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List of things I'd like to be able to do with Linux and what family/distro I should play with

Link to this post 16 Feb 12

I have quite a bit of Windows Server 03 and 08 experience and I was wanting to make my own sandbox to do roughly the following:

-Network several computers using a linux and windows based platform

-Secure file sharing, printer sharing

-Run a Linux based server

-A 'domain' environment like Windows Server (if this exists) where I can 'push' or deploy programs to the end user desktops

-Be able to remote into the server and do something like terminal services (with addons is fine)

Any advice would be welcome!

Link to this post 17 Feb 12

From what I know, ubuntu server and debian are best for servers. Debian is gui based by defualt and ubuntu server uses a shell prompt. Use debian, it is as easy as ubuntu and lightweight. Its also very extensible so you can customize it. Any linux Os will perform the above task. In my experience, ubuntu and Debian have been the easiest to use.

Link to this post 17 Feb 12

For file sharing and printer sharing I recommend looking at the samba service which uses the smb protocol, the protocol that windows uses for network file shares. This will allow you to host shared resources on a Linux based system that both OSs can utilize.

For domain options you should look at the discussion at https://www.linux.com/community/forums/system-management/active-directory-alternative/limit/20/offset/0

For remoting into the server you can use ssh for encrypted CLI access or you may consider webmin for GUI remote administration.

Link to this post 17 Feb 12


I have quite a bit of Windows Server 03 and 08 experience and I was wanting to make my own sandbox to do roughly the following:

-Network several computers using a linux and windows based platform

Simple, or complex, depending upon what level of integration you want to get. I do this at home without problems, but then I have 10+ years of Linux experience, and am a professional Linux systems engineer with a tier-one mobile phone manufacturer. Be more specific, and we might be more able to help you achieve your goals in this.

-Secure file sharing, printer sharing

Simple. Set up your Linux server as a Samba server, and you can share directories (folders) with any other Linux or Windows system on your network. FWIW, to access a Windows or Linux folder shared this way, you use the CIFS mount type, which is the current version of the Samba (SMB) client. CIFS stands for Common Internet File System. Here is the Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIFS

-Run a Linux based server

Also simple. Linux supports Apache and Tomcat web servers out-of-the-box, as well as ftp, Samba, terminal servers, etc.

-A 'domain' environment like Windows Server (if this exists) where I can 'push' or deploy programs to the end user desktops

Microsoft's Active Directory product is based upon LDAP. The most commonly used Linux version of this is OpenLDAP.

-Be able to remote into the server and do something like terminal services (with addons is fine)

You have any number of methods to access a Linux server from Windows or other Linux systems, not limited to ssh (secure shell), telnet (unsecure), VNC (Virtual Network Computing) for terminal services, etc.

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