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Old 04-21-2008, 02:54 PM   #1
bigalexe
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Can i put Windows based PCs on a Linux run server network?


Im very new to server admin stuff but am working on a major technical overhaul for the network at my mom's work (she works for a Habitat for Humanity Affiliate so the budget is $0) which is in sore need of an upgrade.

Aside from my initial topic i have an idea how i would like the network setup and need some advice as to how to go about it.

I want 4 user groups setup, group A is the executive director and can do anything to the server or their computer and can only log onto one computer at once or the server. Group B is the employees, i need 3 unique employee accounts and they can do anything to their computer and view logs on the server (the server is going to monitor internet usage) but cannot do anything to the server they can only log onto one computer at once. Group C is volunteers who come in and do work, they are going to have access to programs but cannot change settings on their computer or the server basically im wanting to idiot proof their accounts. Group D is the network admin (myself) who can do anything and can log onto an unlimited number of computers to do maintenance.

I want the computer the user logs onto to be negligent (so the desktop settings and stuff will get stored on the server) if thats possible. Obviously any files will be stored server side so that they can be accessed from any computer in the office.

As far as the server itself goes there is a redundant data backup (i believe there is, otherwise they better get one), it needs to send internet to all the computers in the office, it needs to monitor internet usage by each user (i want a list or website URL's visited at least) and it handles printing.

I know this is a very long post and someone is going to state the best thing to do is find someone who knows what they're doing but this is where im at and im appreciative of any advice i receive.
 
Old 04-21-2008, 09:27 PM   #2
chrism01
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You may want to look at LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Proj) to enable you to store/run profiles from a central server etc, http://ltsp.org/
Also research Samba http://us1.samba.org/samba/, another way of connecting/sharing between Linux & MS.
 
Old 04-22-2008, 03:07 AM   #3
salasi
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Quote:
I want 4 user groups setup, group A is the executive director and can do anything to the server or their computer
...are you really sure this is appropriate. You are struggling with this (you have quite a lot to learn, most of it isn't that difficult, but there is a lot of it; OTOH you know this and are trying to cope with the situation), is the executive director going to be taking the same approach or is he going to assume that he can do it without making any effort to learn?

You will definitely need Samba to provide services to your Windows computers; you might chose to use the thin client approach, to centralise the configuration and tie things down. But that part is optional, you might decide that there is already enough to learn without allowing any optional stuff to complicate matters.

Also remember that you will also have to understand at least the basics of networking, so that may well be more learning that you have to do.
 
Old 04-22-2008, 09:16 AM   #4
bigalexe
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As far as experience goes i can setup a small network which i have at home, but have not dealt with Imaging PC's before. I've dealt with the Win2K based server they currently have as far as adding/deleting users that kind of thing.
 
Old 04-22-2008, 09:32 AM   #5
bigalexe
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With the user group setup i am 95% sure. I want people to have only the access they NEED so they cant mess up the computers, one day one of the employees had this Yahoo toolbar "APPEAR!" in their web browser.

The reason i am doing this is because i have become the de-facto sys. admin for the organization and am sick and tired of working with outdated and buggy systems. Currently there is a mix of Win2K, WinXP, and a Win2K Server. Some of the computers have as little as 128mb of RAM and less than 1ghz processors they cant even send email less than 30 minutes after turning them on.
 
Old 04-22-2008, 06:54 PM   #6
chrism01
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Actually, as per salasi, at the tech level, you should only have 2 user 'groups' tech suppt (you) and users. I highly doubt the exec director will be doing any tech suppt...
OTOH, at the file ownership level, you could create business groups, so that eg the director can see any files owned by any user.
 
Old 04-22-2008, 09:03 PM   #7
bigalexe
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If i didnt mention my mom is the ED and is computer literate and capable as she learns stuff from me. I want her to have admin control so she can fix basic problems and be able to run anti-virus stuff and CCleaner (best tool ever ). I basically dont want to take away control from her since i know that she knows how NOT to break stuff unlike the other employees in the office.

Basically it boils down to the fact that if she tries to run System Mechanic one day and cant she will call me at 7am (i dont function that early im in college.) asking why and telling me i need to come fix it immediately.
 
Old 04-23-2008, 08:40 PM   #8
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigalexe View Post
Currently there is a mix of Win2K, WinXP, and a Win2K Server. Some of the computers have as little as 128mb of RAM and less than 1ghz processors they cant even send email less than 30 minutes after turning them on.
You say your budget is $0? Then you made an excellent choice for Linux. You will be able to run a light desktop on 128 MB RAM. But if you can find another 128 MB in a garbage can (that is what the worth of 128 MB is considered today) you would be even better of. Processor speed is nothing, I have 400, 800 and 1100 MHz machines around.

You server without a GUI runs excellent on 128 MB of course.

Not sure about terminal server and the equal desktops for everyone. Terminal servers and think clients require a lot of study and configuration and is not easy to do, and the server needs to be fairly powerful. I am reluctant about the equal desktops, my experience is that desktops *never* are the same or do not stay long the same. I don't care about different settings on different computers as long as I can access my files. After some days I have entered all my user specific settings anyway. If this really is a problem, consider mapping the user's home dir to the server (which can be done, contrary to the silly Windows system which COPIES your profile back and forth, including "My Documents, My Pictures, My Music... " etc). I still recommend to leave your user's desktop settings out of the home dir mapping.

I do recommend IMAP mail clients though, that makes mail *really* transparent moving from one box to another. I routinely use 4 boxes and ONE mail folder.

jlinkels
 
Old 04-24-2008, 09:18 AM   #9
bigalexe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlinkels View Post
You say your budget is $0? Then you made an excellent choice for Linux. You will be able to run a light desktop on 128 MB RAM. But if you can find another 128 MB in a garbage can (that is what the worth of 128 MB is considered today) you would be even better of. Processor speed is nothing, I have 400, 800 and 1100 MHz machines around.

You server without a GUI runs excellent on 128 MB of course.
That comment was in reference to the desktops not the server. im not sure what the hardware specs on the server are but its a few years old at least 5. Also i wont be moving the individual desktops to linux ill be moving them to WinXP so i dont have to retrain the entire staff on how to train their computers. (i know its not that different using say Ubuntu or even D.S.L. but the staff would think so and freak)


Quote:
Originally Posted by jlinkels View Post
Not sure about terminal server and the equal desktops for everyone. Terminal servers and think clients require a lot of study and configuration and is not easy to do, and the server needs to be fairly powerful. I am reluctant about the equal desktops, my experience is that desktops *never* are the same or do not stay long the same. I don't care about different settings on different computers as long as I can access my files. After some days I have entered all my user specific settings anyway. If this really is a problem, consider mapping the user's home dir to the server (which can be done, contrary to the silly Windows system which COPIES your profile back and forth, including "My Documents, My Pictures, My Music... " etc). I still recommend to leave your user's desktop settings out of the home dir mapping.
thats a good point thanks, im starting to rethink trying to attempt that early on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlinkels View Post
I do recommend IMAP mail clients though, that makes mail *really* transparent moving from one box to another. I routinely use 4 boxes and ONE mail folder.

jlinkels
email is outsourced so its not my problem.
 
  


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