[svlug] req. for network info

Ray Olszewski ray at comarre.com
Thu May 11 09:12:18 PDT 2000

At 10:47 AM 5/11/00 -0400, Cruz, John J wrote:
>I'm planning a home Linux network.  But before I dive into this project
>could the network experts please point me in the correct direction to the
>following assumptions:
>Is it proper to believe that one PC can be:
>	a printer server?
>	a file server?
>	a web server?
>	an email server?
>	a gateway?

Yes. The same machine can do all of the above tasks. Having them all on one
host raises some security concerns, but they are really no greater (at least
in a home setting) than for any situation in which a single computer is
connected to the Internet. Any of the major distributions should serve; my
personal preference is for Debian, though it can be a bit intimidating to

>If these assumptions are correct, how much memory and hard disk space would
>the PC required?  What clock speed should the CPU operate at?  Can I
>configure the server remotely (e.g., from any connected PC via a browser or

That depends on the details. 

For hard disk ... how big is the Web site to be? How many files, and how
big, do you want to "serve"? How big will the print queue be? How big will
the mail queue be? These are the things that determine requirements for hard
disk space. But it's hard to find a hard drive these days that's under 10
gigs, and that is plenty for about any home network I can imagine. 

For memory ... also hard to be precise, but 64 megs would typically be
ample, and in many cases even 32 megs would suffice.  

You might consider running a firewall/router that is separate from your
general-purpose server. You can use ipportfq or ipmasqadm (kernel 2.0.x and
2.2.x respectively) to forward incoming traffic to a mail and Web server; I
assume you won't want off-site hosts to be able to access files and printers.

A simple, dedicated router/firewall can be minuscule. The Linux Router
Project (http://lrp.c0wz.com), for example, has a basic distribution
(several variants, actually) that fits on one floppy and runs on a 486 with
12 megs of RAM and no hard disk. Other router-centric distributions are
coyote and freesco.

>My goal in the final phase is to have three printers connected to the
>server, one Linux PC, one Windows PC, and a DSL line (or maybe a cable
>modem).  The server and PC's will be interconnected with Ethernet cards and
>a hub.  I will also from time to time bring my work laptop and "direct
>connect" to the Windows PC for use of the printers, file server, etc.

Most of this is a fairly standard home network. Running 3 printers off the
server is a lot (is it still even possible to get the *hardware* for 3
parallel ports on a PC?). I don't know how to "direct connect" a laptop to a
Windows PC, but it hardly sounds like a Linux question anyway.

>I have read the April issue of Linux Magazine that describes a similar home
>network but I need more basic information then presented.

If you have specific questions, this is a place to pose them. I don't read
Linux Journal, so I don't know how basic the information you read was,
making it hard to be "more basic". You might find it useful to consult
various of the HowTos and other documents that can be found at
http://www.linuxdoc.org/ .

------------------------------------"Never tell me the odds!"---
Ray Olszewski                                        -- Han Solo
Palo Alto, CA           	 	         ray at comarre.com        

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