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Redhat Linux 9 installation types advice

Hi all, i am sure this question has been asked a zillion times before but I could not find anything that appropriately answered my intended question.

Here is the scenario I am working on a Unix backup utility and I need to set the testing ground for this.  I am expected to have two machines that will have standard user accounts on them, tools and suchlike.  Also I have to create a machine that will interact with these two other machine and in effect will become the repository for all of the files that will be backed up.

I may give the users access to the files on the backup machine at a later date so I want to have the functionality that they can connect to the machine to view their files that have been backed up!  

Therefore for each case I would like some advice on what Installation type I should use for 1) Backup machine 2) Users machine.

Also can you please advise me on what software I should install with the distributions, e.g. SSH, text editors and so on.  


I want to be able to create scripts on the User machines that will compile a text file of all of the files that need to be backed up at a certain interval and this will be run by using cron.  Then at some point, perhaps for example in the middle of the night the server connects to these machines and looks in the file to see what needs to be backed up!  It will then go through the text file copying the files from their relevant locations to the Backup machine over SSH or using SCP.  

I want to be bale to use a database too to store these files in and be able to scrutinise the database at a later date to see what has been backed up and where it has been saved to.

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2 Solutions
Your question is a bit broad -- you're asking what to install when we don't really know what your users will be doing.  To make this simple, you said that you were going to do two machines for users, so choose workstation installations (that's one of the selections you'll get when you install).  If you miss a package then it's not too difficult to add it after the fact.

As to your backup machine,  a server isntallation should do the trick.  For a backup program you're really reinventing the wheel if you try to do it yourself.  The program you want to use for backing up the files from your user boxes to your backup machine is called "rsync" (http://rsync.samba.org) .    It is an exquisitely efficient program that can easily keep data sychronized between machines.   Most likely it will be installed already on a workstation installation.  To make this backup even more useful, employ a perl script called "rsnapshot" (http://www.rsnapshot.org) which is based on rsync.  It will generate "snapshot" backups -- which means you can have snapshots of how your data looked last hour, two hours ago, yesterday, two days ago, last week... you get the idea.  And it can do this with a trick of the filesystem that essentially requires only the amount of disk space that comprises the complete data set, plus any changes to the individual files.  You can read more about it at the site.  Rsync works well using SSH as its transport mechanism and that will be installed by default.

I would ask why you are using RH9 as your base.   It has been end-of-lifed and you'll need to fall back on alternate support sites if you want to keep it.  Unless you have some compelling reason not to do this I'd be inclined to use either Fedora Core (http://fedora.redhat.com) or one of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux knock-offs (www.WhiteboxLinux.org or www.TaoLinux.org).  That's assuming that you want a Red Hat derivative.  There are other distros available to you too.

If you have specific questions please feel free to post them!
pjcrooks2000Author Commented:
Well this is for a Uni project and basically I will be making comparisons between Solaris 9 and redhat 9.

I have had some experience with RedHat in the past so I guess that is why I want to use Redhat as a testing ground.  I know what your saying about reinventing the wheel as a unix backup utility has been made over and over and over.  I think the complexity of the job at hand is what matters for the Project at Uni.  

Can I ask are there many differences between Fedora and Redhat ?  I have mostly used Redhat in text mode but I intend to install both my workstation and server with GUI for operational purposes.  I am tempted to use Fedora now so would it be practical for me to switch to fedora, based on the fact that I have some Redhat experience.  What do you think?

Actually, Fedora still is Red Hat.   If you read through any of the historical information, you'll see that RH still supplies a lot of the work, the engineers and the bandwidth.   They use Fedora as a "testing ground" for technology that will make it into their commercial products.

The only major difference that you will see between RH9 and Fedora is with updating.  The up2date utility accessed Red Hat's servers.  The Fedora up2date utility uses the yum utility in the back end.   I find it easier to cut out the middle man and use yum directly.  Also, Fedora has a stated goal of a refresh every 6-8 months.  So it has a tendency to have the cutting edge of software versions.  RH9 and the commercial versions of RH tend to lag a bit so that the gang at RH can ensure that nothing breaks.    

To answer your question about if it's practical for you to make the switch ... it's a no brainer.  It looks and feels the same as RH9 but is snappier, has more updated components and is still supported by the community.   I moved to Fedora and didn't have any major issues with it.
pjcrooks2000Author Commented:
Yep I just looked inside a fedora core disk, looks similar to me.  I think it's time to switch to Fedora.

Thanks for the advice

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