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Old 12-01-2005, 12:09 PM   #1
Mateo1041
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Question I'm volunteering to set up a server for my church. Some questions...


Hi everyone,

As the subject says, I'm volunteering to set up a new server for my church. Right now they have a bunch of Windows 98, 2000, and XP workstations and their network is a mess. I'm hoping to streamline and correct things.

We have a server available and are hoping to install Linux on it. We'd like this server to be a file server and a central location for all data files to be stored. We'd probably have user directories for individual user files and public directories for files that anyone can access. We also want a backup solution so no data is ever lost. The server would be connected to the Internet, but we have no plans to have it host websites or email...at least not yet.

I've worked with Linux servers before, but am no expert. Here are some questions I had:

1) Would I need Samba to make this a file server so the Windows workstations can interact? How easy is Samba to set up and manage?

2) Would I need to set up users for the individual user directories on the Linux server? Is there a nice GUI tool that would allow me and future not-so-IT-inclined people to manage users and permissions?

For example, users should only be able to access their own user directories. Public directories should be accessible by anyone. Administrators should be able to access any user directory.

3) What kind of configuration would be needed on the Windows side of things for the individual workstations?

4) Which distribution might work best for all this? I've heard Fedora Core and Mandrake are user friendly and we are definitely looking for something that is easy to use. Is Fedora Core 4 pretty good?

5) Which backup method would work best? Should I just look to purchase an external USB hard-drive that backs everyone up nightly? Does good open-source software exist to help schedule and restore backups?

Thanks for any help!
 
Old 12-01-2005, 12:35 PM   #2
rshaw
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here's a good overview of the process.
http://www.linuxhomenetworking.com/linux-hn/samba.htm

personally i'd go with suse. yast make samba setup dead simple.
 
Old 12-01-2005, 12:35 PM   #3
Poetics
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1) Yes. Some people have a breeze with it, others find it annoying -- YMMV.

2) Yes. Not that I know of. When you use the 'adduser' command, it will automatically create their home directory. Permissions can be set through any terminal or file manager prgram.

3) Does only one user log on to each computer? If so, you can map the user's directory to S:\ or something similar. If multiple users log on, a login script may be more useful.

4) I am a die-hard Slackware man.
 
Old 12-01-2005, 05:03 PM   #4
Mateo1041
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Quote:
Originally posted by rshaw
[B]here's a good overview of the process.
http://www.linuxhomenetworking.com/linux-hn/samba.htm
Thanks for the overview link. It looks like Samba is the way to go. I'll have to try it this weekend and see how things go.
 
Old 12-01-2005, 05:08 PM   #5
Mateo1041
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Quote:
Originally posted by Poetics
1) Yes. Some people have a breeze with it, others find it annoying -- YMMV.

2) Yes. Not that I know of. When you use the 'adduser' command, it will automatically create their home directory. Permissions can be set through any terminal or file manager prgram.

3) Does only one user log on to each computer? If so, you can map the user's directory to S:\ or something similar. If multiple users log on, a login script may be more useful.

4) I am a die-hard Slackware man.
My main concern for a GUI is so regular staff can do this if needed at our church. It would be great to have a central GUI where users can be added and passwords / permissions set. So the only way to add users is via the Linux prompt?

Yes, I believe there is only one user per computer. But I'd imagine a login script would be best so they can potentially have access to their files no matter which computer is used. How can I go about creating a login script...or what software is needed? Would a login script need to be manually configured for each user?

How would you envision Slackware as being superior? Is it the most user-friendly? Easiest to configure? Just curious. :-)

Thanks to all who responded so far!

- Matt.
 
Old 12-01-2005, 05:34 PM   #6
cs-cam
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Quote:
How would you envision Slackware as being superior? Is it the most user-friendly? Easiest to configure?
Slackware is neither and would be extremely inappropriate for you. None of the distrobutions I've used would be appropriate either so I won't make any suggestions.

I don't know of any universal GUIs for setting up users and permissions but it's easy to do from the command line and once you know what commands you need then you could maybe look at putting those commands together into a small bash script (or maybe asking someone nicely to do it for you) and use Xdialog to make a psuedo-GUI for the script. That's how I'd do it anyway
 
Old 12-01-2005, 05:49 PM   #7
rshaw
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http://us4.samba.org/samba/GUI/
 
Old 12-01-2005, 06:08 PM   #8
Fireball7
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If you are a new user, I would definitely suggest fedora 4. It has an easy install and is quite user friendly. Slackware is nice, but if you aren't familiar with linux, you're jumping in the deep end. Also, FC4 comed with som nice GUI options, for the not-so-command-line-inclined. Hope that helps.

Last edited by Fireball7; 12-01-2005 at 06:12 PM.
 
Old 12-01-2005, 06:49 PM   #9
petespin27
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I set up a linux samba server for the computer lab at one of the schools I teach at (it is a church based school). I found the book, Using Samba published by O'Reilly to be a great resource. I found it at my local Border's Books.

It is slightly outdated (as it explains samba 2.2 and 3.0) but it goes over the fundamentals that you need.
 
Old 12-01-2005, 06:52 PM   #10
Mateo1041
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Thanks for the Samba GUI link.

I've used FC3, but had a lot of Internet and networking problems with it. But maybe it was just a faulty distribution I had downloaded. Other than that it looked good. Would the FC4 GUI allow me to do user management using the graphical interphase?

Thanks everyone for all the tips so far! I'll have to play with it this weekend and see how things go.
 
Old 12-01-2005, 07:32 PM   #11
Dragineez
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Not The Hat

I'd recommend slackware or debian. I run Fedora and I like it, but configuring samba was a PITA in comparison to slack and deb. They just - work - no muss no fuss.
 
Old 12-01-2005, 07:46 PM   #12
Mateo1041
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I've used Debian before and set up an email relay server with it at work. Does it have decent GUI options? The GUI is probably a big plus for me.
 
Old 12-02-2005, 03:17 AM   #13
Emmanuel_uk
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adopton and the future users

All modern distros have a gui to add / remove users.

Code:
It would be great to have a central GUI where users can be added and passwords / permissions set. So the only way to add users is via the Linux prompt?
You keep asking about this. I am not sure we understand

1) You were given gui for samba
2) if you mean that normal users will exist on the server itself,
and will seat in front of the box, see the first line above.
There is no much problem with that.

You really need to have adoption in mind. What I mean you want people
to be able to learn or look after the system in the future, or even use it.

IMHO that restricts you to Suse, FC4, mandriva, whatever people would recommand
for newbies. hence forget about debian. If I am correct some people
really dislike FC4 packaging system, check this, because you do not want
to be the single expert on this. You want to share your knowledge, don't you?

The Penguin Driven Church Office
http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/7653

Title Free Software's surprising sympathy with Catholic doctrine
http://www.newsforge.com/print.pl?sid=05/11/03/1643243

Disclaimer, I am assuming nothing about what church you are from.
I am not doing proselytism. Just giving you what I consider relevant info with links.
 
Old 12-02-2005, 09:53 AM   #14
Mateo1041
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That's exactly it, others should also be able to maintain things when I'm not around. I'd just prefer it if they can use a GUI instead of command prompt as I think a GUI would be much easier for people with little IT and Linux training. But I'm more than willing to show them the command prompt or write step by step instructions for them if they are also willing. :-)

My question was if Debian can run Gnome, KDE, or whatever other graphical desktop program might be available. Based on what I've heard, it sounds like the answer is yes. So we should be set then. And a definite plus is that Samba also has a GUI. I'll just have to figure out which Linux GUI I'd want to use (Gnome, KDE, etc).

I've heard good things about Debian and I've worked with it in the past, so I'll probably go this route.

Thanks for the links. I'll check them out.
 
Old 12-02-2005, 10:04 AM   #15
Emmanuel_uk
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I am still a kind of newbie; I would not say go with debian.
I see it as too advanced, not enough gui for beginner. The gui for the install is jut coming now.
I never see /read debian being a newbie distro. Maybe I do not read enough
 
  


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