were Linux are now FreeBSD. We don't run any Linux machines anymore at all. The more talking with industry people revealed that FreeBSD
is the way to go in our use of these servers. There are now many FreeBSD servers performing many tasks on our network now. Most notably is the newest mail server.
It is a Qmail Toaster. It has gone miles in the ways of stopping SPAM and Viruses from coming into our inboxes, and we have already put production sites on the new
mail server. So far we haven't got everyone over to the new mail server, but in time we will. The next step is to move DNS over to FreeBSD servers. We have to decide
which implementation of DNS Server to run. PowerDNS looks pretty good, but it is still fairly new. In reading over this entire page, it seems as though there was a
problem in the past with services being offered by FreeBSD machines and worrying about the security of the boxes. We are over that now and are very comfortable with
the FreeBSD operating systems. We will be implementing many more FreeBSD installs and moving towards a FreeBSD managed network with Windows Servers for those
people that need them. The workstations are still Windows 2000/XP, but we'll eventually get Mac OS/X in here (which is based on FreeBSD) ... but that's a ways away.
Still, Mandrake is the best Linux distro ... we have just found that the Unix flavor of FreeBSD is the best solution in running Internet Servers.
We recently brought up a SuSE box to run a trouble ticket system called OTRS (http://otrs.org). The reason for this was that the
install required many things that by doing it manually on FreeBSD, it became apparent that we should just try the SuSE RPM that was available for the OTRS application. It
required that the web server be owned by OTRS and there are many cron jobs that are run to support the application. We decided to give it its own Linux box and keep it happy.