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I'm a total newbie in user administration. These days I have promised to help a friend build a small network for her business, and naturally I couldn't resist recommending the use of linux. However, all clients have to be running windows for now so I ended up with the following scenario:
One server running gentoo-hardened (compiling packages as I type)
5 computers running Windows XP PRO with MUI (multilingual user interface, you can choose the prefered language of the UI)
This is what I want to do: Keep a single "user database" on the linux server so that I only have to maintain passwords etc there. So users should be able to login no matter which of the five computers they are using.
MUI-enabled versions of windows supposedly provide the following feature: the language of the UI is automatically determined when the user logs in, either because the user has made a choice, or because the administrator has set his account up that way. Is this latter option feasible if all user accounts are stored on the linux box? And which technology am I supposed to use? Am I right in thinking that LDAP's or NIS's and samba's functionality overlap?
To sum up, I know what has to be done but I have no idea how to do it. Moreover I'm totally frustrated by these technologies and I can't understand whether I need the functionality they offer. I can understand the fact that samba enabled linux to access smb shares etc but how does that interfere with user authentication? Add kerberos into the picture and I'm on the verge of crying.
Basically you just need Samba. Create a shared directory on the server, give all users access to it if desired. Create linux and samba users/passwords matching the windows users. Each windows user would then have his/her own home directory as well as a common directory for shared files.
NIS I have never used - I don't know how easy or difficult it is to integrate with windows clients (though I suspect it's not the easiest).
LDAP by itself would be no use - it doesn't provide the authentication you need for Windows login, even though Win2000+ AD uses LDAP underneath.
Samba running as a PDC for an NT4-style domain is probably what you're safest with. This takes care of the centralised user management, though you will need to manually join each workstation to the domain. Check the FAQs on samba.org for the quickest intro to getting this configuration going. Set up network profiles for the users, and this should take care of storing/setting the language settings.