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Old 05-17-2006, 06:20 PM   #1
JUSTgeek
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Question What linux for my project


Hi there. First time reader / writer

Im working on a rather large project. I going to have 20 machines on different places in my countries. I will be sitting in my office maintaining and monitering these machine as much as possible.

The "clients" (20)
Is only running a webbrowser and nothing else.

The main computer.
Is controlling all the other (admin computer if you will)

How do I solve this the best way

I have been looking at Ubuntu linux. But im such a noob in the linux world. So need some guidence here please.

Best regards
 
Old 05-17-2006, 06:57 PM   #2
Electro
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I would go with Gentoo, but that just me. Ubuntu could be used as well as several others. syslog can transfer all the messages from the clients to your main computer.

A proxy server like squid could be used to control all 20 clients.
 
Old 05-17-2006, 09:27 PM   #3
chrism01
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Have a look at www.ltsp.org ?
 
Old 05-17-2006, 09:28 PM   #4
drkstr
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I agree with Gentoo. I don't think Ubuntu has the power, flexibility, and security/stability to run this kind of networking project. Ideally I would suggest Slackware as I belive it is strong in all of those qualities, however Gentoo is still pretty close to Slackware in this regards, while still being newbie friendly.

regards,
...drkstr
 
Old 05-17-2006, 10:31 PM   #5
cs-cam
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Quote:
I don't think Ubuntu has the power, flexibility, and security/stability to run this kind of networking project.
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ThinClientHowto

Ubuntu seems to have a reasonable thin client infrastructure.
 
Old 05-17-2006, 10:35 PM   #6
drkstr
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That does look pretty reasonable and easy to set up, thanks for the post cs-cam. JUSTgeek, if simplicity is your goal, Ubuntu might not be half bad.

regards,
...drkstr

**edit**
However, you might want to consider something a little more powerfull for the server, and just run Ubuntu on the cleints. Just my opinion though.
**edit**

Last edited by drkstr; 05-17-2006 at 10:36 PM.
 
Old 05-18-2006, 02:37 AM   #7
JUSTgeek
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Thanks

The server will be a windows because of the application is running as .net and on SQL server. and will be hosted as a dedicated server. This will not be a server I have fysical control over. So basicly there will be 3 machines involved.

So basicly:
Clients: Ubuntu
Admin computer: ?
Server: ?
 
Old 05-18-2006, 11:52 AM   #8
drkstr
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sorry, I meant admin computer then, the one that will be controlling all the rest of the thin clients and preforming the "server" functions to them. Of course you can choose to run Ubuntu on this as well. For the most part, it will probably give you what you need with no problems. In my experience however, I wouldn't trust it with anything important. This is just my opinion based on what I am looking to get out of Linux. Other people might disagree with me entirely. Slackware, Debian, or Gentoo, seem to be good choices for server type functions. I actually haven't used Debian myself, but I hear it makes a better server then a desktop.

regards,
...drkstr
 
Old 05-18-2006, 12:43 PM   #9
JUSTgeek
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Well its not going to run on thin clients, just normal desktop. Because I need the harddisk to cache some movies from my aplication. The security is pretty imporntant. Another reson not to choose a Windows version, everybody knows how to fu.k it up... Thats why I want linux. You have to have some experience with computers. drkstr what would you suggest?
 
Old 05-18-2006, 01:42 PM   #10
drkstr
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I think Slackware is pretty rock solid when it comes to security. Be advised however, it is not a hold your hand kind of distro. You will need to taylor it to your needs yourself by installing the minimal packages needed for it's appropriate use, and set up a lot of the configuration by hand (without gui eye candy). The good news is, Slackware has an enormous community of helpful users right here on LQ which houses the official Slackware forum.

If all the client is used for is a web browser and nothing else, you should probably not even install a desktop manager. Just run the application in X by itself. This would increase the security enormously. You can also set up the user level security to disallow any commands if the user closes the web browser.

Another option would be to install a minimal desktop manager and strip out all functionality, only leaving an icon for the web browser.

There are many different possibilities to this, and you had to go and get me interested now. Why don't you give it a try on one of the clients and post back here so I can share in the fun.

Start with a minimal install of SLackware using the "newbie" option to read what each package does. Here is what I think might be useful on the client machines. (packages in slackware are broken down into directories)

a: (Base Linux utilities)
Install most of the packages

ap: (misc apps)
Install only what you need from the 'ap' directory (sound? alsa-utils, vorbis-tools; printing? anything to do with "postscript" or "gohstscript"; man+manpages might also be good but probably not necessary for a client)

d: (Development packages)
This might be needed for initial setup if you need to compile any new software. Also Perl is good for strong sytem administration; automake, autoconf, binutils, gcc, g++, kernel-headers, make, perl, pkgconfig,

e: (emacs)
probably don't need this

f: (faq's)
probably not needed for client

k: (kernel source)
install this, might need to fine tune kernel to suit your needs)

kde/kdei: (KDE windows manager)
probably not needed if all you are using is web browser. Less stuff to play with = More security

l: (library files)
install the ones you think you might need, some important ones are: glib, glib2, glibc, ncurses; for sound - libao, libogg, alsa-lib, alsa-oss; any graphic related libraries you think you will use. You will probably find you need to add in more later but it is best to only install what you need down the road for added security.

n: (network utilities)
add in anything you think you will use (ask if unsure)

t: (teTex packages)
needed if you installed manpages

tcl: (tcl scripts)
probably not needed

x: (X11 support)
need x11, x11-devel, and x11-fonts


Please note that this is just a suggestion, you might need to add or remove as desired. Let me know if you need additional help on which packages to choose, or with the initial setup for the client.

regards,
..drkstr

**edit**
you need to download CD1 & CD2 from Slackware for the above packages.
**edit**

Last edited by drkstr; 05-18-2006 at 03:44 PM.
 
Old 05-18-2006, 05:30 PM   #11
Electro
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Installing Slackware is just tedious. It does not have straight forward documentation to install it, so you are on your own.

Installing Gentoo is easy but tedious. It has straight forward documentation to install it and as well for other topics. IMHO, it is finished a lot more than Slackware on terms of its directory layout and init scripts.

If a web browser is only going to be used, you may want to use Gentoo any ways because it can compile the web browser as static. Compiling programs as static means the program contains every thing with in it self to run with out being dependent on additional programs like libraries. The disadvantage is static programs takes more disk space and more memory.

You may want to use iceWM. It is a window manager that looks like Windows 95/98. It can also look like Windows 2000/XP or Mac OS X. iceWM does not require a lot of system resources to get it to work.

You may want to consider to install mplayer and mplayerplug-in to make it easier for your clients to play videos.

Putting a tight lid on your clients to only use a web browser is not nice. If you are going to do this, why waste the desktops power. You should be thinking of using embedded products because they use a lot less electricity than desktops.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drkstr
I think Slackware is pretty rock solid when it comes to security.
That is loads of crap. Any Linux distribution that I have used or using has equal security.
 
Old 05-18-2006, 06:36 PM   #12
drkstr
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Quote:
That is loads of crap. Any Linux distribution that I have used or using has equal security.
Are you telling me that developmental software is just as secure as a stable release? I hope that's not what your trying to tell me. I know from experience that it's not.

Slackware does not use developmental software in it's official releases. This is why a lot of people complain about it not being as "up to date" as other distros. Don't get me wrong, there are other distros that follow this philosophy as well, but not a lot.

regards,
...drkstr
 
Old 05-18-2006, 06:44 PM   #13
drkstr
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Sorry to double post.

JUSTgeek, you've got me interested in setting this kind of thing up. I'm going to set one up myself on my home computer to see how well it works and then write a guide on how I did it. You are more then welcome to use a different distro but unfortunately, my guide will be for Slackware.

PS:
Electro is right in the fact that there are many good distros out there. There are also many bad one though (in my opinion) so make sure you choose wisely.

regards,
...drkstr
 
Old 05-18-2006, 08:33 PM   #14
Electro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drkstr
Are you telling me that developmental software is just as secure as a stable release? I hope that's not what your trying to tell me. I know from experience that it's not.

Slackware does not use developmental software in it's official releases. This is why a lot of people complain about it not being as "up to date" as other distros. Don't get me wrong, there are other distros that follow this philosophy as well, but not a lot.

regards,
...drkstr
All software in Slackware are in development. The kernel still is in development and so is Xorg just to name a few even though they are stated as stable. Gentoo uses latest stable software versions, but again they are in development. A stable program has minimum amount of errors during its use although they are not totally cleared or fixed from the program. The main developers of the project will literally make a snapshot of CVS if they think it is stable enough for every day use. Most of the errors that comes up are cause by memory corruption and power supply glitches. I recommend a 100+ US dollar power supply and ECC memory for a near stable computing environment.

Gentoo Portage database shows what is stable and what is not stable. Programs stated as mask, hard mask or with ~ should never be installed. You can use the Gentoo Portage database for other Linux distributions to figure out what programs can be upgraded with out any problems. However, it is best to check the change logs to know what is fixed.
 
Old 05-18-2006, 09:55 PM   #15
drkstr
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Quote:
All software in Slackware are in development. The kernel still is in development and so is Xorg just to name a few even though they are stated as stable
If by "in development" you mean the developers are still working on creating new versions of the software, then yes, of course this is true. There is however, a very big difference between a stable release and a developmental/current release. Pat puts a large emphasis on stability, and will not put anything into Slackware that he does not think is stable enough to make the grade. If you look at any information that compares distros, stability is one of the key characteristics of Slackware. This is not to say that all software in Slackware will never have any bugs, it just means that Slackware's priorities are in "true and tested" over "latest and greatest".

Please don't get me wrong, I think Gentoo is also a great distro. It is newbie friendly while still offering a lot of the same power and flexibility. This is infact what I had first recommended in my earlier posts; however, when JUSTgeek brought up that security was a big concern of his, I then suggested Slackware. Slackware is universally known for it's stability while Gentoo is not. That doesn't mean that Gentoo is not also stable, it's just known for other qualities.

regards,
...drkstr

**edit**
Quote:
Gentoo Portage database shows what is stable and what is not stable. Programs stated as mask, hard mask or with ~ should never be installed. You can use the Gentoo Portage database for other Linux distributions to figure out what programs can be upgraded with out any problems.
Gentoo does have a really good software management system. I wish Slackware was more like Gentoo in this regards. Another good quality of Gentoo is the amount and quality of the documentation available. There are Gentoo guides on just about anything imaginable, I have even used some of these to get things working on my Slack box.
**edit**

Last edited by drkstr; 05-18-2006 at 09:58 PM.
 
  


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