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Old 12-17-2002, 06:27 PM   #1
rosko
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why linux is frustrating (to me as a newbie)


I'm a pretty experienced administrator with lotus domino, win2k/NT etc and feel pretty comfortable with code. This is my linux horror story...so don't take this as a flame to linux, but rather constructive critisism.

For the past 2 weeks I have been attempting, without complete success, to use linux as my platform for hosting multiple domains with email accounts (pop3) associated with them. Curiousity didn't pull me to linux, just cost. I didn't want to spend $~200 or so for windows server, but now I see that over 2 weeks later, $200 doesn't seem all that bad. To me, $200 is worth the time, and that is what the linux community doesn't understand. I wish linux was more rapidly configurable, and it didn't take long hours of reading manuals or books, along with repetition, to get it running in a reasonable amount of time.

Initially I had major issues with apache2 and php4.2x....which just boggles my mind why something that is native to linux, just wont work correctly. I found this out the hard way, and ended up spending a few days figuring out there was "known issues" with php and apache2. After I got those issues worked out, I was pretty pumped in the fact I had all of my domains, dns, mx setup and my web server was finally running. I took the waste of time as a loss....and moved on to mail.

THis is my biggest problem I have with linux. Outta the box, sendmail kinda works....postfix kinda works. Sure, if you are a home user they are fine, or you know you wont need SMTP AUTH for pop users. I am now running into the task of figuring out how to allow users from pop accounts to send mail and be authorized through a user/pass type authentication. To me this is just a joke, that I have to actually research how to do this. It should be built in, not some "extra addon" I need to get running. I have now installed Qmail per the very long directions on lifewithqmail, and it runs but has the same issue. No relaying for the pop3 users.

I'm venting, frustrated, and at the same time curious as to why simple things like this are not easier. POP3 sure isn't new, and remote users sure aren't a new fad either. Right now I'm at a crossroads, stick with my 90% working linux box and hope I don't get a migrane reading how to setup smtp auth for pop, or just install 2k server, and in 2 hours be off and running.

I don't mean this to annoy or piss anyone off, I'm just frustrated and have tried so hard to give this OS a chance, but it's becoming more of a nightmare now, rather than a simple tool to run part of my business.

As for the people who helped me on this board in previous posts, thank you for the help.

-Regards

Rosko / broken RH8

Last edited by rosko; 12-18-2002 at 11:28 AM.
 
Old 12-17-2002, 07:14 PM   #2
mcleodnine
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Windows == easy, Linux == hard. No debating that. But i'm sure I'd be pulling my hair out if someone sat me down in front of a W2K server farm as the new admin. But that's just my own experience.

Yes setting up Linux the first few times can be a chore. But the more you do it the easier it becomes. I'm not going to oen up the debate about which is better, but I can offer a few suggestions. First - if you want easy mail administration you can buy Linux distributions made to do just that (ie" SuSE email server). SuSE's product even charges per-seat, just like the other guys Second - most linux distros can perform the same chores that W2k can do - but on leaner hardware platforms.

Last edited by mcleodnine; 12-17-2002 at 07:16 PM.
 
Old 12-17-2002, 07:56 PM   #3
iocain
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Quote:
Originally posted by mcleodnine
Windows == easy, Linux == hard. No debating that.
Oh sure, people will debate that. ;-)

What I think really gives a lot of technical types who are familiar with other platforms a bad impression of "Linux" is that they're expecting it to be "one thing" when it really isn't. Trying to think of Red Hat and Debian and SuSE as all the same thing is roughly like lumping Win98 and OS/2 and W2K into the same category. Did you try getting Apache and PHP4 working on a Red Hat box? How about on a Win98 box? Apache is available for both. I expect you'd be more comfortable with the idea of running it under WinXP, though. I sure wouldn't want to run it on top of DOS, as with 98!

A side-effect (or maybe primary effect?) of the Linux code base being free is that there are a lot more distributions! To look at a parallel in the Windows world, there are as few as two distributions: WinDOS and WinNT, with Win95, Win98, and WinME going in the first category, and NT4, W2K, and XP in the second. Then again, you might reasonably argue that some of those are like different distributions, themselves, considering how much incompatibility MS introduced with many of them. At least two entire service packs for each release of NT?

Before diving in to a learn-as-you-go Linux project, you might want to come to a forum like this and ask what Linux distribution would be easiest -- or most suitable -- to set up what you want to do. Considering your familiarity with the MS way of doing things, Lycoris (formerly "Redmond Linux") might be easiest. In my opinion, a distribution based on Debian, such as Libranet or Xandros, is far more stable and easy to maintain over the long term, but there are more tools to learn about as you get up to speed.

In terms of playing around with a Linux-based distribution without disrupting whatever else is on your PC, Knoppix is a great way to go, since it runs entirely off a CD and can be booted into a variety of desktop environments.

Best of luck the next time you have a look "outside the box"!
 
Old 12-17-2002, 09:17 PM   #4
stickman
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Being an experienced system administrator does not translate equally across all operating systems. The majority of your experience is in a Windows-based environment, and that does not translate completely to the Unix/Linux world. Similarly, a Unix system admin sitting in front of a TN3270 terminal connected to mainframe would probably equally lost. To say that researching how to do something is a joke is being rather inflexible and naive. Not everything in a Windows environment is intuitive either.

Several of my clients initially purchased Windows software for their IT projects but later shelved it because it was either unstable or they couldn't make it work in their environment. You were initially drawn to Linux because of the cost. I would think that the time spent learning something new to avoid single source software, expensive client licenses, short software life, and force upgrades to be a good investment.
 
Old 12-18-2002, 12:31 AM   #5
rosko
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Quote:
Being an experienced system administrator does not translate equally across all operating systems.
That's why I said "I'm a pretty experienced administrator with lotus domino, win2k/NT etc "

The problem comes when the investment hasn't paid off. My investment is time, and evidentally when you see time, you don't see $$ signs.

I wrote the first post when I was completely frustrated and pretty much at point break. I don't think windows is better, you just get what you pay for. With linux you pay in time, windows you pay in money. To say any windows server OS is not completely intuitive......relative to what? To linux it is.

I have no problem editing config files, building from source, and wasting a few days trying to config a linux box. I understand how it works. But when it gets past the point of compiling the source, running through 25 pages of installation and configuration instructions, and then it still doesn't work, that's going to turn people away. I'm not pitting linux against windows, it's all been done.

I'm trying to say, don't you think if linux was even 20-40% easier to configure, it would do even better? I would be in love with it as a server OS if it didn't take the time it does to configure simple things like mail servers, relays, and authenticated pop/smtp remote users....ok the relays don't take time but the smtp auth thing is killing me. I trust there is no one here to argue that it's a pain in the ass to configure all of this. And to suggest spending huge $$ on suse mail server, well in that case I'd just go to MS. There is no advantage to linux once you start paying.

I'm giving my qmail and sendmail another shot tonight, I hope I can conquer. If not, farewell and thanks for all the help along the way.

Last edited by rosko; 12-18-2002 at 01:03 AM.
 
Old 12-18-2002, 01:22 AM   #6
MasterC
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Not even close to the same problems, but I have been in that situation before. I really said to myself "Why the hell put up with all this crap, is it just the 200 bux I don't wanna fork out for win<version>?" I would spend days on days configuring this and that, when all I wanted to do was (I'm sorry I can't remember all of my problems, I have had too many, so I randomly chose my CDR issues ) make my cdburner copy a cd. No biggie right, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to get it to recognize my source drive. I would do the usual searches, nothing was coming up; I would be too stubborn/foolish to post it, so I started reading manuals, and all kinds of docs. Eventually I came across some pages suggesting scsi emulation for the source drive. So now I had a new problem, how to have 2 entries in the append line. Why should something as simple as copying a CD be SO DIFFICULT!!!

Anyway, to my point.. I think I had one?? Oh yeah So after a little while searching and getting it all configured and worked out correctly, I had a MUCH more stable burner than in winbloze. I had a ratio of about 1 out of every 4 CD's becoming coasters in win. In Linux, I still make coasters, but it's more like 1 out of every spindle, really.

So in a long way I am saying, it might be worth it, then again if you are talkin time vs money and your time is more valuable, then maybe you need that quick solution. If "getting it up now, but for how long" is more of a need to you than uptime, then I'd say you might not want to do all the work that goes into configuring your server box running linux (or at least not all of em?) and just run win.

Linux definitely isn't for everybody, but sometimes it seems that the work does pay off.

Cool

Last edited by MasterC; 12-18-2002 at 01:28 AM.
 
Old 12-18-2002, 01:24 AM   #7
eck
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Oh sure, reply to the troll and not the useful suggestions. So you did want to get flamed?

Rather than beat your head against the same old wall, you really ought to go check out a different distribution. What you're talking about doing is just NOT that hard. IIS is all nice and graphical, but there are plenty of good reasons to run Apache instead, even on XP. Especially now that Apache 2.0 performance is on a par with IIS under NT/XP. Apache 1.3 isn't multi-threaded, which hurts its performance under win32. Not that it makes a difference under Linux!
 
Old 12-18-2002, 01:35 AM   #8
rosko
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Well....I have apache/php worked out. The only thing hanging me up is trying to get my linux server to not be open to relay, but allow users to send mail via pop3 from any network...

You know, like you go into mozilla mail and specify your username, then it prompts you for a password. I just think it's rediculous that you have to hack it to get smtp after pop to work...the solutions seem pretty bad for that, but that's the only hangup I have at the moment. Too bad it's such a big issue
 
Old 12-18-2002, 01:42 AM   #9
iocain
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Quote:
Originally posted by rosko
The only thing hanging me up is trying to get my linux server to not be open to relay, but allow users to send mail via pop3 from any network...
Which mail server are you using? Who needs to connect via pop3? There are some other solutions besides pop-before-smtp, but they're not as widely supported in client software.
 
Old 12-18-2002, 01:52 AM   #10
rosko
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I have 5 domains running on apache, and I will have multiple email addresses of users on dialup and outside the network that need to retrieve and send mail using the domain names hosted on this server. Obviously I can't just allow relaying to all, but you know what I mean. Basically i want this setup just like an ISP, where they input their account name in the mail client, most likely mozilla, and it prompts them for a password. Right now I have qmail installed, but it's not delivering mail locally, I had sendmail installed and working correctly, my only hangup was this issue of only allowing my certain pop3 users to send mail to the internet. I can reinstall sendmail in no time if you have a solution for it. I'd love to hear....thanks again
 
Old 12-18-2002, 05:36 AM   #11
born4linux
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dude, you'd be better of posting your rants at linuxsucks.com
 
Old 12-18-2002, 06:49 AM   #12
Bert
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I think rosko's point is absolutely valid. Linux HCI still sucks and there's very little that's intuitive. It's something the community works less on and the distribution vendors concentrate on.

Can I assume you downloaded redhat? There are certainly distributions with very flexible licensing which allow you to have you mail server and httpd running very quickly with as little fuss as you could expect from Windows 2000.

A different mindset is certainly needed with Linux too. In an age when you can call yourself an "engineer" after a 30 day MCSE course (not directed at you mind, only the attitude behind the cert), Linux is a different beast altogether. It's not been made with ease of use in mind.

But consider the anecdote of the retired engineer who is the only one in town who knows the layout of the sewers under the town hall. He is the council's most valuable employee, because no-one bothered to document (or ask him) what he knows.

If you have a spare MB of webspace and a little more time (maybe you don't have much of that left ) you could document the problems you had and the solutions you made. Someone with the same problems will almost certainly search for it using google.

Otherwise, consider your new value to the company (payrises might not be in the running right now tho!) and how easily you can set up a free OS in future. And you don't need no steenking cert for that. It's about empowerment.

The end of the anecdote is that the retired engineer gets hit by a beer truck and dies. And the council loses it's most valuable employee. In management studies, this is actually known as 'the beer truck syndrome', and I reckon Bill Gates drives that truck in his spare time.

Bert
 
Old 12-18-2002, 09:56 AM   #13
stickman
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Quote:
Originally posted by rosko
The problem comes when the investment hasn't paid off. My investment is time, and evidentally when you see time, you don't see $$ signs.
Alas as a contract consult, I do see time as money. At this time, I only sell services. I live on the other side of the fence. All of my admin experience come from a Unix environment. I don't do Windows. I won't even put in a bid unless Windows' only role is as a client. My strength is Unix, and I translate that into value for my clients. I rely on my coworkers for any Windows/Novell server efforts.

I will agree that Unix/Linux can be intimidating when all your experience comes from a different background; however, I do not think that it is any more difficult to learn. Luckily the Linux community is very willing to help. Hopefully we can get your situation fixed.

From what I understand, you've got everything built and running. Do you have any errors from your logs that may give us hints about the problems that you're running into?
 
Old 12-18-2002, 11:22 AM   #14
rosko
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Thanks for the replies,

I do not have any errors, other than "relay denied" which I know what that means, and why I'm getting it. I am just having a hard time dealing with getting smtp authentication for remote users to relay to work.

As stated above, I have everything working, I just need to figure out how to get a pop user to be able to login before relaying mail from their domain on my server.

There will not be very many users, but they will be on different networks and I have no problems walking each of them through setting up their mail clients for "logging on with username and password". I want to duplicate whas ISP's have done, where pretty much anyone buying a domain and using them as a host can relay through their servers, but Joe Schmoe from the internet cannot.

I understand fully how to setup IP based relaying etc, but that solution is not dynamic for the user, especially dialup users.

I hope I am explaining correctly what I need. I'm researching today how to implement this. Please post back if you have the solution using sendmail, right now my qmail isn't working and I think I'm heading back to sendmail.

Thanks again for the help from all
 
Old 12-18-2002, 11:29 AM   #15
jglen490
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I'm glad you're "getting there"!! Linux is a worthwhile goal and a worthwhile endeavor. Personally, I've found Linux to be most frustrating when I try to approach it as if it were something other than Linux.

Linux is an OS, but it is not the same as many other OSes. Just take Linux on its own terms and you'll be fine with it !!
 
  


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