Which free donwnloadable distros offer server functionality
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Originally posted by tlan Also is there a version that you can recommend.
and which linux distro's have the most install base.
well, that's really all opinion based. personally i'm going to tell you slackware, as that is my distro of choice. i'd also recommend redhat, its the most popular choice and most used by commercial businesses as well.
Distribution: CentOS 3.3-4, OpenBSD 3.3, Fedora Core 4, Ubuntu, Novell Open Enterprise Server
Redhat's Server version of it's distro is very expensive and not practical for your purposes. What kind of server do you want? A webserver? A fileserver that your windows machines can download mp3s from? A firewall? You need to know the answers to these functions first.
You can strip down ANY distro and make it a "Server" distro with a little time and effort. It isn't really all that hard if you have a little bit of time to waste. I do have a reccomendation for you though... I know of several schools that have set up esmith server on a monster server with dual cpus and gigs of ram for servicing hundreds of thin clients with LTSP. Esmith scales very well.
One of the main schools I would be talking about would be a medium sized K12 school in Vassalboro, Maine and the great work done by Mr. David Trask. I have spoken with him personally over the phone and like his idealogy. Several schools in Oregon are following suite from what I hear. Mitel Networks just recently purchased esmith, inc along with esmith server but it is still available to download. They just tried to say that it is unsupported and would prefer you pay them for support.
I have also heard very good reviews of Astaro Security Linux
Enigmasolder, This is exactly why I would like to switch to linux and this server would be setup as a internal webserver, firewall, internet gateway, File server, print server, Authentication server and Bandwidth throttler.
I installed Mandrake and yes did see the server functions but I had serious video problems with my 3dfx voodoo3 card. I had to install it twice and to me redhat was just more steady and reliable.
Anyways I installed Redhat and had nothing but problems getting samba to work. I read all the documentation here and on the web but no luck.
I also noticed redhat 9 uses iptables not ipchains and I could not find any docs on this new format needless to say that did not work either.
Slackware is a good choice cuz it don't enable XFree86 by default, so it doesn't waste memory on creating a graphical framebuffer that you probably don't use, cuz it's a server. Other distros require you to get waist-deep in shell scripts to disable X from starting, from my experience.
and here's the smb.conf file I use (works on samba 2.2), note that encrypt passwords is necessary to connect from win2k/xp. and you will have to man smbpasswd (and use it) to create user accounts to log in with.