Linux/Win9x networking


I'm going to build a small network with some Win9x OS, and Linux as a server. Server will be also web server (apache), printer, mail,..., the server will be the only one connected to outside world. Because I have no expiriences on Linux:
Which distribution is better for such service? And which software is also needed to bild such network?

And another question: Do I need a router, firewall and something else?

By Peter Lukan

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Firewall's can interfear with Networking so its importent to get it right, and really you should have one, if things go wrong (cant connect) then remove the firewall as a process of elimination. If you want to share internet access so itis available on all machines, then you will need special sofware, (surch the net).
Why do you want to use Linux? I can think of other OS's that im sure you'll be happy to use (why use Linux if your not used to it!?)......
Linux would be a perfect solution for what you're talking about.  What your best be probably is, is to setup the Linux machine with NAT (network address translation). This will allow you to share the internet connection of the Linux box with the interior network.  In this case, the Linux machine would actually act like a router.  However, if you want only the linux machine to be connected to the internet, you will probably need to set it up with 2 network for the external network (internet), and one for the internal network (LAN).

Your only problem is probably going to be that there are literally hundreds of different ways you could set this up.  You could use a fairly cheap machine and use it like a router with either a *nix distribution, or a pre-built distribution like FreeSCO (  But since you want Apache and mail support, you're probably better of to go with a full blown distribution.  If you're new to linux, there are some distributions that are easier to use than others for new users.  Mandrake and Red Hat are probably two of the most popular dists that are user friendly.

Be aware, that with linux your machine can function as the router, firewall, AND run all of your servers.  All you would need is a switch to connect your linux machine with your Windows machines.  Some of these things may require you to recompile the linux kernel (change the built in settings).

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I want to do something similar at home if I can get Linux to work with my Cable Modem. I am using RedHat 8.0 Pro at work. The RPM packages are easy to install. How many PCs in your network?  You may want at least a hub so you can have multiple PCs attached to your Linux box. You'll need to setup SAMBA and Winbind for integrating your Linux and Windows systems. I would do it with 2 network cards in your Linux Server; 1 for the internet connection and the other connected to a hub that your PCs access your server through.
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