Should I move to Linux?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Heeter, Sep 27, 2004.

  1. Heeter

    Heeter Overclocked Like A Mother

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    Hi Guys,

    Sorry, but I do not know too much about Linux. I have an Home network on the go here. Basically three computers around the house, and one "Central" File/FTP server thats is used as the holding tank for all files around the home. They are all each connected directly to my router. Other than one machine running XPPro, the others including said server are using XPHome.

    I tried converting the server to text-based FreeBSD a while ago, twice attempted, but failed due to my total inexperience with FreeBSD. I had such a hard time, it overwhelmed me. So I went back to XPHome, the OS that is activated for that tower. Due to security considerations, I am still determined to change OS's on the server. I am thinking of buying Xandros2.0 so that my converting would be as Windows-like as possible. Read glowing reports on Xandros, but is it for me? I don't mind paying the $90 for it, as long as it is what I need.

    Is there other user-friendly options out there? This is for my Home File server/FTP server.
    1-Security is the biggest concern,
    2-The ability of my WindowsXP machines to communicate with it (filesharing)
    3-something that will be up and running in the least amount of time (Other inhome machines rely on it working 24/7).
    4-Remote desktop it from a Window machine, as there is no KVM on it while it is in use. I will bring it down from it's shelf when ready for install.
    5-Enabling FTP for access for my family. (I am using BulletProof FTP server right now.)
    6- I know I will have to do a lot of Linux learning, but if the server is running, I can learn from it while it is running.

    This is something big for me, any advice greatly appreciated.

    PlanB, get NetRyder to fly out here and set it up for me. LOLOL

    Heeter
     
  2. Glaanieboy

    Glaanieboy Moderator

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    Learn FreeBSD! :p

    No seriously, when I got my server 6 months ago, I just installed FreeBSD and I would see what would happen. Though I am still a novice, I know quite a lot of the basics and every minute I work with the machine, I learn new stuff. True, in Windows you can click two buttons and it works, while in FreeBSD you'd have to edit textfiles, which is a lot more difficult. But with FreeBSD you really learn how an OS works, from boot time to running programs, because you (sometimes) have to be pretty close to the server's kernel in order to accomplish something.
    I'm not a *nix geek, in fact, I think I would recommend a Windows based system for you, as it is the most easisest and safest for you, as you already have experience with it.
    Now for your list:
    1-If you regularly update Windows and use a decent firewall, you're safe. Same goes for FreeBSD, updates are really important here as well. The built-in firewall is good enough
    2-Enable file/folder sharing in Windows and you're set. In FreeBSD you'll have to use Samba, which is quite easy, once you get the hang of it. Another nice gimmick of Samba is the ability to emulate a Domain Controller, for Domain Logons, I haven't tried that though.
    3-I've heard of FreeBSD machines running for years in a row. Same goes for Windows, however, some apps in Windows are so badly programmed, it's necessary to clean the main memory by means of a restart. Same goes up until a certain level for FreeBSD, but FreeBSD already has a huge ports-database of tested and working apps, ready to be installed.
    4-Windows: Remote Desktop (XP), Terminal Services (W2K), Real-VNC (Win-all). *nix: SSH, period (though it's textbased, while the Windows options are all graphical)
    5-Windows: Bulletproof is a very good FTP, you can use that, yes. For FreeBSD you can use PureFTPd, I have just started using that and not only it's free, it's quite easy to setup.
    6-[/b]*points to self* Yes, most definately[/b]

    I used FreeBSD in my little story above, just because I am more experienced with it. I don't know how it works with the other *nix distro's.

    I hope I helped you a little bit with my personal experiences. At least try to learn it, it's fun (eventually :p)
     
    NetRyder likes this.
  3. Give Mandrake or SuSE a go :)
     
  4. Heeter

    Heeter Overclocked Like A Mother

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    Thanks Glaanieboy.

    I tried freebsd, had it on my setup for over a month (dualboot), one major dilemma I could not get over was that Freebsd could not/would not recognize my RAID'ed HD (four sets). I posted a lot about how to get over this hump, and could not get it to work. So I went back to WindowsXPhome. You are correct, if I keep my WindowsXP uptodate, and I do have firewall software with router firewall, all should be okay. I was actually "this close" from buying Xandros today.

    Thanks again,

    Heeter
     
  5. Glaanieboy

    Glaanieboy Moderator

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    Glad I could be of any help :D
     
  6. Mainframeguy

    Mainframeguy Debiant by way of Ubuntu Folding Team

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    I am not in any great position to help - in a few months I hope to be where you are now - except with one extra box.

    My plan (so far as it goes) is to go with the Debian distro... I know it is long in the tooth but if I can learn with that I reckon I'll learn anything else if I want to change.

    Also for my very first learning curve I plan on utilitzing Knoppix because it has the neat feature of being capable to boot and run from CD.

    Small pieces of advice, but they are all I have for now - I would also query your use of XP Home, surely the upgrade to pro is worth it if you intend a truly functional network? I sure hope so - I spent out to upgrade two OEM'd machines from home to Pro and even have a couple of spare keys for my next build... Would hate that to have been wasted cash!

    Anyway - I'll watch this thread with interest, let us know how it goes here too.
     
  7. j79zlr

    j79zlr Glaanies script monkey Political User

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    There is no reason to buy Xandros, just download a distro from http://www.linuxiso.org/ There is no need to pay for it, I do recommend supporting a certain linux flavor if you do truly like and use it. I buy slackware CD's from them strictly to support it, I haven't actually used one since I upgrade via Swaret.
     
  8. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon The One and Only

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    i was kinda thinkin about installing a version of Linux or somethin, but i am not a big fan on... you know... multi-CD's. anyone know where to download/how to make an installer DVD for a good version of linux?
     
  9. Xie

    Xie - geek - Subscribed User Folding Team

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    Unless you want to install everything the distro has you usally only need 1 or 2 of the available. So just burn one (or 2) to cd-rw and then when your done erase them. :) You and your silly everything to DVD ways. :p

    Oh and SuSe I know at one time did DVD's .. might still. Not sure if thats only the retail though.
     
  10. ElementalDragon

    ElementalDragon The One and Only

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    there's nothing wrong with my "everything to DVD" ways. everybody's doing it. Even Valve. lol
     
  11. NetRyder

    NetRyder Tech Junkie Folding Team

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    Great post, Glaanie. [​IMG]

    Wow, I'm flattered. [​IMG]

    1. You mentioned that all your machines are behind a router, and that you have a software firewall and an antivirus app installed. As Glaanie said, all of that, along with regular Windows Updates should keep your machine sufficiently secure. Moreover, since the FTP server is open only to machines on the internal network, the likelihood of the machine getting hacked/abused is very, very small.

    2. Samba is not difficult to set up in Linux/BSD, but things work out-of-the-box in XP, which is clearly a convenience.

    3. As long as software doesn't misbehave, XP is very solid. Even my laptop currently has an uptime of 25 days and 6 hours, the last reboot being due to a driver update installation from Dell.

    4. Again, XP has Remote Desktop built-in. Alternatively, you can use one of the VNC flavors (I personally recommend UltraVNC if you go with Windows) in both Windows and Linux.

    5. I've used BulletProof in the past, and found it was easy to set up and worked nicely. If it works well for you and serves your needs, I don't see a reason why you should switch to anything else. =)

    6. Given your earlier experience with FreeBSD, you're probably more than aware of the fact that most Linux/BSD flavors can have a steep learning curve. =P Once they are well-setup though, they don't require too much maintenance and can run for days without trouble.

    With all that said, my personal recommendation is to stick to XP if it already works for you. I would have asked you to seriously consider Linux/BSD for a larger scale server that was open to the public internet, but given the fact that it's only going to be used within your private home network, the convenience and ease-of-use of a Windows system far outweighs the small security implications that go along with it, in my opinion.
    I don't know how much time you're willing to devote to this, but learning Linux from ground up takes time. It's definitely an extremely handy thing to know how to use and adminster, but whether you're willing to go through the trouble for a rather simple file server is finally your choice.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Heeter

    Heeter Overclocked Like A Mother

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    Thanks Nets,

    My File/FTP Server setup has been working flawlessly. It presently runs XPHome, and it is up for months at a time. I have had this setup for about three years or so. I do access it using UltraVNC (another Nets recommendation from a long time ago). I am very religious about the updates for the antivirus, Windows and a software firewall. I guess I am just worried about all the hype concerning how unsecure Windows is. Come to think of it, It has been extremely stable for me. XPHome, go figure.

    Thanks a million again, Nets and Glaanieboy.

    Heeter
     
  13. NetRyder

    NetRyder Tech Junkie Folding Team

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    I've had a similar experience with XP as you, Heeter. Rock solid as ever. As they say, the cause of most computer problems is between the chair and the keyboard. [​IMG]

    As always, glad to help. [​IMG]
     
  14. Zedric

    Zedric NTFS Guru Folding Team

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    I run Fedora on my server. It just insanely easier to set up than FreeBSD or Debian for that matter. No messing about with hardware, it detected everything I had anyway. Updating is easy, it has anything you'll need. And you can still play around to learn stuff if you want to.

    http://fedora.redhat.com
     
  15. j79zlr

    j79zlr Glaanies script monkey Political User

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    I'm sorry but if you have even a little linux experience, FreeBSD is not that hard. I hate any RPM based linux distro, they just don't seem to work. Fedora and Mandrake were by far the two slowest linux distros I've used.
     
  16. Heeter

    Heeter Overclocked Like A Mother

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    The problem I had with FreeBSD, J79zlr, was that it could not recognize my 2 RAID PCI cards that I have in the server tower. I spent nearly three weeks posting in different sites as to how to get around this, without any success. I was even gonna let some unknown people from different sites gain access to this server tower just to resolve this problem. I judged against that idea in the end. If FreeBSD got around this RAID problem I had, then I am about 95% sure that it was going to be FreeBSD in the server tower. I was learning FreeBSD at an okay pace while installing it and setting it up. I guess if I trusted someone enough who knew FreeBSD, I would let them gain remote access to my server tower.


    Heeter
     
  17. Zedric

    Zedric NTFS Guru Folding Team

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    Maybe not, but I can't be arsed to figure out whatever driver or kernel module that goes with every pieces of my hardware. Just gettin X to work properly can be hell. I like auto-detection. I've tried to install Debian twice (different machines) and both times I ended up with systems that locked on boot or randomly core dumped. I never got X to work. Maybe it's me, but I just couldn't get the damn thing to work. I started installing FreeBSD to try it, but gave up halfway through (not to say that I couldn't do it if I put some more effort into it).

    So that's why I use Fedora, pretty much slap in the cd, press install and voila, you have a fully functioning Linux system. Yes it's probably slower than a fully customized Linux or BSD system, but the fact of the matter is that I want a simply running system, not a DYI kit. ;)

    And everyone complains about RPM. Sure it's not perfect or even good, but with a decent package manager (like apt or yum) there's pretty much no problem, at least not for me.

    This probably sounded alot more aggressive than it was. ;)

    So Heeter, if you want easy, go Fedora or Mandrake, if you want speed and DYI, go FreeBSD, Debian or Slackware. :)
     
  18. X-Istence

    X-Istence * Political User

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    If you want a quick desktop, i do suggest Yoper nowadays. Tried it for myself, it is a mix between all kinds of Linux distro's. It lets the hardcore people tweak, and the newbs use the control panels, and it works after a 15 minute install.

    Now for FreeBSD, read the handbook, the best online source for help for FreeBSD that is available. http://freebsd.org/handbook/. Print the damn thing out, it is 700 pages, punch holes in it, put it in a binder and read throught it step by step.

    After that check out a few of my favorite BSD sites:

    http://bsdguides.org/
    http://bsdforums.net/
    http://google.com/bsd

    BSD is extremely easy to setup, once you get the hang of it. And once you do, you will see that the ports is extremely helpfull, and that the way the heirarchy of all the files are is extremely well thought out and thus files are easy to locate.


    BSD is rock solid as well, since it is not new to the block, and has been around for over 20 years now, it has a well developed kernel. Their memory management is second to none. There is a reason that all of the biggest uptimes on netcraft are held by BSD servers: http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/today/top.avg.html
     
  19. Heeter

    Heeter Overclocked Like A Mother

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    Hi X-Istence,

    I actually tried all those sites and guides concerning my RAID problem, it never solved the problem. I was even bothering Geffy (back when he was called Geffy) to see if he could help. I am 99% sure that if I was able to figure out why FreeBSD 5.2 and my two RAID setups, FreeBSD would of been happily living/controling my server.

    Heeter