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I just built a server for my network, and decided to use linux as the OS because I've always heard that it is a good, stable system for a server ...
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  1. #1
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    Ubuntu as a Server


    I just built a server for my network, and decided to use linux as the OS because I've always heard that it is a good, stable system for a server and that Ubuntu is one of the easiest to work with. Anyway, I just installed the Ubuntu OS, and the only software that I installed with it was Samba (I don't have a printer hooked up to this computer). Is samba the best software to use for this, or is there any other option that would be easier to use? I've heard that with samba there are a lot of things you have to change using the CLI (something about chmod, whatever that is, and others like it), which doesn't bother me, I've used CLI since the years before Windows, good ol' DOS. But I've also heard from a few friends and they say that an app called Webmin works pretty well, and you don't have to make many changes actually using the CLI). Has anybody heard of it, and is it any good? Is it an easier way to change settings and create a network with?

  2. #2
    Linux Enthusiast Mudgen's Avatar
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    You don't say what services you want the server to provide, so it's hard to say if Samba is "the best software to use for this". Samba essentially mimics a Windows Server platform, so if that's what you want, yes, it's the best, and about the only game in town.

    Webmin attempts to provide a gui interface to a variety of configuration and management tasks that might otherwise require a CLI--including the configuration and management of Samba. It does a decent job, but you're best off if you learn what it's doing under the hood. For instance, back up your smb.conf file, make a change or changes to Samba config with Webmin, then diff smb.conf against the backup to see what it did.

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    My 2 cents

    greyhairweenie is exactly right. Samba will provide Windows file shares on your Linux server. He is also exactly right when he says "but you're best off if you learn what it's doing under the hood".

    To be a bit more specific, Linux does not have a registry (thank god). Almost all services and applications are configured via text configuration files. If one gets screwed up, the whole system doesn't get screwed up. And of course a "configuration backup" is as easy as saving the text file to another name.

    So when you add a service like Samba to your Linux server, spend 5 or 10 minutes reading the docs. You can usually find a crib sheet via Google to do simple things with a service (like create a share with Samba).

    You may be tempted to take a shortcut like Webmin, which is a great tool. But you're far better off doing by hand to start so you know your system and then use Webmin as a convenience tool rather than a crutch.

    Of course, that's just IMO

    rabinng

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    Webmin is a wunderful tool, but ... you still have to know what "it's doing under the hood".

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    Swat is also there are an official part of the samba project. However I prefer configuring by hand.

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    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Here's a rule I always follow when configuring any system service: before you edit the configuration file for the first time, make a copy with the suffix ".orig". Then, if you mess up, you can get the original file back simply by typing cp foo.orig foo.

    You can extend this to subsequent edits: if you have a previously modified version that you know works, copy it as foo.working so that you can get that configuration back again if the new version doesn't work properly.

    Most people run their servers without a gui. Why bleed off part of your system resources to run an interface that you only use occasionally?
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"
    www.hrussman.entadsl.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by hazel View Post
    Here's a rule I always follow when configuring any system service: before you edit the configuration file for the first time, make a copy with the suffix ".orig". Then, if you mess up, you can get the original file back simply by typing cp foo.orig foo.

    You can extend this to subsequent edits: if you have a previously modified version that you know works, copy it as foo.working so that you can get that configuration back again if the new version doesn't work properly.

    Most people run their servers without a gui. Why bleed off part of your system resources to run an interface that you only use occasionally?
    With stuff like swat and webadmin, you don't need a GUI. We have lynx and many other console based browsers.

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    Another Option

    One other option with out bogging down your server too much is install a light desktop envirometn and not have it auto start. If you get in a pinch and need a gui you could always fire up x.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hazel View Post
    Here's a rule I always follow when configuring any system service: before you edit the configuration file for the first time, make a copy with the suffix ".orig". Then, if you mess up, you can get the original file back simply by typing cp foo.orig foo.

    You can extend this to subsequent edits: if you have a previously modified version that you know works, copy it as foo.working so that you can get that configuration back again if the new version doesn't work properly.

    Most people run their servers without a gui. Why bleed off part of your system resources to run an interface that you only use occasionally?
    just to be clear here

    Before you edit the config file:
    Code:
    $ cp foo foo.orig
    ---------------------------------------------
    $ cp /etc/smb.conf /etc/smb.conf.orig
    If you mess up then run:
    Code:
    $ cp foo.orig foo
    ---------------------------------------------
    $ cp /etc/smb.conf.orig /etc/smb.conf

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    Quote Originally Posted by moguy78 View Post
    I just built a server for my network
    What network? Office or home?

    Quote Originally Posted by moguy78 View Post
    decided to use linux as the OS because I've always heard that it is a good
    not trying to be snarky, but is this the only reason you chose Linux? (this isn't necessarily a bad reason, just trying to gain some perspective)

    Quote Originally Posted by moguy78 View Post
    stable system for a server and that Ubuntu is one of the easiest to work with
    it is stable, and Ubuntu is less difficult than most other distributions IMHO.

    Quote Originally Posted by moguy78 View Post
    Anyway, I just installed the Ubuntu OS, and the only software that I installed with it was Samba (I don't have a printer hooked up to this computer). Is samba the best software to use for this, or is there any other option that would be easier to use?
    Yes, samba is the best software for not printing... Although I often use Perl or Apache to not print. What is the purpose of this server?

    Quote Originally Posted by moguy78 View Post
    I've heard that with samba there are a lot of things you have to change using the CLI
    Please define a lot. There are no more things to change via CLI than any other Linux package. In fact most SMB installs work out of the box.
    If you've installed the OS from the Ubuntu-Server .ISO then, unless you install a GUI driven configuration utility, every thing is done from the command line, either using commands (utility programs) or a text editor. Linux comes with an array of incredibly useful tools and many thousands more are available via apt-get (the native package manager.)
    more information on apt-get can be found here or via the man page:
    Code:
    man apt-get
    Quote Originally Posted by moguy78 View Post
    (something about chmod, whatever that is, and others like it)
    This is a utility or command line program for changing permissions on a file.
    See this link for more information on file permissions.

    Quote Originally Posted by moguy78 View Post
    which doesn't bother me, I've used CLI since the years before Windows, good ol' DOS.
    Hehe... DOS...
    *NIX has been around since years before windows. If you don't mind the CLI learn to use it. It will become a great tool and rapidly increase your efficiency.

    Quote Originally Posted by moguy78 View Post
    But I've also heard from a few friends and they say that an app called Webmin works pretty well, and you don't have to make many changes actually using the CLI). Has anybody heard of it, and is it any good?
    It works ok. It's the lazy Sys Admins tool. If security is a concern I would stay away from GUI/Web driven Administration tools. Again the CLI can really be an asset once you learn to use it.

    Quote Originally Posted by moguy78 View Post
    Is it an easier way to change settings and create a network with?
    Again, this is subjective; Define 'easy'. IMO no, it is not easier, in fact I find it to be a bigger pain in the ass because you have to hunt for the options you want to change. from the CLI you are only limited by you ability to type (and read a man page...)

    Be patient, once you learn to wield the CLI you will be able to do some amazing things. GUI's are the lazy inefficient way to do things. Learn a scripting language (Perl) and you're well on your way to automatizing your administration responsibilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by moguy78 View Post
    create a network with
    Again, what is your goal here. When you say 'network' what do you mean? There are so many different types of networks, it really depends.

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