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Hi folks, I will try to be brief, that might be hard though.
I'm looking for a solution to get me out of the M$ spiral of OS decay or whatever you would call it. I have had 5 computers working nicely on a simple windows LAN for a long time now. 3 win98se (Pent. I - III), 2 XP home. The inevitable happened and it's all mucked up now. In this case it was a simple virus (GAELICUM.A) slipping past my firewall somehow, that wrote to every darn exe it could touch (my first virus in 26 yrs), but we all know that if it wasn't that, the inherent OS bitrot or whatever would win sooner or later as it always does. I'm left with 2 XP's that are just fine and will retain them at least in my system.
I used Ubuntu 2 years back for a short time and got along with it passably enough to think I might be smarter to install it or a similar linux variant, rather than keep beating my head against the wall, sticking with MS products.
So I ask you folks, who would know, about the truth of these assertions:
If I was to load an appropriate Linux version to ALL computers,and network them, with shared internet connection:
It should ensure internet access.
It should ensure within my own net access.
The ubuntu OSs' supposedly would never gibble ...
I could maintain one each of XP and 98se dualboot (with ubuntu) as pristine examples of the known MS breeds.
I could maintain one each of XP and 98se dualboot (with ubuntu) as working, (thus MS vulnerable) machines.
With the ubuntu to ensure the ongoing usability of each machine.
With the Linux network to enable me to access ALL files on all machines, even if the MS systems gibble.
I want ONE stable network for all machines, All files accessible to the network. I don't need to cross pollinate Linux and MS networks, or anything. Certain things like AutoCAD, Zotero, a DOS cubical spreadsheet nobody else has emulated, and a few others will keep me in the MS realm a little bit anyway, but I'm willing to bite the bullet. Even to force feed it to the wife.....
Does it sound reasonable ? ? ?
What would be an appropriate Linux distro for my purposes?
Or should I just stick with what I know?
I grew up with DoS bat files and Basic so a command line isn't scary, but, I create stuff with the tools on my computers and that's what I'm mainly interested in doing. And not LOSING my creations is high on my list too.
I do like learning about how computers work, I don't play games on them, but my hobby has been downloading programs and taking them for an analytical test spin, I have ~ 18,000 of them stored on assorted HDD's, CD's, 5 1/2" floppy floppies and have deep 6ed a million more . BUT, Im on a 14 year, 4 1/2 month program right now. Cause then I'll be flippin 80 years old.
So I don't have time to futzz around folks. Any good advice will be valued.
Point your browser at Distrowatch.com. When the page is loaded, scroll down a bit, and on the right-hand side is a "Page hit ranking". If you select a distro from the top 12 to be your interface to the outside world (e.g. firewall) as well as network server, you should be able to set up your LAN with Linux as the firewall/network server, and Windows shares.
Install a free antivirus app such as ClamAV or AntiVir (with a crontab to do daily updates of virus definitions), and SpamAssassin (the SpamAssassin site has spam definitions you can download to enhance the spam detection ability). Set up postfix to route everything coming in through antivirus and spam filters before passing it on to the windows machines. That should also catch any malicious windows macros in win docs.
In Distrowatch, Ubuntu is a Debian derivative, so they're quite similar. Fedora (free version of Red Hat) and Centos (free version of Red Hat Enterprise LInux) are rpm based distros. OpenSuse is also rpm based, but Opensuse puts their own spin on rpms, so be careful to only use rpm built for Opensuse. Arch (haven't used it but it's in my downloads folder to try out soon) and PClinuxOS (a fun little distro) are also worth a try. I haven't used the remainder. But all should be adequate as a server/firewall to protect your LAN.They should also all have good hardware detection for your older machines.
From a friend not heard from in some time -- "I'm running an old AcerPower F2 with 2.4GHz P4 , 512MB PC2700 RAM and an IDE 80GB HDD as I reply now! Linux distro I'm using is antiX-M8.5-i686. I load all such P3 and P4 machines that only support 512MB RAM with antiX; those machines with more RAM and decent speed I load with LinuxMint-9-LXDE or Salix 13.1 32-bit (it uses the XFCE interface)."
If you only have dial-up (that's really being in the forest!), you don't want anything that will involve a lot of downloads. You might want to consider a distro that comes on DVD rather than CD (lots more software) and also getting that DVD by post. Two reliable distros that are available on CD are Fedora and Debian. Both have just produced new versions. Fedora 14 is full of very up-to-date software, but it will only have bug-fixes for the next year. Debian Stable 6 (Squeeze) has slightly older software and will be supported for a couple of years. Some DVD vendors will sell you the complete Debian repository on 8 DVDs for $40: http://www.thelinuxstore.ca/
Last edited by DavidMcCann; 02-13-2011 at 01:57 PM.
Location: IDFdk3, mesic, mixed age forest, lakeshore, @~2450ft, on Lac La Hache, in south central BC
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann
If you only have dial-up (that's really being in the forest!), you don't want anything that will involve a lot of downloads. [/url]
Haha. If you want "in the forest" try this quote from my reply to The Zen of Scrivener - Usage Scenarios forum.
Until the advent of the light, low priced netbook I was never able to find a comfortable solution to this problem, not being inclined to risk a $1000 fullblown laptop on the back of a horse or vulnerable to being dropped in a lake or some other such statistically probable event.
Now I have a leather pouch containing my netbook at bellybutton level, below my binoculars, that cunningly folds forward, and voila, 3 1/2 hours of typing is possible.
If I am in my canoe, I have a 12 VDC battery that keeps it going all day and into the night, and a pringles can wireless antennae that provides (if I have line of sight) access to my lakeside home computer network.
Getting back to the gist of your reply, I'm wondering if full blown installs of Fedora or Debian would be appropriate for a ragtag assembly of computers such as I have? The reason I have so many, is that I have learned not to trust them not to fail eventualy. None of them are very new. (2 yrs newest)
I suppose I could have light dists in all but one. I actually do have Mandriva 10 squirreled away on a hidden HDD on a machine now that i think of it. I never got on well with it. It runs KDE desktop and is slow on an old 486. I also forgot the admin password soon after install so haven't even established an internet connection. Also now I think on it, isn't there some problem with Linux and winsock modems or something? I believe that's why I neglected learning more about the mandriva, way to much work involved compared to the other tools I had available. The original DOS Zip communications protocol and win98se.
I just learned I have an unforseen circumstance. I need a distribution of Linux which will run the latest beta version of wine. As of this writing that is version 1.3.12. Any version of Wine under 1.3.5 will not work. I need this to run the Scrivener, a must have tool for writers. One more thing to research I guess.
At this point, following bigrigdriver and others advice I'm looking at puppy linux, mint, lubuntu, antiX and others, now I'll add debian and fedora.
I'd forgotten about the age of your machines. The CPU doesn't matter too much. If they're pentium pro or later, any normal distro will do. Memory is more important. Most will run in 512MB (not Mandriva, though). If you only have 256MB, consider CrunchBang, Puppy, Salix, or Slitaz. For 64MB, Vector Light. Obviously, a light-weight GUI will work better than something like KDE, but the distro can be even more important: Debian running Gnome takes no more memory than Fedora running Fluxbox.
For a very new version of Wine, look at Sabayon (1.3.10) You can always get a newer version of Wine than the one in the standard repository, with a little care. Fedora has 1.3.13 in the Rawhide (experimental) repository.
If that's a winmodem, relying on software, then you do have a problem. A proper modem (that plugs into the serial port, not USB or a card socket) is fine.
Last edited by DavidMcCann; 02-14-2011 at 01:56 PM.