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Old 02-02-2005, 09:07 AM   #1
citizenkeith
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Picking a slim distribution


I recently switched from Windows to Fedora Core 3 and I'm very happy with my choice. I've been learning a lot about Linux, and I want to learn more.

I've been looking around for a decent distro for the purpose at hand. I want to setup a headless machine in my home. It will be used to share our cable connection between two other computers, and possibly be used as an FTP server.

The machine for the task has a 450 MHz AMD K6 chip, 128 MB of RAM, and a 10 GB HD. I have a 5-port Netgear hub.

My guess is that I should look for something pretty slim. Rather than using up system resources running Gnome or KDE, should I simply run everything from the command line? I figure I can access the machine via SSH if I need to, or hook up a monitor if SSH is down.

I'm looking at Debian and FreeBSD. Are these good choices? Would you recommend a different one?

I know there are a lot of "which distro" questions around here, but I felt that this was more specific, and could help somebody else too.
 
Old 02-02-2005, 09:14 AM   #2
freeka
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so you just want more or less a server distro, accessing only remotely via ssh?

as in every distribution thread, you can say: take whatever distro. i would prefer gentoo as usual ;>, but debian should be good, too. u have to be more specific: should it be one time a server machine, take gentoo debian or a more secure distro (admantix), but if ya want a slim "learn" system take lfs....
 
Old 02-02-2005, 02:45 PM   #3
ferrix
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You can't go wrong with FreeBSD (or NetBSD, or OpenBSD), or Debian, or Slackware... even Fedora with which you're already familiar with, will let you do a minimal install (even though in case of Fedora it is still pretty large)
Another option is to dedicate this box to sharing the connection alone, and put your FTP server somewhere else. This has a couple of advantages: one, it is a sound security precaution to run as little software as possible on the machine that faces "the outside". Two, with 10gb HD, you won't do much FTP sharing anyway. Three, if you do it this way, you can use specialised distro like Smoothwall or IPCop for your gateway. This makes the whole process really painless and gives you a system that is tailored specifically for this purpose and is very secure. But it is so easy you won't learn much in the process

Last edited by ferrix; 02-02-2005 at 02:47 PM.
 
Old 02-02-2005, 03:08 PM   #4
citizenkeith
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Quote:
Originally posted by ferrix
You can't go wrong with FreeBSD (or NetBSD, or OpenBSD), or Debian, or Slackware... even Fedora with which you're already familiar with, will let you do a minimal install (even though in case of Fedora it is still pretty large)
Another option is to dedicate this box to sharing the connection alone, and put your FTP server somewhere else. This has a couple of advantages: one, it is a sound security precaution to run as little software as possible on the machine that faces "the outside". Two, with 10gb HD, you won't do much FTP sharing anyway. Three, if you do it this way, you can use specialised distro like Smoothwall or IPCop for your gateway. This makes the whole process really painless and gives you a system that is tailored specifically for this purpose and is very secure. But it is so easy you won't learn much in the process
Thanks for the input.

While the FTP would simply be for exchanging files between home and work, it's more important for me to have a secure network.

Will this be pretty easy to configure and run from the command line? I'm still a newb, but I learn quickly. What should I read up on? I probably won't use a specialized distro. The answer probably depends on whether I go with FreeBSD or a linux distro, huh?
 
Old 02-02-2005, 11:27 PM   #5
ferrix
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Yeah, BSD and Linux are quite different in this regard. If you're not going to use Smoothwall/IPCop, then I'd suggest you might as well go all the way and use OpenBSD. It is generally considered the most secure (I didn't say completely secure!), and its pf system is highly regarded.
There is one thing that OpenBSD isn't, however: easy. You have a lot of learning ahead of you

Edit: Or, have a look at Devil Linux: www.devil-linux.org ... it is a somewhat specialised distro, but not in the same sense as Smoothwall which aims to be more like an appliance. Devil Linux is all command-line system, and for security it runs entirely from a CD, but if you have a HD, you can use it too, for example for data for your ftp server. This distro is general purpose enough for that, but it is geared towards running firewall and internet services. Pretty cool. Unlike Smoothwall, you'll still have to make your firewall rules more or less by hand, and configure many other things besides. All in all, it's a pretty good compromise between two extremes represented by Smoothwall and OpenBSD.

Last edited by ferrix; 02-03-2005 at 01:56 AM.
 
  


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