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-   -   Set Up School Network From Scratch - Need Advice. Someone Hold My Hand! (

norisoft 05-21-2003 09:32 PM

Set Up School Network From Scratch - Need Advice. Someone Hold My Hand!
Hi. I was hoping someone could give me some detailed advice. I have inherited a school network that is pretty badly designed/implemented so I want to reformat EVERYTHING and set it up from scratch.

At the moment it's running of a Win NT server, with a mixed load of clients - Win98, WinNT, Win2K, and it's really not working.

There are three basic areas that need to connect two the network:

1. The school's office (currently running a mix of OK Win machines) - they need to stay as Win machines as they run school databases built in Access. I'd like to reformat them so they're nice and lean.

2. Two Computer Labs (currently running Win NT and Win 98 on Pentium 233s) - this is the one part of the operation I am OK with! I am using K12LTSP to setup diskless x-terms here, each lab having a nice beefy K12LTSP server.

3. Staffroom - teachers bring in their own Windows notebooks and need to connect to the Internet.

What I'd like is to do away with the current Windows NT server (or set it up in the Office). I'd like to use Redhat instead.

I'd like to use squid and squidguard for internet proxy purposes (it's good for school).

I'd like each staff member and student to have a home folder located on the Linux server that they can connect to from any computer in the school, Windows or Linux (I know this involves NFS and Samba, but I have no idea how to set it up).

I'd like each staff member and student to have a web folder they can access from any computer in the school and from their Windows machines in their homes.

It's a tall order, and I have the linux skills of an especially thick golden retriever, but the good news is that it can be built up from scratch.

Finally, once it's set up, I don't want to have to worry about it breaking down.

Who can help me by offering some step by step advice?

Thanks in advance

kjsubbu 05-22-2003 12:19 AM

hi norisoft,

i can help u pl tell ur problems in short details because its very easy problems plsend me short

lostboy 05-22-2003 01:53 AM

You will need to learn about Samba. Then if you want something easy to use (GUI) , try LinNeighborhood. It will give you an easy interface to mount shares with (you have to mount a disk in Linux to see it's contents).

Redhat comes with Samba, so if you accidentaly do not include it upon install, Redhat has an easy to use installer which uses '.rpm' files. These files are installation packages.

When this package (program) is installed, you can start the smbd and nmbd servers by opening a console and typing :

smbd start
nmbd start

I think that Redhat even has a command :

start samba

or something like that which starts both.
As far as the start up configuration file 'smb.conf', I think that Redhat installs a generic one, which should get you going.
But you will have to modify this file for your specific needs.

When you have Samba installed on the Linux box, and have it running, post again and you'll get more help.

Of course post if you have problems installing Samba.

Anyway, I have set up my home network with a Slackware file and print server, Win 98 client, and Win XP client.

So I can help you get there, just set up Samba as a starting point.

I'm on my XP box right now, so I'll post my 'smb.conf' file for you to use as a refference when I get a chance.


Looking_Lost 05-22-2003 04:51 AM

Only a wee project then? People get paid good money for projects like this you know :p

Get a list of all the hardware you have available to you.
Decide who really needs to be able to connect to who
Design the network and IP structure.

The actual software to use is the easy part - Samba, Squid, FTP - then there's security and configuration

lostboy 05-22-2003 02:21 PM

Have you got Samba running yet ?


norisoft 06-12-2003 11:43 PM

Thanks for those replies. I will be setting up this project in August, so may resubmit my question closer to the due date!

Rick422 06-13-2003 03:40 AM

I have only a moderate amount of knowledge in this area so I do not want to get carried away in giving too much advice. But, here are a few of my thoughts anyway. Red Hat and most other versions of Linux come with Samba on the installation CDs. If I am not mistaken, Samba is not installed by default, but during installaion you can choose to have it installed. It can also be added afterwards. As you already know Samba allows Linux to be used as a file and print server for Windows or Linux computers. Samba would need to be installed on the Linux computers but does not need to be installed on the Windows computers. That is because Samba uses the Windows SMB protocol. If the SMB protocol and NetBIOS are were not installed you can easily go into the Windows control panel and ask to have it added. It is possible to use NFS instead of Samba but in that case special software would need to be added to the Windows clients. Samba would also require using the TCP/IP protocol in your network by the way. Any respectable operating sytem these days such as Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Unix can use TCP/IP. Perhaps you are already using it?

Last spring I took a class where we had two lab exercises using Samba. It worked but was not enough for me to become an expert at Samba yet. I recently bought the book "Using Samba" but have not yet started reading it. Once chapter is on using Samba as a Windows primary domain controller, so apparently that is possible. The book also gives seperate instructions for using Samba on Windows 95/98/Me and on Windows NT/2000/XP.

Another optional component which comes with Red Hat and most other Linux distros is Apache. Apache is a very popular widely used web server. I have only used it a little but it does from what I have tried so far it seems to be fairly easy to set it up.

I am less sure about the part about wanting each student to be able to access their own folder from home. About a year ago I took a Unix course where we did something like that. I not sure about all the security implications that would be involved. Of course everyone used passwords. Most students used Telnet from their Windows computers at home to access their home partiton on a harddisk on one of several Unix servers. I did not do it that way however. I mentioned to the instuctor that I had Linux on my computer at home and asked if I could use that instead. He said yes. I used Telnet at first and later used rlogin and then later switched to mostly using SSH which is more secure. Linux is more or less a type of Unix by the way and is very similar. With any of the above commands we could look at what was in our directory and pactice using Unix commands.

Perhaps you would also want students to be able to access other kinds of information over the internet from a database of some kind. Well Red Hat and most other versions of Linux also come with the MySQL database program. MySQL is a database server which can be used together with Apache to provide forms and database information over the internet. The clients can be computers of any type that have a browser. PHP commands are usually used as middleware to connect MySQL to the Apache web server. I have been experimenting with that some lately. When designing any type of relational base is best to know at least a little bit of database theory first.

As I mentioned earlier, I do not yet consider my self an expert on any of this and am still trying to learn more on the subjet. What type of media an topology do you have. Is it ethernet? Do you use CAT 5 cable or coax or fiber? Do you use a star, extened-star topolgy or what? Do you use hubs or switches? Are there any routers such as Cisco routers? Do you use a DNS server or use static IP addresses. Linux can also be used as a DNS sever although I have never tried doing that. If you do not want to post all that on the internet for security reasons that is ok!

Red Hat Linux also comes with an IPTables firewall. Most Linux distros come with that or something similar. I do not know much about it. I hope you do not need to get all that done before next fall. I am not sure how much you know about Linux or networks. It sounds like you will be busy.

Rick422 06-13-2003 04:40 AM

Here is another thought I had. I once took a second class that was also offered offered over the Internet. It was from a University about 2,000 miles away. In that class we looked at study material and some of our assignments by logging in and accessing Lotus Notes. Of course we also had a text book. Lotus Notes is Windows software so perhaps a Windows server was used (I am not sure). Perhaps Tiki Wiki or something like that could be used instead. Tiki Wiki is free software for Linux, maybe it could be used in a similar way. I do not know much about and have never used it. I believe it is a collaboration environment where the users can edit the pages they read. Tiki Wiki also can be used for polls or quizes. It can also be used to create forums. Tiki Wiki is compatible with both Windows, Linux and Unix.

Linux and Unix come with various built in tools for remote access. People can get access using Telnet, rlogin, SSH and other tools. I am not sure precisely what you are trying to do but whatever it is, it can most likely be done with Linux! I am not implying that you would want to do all of that this summer, those are just a few of my thoughts.

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