[svlug] Dude, I feel for ya!!! -- Re: req. for network info

Bryan J. Smith b.j.smith at ieee.org
Sat May 13 12:19:41 PDT 2000

Dude, I feel for ya!!! -- Re: req. for network info

"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?

I was doing this for a ~40 person corporate network back in 1994
with Linux!!!

Samba is the Windows file/print service -- very powerful stuff!
Apache is the Web server, runs >60% of the Internet.
Sendmail is the E-mail server, runs >75% of the Internet (there are
others like QMail, etc...)
And Linux is all kinds of network functionality out-of-the-box
(unlike Windows).

> 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
> telnet)?

For the print, web, E-mail and gateway, a Pentium class system with
as little as 32MB of RAM will do nicely.  For just home use, it will
be adequate for a file server.  You do NOT even have to have a video
card, montior, etc...  You can drive it headless (remember, UNIX has
telnet/console access remotely, or even via a COM port) and I
believe even the new RedHat 6.2 comes with all kinds of web-based
admin tools.  E.g., in my home, the entry point in and out of my
house goes through such a headless box in a closet.

And that's usually it.  The file server is the real kicker on a
corporate network.  I personally want to shoot the consultants who
setup my company's network (before I was there).  I'm fixing it this
summer (new budget).  But "THESEUS.COM" is little more than a $500
headless Celey box.

> My goal in the final phase is to have three printers connected to the
> server,

It will work if you have 3 parallel ports or some other set of
interfaces.  USB is in the new kernel (not officially released
yet).  It will also UPGRADE your printers to POSTSCRIPT.

> one Linux PC, one Windows PC, and a DSL line (or maybe a cable
> modem).

The DSL will be tricky as many providers are playing stupid
Windows-only games.  Tell them you are running Windows NT 4.0 and
that will usually get you the right configuration.  It varies.

> 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.

In the Linux server, you'll just need to networks, one for the
private network (Windows PCs/laptop, etc...) and one for the
Internet (DSL, etc...).

Linux has a unified firewall/NAT/masqerading/filtering/routing
service known as "IPChains" -- it's more powerful that any Windows
firewalling software I know of (even those that cost upto $1,000!). 
It does a MUCH-BETTER-JOB than most commercial Windows software or
those "black box" 

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

Your best bet is to hit your local LUG (SVLUG) and get help on
setup.  There can be some complexity, but no more complexity you
would have with Windows trying to do even 1/4th as much (as it
cannot do as much).

-- TheBS

 Bryan J. Smith    mailto:b.j.smith at ieee.org,thebs at theseus.com
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