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Which Linux to use

Urgent advice required ---

I am new to Linux.
I want a basic Samba server.
The server must have RAID 1.
Later on I want to have a mail server, firewall and so on.
I have versions of Mandrake, Fedora and RH 9.
I seem to prefer the Mandrake but as I said I am new to this.
I just loaded the different versions to have a look how easy they are.
I have two problems:
1. I can pay the $120 or so to get support on Mandrake but I do not know if they can do what I want.
2. I am using Intel SE7210TP1 motherboard but cannot get the RAID option to work. So can I implement S/W RAID (answer is probably yes) but then how do I do that with Mandrake or if Fedore is a better option, then how on Fedora?

I also need training on Linux. I do not have to money to pay out the $1500 to $2000 for classroom training. I ordered a book on Mastering RH9. Will that help me much or are there other ways. My background is Novell (up to V5) and Microsoft. I have no Unix exposure.
Alex Angus
Alex Angus
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4 Solutions
You should be able to download raid drivers for rh 9.0 here - http://downloadfinder.intel.com/scripts-df/Filter_Results.asp?selCat=all&strOSs=All&ProductID=1640&page_nbr=2 
The best book you could ever buy is a free download which you can get here - http://ftp.sun.ac.za/ftp/linux/docs/rute.pdf
I personally wouldnt pay for support - all the info you need is on the net.
Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
Even though ownsleftfoot may be right that you can find all the information on the net, this still does not mean that everybody can actually use this information. When you have support from your Linux distributor, you don't have to follow all mailing lists and news groups. You don't have to be an expert in all things Linux, and you don't have to spend a huge amount of time to just keep track of e.g. all security related patches for the applications you use. In general, it pays to have some soft of support from your Linux distribution. Especially if you don't have any Unix background.

This rules out RedHat 9. RedHat stopped support for all their desktop products earlier this year. This means that you will no longer get official security updates.

If you buy e.g. Mandrake or SuSE, you will get updates for your operating system.

The page that ownsletfoot quoted only has RAID drivers for RedHat Enterprise Linux (and RH9, which again you should not consider as an option). If you want to buy a Linux distribution, REL is certainly an option.

You can use software RAID on any Linux system: http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Software-RAID-HOWTO.html
Alex AngusDirectorAuthor Commented:
In the meantime I loaded Fedora 2 and have been playing with it. I found an option to set the RAID via software. It seems to have configured but I get an error when it starts up. It goes by so fast I cannot read it and I do not know how to get that startup script back to read it. I seem to remember someone telling me it was a function key but I tried some and my combo's do not work.

How do I know if the RAID is working. I see files and so on and there seems to be only "one drive" so to speak. Befoer I could always see the two. How can I check if the drives are both healthy? Or will it tell me if one fails?

Must say Fedora does not seem bad at all. At least for what I need, if I can just get the Samba to work. Have just started with it and can now see the samba server from an XP workstation after changing the IP address. I would like to have DHCP server but still have to find that as well.

So if you could advise on the RAID questions above I would appreciate it.
Am also looking at the HOWTO and will try that on Mandrake.
Am also downloading the book pdf and will look at that as well.

I guess I better start another question on the Samba and DHCP questions.

Thanks for your help so far.
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Alex AngusDirectorAuthor Commented:
Oh, just another comment on buying Mandrake or SuSE.

I tried to buy SuSE from a local distributors and had terrible response. I called on Tuesday and still do not have an answer from them. I also called the local Novell office here in Johannesburg and had even less of a response. So I decided no way am I spending money on their stuff. And I used to be a Novell fan.

Not sure who could supply Mandrake but one of the Linux companies locally cut a copy for me of the download, as well as Fedora 2.
Sorry to hear you've had a bad experience with SUSE. I just installed it (9.1 Professional) on a Dell Optiplex and it went VERY smoothly. The install pretty much nailed the hardware on the head and I spent more time deciding what packages I wanted installed and resolving dependencies when I removed packages I prolly ought not to have than I spent on the rest of the install. Allow me to suggest you give them another bite at the apple, and this time try to get ahold of someone in the Johannesburg office who is paying attention. I think you might be rewarded on the back end.
I like fedora.  I use several other distos to but FC2 works well.  

You can look in /etec/raidtab to see your raid configuration if mkraid was used to setup your raid device.  My guess is that it was.  the command df may tell you some thing but I have never used it on a raid box.  (df gives you size info on your disks.)

I also agree with the comment above that sometimes support is worth the money.

SAMBA is a powerfull and flexible tool.  What do you want to do with it, share files, printers, roaming profiles, Domain Control?  I can give you a quick tutorial or som example configs but the best advise is a book you can download for free or buy pretty cheap.
Alex AngusDirectorAuthor Commented:
Thanks, PsiCop. I was hoping that Novell would be awake, but it looks like the local office is not. I gave them 4 days and I think that is enough. I got to install this at client site on Monday or Tuesday latest. So I do not have any more time to give them.

DktrYes, thnaks for the commands to try, but how do I get to that command line mode please?

The Samba problem is this: I can ping the Fedora server and even see the server on one PC with explorer, but no access is allowed.

I just want to use the Linux server as a file server with mapped drive from the Windows PC. No security or anything like that required. It will be an isolated system. Can you help?
You need to edit /etc/samba/smb.conf. Edit the workgroup name to be the same as the workgroup your windows pcs are on. Change the  security setting from user to share. Have a look at the example shares. Every share which has a public = yes or can be accessed by anyone on your network. After you have made the changes do  "service smb restart".
Hi alexangus,

Sorry sometimes we assume too much.  Any command for linux will be entered on a shell window similar to the dos window you get if you click run from the start menu type cmd and hit enter.  A linux shell window can be opened by clicking the big read hat on the tool bar, go to system tools then Terminal.  This will open a window that looks somewhat like DOS and you can enter commands there.

ownsleftfoot gave you a good start to edit your /etc/samba/smb.conf file.  This is a text file and any editor can edit it.  The only trick is you must be root to edit the file.  From the terminal window you can type the command "su" and enter the root password then you will have root authority until you log out of that session.  Unfortunately command line text editors are a bit cryptic.  I use vi to make quick edits in files like these but it is hard for the first time user.  I would not suggest it unless you were just practicing on an unimportant file.

Since you are using FC2  why don't you try the SAMBA Server configuration panel in the ->
Hat->System settings->Server Settings->Samba

Enter the root password and you can add users and set up folders to share.  This is a graphical tool to do what ownsleftfoot suggested in his post.  Most of us Linux guys don't use the GUI tools because they are new.  Actually I love GUIs but I haven't used this one so I can't recommend it wholeheartedly but if it works it is a much better solution than a crash course in command line use and using vi.

Let us know how it goes.  I'll be in and out all weekend if you can try anything before Monday.

Alex AngusDirectorAuthor Commented:
done all these things but still cannot access the server.

Made the workgrourp "Office" on both Windows and defined it in Smb.conf
Made sure I logged in as root on the Fedora server.
Went to the GUI interface and added the users called "samba" and "alex" to the Samba users.

On the folder \home\accounts specify everybody can access this folder and it is RW.

Restart the smb service

Log in at PC as samba or alex and can see the server but when I click on it I get access denied.
So I do not see the folder accounts at all.

workgroup = OFFICE
server string = Samba Server
printcap name =  /etc/printcap
load printers = yes
encrypt passwords = yes
smb password file = /etc/samba/smbpasswd

#--------share definitions
guest ok = yes
path = /home/accounts

comment = Windows applications
path = /home/accounts
guest ok = yes
writable = yes

Stuck at this point.
On the FC2 server you have to add the users you want to have access to the samba password file and the unix password file etc/passwd.

The Unix passwd file is created when you ad a user to FC2 the samba passwd is done with the following command.

smbpasswd -a username

The samba users are listed in etc/samba/smbpasswd.


smbpasswd -a alex

and set a password that is the same on the windows boxes and you should be cookin.
Did you remember to change security to share?
Alex AngusDirectorAuthor Commented:
Yes, did that.
Update: Reloaded the system and this time disabled firewall, where last time I enabled it.
When I now want to access the share on the Linux samba server it asks for a password for a guest login. The guest login is greyed out and cannot be changed no matter whom I login as.
I have followed all suggestions including changing registry on XP box, but still get the login as guest.

I do not have much hair left at my age but the last few days has depleted the sparse crop even more.

Alex AngusDirectorAuthor Commented:
Tried it with user level login and it works. Just added the user alex to the accounts group and added to the samba users. Then changed folder properties access from "allow access to everyone" to user alex.
Left the smb config file as it was.
So this must eliminate some questions.
Now, how to change it to allow anybody access?
If this does not work I will create users for everyone, but would like to avoid this.
Alex AngusDirectorAuthor Commented:
Go to my question "Samba wants guest password" so I can allocate points.
i need start up my linux whith VIEWM, but i dont now how. Anybody can heelp mi?

If you have a separate Question, then you really need to open your own Question in this TA.
I just want to mention that you can download SUSE trial versions from the novell site, and you should also be able to buy these products online, so there shouldn't really be any need to get into personal touch with anyone in Joburg or wherever.

As for the distro to use, they all work and it mainly comes down to what suits you best, particularly in its look and feel. Most distros have their own tools to configure the system, so that is also something to look at.

As for the problem with Hardware raid, you mentioned that didn't work. Why is that? Maybe you just need to get in touch with intel support, maybe you need some tool or utility for that?
Alex AngusDirectorAuthor Commented:
Fedora seems to be quite user friendly. More so than the 3 others I have seen. It does what I need, even RAID and all of it is in GUI screens, so very easy to configure, even Samba, although in the end I had to make some changes to the .conf file.  It may be a different story to set up other functions or servers, but then nothing in Linux is as easy as Windows servers/desktops.

I must say I am enjoying the learning curve and especially the help available. I am now setting up an experimantal mini-site with a server and two workstations. Just to see what I can do with it and how it can be used. Maybe I can sell it  to small network users and startups.

I can see that there is so much scope to custimize GUI environments for Linux. I guess in the end that is what will hit Microsoft the most, when it becomes more user friendly.

I guess some day I may have a need to look at SUSE again, but right now Fedora does it all for me.

Thanks to everyone for their help. This is such a great forum.

P.S. Sorted the hardware RAID - I can get to the setup screen if I boot the board in verbose mode. With normal splash screen you do not see the Adaptec prompt for setup.
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