SlackwareThis Forum is for the discussion of Slackware Linux.
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The difference between the big-shot enterprise class distributions and Slackware is probably similar to the difference between, say, the official Mercedes shop in the city and Tony, the local car mechanic in our little village. The official Mercedes shop has a digital workstation with loads of cables to plug into the engine and run all sorts of automated diagnostics. The shop itself looks like a hospital (or at least an expensive hairdresser), busy engineers walk around and talk to no one, they only sneer at my car, which is the dirtiest object in the shop. They tell me they can't fix my car, because it's too old. And anyway, the slightest job would have cost me a fortune. Tony, on the other hand, only has his toolbox full of screwdrivers, hammers and the likes. He greets my with his elbow, because his hand is full of grease. He smiles at my "good old Mercedes", which is the cleanest object in the shop. He's using his basic tools to look for the problem, and after a couple of minutes, identifies the source of the problem and replaces the spark plugs. His fee is ridiculously low.
That's why I love the small town advantage. All of the knowledge and expertise is there, sans the attitude (and the technology but, judging from your narrative, it is no great loss).
I have hopped around a few Distro's and Slackware so far has been the easiest to set-up and configure (CLI has never scared me I started using computers before GUI's were popular). I really don't see why it wouldn't be suited to be used as the base. I am new to slackware and not a system administrator, but reading through this thread I think the real hurdle for Slackware For Enterprise would be its documentation. After taking a look at RHEL & Cent-os I see there are overviews and instructions for most aspects of deployment,configuring & administration. There How-to's and partial wiki's available for Slackware but they aren't available in one location. I am a tech for a large communications company, I am responsible for maintaining the hardware for the "network" in my location, and there are M&P (method & procedure) Documents for everything, from changing a fan filter to adding a shelf to existing Equipment. Even though most system administrators should know what to do & when, I think most corporations want there to be standards on the "When & How to's". It would take many man hours to compile such types of documents for Slackware. That being said if there is anyone who wants to or is already taking on such a task, I would be willing to help.
I am new to slackware and not a system administrator, but reading through this thread I think the real hurdle for Slackware For Enterprise would be its documentation. After taking a look at RHEL & Cent-os I see there are overviews and instructions for most aspects of deployment,configuring & administration. There How-to's and partial wiki's available for Slackware but they aren't available in one location.
This is a work in progress, but well underway as it looks.
Last week I started another one of my yearly four-month training courses for Linux sysadmins in Montpellier. The company is currently moving, and the training hardware has not yet been delivered to the new address. Instead of sending everybody home, I poked around in the hardware leftovers of the previous tenants. There was an old server from the late 1990s, a Dell Poweredge equipped with a Pentium-III 500 MHz processor, 110 MB RAM, 3 x 9 GB SCSI disks and a single network card. I added another Ethernet card, and installed Slackware 14.1 on it, using the first two installation CD-ROMs (no USB, no DVD).
Installation of a server system (without KDE, XAP and XFCE) took about two hours. Once the network was configured, I was glad to move this loud dinosaur to the server room. I plugged it in and went to the - now silent - main room, opened an SSH session and did the rest from there. I added an account for each one of the students, and now we're doing our server training on this old dinosaur. It's already running an Iptables firewall, NTP, DHCP and DNS, and with a dozen users connected simultaneously, RAM consumption varies between 15 and 50 MB RAM, so there's still room for other services.
As far as I know, there's no other sensible way to set up authentication against an external user database.
I don't really know PAM, so can't comment on it. But authentication definitely works without it. I have small accounting company running Slackware and Windows, both on servers and desktops. We have a Kolab groupware server which provides an LDAP-based user-database. I have modified it a little so that it can also be used for samba, which provides a NT-domain for Windows machines. Linux clients also use LDAP for authentication and automounting. For this nss-pam-ldapd is used with PAM support disabled. Also a local Exim daemon is configured to authenticate against LDAP.
This all works without any major problems, so I don't really know why I should use PAM. I'm open for suggestions, though.