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Old 01-15-2008, 02:47 PM   #1
ashokkantsharma
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Which free linux to use and why


Sir,

i am totally new to LINUX never ever used it and this is my first post in this forum and in internet for LINUX.
Now being given charge of all systems in the company as system admin. My company want to save cost
so i have decided to go for linux. Many of linux i have read on site by googling are free such as fedora, suse etc but i am not sure which to go for. So some one who have good idea of differnet linux OS please tell, considering following points

which free linux server OS to use and why.
my concern are as follow.
1. I want free server OS which support windows client.
2. Host a database (MYSQL server or MS SQLSERVER2k5 or 2k).
3. Host a mail server (may be like MS Exch server)
4. Work as a webserver (for company website)
5. Is secure and stable with timely updates (Patches and fixes)
6. Can support windows office or other office application (like MS excel, outlook, access).

see why i am asking so much of windows support because our current system is window base secondly the employee working on windows are not easily ready to accept other system.
Certainly with time i want to install linux base client OS with MS office like package. but that adaptation is going to take time and right now i dont want to change entire system at one go.


help will be greatly appreciated

Regards

There are no happy ending in life..................

Last edited by ashokkantsharma; 01-15-2008 at 02:50 PM.
 
Old 01-15-2008, 03:12 PM   #2
b0uncer
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You could start off, if you liked, by reading the numerous "which distribution" threads here. You won't (or so I think) find an answer to your question from there, but you will understand that the question is a little absurd; the selection should be based on your thoughts, not others'. Your company would surely not spend a big sum of money to buy something they don't have the faintest idea of, so I doubt if they like to get a new server operating system just because somebody in an internet forum, no matter how good, said that it's Good For You (not even if it saved a little money on licences and such).

If you are going to install the operating system into production environment, that is, to a place where it needs to work right from the start and not after five months or a year of head scratching, you need to test, probe, try out and compare at least a few options yourself. You know what your company needs, so you should be the one making the choices, right? So I suggest that, because the operating systems are free, you pick up a few (say three or four) distributions - probably wise to select ones that are very widely used, so they probably work well too - then install them onto machines that are not in the production environment (or machines that your company doesn't depend on) and test them for some time. I don't mean some minutes or hours, but rather weeks at least. If possible, you should have them working more or less at the same time (means more than one computer if you have available, or multi-boot if not), so you can compare them more easily. Pay attention to how it works, how easily it's set up, how the configuration tools work. You can pick up a desktop operating system for fun and laughter with blind eyes and not lose anything, but if you install a server operating system for your company and don't know a thing about it you're going to get a lot of work, a lot of stress and probably have your company's IT business go downhill for a while - in a bad case.

Not saying these things to scare you, but to get you to reconsider what you're doing. It's not a playground, your company's servers and other computer gear, but a real thing, and you should know the new parts a little better than by name only before installing them. If Windows works and you know how to deal with it, it's wiser to pay money for some more time and use it as the main operating system and learn Linux at the side than make the switch and then start wondering how things work.

Distrowatch and the distributions' homepages (websites) give you more detailed information about each, but I'd say start your testing with Ubuntu, Fedora, SuSE and Slackware. The last one probably differs most from the others, but I'm not saying it's a bad thing. And like I said, don't pick anything because of somebody else's opinions, but by your own judgement. And real usage testing.

Note that any Linux distribution (at least if you pick from the "major" distributions, and not from small specialized ones like firewalling/router-distributions) can be a server just as well as a desktop, and the software you mentioned in your wantlist is available to all of them, if for any. Ubuntu has probably the easiest package management of those I mentioned, while Slackware is probably the most stable one (but it doesn't mean the others would be unstable by any means)..try out yourself and you'll see what you like and what not.
 
Old 01-15-2008, 03:21 PM   #3
pixellany
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Regardless of the size of the company, I would be leary of converting them, if I were not already proficient in the proposed new system. If other support people are not "on board" then you are really swimming upstream.

The best thing to do is to install Linux on your personal system and "get acquanted"---run the applications that your company uses and get familiar with the issues. If you don't like the first version that you pick, try another (repeat as required)

The "getting started" link below might also be useful.
 
Old 01-15-2008, 04:23 PM   #4
Bruce Hill
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ashokkantsharma,

You are more likely to get intelligent responses to your questions if you don't use bold text in your entire post, or any other special highlighting that you select. Those members who have the knowledge and experience to answer your questions will bypass a thread where someone forces a font selection other than the default, which they have already setup as their chosen preference ...
 
Old 01-15-2008, 04:37 PM   #5
jschiwal
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You haven't stated much about about your current environment. If you still need Windows clients, then you probably will start with the fileserver. There is a Samba 3 Howto & Reference Guide on their website that has a section on Migration issues. There is also an IBM Redbook on migration that includes eventually replacing the clients with linux.

One step in migration could be adapting OS alternatives to Office, like Open Office which will run on windows as well. I'm not certain if there is a windows version of Evolution, but there is Thunderbird.

You will probably want to inventory what apps and servers are used in the company and determine whether acceptable OS alternatives are available or if Linux/Unix versions exist. Then plan out how you want to make the transition.
 
Old 01-15-2008, 04:38 PM   #6
onebuck
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Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Hill View Post
ashokkantsharma,

You are more likely to get intelligent responses to your questions if you don't use bold text in your entire post, or any other special highlighting that you select. Those members who have the knowledge and experience to answer your questions will bypass a thread where someone forces a font selection other than the default, which they have already setup as their chosen preference ...
Bruce, are you saying the respondents so far aren't?

I agree that someone's over use of a font such as bold can be a turn off.

But we have been getting more flack and negative response from some individual(s) because of the way we oldies respond.

Nettiquette?
 
Old 01-15-2008, 04:59 PM   #7
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashokkantsharma View Post
Sir,

i am totally new to LINUX never ever used it and this is my first post in this forum and in internet for LINUX.
Now being given charge of all systems in the company as system admin. My company want to save cost
so i have decided to go for linux. Many of linux i have read on site by googling are free such as fedora, suse etc but i am not sure which to go for. So some one who have good idea of differnet linux OS please tell, considering following points
As mentioned earlier, this ain't going to work, or at least not immediately.

Quote:
1. I want free server OS which support windows client.
It is not clear what you are asking for; my presumption, because this is not tooo difficult, is that you want a simple file server. If you are trying to do a lot of other things (replacement for active directory, nameserving, caching of internet accesses, content filtering and barring, access control) you would be making things more and more difficult step by step.

So you have to decide (or be a lot clearer) what you are trying to do.

Quote:
2. Host a database (MYSQL server or MS SQLSERVER2k5 or 2k).
Now here I am really begining to suspect that you don't have enough knowledge for the project that you are trying to undertake. Running MS-anything on your server is something you should know that is going to cause difficulties if your technical knowledge is anywhere near adequate for the task that you are trying to pull off.

So (certainly for a server, and up to a point for a desktop), if there is a 'native' app that does the job, you shouldn't be considering a non-native one.
Quote:
3. Host a mail server (may be like MS Exch server)
Maybe 'like' I guess, but its that MS thing again.
Quote:
4. Work as a webserver (for company website)
If you are happy with apache, this isn't a big technical problem. Of course, there is a learning curve with both with apache and with unix-style operating systems and I don't think that you are near where you have to be. If you have time to learn, this may not be a big problem, but if you have a short timescale, you will struggle.
Quote:
5. Is secure and stable with timely updates (Patches and fixes)
This would be true of any of the bigger distributions and probably a number of the smaller ones, too.
Quote:
6. Can support windows office or other office application (like MS excel, outlook, access).
If -see point 1- you mean "act as a file server for data files produced by MS office applications" then this is already covered. If you mean something else, like providing remote execution environments, then this would be a bad idea.

Also (drifting off the point a little), it is not clear why you are not considering changing to Open Office. This is a cross-platform office suite (so existing windows clients can run OO, and if you, at some future time, changed to Linux desktop clients you would already have experience using the office package of choice).
Quote:
see why i am asking so much of windows support because our current system is window base secondly the employee working on windows are not easily ready to accept other system.
You will be surprised at me saying this, but they are probably right. For people who only have experince of, say, windows, changing to a Unix-style OS can be a big wrench, particularly in an 'enterprise' environment. If they had a unix/linux expert on site who was prepared to do initial 'hand-holding' and user support, then it would be a slightly different matter. And it would also be a slightly different matter if you were prepared to contemplate an 'enterprise distro with paid for support'.

Quote:
Certainly with time i want to install linux base client OS with MS office like package. but that adaptation is going to take time and right now i dont want to change entire system at one go.
Don't get me wrong, it is sensible not to change everything at once. You will fail and probably lose your job. This is not a good outcome.

To really make progress, you would need two (extra) computers and a reasonable amount of time. You need one computer as a 'test server'. On this you try out packages (and distributions), you learn thm and you try and get the configuration right. Once you have done that you can do the same thing on your 'production server'. This should ensure that roll outs to your production server are not too painful.

It also helps if you can transition a small number of people (one is a small number and you are the obvious first one) to use of the new facility at one time.If, for example, you were trying to replace a windows file server with 'samba' on linux, you would play with the config, get it right and transfer that config/knowledge to your production server. At this point, you would have to have thought about how you could do it so as not to affect networking for everyone else which implies some understanding of networking and your network set up.

Quote:
help will be greatly appreciated
Well, you could try being nice to people by avoiding overuse of that irritating bold font (except for emphasis)... that would be a start.

The other thing, as is usual, your choice of distro, which seems to be your question, is the least of your problems.
 
Old 01-15-2008, 05:00 PM   #8
custangro
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I'd use CentOS 5 (Based on Red Hat) http://www.centos.org/

1. Samba for file sharing (If you want "AD like" features it's going to get complicated....ldap,dns,samba,etc)
2. For database you can use PostgreSQL
3. Sendmail comes with most Linux/Unix machines. If you want you can use http://www.zimbra.com/ (kinda like exchange....kinda...)
4. Apache is a good for web serving and usually comes standard on all Linux/Unix OS
5. Red Hat is stable...but not free...CentOS is based on Red Hat and it is free...I'd use CentOS if you don't want to pay for support (not advised BTW)...
6. Don't know what you mean but there is Openoffice.org (usually standard on all Linux/Unix machines) it can open, edit, save Word/Excel/Powerpoint (no MS Access support...sorry)

CentOS is a good choice...also there is Ubuntu server ( www.ubuntu.com ) which is also good

-C

Last edited by custangro; 01-16-2008 at 12:24 PM.
 
Old 01-15-2008, 09:15 PM   #9
tajamari
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Quote:
Originally Posted by custangro View Post
I'd use CentOS 5 (Based on Red Hat) http://www.centos.org/

1. Samba for file sharing (If you want "AD like" features it's going to get complicated....ldap,dns,samba,etc)
2. For database you can use PostgreSQL
3. Sendmail comes with most Linux/Unix machines. If you want you can use http://www.zimbra.com/ (kinda like exchange....kinda...)
4. Apache is a good for web serving and usually comes standard on all Linux/Unix OS
5. Red Hat is stable...but not free...CentOS is based on Red Hat and it is free...I'd use CentOS if you don't want to pay for support (not advised BTW)...
6. Don't know what you mean but there is Openoffice.org (usually standard on all Linux/Unix machines) it can open, edit, save Word/Excel/Powerpoint (no access support...sorry)

CentOS is a good choice...also there is Ubuntu server ( www.ubuntu.com ) which is also good

-C
ayt. CentOS if want free OS and robust support for your applications.
 
Old 01-16-2008, 01:42 PM   #10
ashokkantsharma
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oh my god what a response, few people have xplained things as if i did crime by asking why and how ? and talking of bold letters are they really so irretating ?
u may be geek in computers and may be handling very large organizations, and might be having a vast and long experience , u know why because u have been working there for some time, difference is only of having chances. some day u also made the start and today i may seem to be stupid to u, be that way but may be not after a year. The difference is haves and not haves. Even if i knew very little and worked in an large org i could have done with some one senior to rescue me. here to drink water i have to dig wel. IS THAT CLEAR

I have done MCSA, have made few small software in VB6, access and MSsqlserver2k.
I know what MS exchange server is and how it work,ok i agree that i have not worked in a big org where there are multiple exchange server but atleast in single MS exchange server environment i have, and if not every thing in exch serv atleast i know how to create users, give rights to users, take backups, manage mails and mailbox, configure protocols (POP3, IMAP HTTP etc), about the imp services in exch, configure outlook express or office outlook or OWA at client end. at least i can manage it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WEB server: i know the name IIS (Internet information server/service) which comes with WIN SERVER

and as pointed
2. Host a database (MYSQL server or MS SQLSERVER2k5 or 2k).
Now here I am really begining to suspect that you don't have enough knowledge for the project that you are trying to undertake.

At least i have made a SW in MS SQLSEVER2k enterprise edt.
and know how to create tables, query/views, backend procedures.
know how to normalize tables, know about triggers but never used them.
i know how to work on enterprise manager and query analyser in ms sqlser2k

ok enough of chit chat......

u see my world is MS from childhood i've been seeing it, it started with ms win 98 to xp and now vista.
MY LINUX KNOWLEDGE =
u talk of SAMBA i know its a dance, APACHE the red indians , SUSE seem to be name of beautiful girl with sleek body but big boobs and heay buds,
u talk of UNIX for me its a stupid OS i had it in my accadmy very boring never linked its interface, the stupid shell script i have done some programming in it, ed/awk editor and lot of stupid things in it, wanna to make a dual boot of window and SCO 5.0 unix the partition must be in FAT16 so from that day itself i hated UNIX and LINUX world.

but for the people who tried to show me the way i am greateful AND APPRECIATE THIER ENDAVOUR.

dont tell me to "wait and test and then choose the best" whats the meaning to be an expert in this forum if u tell me to try every linux, man i dont have that much time within 2-3 month i've to make our entire system on line in MYsqlSERVER and PHP, and then prepare a server which host this site and then give training to people.
u ask me a question wether to use win98,me,xp or vista at client end. My ans is XP with service pack2, still great. and dos for 486 clients
now why not vista .reasons my existing Clients work on round 128/256 meg ram, vista need atleasr 512, so pore extra money for ram and hd space in vista for clients who will never need many features that comes with vista, if one argue vista is more secure then in xp use native firewall and norton antivirus and a good spyware and keep them update weekly or in 10 days and see u will never have virus problem at least not easily.
and comparing to 98 which rum on fat16/32, xp runs can run on ntfs, more stable and secure and generally donot run scan disk as in 98 after every crash. see i tlk of practicle things which i see happening on ground not what microsoft says or people says. This comparision list can go on and on..............endless

I can get recommendation for windows server and the company will pay for it not a big deal. but u see my growth (in term of money) is only when i show my boss that see that we have used linux and it is free, then only i will get a hike in my salary.

see i have joined company 3 month back now scenarion is, the IT division consist mainly of only three senior people (around 45-50 yrs) who hve made a sw in clipper and dbase which donot run online. to get info every branch send it data in excel sheet and that is then merge to the database. now that static data is displayed on the website. now the site is space purchased on some xyz ISP.
My palns very simple make a database site , every branch will feed their data in centralized db . Now for accounting division make a seprate sw that run on lan. (details not included)
after this is done instead of using space rented from isp to run site make our own server purchase a static ip address and good band width thats it.
current HW: intel P4 and celerone and windows 98 and XP + some old 386/486 sys which will fade out once system is ready.

Data base size for a year will be round 40-80 GB and i want to use MYSQL community server (free) intially for few months and then later on i will purchase it interprise edt or if u can suggest any other good free DB.

The support i need is step by step.

rgds
 
Old 01-16-2008, 02:00 PM   #11
custangro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashokkantsharma View Post
oh my god what a response, few people have xplained things as if i did crime by asking why and how ? and talking of bold letters are they really so irretating ?
u may be geek in computers and may be handling very large organizations, and might be having a vast and long experience , u know why because u have been working there for some time, difference is only of having chances. some day u also made the start and today i may seem to be stupid to u, be that way but may be not after a year. The difference is haves and not haves. Even if i knew very little and worked in an large org i could have done with some one senior to rescue me. here to drink water i have to dig wel. IS THAT CLEAR

I have done MCSA, have made few small software in VB6, access and MSsqlserver2k.
I know what MS exchange server is and how it work,ok i agree that i have not worked in a big org where there are multiple exchange server but atleast in single MS exchange server environment i have, and if not every thing in exch serv atleast i know how to create users, give rights to users, take backups, manage mails and mailbox, configure protocols (POP3, IMAP HTTP etc), about the imp services in exch, configure outlook express or office outlook or OWA at client end. at least i can manage it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WEB server: i know the name IIS (Internet information server/service) which comes with WIN SERVER

and as pointed
2. Host a database (MYSQL server or MS SQLSERVER2k5 or 2k).
Now here I am really begining to suspect that you don't have enough knowledge for the project that you are trying to undertake.

At least i have made a SW in MS SQLSEVER2k enterprise edt.
and know how to create tables, query/views, backend procedures.
know how to normalize tables, know about triggers but never used them.
i know how to work on enterprise manager and query analyser in ms sqlser2k

ok enough of chit chat......

u see my world is MS from childhood i've been seeing it, it started with ms win 98 to xp and now vista.
MY LINUX KNOWLEDGE =
u talk of SAMBA i know its a dance, APACHE the red indians , SUSE seem to be name of beautiful girl with sleek body but big boobs and heay buds,
u talk of UNIX for me its a stupid OS i had it in my accadmy very boring never linked its interface, the stupid shell script i have done some programming in it, ed/awk editor and lot of stupid things in it, wanna to make a dual boot of window and SCO 5.0 unix the partition must be in FAT16 so from that day itself i hated UNIX and LINUX world.

but for the people who tried to show me the way i am greateful AND APPRECIATE THIER ENDAVOUR.

dont tell me to "wait and test and then choose the best" whats the meaning to be an expert in this forum if u tell me to try every linux, man i dont have that much time within 2-3 month i've to make our entire system on line in MYsqlSERVER and PHP, and then prepare a server which host this site and then give training to people.
u ask me a question wether to use win98,me,xp or vista at client end. My ans is XP with service pack2, still great. and dos for 486 clients
now why not vista .reasons my existing Clients work on round 128/256 meg ram, vista need atleasr 512, so pore extra money for ram and hd space in vista for clients who will never need many features that comes with vista, if one argue vista is more secure then in xp use native firewall and norton antivirus and a good spyware and keep them update weekly or in 10 days and see u will never have virus problem at least not easily.
and comparing to 98 which rum on fat16/32, xp runs can run on ntfs, more stable and secure and generally donot run scan disk as in 98 after every crash. see i tlk of practicle things which i see happening on ground not what microsoft says or people says. This comparision list can go on and on..............endless

I can get recommendation for windows server and the company will pay for it not a big deal. but u see my growth (in term of money) is only when i show my boss that see that we have used linux and it is free, then only i will get a hike in my salary.

see i have joined company 3 month back now scenarion is, the IT division consist mainly of only three senior people (around 45-50 yrs) who hve made a sw in clipper and dbase which donot run online. to get info every branch send it data in excel sheet and that is then merge to the database. now that static data is displayed on the website. now the site is space purchased on some xyz ISP.
My palns very simple make a database site , every branch will feed their data in centralized db . Now for accounting division make a seprate sw that run on lan. (details not included)
after this is done instead of using space rented from isp to run site make our own server purchase a static ip address and good band width thats it.
current HW: intel P4 and celerone and windows 98 and XP + some old 386/486 sys which will fade out once system is ready.

Data base size for a year will be round 40-80 GB and i want to use MYSQL community server (free) intially for few months and then later on i will purchase it interprise edt or if u can suggest any other good free DB.

The support i need is step by step.

rgds
...wow...sorry for trying to help...
 
Old 01-16-2008, 03:01 PM   #12
masinick
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If you want to install a MySQL server, didl you know that this is available on Windows? In addition, the Apache Web Server, the Open Office suite, Firefox Web browser and quite a few other applications are also available cross platform. If you are beginning totally from scratch, perhaps an alternate approach is to become familiar with one or two of these applications on a system platform that you already know. Would that be helpful to you?

Then you can ease your way into trying out a free operating system from there. If you are sticking only to servers, not desktops, you may also want to consider BSD solutions in your mix as you analyze what is out there. FreeBSD is used on many Web servers, and OpenBSD is, too. Both are quite secure. OpenBSD is claimed to be the most audited and network secure operating system of any kind. It is not as rich with desktop applications unless you build it up yourself, but it is rock solid and worth a look.

On the Linux end of things, since it seems that servers are the initial focus, a look at the Red Hat derivatives, Fedora, Red Hat's community development branch, CentOS, White Box Linux, Lineox Enterprise Linux are a few of the freely available alternatives to using Red Hat. Fedora is a development ground for Red Hat and is generally not binary compatible, but in particular, the CentOS releases are source code (and binary) compatible with the latest Red Hat Enterprise Server (RHEL) release, so they may be worth looking at during the prototype testing of any approach you later choose to roll out.

I hope this gives you a few ideas and a few places to start.
 
Old 01-16-2008, 06:42 PM   #13
chrism01
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Masinick has some good suggestions there.
For what you are asking, Centos is probably the way to go.

People have been trying to help you, but there is no one almighty Linux distro. As noted there, there are lots (10s to 100s). It really is a matter of choice.
Linux is not MS with a different kernel (see this short comparison article: http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm).
What you are asking is a lot ie a simple qn with a non-simple answer.

Apart from anything else, learning a new OS and getting it and it's apps/services up to production std in 2-3 mths is a big ask for any OS if you don't already know some of it.
Just think how long it was between your first time ever seeing MS and being good enough to sysadmin it in production...

Avoid SCO, they tried to sue IBM and are going bust.

You may find these sources useful:
http://www.tldp.org/LDP/abs/html/
http://rute.2038bug.com/index.html.gz
http://wiki.linuxquestions.org/wiki/...ndows_software
http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.0/en/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newline

You could even consider going this approach for your older machines:
http://www.ltsp.org/

Please remember that all the help here is given by people in their spare time and unpaid, out of their desire to help their fellow man/woman.
"You'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar"
See also: http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
 
Old 01-16-2008, 09:25 PM   #14
onebuck
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Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashokkantsharma View Post
oh my god what a response, few people have xplained things as if i did crime by asking why and how ? and talking of bold letters are they really so irretating ?

<snip large rant>

The support i need is step by step.

rgds
Demanding support in a open forum like LQ will get you no where but create a bad reputation.

As others have stated that you can do a search on LQ or even google to find answer to your redundant questions/problems.

Honey is indeed sweeter than vinegar!

And yes to bold all one's text is irritating.
 
Old 01-17-2008, 03:05 PM   #15
ashokkantsharma
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jan 2008
Posts: 3

Original Poster
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thanks a lot for ur suggestion and let me move in the direction shown,
and will certainly come back to u when i have made some progress.

bye and take care all of u

and a quotations which i copied form some one on web,aaaa.. but i like it

follow the path,
look to the master,
follow the master,
walk with the master,
see through the master,
become the master.
 
  


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