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Old 02-22-2004, 10:16 AM   #1
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Registered: Feb 2004
Location: west columbia, SC
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Clueless Newbie Needs Help

I currently run 3 networked puters.
1. Pentium 166 with Win 98, 96MB RAM, 5 GB hard drive, and is basically used as a spare machine as well as a dedicated print server.
2. Pentium II 233 w/MMX, 96MB RAM, 5 GB hard drive with win 98 and is my secondary puter.,
3. I recently acquired a PIII 733, I put in 512 MB RAM, a 40GB primary hardrive as well as a secondary 5GB drive, a cd burner and a 64MB eVGA graphics card.

I have a version of Mandrake 6.1 that i have been considering installing in the 133. I have heard that RedHat 9 is one of the best out there, and i wouldn't mind running all Linux boxes. Any comments? Also, if I turn the 166 into a linux box, will it be compatible with the windows boxes? will i still be able to use the 166 as a print server? Is it true that linux is a much more powerful and robust OS as compared to windows, which is extremely resoruce and power hungry? Any and all suggestions and comments are welcome, and I can best reached at 903.939.8389 or I basically want a network that is powerful and fast, using what machines i have for now. Another issue is school. For many of my classes, I am required to use Office XP for my assignments. Is there some type of emulator, or should i just run a dual boot system?

Old 02-22-2004, 11:09 AM   #2
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Registered: Jan 2004
Location: NL
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Mandrake 6.1 is a bit out-of-date, you may want to check for the latest mandrake images. You can't really say Red Hat is any better than the other big distros. If you want a good userfriendly distro, use Mandrake, Red Hat (Fedora) or SuSE. They will run on any of your computers. You can share files and a printer with microsoft windows systems using Samba.
In my experience Linux _is_ much more robust then windows. Come on, give it a try!
You can run office with Crossover office, by dual-booting, emulation (possibly.) If you can switch to, that would be the preferred option
Old 02-22-2004, 03:30 PM   #3
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Arizona
Distribution: Kubuntu 8.04
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You mentioned wanting to run Office XP under Linux That can be done. Codeweavers makes Crossover Office which sells for about $60. It allows Linux users to run some versions of MS Office and a few other Windows products. I works with Office 97, Office 2000, Office XP. They do not yet have a version that works with Office 2003. The only version of MS Access that works is Access 2000.

Crossover Office is enhanced version of WINE that has an easy to use front end for installing the Windows programs. I use Red Hat 9 and use Word 97, Excel 97, Powerpoint 97. If you install MS Office 2000 or later you might end up having to call Microsoft to have it activateded. Activation is something different than the keycode on the CD. It is the feature where you can on use it up to 50 times before activating it over the Internet or by telephone. The first time or so it seems to be possible to activate it over the Internet but later on they make people call them and ask for Microsoft's permission to reinstall Office. Office 97 does not have that feature. To avoid that hassle, I use my old full version of Office 97 and have the full student version of Office 2003 installed under Windows 2000. I am a part time student and was able to get the less expensive student version.

There are several Linux word processors that can handle MS Word files. Abi Word, OpenOffice and Textmaker can all do that. That might be an alternative to using Word.

Red Hat is discontinuing support for Red Hat 9 sometime in March. It probably will not be possible to get security patches and updates after that. Red Hat will now be concentrating on their enterprise versions of Linux. Fedora Core 1 is more or less the replacement for Red Hat 9. I do not believe that it is officially a Red Hat product. Red Hat supports Fedora yet somehow it is not really one of their products.

I use Red Hat 8 on my old 266 MHz Pentium II computer and Red Hat 9 on my newer computer. Red Hat 8 runs good on the older computer, I have never tried Red Hat 9 on it.

I am not an expert at any of this and have not yet tried to set up a print server. I have Samba installed on my older computer and plan to use Samba to share folders and to act as a print server. So far I have only done a few crude experiments with Samba. Samba can allow a Linux box to act as a server for either Windows or Linux clients.

Is your network working yet? Can they ping each other? On my two computers I use static IP addressess instead of dynamically assigned IP addresses. For larger networds dynamically assigned IP addresses are more appropriate. For a simple small network statically assigned IP addresses are good. I know all about static IP addresses but know very little about dynamically assigned IP addresses and DHCP servers and that type of thing.

At this point I am not using Samba. I have used ssh and sftp. I used ssh to log-in on my other computer and open a remote xterm window and run some programs that are on it. To transfer files I have used sftp. Ordinary ftp commands can be used with sftp. With Red Hat and some other distros the daemon that activates ssh and sftp is sometimes installed and turned on by default.

On my old computer, I also installed Apache and the server versions of PHP and MySQL. When installing Red Hat 8 I had it include those items. Apache now acts as a web page server and I can view the web pages from a browser on my other computer while running either Linux or Windows. As an experiment I have also used PHP as a server side scripting language to create web pages with forms. PHP was also able to transfer data from the form to and from the MySQL database.

My experiments in these areas have been very crude and simple. My knowledge of security is somewhat limited and just use this at home. My firewall in Linux does seem to be set to keep the outside world from viewing the webpages or anything. Most of the time I do not have my old computer running at the same time I am using my dial-up connection to the Internet anyway. Do not get so busy with all this that you do not have time to study.
Old 02-22-2004, 04:34 PM   #4
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Arizona
Distribution: Kubuntu 8.04
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On your Pentium 166 print server you might want to keep in mind that the hardware requirements are less if you are running it in the text mode. If you decide to only run it in the text mode you would not be able to run X-Windows or any GUI programs. For someone who knows their Linux/Unix commands well, having a GUI point-and-click interface on a server would not be necessary. However, you are a newbie and perhaps having Gnome or KDE installed would be best. with an older version of Linux you could probably use Gnome, KDE or something similar. Servers can run Samba, Apache, PHP, MySQL, ssh, sftp and similar things even if X-Windows is not installed.

I have noticed that Slackware has somewhat lower hardware requirements. The installation of Slackware is a less user friendly processes than most other distros. One possible reason for the lower requirements might be that during installation you get to choose which kernel to install. Perhaps that is why, I am not actually sure. I have not used Slackware myself but a somewhat more recent version of Slackware might be an alternative to Mandrake 6.1. I am not actually recommending which to use. I believe that there are also some window managers that have lower hardware requirements than Gnome or KDE. On the two newer computers Mandrake, SuSE or Fedora core are all good choices. There are other good distros too.


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