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Old 03-30-2005, 01:54 PM   #1
kazakore
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Linux server on a P2


Hi, I'm wanting to learn more about Linux, having had a machine briefly with Suze on it, and then trying and failing to put Demundi (Agnula) on a machine with two existing M$ XP partitions.

We have a small home network, and an old P2 laptop we thought might make a basic Linux server, helping us to understand more what we are doing, while at the same time protecting ourselves from possible attacks.

Any help on how to chose the best distribution to use for a basic server, running on an old P2 laptop would be appriciated.
 
Old 03-30-2005, 02:04 PM   #2
marghorp
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I'd go with slackware. It is small, if you want it to be small, and runs very very fast. But I am a little sceptic about using a laptop for a server.

Anyway, you can get SLack on www.slackware.org.

The install is in a graphical mode and should be easy to install, just read the instructions on screen. If you intend to use it for a server only, do not try running GUI, but installing everything from command line (hope you are familiar with it).

A gui would just eat up all the resources of a P2 machine, and make it a useless server box.
 
Old 03-30-2005, 02:27 PM   #3
kazakore
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Cheers for the speedy reply. Can you recomend a good source for the basics of setting up a box as a Linux server?

Why are you skeptical about using a laptop? I did wonder when I first thougt of it, it's just they have appeared for free, and thought it could be a good exercise
 
Old 03-30-2005, 02:30 PM   #4
Orkie
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What type of server are you after setting it up as?
 
Old 03-30-2005, 02:35 PM   #5
kazakore
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I was thinking a web server, come hardware firewall in the hope of improving security.

Don't think we really have any need of a print or mail server here.
 
Old 03-30-2005, 02:38 PM   #6
Orkie
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http://httpd.apache.org/docs-2.0/ for webserver. Lookup iptables if you want to create a filewall.
 
Old 03-30-2005, 02:58 PM   #7
kazakore
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Cheers, apache look like what I am looking for, and has the documentaion with it

But I couldn't see a system requirements. Will V2.0 run happily on my low spec P2?
 
Old 03-31-2005, 03:50 AM   #8
jonaskoelker
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why not to use a laptop for a server: if you do, the money that pays the monitor are wasted

seriously though, it is quite possible to control a server by ssh/rlogin. Setting it up will probably require a monitor, though, so hog one temporarily from one of your other machines.

For the distro, I'd recommend Debian: it's the only `real'/big distro that makes it easy for you to install only free software (there's also ututo-e, which apparently has a devel team of 6 members or so). Then again, if that's not a top priority for you, slackware will probably be fine--I don't know it, but all its users can't be wrong

My best guess is that Apache will run just fine, only slower than on a high spec box.

hth --Jonas Kölker
 
Old 03-31-2005, 07:14 AM   #9
Orkie
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It also depends what extensions you add. If you set up PHP on it and run PHP scripts then it will be slower than normal (still usable) but for serving standard HTML files, you won't really notice the difference. The traffic also makes a difference to how well it can run but how much, I don't know.
 
Old 03-31-2005, 07:26 AM   #10
kazakore
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Well it's got to be able to handle a 4Mb down, 384kb up so will need to be able to handle this. I wa thinking, with it being able to handle 10BaseT this shouldn't be a problem, or is there something seriously wrong with my thinking?
 
Old 03-31-2005, 07:58 AM   #11
Orkie
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I see no problem with that at all. I asume you are getting the connection via the network which is fine since your network speed is over twice the speed for your internet and if it were connected direct to the net, that wouldn't be a problem either.
 
Old 04-11-2005, 10:28 AM   #12
deoren
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It wasn't stated, but laptops are not the best choice for servers because of heat problems. Older laptops (some of the newer ones as well) ran hot. Laptops usually don't run 24/7 and thus are able to run "hot" for short time spans. It's really up to you.

I've used older boxes such as P1 166Mhz with 128 MB Ram in the past without issue. When you start using scripting is when you run into trouble with resources.

Scripting takes more cpu power than just static content. You could fill your "pipe" with static content on an older box and you should be fine as long as your disk speed is decent. If it involves scripting than that is a different story.

Go with a good distro that offers good support and doesn't require constant upgrades. I suggest sticking to a distro that gives you the option of a 2.4 kernel because of the 2.6 kernel now being a development tree. The 2.6 kernel series has vulnerabilities reported quite often.

If you are serious about running a server, subscribe to security announces such as those available from secunia.com You'll see what I mean about the 2.6 kernel.
 
Old 04-11-2005, 10:36 AM   #13
deoren
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Quote:
Well it's got to be able to handle a 4Mb down, 384kb up
To translate that, you're only looking at saturating an upstream connection of roughly 40 KB/s, which your 10BT hub/switch/NIC can easily accommodate.
 
Old 04-11-2005, 10:38 AM   #14
deoren
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You will also want to make sure your firewall is properly protecting your box, and run additional firewall rules (iptables) on the webserver in addition to your usual firewall.

Last but not least it is recommended that you run your webserver in a DMZ setup where it is on a seperate network than your usual private network. Make sure that the DMZ systems cannot telnet/ssh/whatever into the router from that side in case your webserver is cracked.
 
  


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