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install linux for network pc

Posted on 2005-04-22
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2011-08-18

What suggestions would you have for loading Red hat Linux on a pc?

The main goal is training with configuring apache web and ftp servers and implementing samba to work with

my windows clients.

Secondary goal will be to learn inner workings of tcp stack for programming it.


Question by:dprice7
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 13845774
All built in capabilities.



Expert Comment

ID: 13846818
Your question is unclear... suggestions for what?  What packages to install, what version of Red Hat, whether Red Hat is a good choice, .. ?

Author Comment

ID: 13847219
The goal is to take an existing windows pc format to linux and see what works best.

Specific how to's or tutorials that recommend a particular configuration or group of software   would be helpful.

My thought is load red hat 7 since that is what I have.

Then I want to configure it to work with my road runner account and my network router so I can play with it. :)

Would be nice to have a web and ftp capability so I can create web pages and load java and eclipse to play with.

Samba I think is probably necessary so it can talk to windows clients.

Also want to experiment with email capabilities.

I would think this is a fairly basic configuration and there should be a cheat sheet somewhere to get me started. :)


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Expert Comment

ID: 13848260
That certainly clears up the question.

Since it sounds like you're a home user and taking a hobbyist interest, I would whole-heartedly recommend Fedora Core 3 or 4.  The Fedora project is an offshoot of what was RedHat's "desktop" linux, and is a free home-user oriented distribution.  By home-user oriented, I mean that it includes many applications desirable for personal use rather than business use, not just Solitaire.

RedHat 7 is extremely dated by modern standards, and may have usefulness in server environments, but is not the best bet for home use.  You'll find modern Fedora distributions "work" much better than older RedHat Linux distros, for things like connecting to your cable modem ISP, and is much more polished in general.

Other distributions I would recommend looking at include SUSE and Knoppix.  Knoppix is based on Debian, which has always had a strong gathering of an "elitist" audience.  Debian's general design model tends to be a purist "we're going to do it the orthodox way" approach.  It's often sophisticated and difficult, touching on archane (dselect).  SUSE (formerly SuSE) is produced by a group in Germany, and is popular in Europe as RedHat is in the U.S.  SUSE was recently acquired by Novell, and like RedHat, has an "Enterprise" version of their distrubtion... unlike RedHat, they still sell and support a more desktop-oriented distribution, that is also available as a free downloadable version.  SUSE does take a perfectionist route at times, but is much more forgiving than Debian, in my past experience.

Any modern Linux distro should be able to connect to your road runner account and/or network router, provide a web browser and FTP client (graphical and text), Java is well supported, I'm not familiar with eclipse.

Samba will assist in file-sharing with Windows computers, and can do as much as act as a PDC (especially with samba 3) or as little as connect to other Windows computers to access files.  Many Linux distros will include "Network Neighborhood" style functionality from the graphical desktop environment.

E-mail for downloading via POP3, IMAP mail clients, and SMTP/POP3/IMAP/etc. services should be no problem, as Linux is a rich environment for this.

There's a number of Linux documentation sites, but I'm guessing you're already a bit handy with Windows and are looking for more of general direction for murky waters, than "Linux for Dummies".  If you do prefer the basic primer approach, I'm sure the latter will be a good choice... the series tends to be good in general.  Modern Linux distros really don't require you to have a strong knowledge of the command-line, it will just allow you to do things in more advanced ways.  For this, a primer might not hurt.  For general help on topics, I find The Linux Documentation Project (TLDP, or LDP) to be an amazing resource.  It can give very specific information, in a complete How-To guide, on any number of topics.

If it works for you, one of the best ways to learn Linux is to start it up and start poking around, push buttons, see what they do.  Linux isn't quite as forgiving as Windows, not as many warning messages or guided "oops" screens, but it tends to be fairly obvious when you're about to do something very bad, and it usually wont do anything bad without first confirming.  The top three things to remember are:  1) Be careful what directory you are in when using rm -rf *.  No, really, this is the number one (big) mistake of all Linux users, even seasoned sysads.   2) Make backups.  If you can adhere to this, you will be thankful the every time you need it, rather than redoing 3 days work in a day and a half.  3) Don't login as root unless necessary.

There's a multitude of support resources available, but as a seasoned user/admin, I find the best resources to be the vendor's website (Support section), forums like EE, IRC channels (sometimes... if it's a very simple or very advanced question, this might not be the best route), TLDP, Linux Journal magazine, and freshmeat.net / sourceforge.net for software.

If you're willing to reformat your hard drive repeatedly, I'd say go ahead and install a copy of Fedora Core 3 or 4 (4 is brand spanking new, but 3 might have better user support), and do an installation with the following partition layout:

partition 1: ext2 - 100mb
partition 2: ext3 - up to maximum remaining
partition 3: ext3 - /home or /data partition -- this one doesn't get reformatted on installs, make it as big as you want
partition 4: swap - double your ram, up to 512mb.  if you have 2+gb ram, then not more than 50% of ram as swap.

I'm sure you'll have some more questions, fire away.  Also, with many distros like Knoppix, you can boot from a "live cd"; it will load data into a ramdisk, and does not require you to reformat your drive or do an installation .. just boot off the cd and go.  SUSE also has/had a live "evaluation" CD.

Author Comment

ID: 13849471
I should probably clear a couple things up for you.

Currently I have a linux server at work that I do basic scripting on and commands.

The problem is everything is in maintenance mode. In other words it was already set up and running when I joined

the company. I want to strart from scratch and better understand how the whole things works and goes together

so I can support it better and increase my skills using it. This also will help me to learn more about configuring

the comm and interfacing in different evnvironments. If I had to rebuild it today might be in trouble and always

like to be proactive about things. Second I am a programmer so I have a deeper interest in learning how I can use

it to work on Java concepts and manipulation of tcp stack for troubleshooting and playing with ports.


LVL 38

Assisted Solution

wesly_chen earned 200 total points
ID: 13851030
> Currently I have a linux server at work
What's the version of RedHat Linux server that your company have?
Type the following commands to get your RedHat version
uname -r
cat /etc/redhat-release

For RedHat Enterprise Linux 2.1, then I recommand RedHat Linux 7.3 for your PC, Since RHEL 2.1 is based on RH 7.x.
For RedHat Enterprise Linux 3.0, then I recommand RedHat Linux 9 for your PC, Since RHEL 3.0 is based on RH 9.
For RedHat Enterprise Linux 4.0, then I recommand Fedora Core 3 for your PC, Since RHEL 4.0 is based on FC3.
So you can have the most close environment as your company's Linux server.

You can download then from

> Secondary goal will be to learn inner workings of tcp stack for programming it.
Then, you need to install the "Software Development Package" including gcc, gdb those programming compiler and tools.
When you install, you choose "custom" installation instead of server or default package.

RedHat website provide a lot of manual for installation and developers.

Accepted Solution

macker- earned 600 total points
ID: 13854525
If you're trying to replicate a work environment, then I would suggest working with CentOS.  You can either do an "Everything" install, or choose the package groups that are most appealing to you, e.g. Software Development.

CentOS should provide a stable and consistent platform that will be similar to what you're most likely to encounter in business/server environments.  Fedora is, as I said, more oriented towards the home user.  RedHat has always taken advantage of the "home desktop" versions of RedHat (and now Fedora) for determining bugs and the like, but there is a very different focus in their EL products.  Since CentOS is (legally) based on the EL products, you get a free ride.

You may also wish to read the SAG (System Administrator Guide) and NAG (Network Administrator Guide) manuals.  There's also a plethora of man pages on various library calls and functions that can be used, that can be accessed with 'man name'.

Assisted Solution

joju earned 200 total points
ID: 13856966

What i want to suggest is make a full installation of redhat
which will give you linux source and all services installed.

After that install webmin from


Which allows you to configure most of the services.


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