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  1. #1

    Best distro for a small biz

    A friend of mine is starting up a small business and will have 10 to 15 people on his network. He wants me to set up a server and all the workstations for him. He is insisting on putting Windows on the desktops. I am trying to convince him to at least consider Linux as the server solution. Which distro do you thing has the best administration tools for a small business?
    I would do most of the serious admin work for him, but he would like to be able to do simple tasks such as setting up a new user account or a new shared folder. He thinks the Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 would be the best option. I want to show him that a Linux distro can work just as well.

    I thought about using WebMin, but I wanted to see if any distro has builtin admin tools that would be better suited.

    Anyway... let me know what you think and if you have any comments, suggestions, or whatever...

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer big_k105's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Fargo, ND
    well im not sure what distro would really be the best but suse linux has a good admin too which is called yast, it really makes doing stuff in linux really easy, you could give it a try, that is the linux distro that my company uses and we are a pretty small but yet not real small. but we have it on all of our servers which is about 3 or so and it seems to work great for use you can even run suse from the server telneting in and using cygwin on your system i guess i have never tryed it but a admin at my company says that it works and i have seen him do it i would look into suse
    BIG K aka Kyle
    Programming Forums
    Please don\'t PM me for help-- ask in the forums instead!

  3. #3
    Webmin is such a great tool isn't it? If you're going to go that route, just find a major distro with great support. Lots of people claim that Gentoo has a fantastic community, other will say Red Hat does.

    If I were you, I'd have a better job than now..LOL jk. No, I'd go with a MAJOR distro (RH, Suse, Gentoo) so if you hit a snag, you'll have plenty of support.

    my .02

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    check out this stuff

  6. #5
    Linux User
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Cardiff, Wales

    sme server

    I use fedora core and have installed that running samba and apache for a few local small businesses. get him broadband and a router. good firewall and ssh.

    I admin these over the web via ssh.

    They use samba for a master shared folder and then they can create sub folders in this and map network drives as normal.

    I recommend burying the server under twenty foot of concrete and not letting them touch it.

    if its secured by a hardware firewall and a software one with the ssh port the only open incoming then the server should be pretty safe. once a month ssh in update some software and check some logs. easy peasy.
    No trees were harmed during the creation of this message. Its made from a blend of elephant tusk and dolphin meat.

  7. #6
    Linux Guru
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    London, UK
    Which distro you use does not really matter, its the software you install on it and how you configure it that counts

    I would suggest choosing a distro that will be easy to maintain, so i would say go with debian.

    If you are installing propriartory software such as Macromedia Coldfusion or Oracle databases, the you are problerly limited to one of the following distros: Redhat

    I am a strong believer in real servers shouldnt have GUI's. If your going to be running this server for him then you should have the required knowledge of the linux command line.

    If the owner wants limited admin functionality, to add user accounts etc, i would recommend you consider writing a script to give him a simple web interface (password protected), which would allow him to do the what he needs, and nothing else. Giving a user without knowledge access to something like webmin you are tempting him to fiddle and break things, which you will get the blame for, and then the "linux is crap" lines start coming out becuase he fiddled with things he shouldnt have.

    File sharing, install and configure samba.

    If you want the clients to use Microsoft outlook, then google for Exchange server for linux, i remember looking into this last year, there are a few corperate solutions available.

    Without more details on what the role of the server is etc, it is hard to advise more...


  8. #7
    Linux Newbie
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    I agree with Jason Lambert.

    If you are a good admin then you should be working from the command line. Also Debian is good for server. But choose carefully.

    Look first what you need in your company.

    Which programs.
    What do you want from your server.
    What do you know about Linux and the programs?
    Computers Are Like Air Conditioners... They\'re both useless with Windows open!

  9. #8
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Leiria - Portugal

    Coose one...

    Hi there,

    I realy agree with all of you...

    If you don't know yet wat distro is better for wat you'll do I think, no offense, that you don't know much of linux administration

    You have to take one distro and then with that distro you'll learn a much more, instead of being allways trying distros.

    Almost all big distros like Mandrake, Suse, Fedora, Gentoo, FreeBSD etc... could do everything, with obvious diferences but they do it. And those kind of big distros are also great supported and frequently updated, so this is all that you'll need.

    Make a list of wat you need to setup on your server, wat you need for your server clients and then see wat distro have most advantage for you.

    Its my opinion.
    I can't write english without errors, so if there is any teacher please make me know

    Joćo Oliveira, Leiria - Portugal

  10. #9
    Linux User
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Cardiff, Wales


    All this talk of determine your needs etc. Is very good but fairly pointless. What can debian do that mandrake can't? etc. Its open source remember every piece of software and tool can be ported. the question is do you have the time and skill to do it. or do you just want to type apt-get greatsoftware.

    I struggle to tell distros apart in terms of whats available. Almost all distros offer the same stuff in slightly diff ways. Most users choose a distro based on political / idealistic reasons.

    So pick the one with the prettiest logo. it's as good a method as any other.

    there have been some projects focusing on this type of thing have a google. I did have a link about something similar - i'll search my email and post it later.
    No trees were harmed during the creation of this message. Its made from a blend of elephant tusk and dolphin meat.

  11. #10
    Linux Enthusiast Opnosforatou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Vleuten, The Netherlands
    I use both Fedora and Slack for my small biz.
    1 Fedora fileserver and development, one Slack as firewall.
    All workstations are FC1.

    That's the freedom of choice; you choose what you like and use it, all distro's will do the job.
    There is no 'One distro', only in one's mind.
    ---[ MS09-99896 - Vulnerability in All MS Windows OS ; Using Windows Could Allow Remote Code Execution. ]---
    Hardware: Asus P4P800, 1GB, P4-3Ghz, Asus V9950, Maxtor ATA HD\'s, 3Com GBit lan, Audigy ZS Plat.

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