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I have limited Linux knowledge, and only on a single computer. I was wondering: In a business setting, people log onto their machine from any location within the building (as ...
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  1. #1
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    I have limited Linux knowledge, and only on a single computer. I was wondering: In a business setting, people log onto their machine from any location within the building (as an example) which is verified through the windows server. Is it basically the same for a Linux environment? If I was to set up a classroom with a dedicated Linux server, could students log onto their local machine anywhere in the room and still be able to get on?? If so is there a free Linux Server distribution that I can download?? Hope this makes sense and thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    hello and welcome, Spufi!

    Yes, Linux can function as an authentication server. It can even do so as a Domain Controller (a la Windows). You could also do it using a combination of OpenLDAP or NIS to perform authentication, and NFS to share out the user home directories stored on the auth server.

    The Linux Terminal Server Project is another approach.
    Last edited by atreyu; 06-07-2013 at 01:21 AM. Reason: removed duplicate info

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    Back in the mid 90s, I used to teach a basic Unix System Administration class. The two things that were the best were NIS and NFS.
    NIS is also known as YP (yellow pages). The point is that you can create an NIS server which is a lot like a domain controller. Essentially, it takes copies of the various files in /etc (like passwd/shadow, hosts, ethers, bootparams, etc.) and converts them to a database format then offers to serve them up via a daemon called ypserv

    When a machine on the network boots, it launches ypbind which locates a ypserv (based on a simple domain name) and connects to it. When you login on that machine, it will query the remote ypserv, so even though there is no user named "fred" on the client machine, fred will still be able to login to the client machine.

    As for the home directory for fred on the client machine, normally the auto.master and auto.home files are also made available via NIS which results in the home directory for fred being mounted from a server to the client machine at login time.

    If you point is that you want linux to authenticate with windows active directory, then NIS is completely irrelevant, but if all you want is centralized authentication, NIS is easy and it works.

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  5. #4
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    You can also have your students install putty on their systems, and set them up with accounts and passwords on the Linux server, so they can create an ssh shell to login to the server, and write/build/test Linux applications. You can also run a Samba server on the host so your students can access their Linux files from Windows.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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