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Old 09-20-2003, 01:36 AM   #1
schbond
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I have an extra box. Suggested uses?


I have an extra box lying around. I don't know the specs for sure, but here is a guess:

200 MHz Pentium
16 MB RAM
2 GB HDD
10/100 NIC

It's an old HP Pavilion desktop (as opposed to tower). The CD-ROM is busted, so I'd either have to 'borrow' a drive from another box to install an OS, or quickly become acquainted with NFS or similar.

Anyway, what could I use it for? It's sitting in the corner begging to be used! Firewall maybe? I have a Linksys cable modem and Linksys 4-port router with 2 unused ports.

In any case, it doesn't have enough RAM for an X install, but I'd like a CLI box anyway. Firewall idea is really interesting to me (I am paranoid). Plus it would be good practice for the Local Area Networking class I am taking at school. It's late... hope I didn't forget anything. I'll check back tomorrow morning.
 
Old 09-20-2003, 01:48 AM   #2
MasterC
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So it's got at least a 1.44MB floppy? If so, then yeah, you can do pretty much anything you want with the box (non-x). Firewall, Packet sniffer, diskless NFS system (yeah that'd teach ya a few things, combine that with a Firewall AND packet sniffer (Snort) and you'd definitely have some fun!) or whatever you'd like.

Really depends on the capabilities of the system as far as getting things started I'd say.

Cool
 
Old 09-20-2003, 01:48 AM   #3
Winno
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Firewall: I suppose so. I heard about people using old boxes for that.

It might also be possible for a mini server (files, web, media). You might need to up the hard disk or ram for that.
 
Old 09-20-2003, 08:50 AM   #4
schbond
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MasterC, now we're talkin'! I like the diskless NFS idea. I think I'm also going to take this opportunity to get some *BSD experience (going with OpenBSD). I think my Linux learning curve has leveled out since I ditched Mandake/RedHat and got into Slack, Debian, and Gentoo. And yes, it has a 1.44 floppy.

Winno, yeah I thought about that, but I really don't want to upgrade any hardware... perhaps just another NIC if it's going to be a firewall. I don't have any spare hard drives at the moment.

Anyway, I think I'll go with the diskless NFS firewall/packet sniffer. Thanks for the suggestions!

Last edited by schbond; 09-20-2003 at 08:51 AM.
 
Old 09-20-2003, 09:47 AM   #5
kev82
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try building an LFS on it, then turn it into the firewall/NFS/etc thingy. an LFS really teaches you some great stuff.
 
Old 09-20-2003, 12:36 PM   #6
MasterC
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Big time, that'd be a hurdle! Good idea, great learning idea!

Cool
 
Old 09-20-2003, 06:21 PM   #7
JesseJames
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That hard drive is plenty big enough for your suggestions I think. If you want to do minimal upgrades (ie add a CD-Rom, new ram, etc) you could check Ebay which is a haven for old computer parts (and anything else in general). I saw some 2.5gb hard drives been sold at 50p which is a bargain.
 
Old 09-20-2003, 06:41 PM   #8
schbond
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aren't the specs decent enough for a home LAN firewall? I really don't want to spend any money on a computer that is fine for what I want it to do. Now if I could just obtain a spare CD-ROM... oh well, I could use a lesson in NFS...
 
Old 09-20-2003, 06:44 PM   #9
kev82
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those specs are absolutly fine for a home lan firewall. if you want a cd rom you could probably pick up something on ebay for 5, and i still say you should give LFS a go.
 
Old 09-20-2003, 06:46 PM   #10
MasterC
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CDROM's are free if you find the right business Walk into a large corporation and head to their IT dept, ask if they have 1 spare CDROM for your project. It works, you might just have to ask 2 or 3 places before you find one.

Cool
 
Old 09-20-2003, 07:06 PM   #11
schbond
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I am definitely going to give LFS a try. I just need to plan my approach! :-)

I actually do have a CD-ROM, but it's at my parents' house 2500 miles away. If I don't have NFS down before I visit them, I'll snag it.
 
Old 09-20-2003, 08:59 PM   #12
wapcaplet
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Re: I have an extra box. Suggested uses?

Quote:
Originally posted by schbond
In any case, it doesn't have enough RAM for an X install
Nonsense. I did it in only 4MB. Personally, I'd suggest using it as a dumb terminal to your main box - I did that recently, and it was a great experience! Check out the Linux Terminal Server Project for info. Of course it'd also make a good firewall, but that just seems like such a waste of good CPU cycles

Last edited by wapcaplet; 09-20-2003 at 09:01 PM.
 
Old 09-20-2003, 09:30 PM   #13
schbond
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Quote:
Nonsense. I did it in only 4MB.
Hmmm. I seem to remember trying to install RedHat -- I believe v7.3 -- on a test/closet box with similar specs and the installer notified me that anything less than 32 MB is not suitable for X. However, this was several months ago. I've performed several linux installations since, and my memory could be foggy for this topic. Another possibility could be that it was a distro-specific issue.
Quote:
Of course it'd also make a good firewall, but that just seems like such a waste of good CPU cycles
I agree, but the CPU is the best piece of hardware in this box. This of course only applies to me, as it is an opinion. A 2-GB HD and 16 MB RAM is nothing for me. And like I said before, I am paranoid about security (especially after reading various security-related documents), and I want to put something else between the 'net and my linksys router. Also as I said before, I am in a LAN class and it would be good practice. Maybe I could ask my instructor about extra credit!
 
Old 09-21-2003, 01:09 AM   #14
MasterC
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I believe what he is referring to is using it as an X client. Yes for servers those specs would blow up the machine, but as an X client only (with something like LTSP) would be more of what he's referring to. You can of course do all of the above:
Build an LFS system, migrate to a diskless NFS setup with the LFS box, compile all the tools with it, and leach from your main stations X server via LTSP to graphically view/alter your security/firewall features.

Cool
 
Old 09-21-2003, 09:23 AM   #15
schbond
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MasterC, that all sounds great, but i haven't even heard of LTSP. I will do some googling.

As for LFS and NFS, I have been reading docs but I am still a bit confused about the process.

Is it correct that I must first boot off another distro's boot CD to install LFS? If so, does it matter which distro I use? (My main box is now running Gentoo 1.4). From your "leach" description, MasterC, it seems that I should build the LFS on my main workstation and copy it to the firewall box.

I will keep reading about this process, but maybe you could give me a few more pointers, or some links? I am already reading the following:

LFS HowTo
Linux NFS HowTo

Thanks!
 
  


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