Running a server

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siplus
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Running a server

Post by siplus »

i'm finally getting a cable modem, and i want to setup a linux server to run a webserver, ftp server, mailserver, ircserver, and whatever else i can think of (not all at once....). so i guess my first question:

what distro should i use? right now i'm torn between redhat9 (which i like cause i use it most often) and slackware9 (because i want to use a variety of distros and not just redhat, and i'm told it's an awesome distro...i have it installed on my main computer, but i don't use it much). my server will be on a 300mhz cpu with 128mb ram, 8-14 gb harddrive. Also, please tell me if you think any other distros would be good to run. a few people were saying mandrake, but i don't really want to use mandrake.

i want to use this linux server as a router too, but a lot of people are saying that's a bad idea. is there a secure way to run a server as a router too? i don't really have another computer i can use as a router, and i only have a 24 port hub, so i would have to buy a router--which i don't want to do. how hard would it be to keep it secure?

also (and i know i'm just droneing on...sorry), i want to be able to logon with a grapchical session. i don't think i can use just ssh, so what will i have to do? someone mentioned remote desktop, but i thought that was just a windows thing. if it's not, then how would i keep X running, because i'm not going to have a monitor hooked up and i'm not sure if i can run X without a monitor.

what would you people suggest to run instead of KDE or GNOME? i was thinking enlightenment, but i've never used it before so i don't know...

thanks for any help you can give me

edit: one more thing: i want to have a graphical session because no one else in my family uses linux (my brother does who is coming home for the summer between college semesters does, but not much), so i want to be able to do stuff to the server from any computer in my house. i know i can use ssh, but there is not gui in that, and i'm not very skillful with the command line yet (read: i'm a gui freak)

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Post by Tux »

hmm I dont like the idea of having external services on your gateway box. Are you sure you cant aqquire an early pentium, something crap like that, to use?

If you are gonna have it all on one box you might want to use chroot or User Mode Liunx to keep it somewhat seperate. Also get yourself a good iptables firewall set up on that box. Perhaps get void to read it through.

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Post by Calum »

i am not sure about your real queries, but i recommend enlightenment, windowmaker or xfce. If you are a glutton for punishment, use fvwm2 or fvwm95. all of those (i think, except poss enlightenment) come with slack, windowmaker comes with red hat, and all of those except the fvwms come with mandrake (so does icewm, which might be ok too), but i wouldn't recommend mandrake. it's got a bit fiddly and garbage since 8.2 onwards.

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Post by Tux »

Regarding the remote desktop thing I suggest using blackbox as a window manager and either vnc or X forwarding for your remote admin requirements. Also have you considered Webmin?[/url]

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Re: Running a server

Post by Void Main »

siplus wrote:what distro should i use? right now i'm torn between redhat9 (which i like cause i use it most often) and slackware9 (because i want to use a variety of distros and not just redhat, and i'm told it's an awesome distro...i have it installed on my main computer, but i don't use it much). my server will be on a 300mhz cpu with 128mb ram, 8-14 gb harddrive. Also, please tell me if you think any other distros would be good to run. a few people were saying mandrake, but i don't really want to use mandrake.
Several people here really like Slackware and will probably recommend it. I, as you probably know, have been partial to Red Hat for a long time now. I am also a Debian fan and that's the one I would probably recommend to try as a second distro. When it comes right down to it though, the distro you use really isn't all that important. No matter which one you use you will probably be using Apache for a web server, proftpd/vsftpd/wu-ftpd for the FTP server, etc. Any server software can be run on any distro. I guess the question is how easy is it to configure and keep the software up to date with all the latest security and bug fixes. Debian is great for this because of giant, well tended software repositories and the "apt-get" utility. I wouldn't even install X. But I certainly don't want to discourage you from trying other distros. In fact I would recommend it.
i want to use this linux server as a router too, but a lot of people are saying that's a bad idea. is there a secure way to run a server as a router too? i don't really have another computer i can use as a router, and i only have a 24 port hub, so i would have to buy a router--which i don't want to do. how hard would it be to keep it secure?
It might not be quite as good as a dedicated firewall but it really isn't all that bad. For the longest time that's how I had mine set up. Just configure up iptables so you don't allow any inbound except for the services you want to provide, and then make sure those services are kept up to date and configured securely. It might be wise to run them in a jail (chroot).
also (and i know i'm just droneing on...sorry), i want to be able to logon with a grapchical session. i don't think i can use just ssh, so what will i have to do? someone mentioned remote desktop, but i thought that was just a windows thing. if it's not, then how would i keep X running, because i'm not going to have a monitor hooked up and i'm not sure if i can run X without a monitor.
Well earlier I said not to even install X. I would still recommend this and if you need a graphical environment to configure the system I would suggest Webmin. Remote desktop is not just a "Windows" thing. In fact X has been doing this for 15 years or more, it's a recent addition to Windows. You can run any X application on your server and have it display on your local Xserver on your desktop. You can also set it up to make an XDMCP connection and get a graphical desktop from your server on your local desktop just as if you were logging on directly to your server. See my Xterminal Server howto:

http://voidmain.is-a-geek.net/redhat/re ... erver.html

And of course you could also run VNC but I would not recommend it. In fact if you had to use the graphical apps I would suggest just ssh'ing into the server and executing the graphical app:

$ ssh myserver myxapp
what would you people suggest to run instead of KDE or GNOME? i was thinking enlightenment, but i've never used it before so i don't know...
As I mentioned I would suggest not even installing X on a server but if you did and you wanted an alternate environment other than KDE or GNOME I might suggest Blackbox or Windowmaker.
edit: one more thing: i want to have a graphical session because no one else in my family uses linux (my brother does who is coming home for the summer between college semesters does, but not much), so i want to be able to do stuff to the server from any computer in my house. i know i can use ssh, but there is not gui in that, and i'm not very skillful with the command line yet (read: i'm a gui freak)
As I said, the first choice I would suggest is webmin. You can configure your server from any machine using a web browser. If you don't want to use webmin and I assume that not all of the machines in your house are running Linux (I run all Linux) then VNC would be a second choice but I just can't stand VNC except for remote controlling Winblows.

[edit]
When I started typing this reply there were no other replies to your message, looks like some other people beat me to it and had some of the same suggestions.
[/edit]

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Post by siplus »

ok, i have something else to add that might not be easy:

i need to be able to host games online. ok, i know you might be thinking just set up port forwarding (which i don't know how to do), but i don't think it would be that easy. i have a total of 4 non server computers (2 of them in my room, but that's besides to point), and i need to be able to host a game from any computer. i don't think port forwarding will work because like i said, i have 4 different computers, and there's a good chance that my brother will want to play a game the same time as i do (in the same game probibly).

untill now, playing games with my friends has just been a little annoying because games are always laggy with a dailup, but now i'm not sure if i'll be able to play games online with them anymore. all of my other friends have a cable modem, and a linksys router for their computers, so they can't host any games--they always depend on me. i'm worried that now that i'm going to have a router that i won't be able to host games online anymore. i'm hoping that having a linux router will let me though, because i've spent the last year trying to figure out how with a linksys router.

what i need: a way to host games from any computer in my internal network for clients on the internet. i need a way for multiple computers on my network to be playing the same game--whether it be, for example, 2 computers hosting different servers of the same game, 1 hosting the game server and one joining, or both joining another server (battlenet comes to mind). i HOPE this is possible, cause i'm a game addict

this comes as #1 priority for me, before i think about web/ftp/irc/mail servers. i'm a game freak, and now that i'm getting cable internet, i'm not going to be denied playing online--please help!
I am also a Debian fan and that's the one I would probably recommend to try as a second distro.
ok. there are different variants of debain, right? so what kind of debain you thinking about?
When it comes right down to it though, the distro you use really isn't all that important.
ya, i guess not, but i've noticed that redhat is much easier to use. most configuring is point-and-click stuff, unlike slackware. i don't even know how to set my ip address for eth0!!!
Any server software can be run on any distro. I guess the question is how easy is it to configure and keep the software up to date with all the latest security and bug fixes. Debian is great for this because of giant, well tended software repositories and the "apt-get" utility
can apt-get be used for slackware too? that'd be cool if i could use it for slack9 that i have installed on my laptop
It might not be quite as good as a dedicated firewall but it really isn't all that bad. For the longest time that's how I had mine set up. Just configure up iptables so you don't allow any inbound except for the services you want to provide, and then make sure those services are kept up to date and configured securely. It might be wise to run them in a jail (chroot).
eh....so what does that say about my gaming needs? how much more difficult is it going to be to keep a secure network and be able to play games (assuming i can)
Well earlier I said not to even install X.
eh, sorry void main, but i can't follow your advice on this one. X is getting on that server one way or another...i think i'll try blackbox
You can run any X application on your server and have it display on your local Xserver on your desktop.
so....if i do this 'x forwarding' then i when i view my server's desktop all the programs will show, or will it be like loging into the server? i just got an idea a little while ago: i want to run gaim on my server so i am always online on aim, so if someone needs to send me a message, they can always just send it to a screen name like 'serversiplus'. now, will i be able to do this remote desktop thing and be able to see the message they sent me, or will i have to view the logs, which would get annoying real quick?
As I said, the first choice I would suggest is webmin. You can configure your server from any machine using a web browser.
that sounds pritty cool. i'll have to dl and install it once i get my server setup.
If you don't want to use webmin and I assume that not all of the machines in your house are running Linux (I run all Linux) then VNC would be a second choice but I just can't stand VNC except for remote controlling Winblows.
yup, your right. only the two computers in my room and the server i'm going to setup are running/ wll run linux. if VNC isn't good, can i have it only accept connections with windows boxes from my internal network? i guess that would make VNC secure, cause i read somewhere on a forum or an article that VNC is not good to have.

well, thanks for your time and help everyone!

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Post by Void Main »

If all of your machines except your server are running Windows and you absolutely must have an X desktop on the server viewable from any of the machines then I guess VNC would be your best bet. I believe most distros come with it (Red Hat does). Just start the vncserver. But really, webmin is the best GUI configuration tool and then which distro you run really really doesn't matter because they all look pretty much the same in webmin. Here is a list of the operating systems that will look pretty much the same after installing webmin:

http://www.webmin.com/support.html

As far as Debian, there's really only one Debian although there are many distros that are Debian based. I am referring to Debian and not the distros based on Debian. Now there are a few different releases of Debian that you can install depending on how bleeding edge you want to be. I tend to like bleeding edge so I use Debian SID, which I've never really bled when using it so YMMV.

As far as game servers, I don't know what games you run or if there are game server ports for Linux for those games then I would say your best bet would be to run a dedicated game server on your Linux box. If your Windows machines have to be the game servers then yes you would use port forwarding. This is really easy to do with iptables. I'm not a gamer so even if you told me what games you run someone else would have to help you with the game servers...

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