Selecting Linux Distro for SO/HO server. Please advise. Important but NOT urgent.

This question is not urgent but I would appreciate as complete a solution as I can get.

Here are my software requirements:

Diald or equivalent

My essential functional goals for the distro are:

1) One diald driven gateway for everyone to use
2) A strong firewall to protect everyone
3) Samba to interact with the Windows boxes in my home
4) Print server (maybe this is more Samba???)

Extra 5) As an optional goal, I'm playing with Apache/Ruby/MySQL so that could go on a workstation or server; whatever makes setup easier.
Extra 6) Game server (JKx, NWN, etc) for my kids & me to do LanParties :-)

Also, it would be helpful if the above all came installed by the distro as the default.

I'm making good progress understanding all the details of Linux.  I am still struggling with the whole IP and networking thing.  I have no desire to set up a domain in my home.  I'll always be using dial-up.  I tried using  Mandrake 9.0 installation but am struggling to pull all the pieces together.  Would prefer something that is pre-configured for this kind-of server-duty, one that can do some hand-holding.

My machine is a 650Mhz Compaq w/ 20Gb and 10/100 NIC.

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Redhat carries most of those things default, you will in fact need to install the diald and set that up.  Any reason you haven't gone to a cable modem yet ? I shared a dialup for a few years with my wife and it was a killer.  Setting up the diald is not to bad:

They have a great guide for the diald setup and will walk you through doing it.

In terms of a firewall, will you be allowing anything inbound? Or purley outbound?  You seem interested in how things work and not just getting them to work, so here is a link to a very well documented firewall script, I can show you what to change and it will work well.  There are many many comments, so don't be intimidated by it.

Redhat ships with samaba, it's a simple matter od configuring it and turning it on.
we will need to edit the file /etc/samba/smb.conf

you will need top change the top few lines:# workgroup = NT-Domain-Name or Workgroup-Name
   workgroup = workgroupname
   server string = Josh's File Server
   hosts allow = 192.168.0. 127.

to something like that, and add a share at the bottom for your files

#public share directory
   comment = public share
   path = /home/public
   write list = @family
   browsable = yes
   valid users = @family
   directory mode = 0770
   createmode = 0660
   writable = yes

Then add some user accounts:
groupadd family
useradd -g family dad
passwd dad
<enter password>
smbpasswd -a dad
<enter password>

then turn samba on
chkconfig samba on
and start it
service smb start

Yes, samba will act as a printserver by default - setup the printer on the server and reboot, it will share it to the local workgroup

This is a rough outline, let me know where you want more details and where you want to go - you seem like you want to learn it and not just have it work which I applaud, that's how I started off.

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Some links I forgot to paste:

The samba HOWTO: very good, maybe more then you need

This machine sounds alot like the one i built for myself a few years back, only it was a 233.  But it did modem dialing/sharing, file sharing, firewall and all those other fun things - i loved messing with it, and it was a great feeling once it was working
majorwoo already show you very good way to have what you wanted.

But you can also have a look here for setting up a simple Linux Networking at Home and SOHO, so you having everything in one url and no need to jump around.

I will also suggest you to have one more application which I think you will love to have it, it's called webmin, which is a web base server admin tools and very easy to use and it good enough to manage your server, have a check here, and it's free at the moment, and you can admin your server anytime and anywhere (provided that you have setup the ssl and the secure stuff)

Enjoy you linux :)
Acronis True Image 2019 just released!

Create a reliable backup. Make sure you always have dependable copies of your data so you can restore your entire system or individual files.

Problem with Red Hat is that is going away. Will be replaced by community supported Fedora. Still uncertain what's gonna happen with that.
 You may want to look into installing Slackware. Couple reasons:
1. It will help you understand the whole IP and networking stuff as it is the most pure and plain linux distro around.
2. It has a strong community support, it's newsgroups are full of knowledgeable people.
3. It's not too easy to set up initially but it's challenging and rewarding.

For printing you will use CUPS and SAMBA. Everything else you may configure. My strong leader in Linux distros!

tamillsAuthor Commented:
The accepted answer was not exactly 'hand-holding' or pre-configured as I'd hoped for.  It seems like majorwoos answer will be the best forthcoming.  The firewall script he points to truly is documented well and I recommend it to folks curious about firewalls.

I just got the RH9 cds and will be trying it out on my server at home.

In the future if you feel more information is necessary/wanted feel free to let the experts know and many of them will provide more information.  Was there something more you would like assistance with?  

As I said majorwoo gave you very good way to do what you wanted, and he deserve to have the points.

and yes, if you still need more info just post it in EE and we will try to give out our suggestions for you.

Enjoy your linux life :)
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