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Full walk-through of any kind?

Posted on 2003-02-27
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Please excuse this essay type question!!

I have recently started using MySQL in Windows, as a back end for our Windows applications, and found it to be an amazing alternative to MS SQL. After a few months I was tempted to try it out on Linux, something I haven't really used or been involved with before. The last time I tried Linux was a few years back, and after several atempts to install (which didnt work out for me) I decided to stop wasting my time, and put 98 back on.

However, now I have installed RH8, which now comes with a fantastic installer, though it leaves a few things down to me, the end user, which have started to confuse me a bit.

I've used a lot of computers in the past, and was an avid fan of Amigas, and this is the first time I have been genuinely keen to learn about PC's for a long time. I havent even got round to installing MySQL yet, as I've been so interested in the other things Linux has to offer.

I would like to eventually become a guru in all things Linux, and start developing for the platform aswell. However, at the moment, I require a bit of help!

Basically....

I have a linux PC running as a PDC and Samba, and it all works fine. I want to expand the use of this computer, and have it as an IMAP email server, and setting up send mail is even more complex than Samba. I also want to have it working as the PDC still, and have Apache running.

As I am using ADSL (btopenworld) I dont have a fixed ip address, or domain name. Can I use the server to collect email from my mailserver (from a registered externally hosted domain), and store it locally, for more than one user?

On the Windows 2K PC, I have dynamic dns (www.dyndns.org), so I can always find the route to the PC from the outside world.

Are there any tutorials out there, that are easy to follow? Most tend to start off quite simply, then quickly turn in to assembly code.

Currently, this is my set-up:

* Sony Vaio - Win XP Laptop (for General use and development in VS6) 2 x 20gb Partitions
* P2 333 - Win 2000 (Previous server) 40gb.
* AMD K6 2 - Red Hat 8, 4gb.

* Speedtouch USB ADSL (currently on Win 2k P2)
* Lexmark Z45 Printer (doesnt seem to be supported in Linux)

They are all linked up and talking to eachother fine, and as I said, using Linux as the PDC and roaming profiles works great (took about 10 installs to get this right!).

There is a 40gb, NTFS disk in the P2 (only picked up as 30gb due to bios issues) - which I want to transfer to the Linux box, and have as my main disk. Then I want to put 98 back on the P2, as it has a nice graphics card which is good for games.

Linux doesnt support NTFS properly (or does it?) so I cant just move it. Are there any converters?

I also want to transfer the modem to the linux box, something I have already had working (great script from sourceforge), though it stops working on large downloads, so I have put it back on the WinPC, and set up a gateway.

All the computers would need to have internet access, and it would be great to have everything as secure as possible.

Also... What benefits will using DNS bring?

I will make what-ever changes people recommend (serious recommendations only!) and dont mind swapping hardware etc.

Any help or suggestions, much appreciated!!

Phew!!
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Question by:SamEdney
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jimbb earned 2000 total points
ID: 8039300
Hi Sam, sounds like you've gotten a lot done on your own, congrats for that!  Some of the things you've already accomplished are not the easiest things to do, so you're off to a good start.

Now, as for your e-mail question, Yes, you can do that.  But there are many ways to do it!  One would be to run an SMTP service on your system, and have the mail sent to your machine (using the dyndns address you've got), initiated by the remote system.  Depending on the setup of the remote system, you could even "kick the queue" at intervals you choose by sending them an ETRN.  (They may not support it though.)

Another way (if the mail is all stored in a single remote mailbox) would be to use a scriptable POP3 client (getmail or fetchmail for example) to download it to your local system and distribute it to your local users' mailboxes.

Another option would be to make your machine the MX (mail exchanger) in DNS for your domain, and deliveries will come directly to your system with no intermediary.

Of course, the absolute easiest thing to do would probably be to just allow internal POP3 clients to connect to their own accounts on the remote server and not bother with any mail service on your system, but you have to decide what is appropriate for your situation.

Linux can perform NTFS _reads_ reliably, but trying to do _writes_ to an NTFS filesystem can damage the filesystem.  There are some converters though, such as Partition Magic.  I believe it can convert from NTFS to FAT32 or whatever, if that's what you want to do.

As for security, turn off all unneeded services, set up a packet filter, and if any of your remaining services only need to be accessed from the inside, then bind those daemons only to your internal IP _and_ make sure those ports are blocked from outside access by your packet filter.  On top of those measures, the daemon may support some other access controls you can use to provide an additional layer of protection.  The more layers the better.

I'm not sure I follow you on the question about DNS.
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by:SamEdney
ID: 8040661
Hi JimBB. Thanks for the info. I'll look up some details on the email software.

With regards to the DNS, I am unsure of what it does exactly. Actually... Hmmm. I am familiar with it does, but I dont know why it really benefits anyone.

The current set up is as follows:

Jupiter (RH 8)     192.168.1.1
Mars (Win 2k)      192.168.1.2
Mercury (Win XP)   192.168.1.3

They are all in a Windows domain called Space, controlled by Jupiter.

If I want to access any of the computers, I can simply browse in the Network neighbourhood for them, or use their IP address.

Now, this is a testbed network, and lets just imagine it there are 100PC's (I'd have to research some planet names!).

What does using a DNS server on Jupiter give me? I know what a DHCP server does, but I dont really need this. I like the idea of having fixed IP addresses.
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by:SamEdney
ID: 8040668
Sorry... Does Linux use FAT32 for its filesystem then?

I know it can read FAT disks, but I thought it had a clever file system of its own.

The reason for this is that I want to keep all the data on the disk, but serve it from the Linux box. Currently there is about 25 gb of databases (that I also have on CD etc) and mp3's that I dont have backed up (I know!!!!).
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by:jimbb
ID: 8043314
A DNS server just translates a hostname (abc.xyz.com) to an IP address.

One reason for possibly wanting to run one on your network is to provide caching of name lookups that your systems are doing.  Rather than repeatedly querying your ISP's DNS servers, you'd run a cache on one of your boxes and your other machines would query it instead.  But it's not a big deal to not have one.

Linux can use one of several filesystems for its native storage, but the major ones are EXT3 and EXT2.  Run 'mount' to see which you are using for your filesystems.

Linux can read and write FAT(32|16) filesystems no problem.
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by:SamEdney
ID: 8087117
So what is the difference between using WINS and DNS on a local domain?

Is there any point having DNS?

Would it be so that from the outside world, using my dyndns.org account, I could access...

jupiter.xxx.dyndns.org
mars.xxx.dyndns.org
mercury.xxx.dyndns.org

(where xxx is my registered domain)

...and then even further...?

www.mars.xxx.dyndns.org
ftp.mars.xxx.dyndns.org

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by:SamEdney
ID: 8682697
As no response for a while, and I have expanded on the original question - I had better dish out the points...

Thanks Jim.

Sam
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