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Old 11-18-2006, 07:07 PM   #1
crazy8
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Some projects?


Ok this is my first post so here it goes. I just staretd my first tech related job on halloween, and im attending college for networking. This quarter that I just finished I had a linux classed and played alot with Fedora Core 4. Anyway I am still somewhat new to linux though I love it alot. My boss had me set up a machine wich as of now I have installed Red Hat 7.3 which will be upgraded (using yum) to v.9. Now he actually just wants me to play with it but to also see what kinds of cool things we could use it for with in the company. I have done many googl searches for projects and such but it usually boils down to linux projects such as "mozilla" or the "fedora core project" and etc. Not realy what Im looking for. So what kinds of cool things could I do with a red hat box? If it helps the company currently has a 30 some computer network, a system that backs up certain little things onto tape from the network. We have on computere that is hooked up to two PC printers and opperates as a dual fax machine. Thats the kind of stuff I think hes looking for. But anyway to make it short do any of you have any easy but awsome ideas that I could do with this Red Hat 9 box that would maybe even be a cool tool/toy for the company?

Thanks alot in advance for all the help everyone. Great forum BTW keep it up.
 
Old 11-18-2006, 07:34 PM   #2
MensaWater
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First off if this is a new install you should really move to Fedora Core 4 at least.

RedHat 7.3 and 9 were both commercial and non-commercial distros for the company RedHat. After that they separated out the distros so that there is a non-commercial (Fedora Core [FC]) and the commercial (RedHat Enterprise Level [RHEL]). The most recent release of FC is 6 so even at RedHat 9 you are 6 versions back.

Typically the FC stuff will have newer stuff in it than the equivalent RHEL release (essentially FC is used as the test bed for RHEL).

Various things you can do with Linux:
Oracle Database (ERP, Data Warehousing, etc...) Costs money

Mysql Database (ditto) Open source (i.e free)

BIND DNS Server - Provide name resolution for your company

NFS (even NAS) Server - Share out storage to other servers

NIS Server (share out information such as passwords, hosts etc...)

Mail Server (Sendmail, Postfix)

Nagios monitoring (use it to monitor all your other servers - we use it even to monitor building Air Handlers and UPS).

Maybe looking through the Sourceforge offerings might help:
http://sourceforge.net/softwaremap/
 
Old 11-19-2006, 12:29 AM   #3
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well some of those im not even sure what they are.lol. I know that we already have one database that feeds raw data to a webpage for inventory. Im not sure what other things could be done with a MySQL database. As far as a mail server goes I think it is something that I am going to talk to him about just because they have a company that they go through for a remote server for mail. Makes more sence to have one within the building realy, and saves money. Also considering how you explaine the Red Hat to Fedora Core deal, this means it would be in my best interest to upgrade the RH9 to FC6 or even FC4 or 5, rather the keeping RH?

Thanks for the input any other ideas from all you linux savey people?
 
Old 11-19-2006, 07:51 AM   #4
MensaWater
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FC6 is the latest so is bleeding edge. Proabably best not to go beyond FC5 for now. I'd recommended at least FC4 as it has the 2.6 kernel (prior to that was the 2.4 kernel). Since there were significant changes between 2.4 and 2.6 its best to start with the 2.6 stuff.

Notice that the distribution (distro) version number has no direct relation to the kernel version. The distro Suse is up to version 10 but has a 2.6 kernel. Also the different distros themselves have differences in the way they do things.

Noticed I left out web server as one of the uses for Linux and that would be another key one. Also it can be used as a desktop replacement for your Windows workstations by using OpenOffice to replace MS-Office, Firefox to replace IE etc...u

The point in my list and pointing you at Sourceforge was to essentially say anything you can do with computers you can likely find a Linux/Open Source way to do it. I've been a professional UNIX Admin for 15 years and see Linux being adopted for more and more commercial uses.

Last edited by MensaWater; 11-19-2006 at 07:53 AM.
 
Old 11-19-2006, 02:08 PM   #5
crazy8
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Well with the little experiance I do have I love it for the open source and FREE stuff. I am going to school to become a network security administrator and know that companies are adopting linux more and more everyday. I did some research and also went to sourceforge like you recomended. I found only 2 things that sounded interesting. One was Babel which is for network security monitoring and the second was SNM-System and Network Monitor.

Now I dont know if my boss is to worried about security or not. I know one cool idea i have that I would like to do as long as it was VERY VERY cheap or free is to beable to detect the temperatures of all the machines through the network and have them be displayed on the RH box I just set up. Maybe even set up the machine as storage also since he backs stuff up everynight onto tap from those 30some machines (very small stuff though).

He does currently use OpenOffice on all the windows machines along with Seamonkey to replace firefox and mozilla on all those machines to, which are all windows boxes (98, one ME and most others are XP)

As far as a handy little project goes considering im still learning I want something cool to do, wont require me to have the 15 years experiance you do and will be a "cool" toy/tool. See my boss is a big geek like me so he likes toys and even likes them more when they can serve some kind of purpose in the office.

Thanks for all your input. You are realy helping me out here any more advice or ideas you may have (anyone else also) would be appreciated.

Thanks again.
 
Old 11-19-2006, 11:19 PM   #6
MensaWater
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For network security you can use tcpdump and ethereal to analyze packets. Ethereal even comes with FC.

Other Network Security tools: Snort and SnortSam.

FYI: Most Cisco switches have embedded Linux.

The Nagios I mentioned is a monitoring tool. As I mentioned we use it to monitor our servers (cpu load, memory free, disk utilization are some basic monitors and we have some more sophisticated ones - you can basically make your own scripts to put in monitoring. Nagios gives you a web view of your systems. You can group them (e.g. Win 2000 servers, Win NT Servers, Local Servers, Remote Servers).

One thing we've done with grouping is put in monitoring for clusters so we monitor each physical node and each cluster IP address. One of the custom monitors I've written (or should say multiple variations of a custom monitor) looks for a service and tells me which physical node it is on. I've set it up so that if ServiceA should be on node1 but is now on node2 that is shows a WARNING. The service is up so it is not CRITICAL but we like to know it failed over for some reason.

Of course there are a lot of "plugins" already built for some of the key monitoring of systems. You'd use Nagios on the server (this is what has the main config files and the web server interface) then use NPRE plugin for UNIX or Linux systems monitoring. Additionally there is a tool called nsclient for Windows monitoring. (ns in nsclient stood for NetSaint which was the precursor to Nagios.)

You can monitor temperature so long as the system allows for it. For in depth monitoring you can look at SNMP stuff.

The Nagios main site is www.nagios.org.

I imagine there are Network monitor plugins available as well. For some reason my boss chose a commercial package to do the Network monitoring so I've not tried to configure that.
 
Old 11-19-2006, 11:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy8
As far as a handy little project goes considering im still learning I want something cool to do, wont require me to have the 15 years experiance you do and will be a "cool" toy/tool. See my boss is a big geek like me so he likes toys and even likes them more when they can serve some kind of purpose in the office.
Ahhh - the joys of youth!!!

Seriously - what I'd suggest is going around to your boss and the people who are going to be using any of these "cool toys" and ask them what kinds of computer/network/storage/other problems they currently have that bug them and keep them from doing their jobs better. If you can find something common among all these people and fix it or improve it (maybe a nice new intranet site where they can find company specific information) you will be their hero. Obviously, this isn't specific to Linux or Open Source or even computing in general, but I've been around long enough in several different careers to know that there's probably SOMETHING you can find to work on that's both interesting (i.e. "fun") and beneficial to the company as well.

Good Luck! I envy you - it's been YEARS since I've had a job where I was encouraged to try to find "cool" stuff to do without 6 months of "requirements" gathering and "funding justification" beforehand. Take advantage of this while you can.
 
Old 11-21-2006, 01:18 PM   #8
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pnellesen: You and I are on the same page. Thats how I usually think when Im in a simialr situation as this. I think what I will do since I end up in the end having to answer to my boss is to ask him if he has any ideas what he would maybe like to use this for and see what he says, then just roll from there.

Also I am VERY interested to hear what others have done in the "workplace" with a single linux machine that is "cool" but also wouldnt be a big task for a n00b. I am actually upgrading to FC4 and might even goto FC5. Keep the project ideas roolin and post what some of you have done also Id love to read them.

Thank you all alot
 
Old 12-05-2006, 03:31 PM   #9
crazy8
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Any of the "elite" in here have any good ideas on tasks that a linux box can serve in the workplace?

Thank you all much
 
Old 12-05-2006, 06:55 PM   #10
chrism01
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You could maybe look at using the Linux box as a fileserver, so that instead of backing up lots of MS boxes, you just need to backup your new box instead.
Simplifies things physically and code-wise.
See NFS or Samba.
As mentioned above, it's probably best to ask around & see what current probs they want/need solving first, before suggesting your own.
 
Old 12-05-2006, 10:25 PM   #11
MensaWater
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy8
Any of the "elite" in here have any good ideas on tasks that a linux box can serve in the workplace?

Thank you all much
Meaning those who replied to your original post are the dregs?

Maybe its me but I didn't see a new question here. Did you read the earlier posts?
 
Old 12-06-2006, 01:41 PM   #12
crazy8
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Oh no I wasnt saying they were the dregs. I was just simply asking for more ideas is all. Guess I could have worded it better. sorry for any confusion.
 
  


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