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marvc 03-03-2003 10:58 AM

Linux as DSL router which is better workstation or server?
 
I'm thinking of redoing my current home network, which is a DSL connection on a linksys router, and setting up a linux box to act as my router. The sole purpose in doing this is to use the firewall features built in to linux and to setup my web server as a linux server. My plan is to redo my webserver and turn it into a complete linux webserver. In doing this I hope to be able to manage every component of that server, including access, from this linux box.
I also want to be able to configure this linux router to maintain internet connectivity with my existing w2k network. So I'll have to be able to get samba configured and any other services that will allow this.
My question is which linux install will best suit this? Workstation or server? Right now all I have available is a dell inspiron laptop. It's got 80mb ram, a 4gig harddrive, a PII 233mghtz processor, and I think an 8meg video card. I can put 2 nics in it if necessary, but I'm not sure how linux handles PCMCIA???
Should I be looking at a desktop for this or is this enough?

Thanks in advance.

cnjohnson 03-03-2003 12:46 PM

Re: Linux as DSL router which is better workstation or server?
 
Quote:

Originally posted by marvc
I'm thinking of redoing my current home network, which is a DSL connection on a linksys router, and setting up a linux box to act as my router.

Should I be looking at a desktop for this or is this enough?

Thanks in advance.

FWIW, I don't recommend that you do this. You linksys router can be configured to block all traffic execpt http traffic, i.e., port 80. Put that in front of your web-server --and use a linux box for your web-server. Keep your w2k boxes connected to your router. They can still access your webserver, just from inside, and you won't need SAMBA, unless you put your printer on your webserver (another not so good idea). If you correctly set up Apache, which I presume is your webserver, no one can get out on your network. Your linksys box is really a very good firewall for home use.

If you are bound and determined to use a linux box as a firewall, your little laptop will do. Do not run any other servces on it if you can avoid it. Those are just targets for exploits. Redhat, Mandrake, Slack will all accomplish this task, no sweat.

Cheers--
Charles

MasterC 03-03-2003 01:04 PM

Very nice follow up! One thing to add (besides just wondering which Linksys you've got?):
If you were to disregard all the things that were mentioned, and go ahead with setting up linux to run as a firewall, you really should take a look at the projects that are dedicated to this. There are even floppy distros to accomplish this. Don't sell yourself short and force yourself to use a distro that is made to do more than firewall, has little to offer in that area, and more importantly focuses on "noobs". Nothing wrong with that at all. But you could get off alot easier with a floppy distro, or looking at the projects already started to help you get a boost.

Cool

rickenbacherus 03-03-2003 02:34 PM

I'm currently running a Coyote Linux firwall, a one floppy distro that was VERY easy to make with their floppy creation wizard. It runs on a 166MHz pent. w/ 80MB ram(more than enough) and besides the floppy drive, MOBO and power supply there are only two 3com 509B nics in there. Those 3coms are even ISA!! You can use any nics you want of course but some nics work better than others. No monitor or keyboard are necessary as I simpply telnet in from a machine on my lan to configure it. This router has been up for nearly 2 months now. Good luck.

marvc 03-03-2003 03:13 PM

To be honestly truthful I like my current setup with the linksys 4-port dsl router. My mindset was figuring out a way to manage my webserver(s) without shelling out a lot for licenses and such and learning about firewalls at the same time. I've heard mention of a lot of distros that would accomodate this but I wasn't sure how much functionality I'd get from them. I'm also simply not that familiar with firewalls or using linux as a webserver so there are 2 learning curves I have to tackle.
I currently run apache, mysql, and php on my scsi w2k server and it runs like a champ. In switching to a linux web server my main concern is isolation. I plan to be the only one accessing it and not having it accessible thru the main network. I'd like to be able to log in to this server remotely from time to time to make or add updates. I'm really just getting into this web server hosting world, so there's a lot I don't know in regards to upkeep and access. I just know that most of the applications I'd like to use and run on my site are available and either free or cheap in the open source community compared to others. So if I gotta setup and learn linux to use those apps and save a ton of money then I'm willing to do that, but if I'm also able to keep as much of my network intact then that is also good.
So again thanks for any responses on this.

MrJoshua 03-03-2003 03:23 PM

Redhat is good for all of this, but I would recommend Debian, because it is easier to accomplish a very minimal system. I would have to agree that the Linksys router should be your router though. You can port forward any traffic needed from your router the webserver.

cnjohnson 03-03-2003 03:48 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by marvc
To be honestly truthful I like my current setup with the linksys 4-port dsl router. [... edited ...]
I currently run apache, mysql, and php on my scsi w2k server and it runs like a champ. In switching to a linux web server my main concern is isolation. I plan to be the only one accessing it and not having it accessible thru the main network. I'd like to be able to log in to this server remotely from time to time to make or add updates. I'm really just getting into this web server hosting world, so there's a lot I don't know in regards to upkeep and access. I just know that most of the applications I'd like to use and run on my site are available and either free or cheap in the open source community compared to others. [... edited ...]
So again thanks for any responses on this.

Apache, mysql and php are all available on almost every distribution I now of.

You will, however, have a lot to learn. That's good! :)

With linux, you can have a fully isolated webserver available only to you and to no one else on the netwrk, inside or out.

If you are not interested in the details of compiling software from source code, then I recommend a distribution that has all three programs loaded and preconfigured for the system (though not necessarily for each other nor configured as you may want). Redhat is what I use, but there are many others, including Slackware, Mandrake, and Debian.

If you are willing to get to know your software more intimately, then a distribution like gentoo (where you must compile absolutely everything) is a good way to go.

This really is a point of preference and focus. I run Redhat and Linux From Scratch (LFS). If you want to focus on application development and less on linux admin then a "major" disto has advantages. However, if you want to become familiar with how to get and keep a linux box up and running, then a less "integrated" distro is a great learning experience. What I have learned with LFS carries over almost directly to my Redhat boxes.

In any event, your hands will be full!

Cheers--
Charles


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