Home Network Server


I would like to set up an old 486 as a network server to allow both my home computers to use the cable internet service I am getting.  The 486 has two network cards (a 3Com Ethernet II) and a NE2000 compatiable card.  I need to have samaba running on this machine as well.  My question is how do I setup this computer given it doesn't have a cdrom?  I do have linux setup on another system and am familar with configuring it (making a new kernel, setting up network), however I am unsure of how to install this via floppies onto the 486?  BTW -- Can I do this via ONLY floppies?  In other words-- do I need a harddrive in the 486?  Thanks

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You can set up the 486 as an Internet gateway using only a floppy as the boot medium (no hard disk), see .http://www.linuxrouter.org/ for one really good way. If you want to do something more significant with the system, run samba for instance, then yes you'll need a hard disk in the 486. You can install RedHat over the network easily enough using a CDROM on another system.

 You could always do a net install.  If I remember correctly, Redhat and several of the other distros will allow you to install from an ftp server.  So, just set your other machine up to do ftp for a bit, and make sure it serves the cd in one of the directories.  
  Or, you could do it over your cable modem to an ftp server on the internet.  
  There are special install disks you need to download and create for the net installs.
   Here is my favorite place to get the boot images.  You need bootnet.img.
You can do the ftp install from here:

If you have a pc that has a cdrom, put the hard drive from the 486 into that pc, and install it from there.

Make sure you only use the i386 configuration, and you install the source onto the drive.

Then move the drive back to the intended pc, and recompile the kernel to suit.
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muLinux (http://sunsite.auc.dk/mulinux/)can do what you want, using one floppy (two for the samba, although it might be possible to manually modify it to one floppy). They also support to get your / via NFS in case you want to remove the hard disk and want more features than what is possible on one floppy.
There are also links to similar projects on the page.
nasaAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone for the suggestions -- however I have run into a new problem.  I can not get my EtheRx KNE20T (NE2000 ISA compatitable) to be detected.  I can get the 3Com one to be detected, but I think that might be just luck.  What I mean is that I can only get address 0x300 to be probed!!  No matter what I put in lilo.conf only that address gets looked at.  I have tried ether=0,0x240,0,0xbad,eth0
ether=0,0x300,eth0 ether=0,0x240,eth1
with no luck.  I have booted up with a dos disk and ran the included software and everything works fine.  So what could I be missing?  Thanks
What is the KNE20T configured for (IRQ & IO port)? Also you might need to tell the bios to reserve that IRQ for ISA use in the PCI config area. You might well need to force the card assignments in /etc/conf.modules, there's a section in the Ethernet howto on setting up multiple cards, take a look athttp://howto.tucows.com/LDP/HOWTO/Ethernet-HOWTO.html
Are you saying that during the install you can't get your NE2000 to be detected?  If that is the case, just do the install over the 3com card and configure the other one once the system is up.  It will be a lot easier that way.
nasaAuthor Commented:
Adjusted points from 200 to 300
nasaAuthor Commented:
Well, it turns out that I had to compile the card support as modules and then modprobe them to get it to work (how strange).  This now leads me to some new questions -- How do I get the network started at bootup?  I have installed Redhat 6.0 and I know it has setting to do that sort of thing - but I can't find it.  I looked in /etc/rc.d/rc.sysinit and the init.d/network files with no luck.  I have also looked at the /etc/sysconfig files and didn't find it there.  Where should I be looking?  I have already assigned IP numbers and a Hostname to the computer.  I can bring up the cards with /sbin/ifconfig eth0 (or eth1) IP number up.  Trying to ping anything gives me "neighbour table overflow".  So any help on this would be appreciated.  

BTW:  I am increasing the points as I am getting lots of good help here and I do appreciate it.

Have you been using netconf?  It makes life a lot easier.  What does the output of just "ifconfig" look like?
Are the cards being recognized as network devices at boot? You'll know, even if they aren't being correctly set up for networking by their presence in the output of "ifconfig -a". Assuming for the moment that the cards are useable, bring up linuxconf and configure each of the adapters with it. It knows about all of the files that need to be modified and the adpaters should go live at the next boot.
Are you sure you need a network server?
I have a cable modem and three computers on a passive 10 base t ethernet hub and use DHCP to get an IP address when the machines first connect.  they then co-exist on under tcp/ip and communicate peer-to -peer.  No dedicated server is used.  I am mixing Linux and windows machines with no problem.  Connect the cable modem to the uplink port. (my cable service is roadruner/Time Warner)
If you are using coax, there has to be a 50 ohm terminator at each end of the coax for reliable operation. I don't know any way to achieve that without using a BNC tee and BNC terminator at each end. You can't simply plug the cable into the card.

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nasaAuthor Commented:
Thanks a lot -- that is what I needed.  Once I put the tee's and terminators on everything started to work fine.

Good deal...
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