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What flavor of Linux should I use.

Posted on 2005-05-05
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I haven't used unix/linux since college (5 years ago).  I run a network between 3 buildings that are connected by T1's.  The buildings are anywhere from 40 - 50 miles apart.  We currently have a Windows 2003 server with about 40 users.  I want to put a linux box at the two sites that do not have the 2003 server to serve up dhcp, dns, file server services (is that Samba?).  Eventually, in the next 3 years or so, I would like to get rid of M$ completely.

What flavor of linux should I be looking at?  If it's easier, which flavors should I not be looking at.  What UI is the "best" or should I just do this all from the command line?

Thank you,

Andy
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Question by:ahermes
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Lee W, MVP earned 1000 total points
ID: 13937944
knowing how to do this on the command line will help you script common/repeatitive tasks and make your life easier.  

I would suggest Suse and/or Red Hat (Not necessarily Fedora).  The server versions.  You can use anything you want, but these are the products being installed in most business environments so the most help related to your usage will be available for them.  In addition, both companies are fairly big and if necessary you can get support.

Yes, you'd be looking at Samba for Windows file shares.  But you should Understand Active Directories capabilities before you ditch Windows servers.  Software deployment and group policies in general can be VERY useful.
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by:ahermes
ID: 13938015
Great answer.  I was looking at Suse.  Is there anything on the horizon that is the AD equivalent for Linux (group policies, etc..)?  Is there not software deployment software for Linux?

Thanks for the quick response leew.  You will get the points.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 13938115
Developers are always trying to improve things and do better on linux while the albatross (MS) has to go through committees and more rigid testing so things take longer with them.  I've not heard of any linux system capable of doing for Windows PCs what Windows does.  Using LDAP and other linux tools, you can do a lot with Linux workstations (I'm sure, not experienced though).  But the nature of the beast suggests to me that linux will never (or at least not any time soon) be able to do everything Windows can for Windows PCs.

Everybody has a preference for linux and if you know one really well, then you should probably stick to that one.  I've played with several distributions - Redhat (older), Mandrake 9, Debian, Knoppix, Lindows, and a couple of others.  I personally prefer debian, largely because of the package management.  But because I'm not an all knowing linux geek (not minding the day that I become one), I would certainly stick to those where the most help and resources are available.  Redhat has long been the standard, but Suse is now (or soon, I believe) shipping with Dell's and since it was bought by Novell, I think it's a pretty safe bet it will be around and have support for years to come.

Just to be clear, I believe knowing the command line takes you from an ok/average admin to a good or great admin.  being able to script things has tremendous value.  But there's nothing wrong with doing the single tasks via the GUI, as long as you know them on the console as well.
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