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I need a little advice now, and probably a lot more in the future!:rolleyes: I am new to Linux, and use Windows XP right now, although my current opinion is that MS-DOS is the best OS ever invented.:mrgreen: I also know next to nothing about programming, although I would like to learn some. Anyway, I have an old ALR server which I intend to play with in the future. It will be running 4 200MHz/512k Pentium Pro CPUs, approximately 21 GB of SCSI HDD space (two 4.5 GB, one 2.1 GB, and one 10 GB), and as much RAM as I can come up with to cram into it. I intend to use it as a web server (just something to play with), maybe a personal e-mail server, and an internet gateway, preferably firewalled, for everything on my home network. As I already stated, this is all just for me to play with, nothing that will be professionaly used. I am on a pretty tight budget (I'm married!:-| ), so money is definately an issue. Finally, I am not afraid to "get my hands dirty", or learn new things. With all that said, what would be the best version for me? I already have three different releases of Mandrake (7.0, 8.0, and 8.2, if I remember correctly), but I have never really done anything with them. So what do ya'll think? Probably that I need professional (psychiatric) help, but that's for another thread.:lol: Thanks in advance for any advice!

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Last Post by KF4SQB
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I assume you are running XP on a different box. To start getting familliar with linux I suggest you try out some live CD's on your main box. It won't install anything to your hard drive unless you tell it to, and you will have a chance to compare some different distro's and learn how to move around and do some basic tasks.

Then try those same cd's in the server, see which ones recognize the hardware and initialize properly. Many of the live cd's have an install feature, so when you find one you want to try you can install it easilly.

I would partition those 4.5's as my data partition so I could change distro's on my system drive (I'd use the 10) without any data loss concerns.

Just a couple tips, here is some info on some live cd's http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=9569

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Hello,

I prefer RedHat/Fedora and also SuSE. The Live CD's are a good choice, but I have a feeling you want to get into it, and tinker, and not have to do things over when you shut down for the night.

And if you want to do packet radio with TCP/IP over your TNC, let me know. Can show you how to compile the kernel and make the doo-dads to get it working.

Although I would argue that TCP/IP at 1200 buad is really slow, it does help in a city where there is a river between house and the "community shack", and we want to do something with the server...

You can get Fedora moving with a 500 MHz or so machine. RAM is important.

Christian

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First off, I am running WinXP on all of my PCs. The Linux will be installed on a server, all by it's self. Compleatly seperate machines. I would, however, like to be able to use terminal services through XP to access and make changes to the server. A printer is no big deal, as it will be used as a webserver, but the networking, "wired", is, of course, a very big deal. I guess by "live CDs", ya'll mean a CD that can boot and run the OS? Interesting idea. I'll check that out maybe. Any good sources to download images of live CDs? Might be worth playing with as a starting point. Thanks for the suggestions so far!

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1. Downloadable ISO of many distros are available at www.linuxiso.org, including an ISO for Knoppix, a popular "Live CD" distro (and yes- you got the definition of a Live CD right).

2. In terms of remote connectivity from/to Windows boxen, there are a few different options; SSH/Putty, rdesktop, or one of the many flavors of VNC are popular ways to go.

3. Networking should definitely not be a problem, just make sure that the particular chipset your NIC uses is supported under Linux. Just ask us if you're unsure on that.

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It really depends on what you are wanting to do with the server, as far as networking, *nix was *designed* to be a network OS, so you shouldn't have any issues there, Fedora and CentOS are both really neat, personally I use gentoo/slackware however that isn't a lot of people's cup of tea. Keep in mind that most of the live CD's are debian based.

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I have a (very) old compaq proliant 1600 server and have installed red hat - fedora core. It came with masses of software and I got mine with a book for about £30. I had never used linux before but install was very easy.you can use it for lots of thinks such as linking to windows networks and web/mail servering. Partitioning was easy and you dont even have to install a GUI if you dont want to. The only problem I had was with my graphics card. The default settings are for high - res with many colours but servers arent usually that hight tech. The recommended spec is quite high but I got mine running OK.

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Well all, here's where I stand as of right now on this project. I have downloaded and installed Mandrake 10.1. It isn't installed on my server yet. I have it installed on a regular PC, PIII @ 550 MHz, trying to learn how to use it before I do the install on the server. I've hit a few bumps, but I am doing better than I did with the Mandrake 8.2 I tried to begin with. My main problem right now is that I don't know the "command line" commands, or which program to use to do various things. I have a couple of old book on Unix a friend of mine gave me. He used to work for a phone company, and the books were made by AT&T. One of them even covers the whole history of the Unix system. Very interesting. I am working on reading them right now, and hopefully, I can learn a little more about what I am doing. Thanks for everyone's help up to this point! I sure hope it's worth all the trouble in the end!

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Since Linux is a UNIX variant, a book on UNIX can give you some good general info and background. However- file/folder structures, command syntax, and many other things vary not only between the AT&T and BSD UNIX, but also between different versions of UNIX variants like Linux as well.

The threads in this search link will give you many more suggestions for online and hardcopy Linux resources:

http://www.justlinux.com/forum/search.php?action=showresults&searchid=1080882&sortby=lastpost&sortorder=descending

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If you want to use your box as a router I would strongly recommend IPCop (exceedingly easy to setup). But if you just wanna learn about linux and get your hands dirty, I would definatly suggest Gentoo, They just give you the dirt and instruct you how to make something out of it.

LiveCD's are good, but there easy to cop out on if you have a problem. (expesaly since you really have limited access to what you can change).

Mandrake etc are good for a first time, Yet i wouldn't wanna try them on a 200Mhz box.

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My suggestion is to use Slackware. Albeit, I am a bit partial to it, but there is a good reason. Alot of the distros out there try to lure users in with a GUI and easy to use options. However, what you don't know is that something that big has problems like Windows...there are SO many processes that are running that you really don't know what process is secure and what is it. Slack on the other hand, does ONLY what you tell it to do and to secure it, you just have to comment/uncomment things in a few text files. And honestly, that does not take much work at all.

For secure servers, Slack is best because you don't lose any functionality to your GUI but you are in more control. The only scary thing is the text-based install (Lots of blue screens with white words) but they really aren't so bad, just read the prompts.

Regardless of which distro you use, there are loads of people (myself included) who love helping out newbs as they learn Linux. This site, and other sites like LinuxQuestoins.org are chock full of information to help you!

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Just got Slackwhere box running as an Xwindows terminal.. worked good for that, Its great for minimalistic instlalls (in some respects, the aweful package managment system is the biggest downside).

If you have the time Gentoo is great, You will learn a hell of a lot just instlling it (make certain you follow the installation guide :P)

Gentoos package management is awesome, If your willing to wait for things to compile :).

Debain is also great very customizable (alot more then slack, Yet I think less then gentoo) apt-get is a great package management system.

But really, Gentoo is the best hand dirtying system in the world :)
Easyness to install slackware prolly wins over gentoo :P

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I have downloaded and tried to install Apache on my Linux box, and un-tar'ing the thing is as far as I can get. The documentation that came with it says that it has to be compiled, and that there is a script to compile it with it. I can't find it. Even if I did find it, how do I run it? Every thing I try to run, it asks me what I want to use to open it. How am I supposed to run any program? If I knew what I needed to open it, I wouldn't need an operating system!

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Read the INSTALL that should be in the directory that you untared

You Prolly Install it as such

$./configure
$make
$sudo make install

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It sounds like you are trying to compile it from the GUI (KDE or Gnome). This cannot be done very easily, to compile it you need to run the commands Paul stated from the terminal (or command prompt).

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Apache is an exceedingly popular server, I would be exceedingly suprised if it wasn't already supplyed with your distrobution.

I would check out my distrabutions Package Management System, before attempting to compile from the source..

I think in suse you use Yast
gentoo you use emerge
ubuntu you use synaptic
debian apt-get

If you state what your distrabution is, someone will very likly know how to install apache on it.

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Apache is an exceedingly popular server, I would be exceedingly suprised if it wasn't already supplyed with your distrobution.

Yes. It wouldn't have actually been installed on your system during the installation unless you you specifically chose to do a Server or Custom install, but the pre-compiled (ready to run) Apache package is probably included on your install disks.

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I did install as a server package. I don't remember seeing Apache as an option to install when I installed it, but I will go back and look.

As for what distro I am running, Paul, I've already stated that a few times earlier. I'm running Mandrake 10.1. In fact, you replied earlier that Mandrake probably isn't a good choice for the 200 MHz server I am planning to eventually install it to. BTW, why is it not a good choice for that? Too slow a processor? I do want something reliable, and would like to correct as many problems as possible before I even get started.;)

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The commercial version of Mandy 10.1 is a three-tiered product. The most basic package (the "Discovery" package) unfortunatley does not included Apache, but the more advanced packages (Powerpack/Powerpack+) should.
According to info on Mandrake/Mandriva's site, the download version of 10.1 should also include Apache 2.0.50.

Have a browse through your installation package again and see if you can find Apache hiding there somewhere.

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Mandrake probably isn't a good choice for the 200 MHz server I am planning to eventually install it to. BTW, why is it not a good choice for that? Too slow a processor? I do want something reliable, and would like to correct as many problems as possible before I even get started.;)

I think you hit it on the head. Despite the fact that it is a Linux system and Linux uses the RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) architecture, it is a very resource intensive application. Thusly,on that kind of processor even if you had 1GB of RAM it would still hog too much resources to make it feasible.

You wouldn't install Windows Server 2003 on a 200mhz would you?

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Linux uses the RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) architecture,

Not quite. The instruction set, be it RISC or CISC, is hardware dependent. Specifically, it is determined by the type of processor.

All CPUs used in PCs (Intel, AMD, Cyrix, etc.; doesn't matter) are CISC-based, and although the newer generations of these CPUs incorporate RISC functions, they are not true RISC chips but CISC-RISC hybrids. True RISC-based CPUs architectures include the PowerPC, SPARC, and Alpha processors.

In order for any operating system to run on either type of platform, it has to be written specifically for that platform, or ported to that platform. The Good Thing is that the Linux OS is available for all of the above platforms. :)

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In fact, you replied earlier that Mandrake probably isn't a good choice for the 200 MHz server I am planning to eventually install it to. BTW, why is it not a good choice for that? Too slow a processor?...

The newer versions of Linux distros are, in general, too bloated to use on Pentium systems of that era, especially if you choose one of the default installation options. You definitely can run the new versions on such machines, but in order to get the most performance out of boxen that old you'll need to do a custom install in order to avoid installing resource-hungry components that you don't really need.

Your situation is a not quite normal though, because you originally said that you wanted to install Linux on a quad-processor ALR system. That could pose a bit of a dillema, because quad-processor support in the newer versions of Linux is definitely better than in older versions, but regardless, you might have to jump through some kernel-compile hoops to get things to happen on such a beast.

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All CPUs used in PCs (Intel, AMD, Cyrix, etc.; doesn't matter) are CISC-based, and although the newer generations of these CPUs incorporate RISC functions, they are not true RISC chips but CISC-RISC hybrids. True RISC-based CPUs architectures include the PowerPC, SPARC, and Alpha processors.

Don't forget that power saving butiful processor created by digital, the strongarm :)

The newer versions of Linux distros are, in general, too bloated to use on Pentium systems of that era, especially if you choose one of the default installation options. You definitely can run the new versions on such machines, but in order to get the most performance out of boxen that old you'll need to do a custom install in order to avoid installing resource-hungry components that you don't really need.

Avoiding installing Desktop Enviroments (KDE/GNOME) and if you wish to use X use a farly minimal window manager. Apache etc. should work well and a GUI isn't really needed. X does run fine on a 200mhz box ( Set a 133mhz up as an X-Terminal Last week :)) .

200Mhz is fine for a linux box really as long as you don't want all the bells and wistles.

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You wouldn't install Windows Server 2003 on a 200mhz would you?

Actually, I wouldn't install Windows Server 2003 on anything!:eek:

Seriously, though, would I be better off with a different distro for the 200 MHz box? I'm not nessasarily "dedicated" to Mandrake, it's just what I downloaded. I'm not at all opposed to trying a different distro, I just haven't. I'm not really interested in bells and whistles, this machines' only purpose in life will be a webserver, and maybe a firewall for the rest of my machines. I have already seen lots of suggestions for a distro, but which one will play the best with the 200 MHz machine? Just a reminder, this is an ALR Revolution 6X6 server with quad 200 MHz, 512 kb Pentium Pro processors.

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No halm in trying mandrake, Just try to make it a very minimalistic install.. If you don't succseed you can always try another distro.

I think im with Aykon that slackware may be your best bet. But the real trick really is making certain you don't install to much, and not having more services running then needs be... I personly bleave SSH would be a great service to have running since you could use your current windows box for interfacing with the machine by putty(google it, easy to find) it might be more convenient then having to change machines all the time, Plus you can use your current web browser etc to search for stuff on running and configuring linux insted of installing one (dunno how well moden webbrowsers work on that processing power)..

So go minimal, and if you don't succseed, try another distro..

Definatly don't install Gnome or KDE, desktop enviroments.. Fluxbox, Blackbox, twm (exceedingly old :D), sawmill or window maker should all be great choices for window manages, ( I would suggest window maker... I have a soft spot, Its a clone on NextSTEP/OpenSTEP that mac os x is based on ).

Try installing firefox if you have enough room, It might run ok..

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Yup, after reading what you have said and what Paul has said, Slackware with a minimal install would be quite well suited to your purposes. And as for what X to use, I find myself more prone to using FluxBox when needing an environment of this type. In a weird way it is sort of remniscient of OS/2 Warp...but that may be my own delusional view.

Try slack out and of course, don't be afraid to ask questions here, I love helping folks try out Slack!

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Slackware sounds like a winner to me. I've found somewhere to download it, http://lmlinux.com/distros/slackware/, but which version do I need? Do you think I should go ahead and download the most recent, 10.1, or an older release, since this will be run on an older box?

Possibly another bit of information that maybe I should've included to begin with, is some of the equipment I plan to interface with the server. Mainly, a Meridian "CD-NET" CD-ROM tower. This unit currently has a 166 MHz Pentium based Mobo in it, although I plan to try to upgrade it to 200 MHz, and 14 SCSI CD-ROM drives. I would like to be able to use this unit as a "network storage device", with the CD-ROM drives "visible" to internet users. Think Slackware will handle this? What OS should I run on this box? It currently has Windows2000 Server on it.

Thanks for all of everyones' help so far!

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