newbie needs server help
I currently have a windows 2003 3 server running exchange 2003 ( i have to keep exchange) active directory and IIS. Now i would really love to replace my linksys DD-WRT firmware router with a linux server that does DHCP,DNS,firewall, apache. Now here is what i need help with. all of these have to be configurable via GUI , i have no skill when it comes to doing configuration files. I would like to have a desktop that i can RDP into from another machine so i can unplug the keyboard and monitor. I have several machine that run RDP for windows professional and i would like to RDP into them from outside.
I would also like to continue with to access outlook web access And creat holes for future programs if needed in the firewall. Another thing is i would like to create a website to link me with the computers at home that i can access with a user name and password from active directory on the windows 2003 server. Is what i want out there. what distro , what programs and can a linux newbie pull it off. I dont mind dealing with the terminal window a little but not have to be able to make quick changes via GUI.
Just about any distro will do the trick with setting up DNS/DHCP, Apache, and firewall services (daemons in *NIX speak). As for Web serving, why on earth would you want a firewall to also be a Web server? If you have an older machine laying around, I highly recommend downloading and installing smoothwall firewall that will suffice as a firewall box. The general rule of thumb is that a firewall is nothing more than a firewall, no other services/daemons should be running.
As for GUI interfaces and servers, remember, Linux is not Windows and many on this forum will criticize your mere mentioning of GUI and Server in the same sentence. Anyway, if you must, any distro will suffice (i.e. Ubuntu, SuSE, CentOS, Debian, and RHEL). I personally recommend CentOS followed by a close Ubuntu and SuSE.
As for remote desktop connections you have a few secure options and that is SSH and FreeNX. Many will suggest VNC but I really don't care for it (my opinion). If you are looking for a remote desktop GUI the FreeNX would be the best bet and it is definitely secure.
So, to finally answer your question, yes, everything you seek is out there in Linux land. Have fun and welcome to the community. You are in for a ride. I'm also a Windows Administrator and have been using Linux extensively the last six or so months and can't seem to look back. Linux just works wherease, tomorrow is "patch Tuesday" and you know what that means!!
Hey, if you are looking for a linux box with a web based GUI admin page, then look at ClarkConnect. It is based on CentOS and is really stable. I am using ClarkConnect as my DHCP/DNS/Firewall/content filter/proxy and I really really like it. I know how to edit config files but the web based interface is really really nice for making quick changes. For a newbie ClarkConnect is VERY easy to set up. You can find clarkconnect here : http://www.clarkconnect.com/