Open Source Log by Bill Fleming and Bill Doyle
Home Initial Public Offerings E Business Applications Systems Evolution Network & Server Open Source Log Network Computing   Agent Screening Last Update July 3, 2003

Bill Fleming and Bill Doyle, both of whom have Expert Pages, have established a model office with which to introduce and test open source software, starting, of course, with Linux as the operating system. This log will contain emailed comments from them as they progress.

At several points in the Field Notes, and in the Expert Pages, there has been discussion of open source software. Open source means the source code is available for free download and use, and can be modified by the user. You hear the most about Linux, which is the operating system on 26% of the servers in the United States. Open source software is available to perform essentially every function for servers and workstations. Apache, a web server, runs on an estimated 70% of the web server machines in the United States, and for server side scripting, PHP is rapidly becoming the choice over MicroSoft's ASP.

Bill Fleming: What I have done so far is to set up a model office with two Linux server machines. For DNS we are running BIND; we have loaded Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, DHCP, and are using Samba for file and print services. I have two W98 workstations, an XP workstation and a network printer. I'm trying out different things including backup/restore, etc.

Bill Fleming: Well we finally have our first Linux server in place. I set up a print server and switched all of our printing over to it. The network printing thru Samba was easy. I set up CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) on Linux then used Samba to talk to CUPS to do the printing. I downloaded ISO images (CDROM image) from a Mirror site listed on Redhat. You burn a CD from the ISO image then install. Linux, Samba, and CUPS were all on the CD.

The only problem I had was the HPJetdirect boxes were picky over the LPD queue name for Postscript files. That is how I do online correspondance off the mainframe. It goes from the mainframe to CUPS-LPD on the Linux box then to the network printers. So far so good. We are using an old Dell PII-400 256Mb Ram 15Gig HD servicing 15 printers and 100 users.

Bill Fleming: The print server has been working perfectly.
We played around with making another server that is a file server. It gets its authorization for shares from our NT Primary Domain controller. That now works. So the only major things to figure out is how will a Windows 2003 server work if the PDC is a linux samba box. Also Authentication from another linux box when we pull the NT PDC. It will probably need to use NIS (Network Information Service) We still need to do disaster recovery testing, etc. Our thinking at this point is as follows.
1. Install a Linux Print server. (Done)
2. Replace our secondary file server.
3. Replace our Primary server.
4. Install Win2003 server for Web server, etc.

We may have to switch steps 3 and 4.

So when we get done we will use Linux for Our domain file and print servers, Win2003 for Web services (because of ASP's and VB CGI's), and XP for work machines.

Bill Doyle: I'm also looking at dumping Wingate and going to Linux with iptables. I am looking at the How To's to see if it will handle what I want .. If so I'll be putting a machine together and attempting to configure it to handle the proxy services.
Bill Fleming: Yesterday we pounded on IPTABLES and some on SQUID. Iptables is used for firewall. Squid is for proxy We are thinking about getting rid of Wingate (our proxy) . Wingate also does some firewall.

I wouldn't say that it is overly complicated but it does take understanding and definitly reading the documentation. We setup a machine with 2 network cards. One to the internet and one to the intranet. We couldn't seem to get NAT working then figured out that the kernel wasn't setup to do ip routing. We changed that and it all worked. We will now look at squid and see what it can do for us. Bill still wants to have some sort of control over where the users browse or at least reporting.

I want to get back to working on the Linux model office but haven't had time.
I think all the pieces are falling into place. After all for us to throw it in we have to have it perfect!
Next week we are going to practice walking on water. Now where did I leave those googles...

Bill Fleming: I tested everything except putting a load on the servers.
We had run DHCP, DNS, and Samba. It all seems to work fine.
Doyle needs to spend some time with it to get comfy.