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Old 10-24-2005, 01:33 PM   #1
k.king
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Small Network and Single Sign On with different clients


Suggestions please

Background
small business currently has variety of PC/laptops and all connect to Broadband via an DSL router. Currently there is no Server and their e is no network sharing of any kind. As we want to add two new PC's and there is no spare ports on the router I would like to set up a Server and run the internet through it and set up file and print sharing off this. The existing equipment has WinME, Win2K, and WinXP Home. I have been using one PC with Mandrake 10.1 and it does all that the new PC's would need to. But some of the existing PC's/Laptops use software that only runs on Windows and have been a pain to get working in past so I would prefer to leave them as is.

Questions
Can all of these Windows clients talk to Samba ?
If I set up communal shares, will Linux clients also be able to connect to them ?
Would it be possible to set up a single sign on like a Netware or NT domain network (I read somewhere that XP Home is a problem ?)

And what Distro and Packages would people suggest ?
 
Old 10-24-2005, 04:42 PM   #2
hob
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XP Home systems can't become members of a domain, so the user has to login to the local PC and then connect to the network drives/printers (though XP will then remember the connections), and user profiles are stored on the PC and can't "follow" the user to a different PC. For a small network where each person logs in to the same computer every day it's not much of a problem. Linux systems can join a Samba/NT domain for (effectively) single sign-on.

Other useful software for a server:

- Backup software ! Bacula and Mondo Rescue are free and good.
- Squid Web cache speeds up Internet access tremendously for the clients.
- DNS. A local DNS server caches Internet lookups. DNSMasq is better than BIND for small networks.
- Simple Intranet with a CMS or Wiki package
- ClamAV Anti-virus to scan the shared directories
- E-mail and Groupware for shared calendaring, messaging etc.

Maintaining your own mail service with spam and AV filtering, Webmail etc. is time-consuming. For a small business you may find it better to buy accounts for each employee with a specialist mail provider like FastMail.

WRT to distros, for a main server it's best to look for a stability-first distro with 2 years+ updates for each release: SUSE Enterprise, Red Hat Enterprise, Debian, or CentOS (last two are no-fee). They all carry the same standard server packages.
 
Old 10-25-2005, 07:22 AM   #3
k.king
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How do I get all the non XP clients to have single sign on ?
Is it all purely in Samba ?
Do the Win2K clients just point to a domain on Samba ?
Do I need to make Samba a PDC ?
Do I need LDAP ?
How do I configure the Linux clients to have the single sign on.


I'm hoping to just get the common file share and internet gateway with preferably single sign on (except XP) as a first step. And then work my way through most things on your list.

I tried CentOS but failed to get the Internet Sharing working, whereas in Mandriva it was straightforward.

re email, I'd like to setup where all the mail lives on the server (so it can be backed up). I don't want emails stored on the clients, except maybe the laptop but then I would like a copy still on the server ?
Is that do'able ?
 
Old 10-25-2005, 06:21 PM   #4
hob
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Samba is actually has probably the best documentation set of any Open Source project - if you go to www.samba.org you'll find the text of several books. Distributions supply this documentation as well.

The short version is:

- Samba is a suite of several pieces of software.
- The main smb service acts like an NT 4 domain controller.
- Windows 2000 systems can join the domain of an NT4 or Samba domain controller using a wizard.
- Linux systems can be configured to use Samba for authentication - several distributions provide tools for setting up authentication, so that you don't need to edit files directly.
- ME and XP Home are "consumer" systems, and aren't meant to join domains as the Windows 2000 "business" OS can.
- Samba can work without LDAP, but many other services can use an LDAP directory. It's best to read the documentation and decide your authentication setup before you make anything live.

I'm a bit confused by your mention of Internet sharing - if you have a DSL router then the server doesn't need to do anything here. You probably should run your own DNS service, but initially your clients can use your ISP.

For storing mail on your server you'd use an IMAP service. The specifics vary by distribution. Note that making a mail server available is mildly complex, but dealing with spam, viruses, and user complaints make this a very time consuming service to run. I maintain mail services for a medium-sized organization, but for under $40 a year per account for FastMail's IMAP service it's not worth me maintaining an e-mail server for my personal domain.
 
Old 10-26-2005, 01:41 PM   #5
k.king
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so can I get Single Sign On functionality without LDAP ?
(forgetting the XP Home clients)
Just to keep it simple(r)

The router only has 4 ports, so with server and more clients, only need a normal hub. If router dies it won't stop everything else.
 
Old 10-26-2005, 02:43 PM   #6
hob
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Quote:
so can I get Single Sign On functionality without LDAP ?
(forgetting the XP Home clients)
Just to keep it simple(r)
Yes. Ideally you would store the account details in LDAP, and Linux, Samba, Webmail etc. would talk to LDAP. This is important when you have several servers, because they can all use the same LDAP directory. Since you only have one server and a small number of users you can avoid the overhead of implementing LDAP and just create a user account on the Linux server for each user. Obviously, if you ever decide to add another server for some reason you'll need to reconsider this.

Quote:

The router only has 4 ports, so with server and more clients, only need a normal hub. If router dies it won't stop everything else.
Business-grade appliances like switches and routers are actually a lot more reliable than servers, despite the price differences - servers are full of moving parts .
 
  


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