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Thread: Linux machine for serveral tasks

  1. #1

    Linux machine for serveral tasks

    Hi Guys,

    I'm going to be re-vamping my server and was hoping someone could take a few minutes of their time, read over what I'd like to do and give me their thoughts and if possible some links to good tutorials.

    All I ask is that if you reply read through my whole post here (yes I realize it's long and I thank you now) and try to reply in as much detail as possible. I'm going to post this in a couple of the forums here, hopefully that is not against the rules.


    Here is what I'm working with first off:


    AMD 450
    Asus Mobo (sorry don't have the model #)
    128 MB
    40 GB HD
    TNT2 Video
    A3D Sound (not likely to be used)
    3com NIC
    Logitech Quickcam Web (USB)
    System will run headless in a back corner of the room

    Below are some of the things I want it to do:

    - Run Clean!
    ---- Very easy to do updates
    ---- No un-needed software
    ---- Easy to see what is running on boot

    - Webserver (going to be hosting several sites)
    ---- PHP
    ---- MySQL
    ---- ASP
    ---- Perl

    - SMTP Server (no need for POP3)
    ---- Auto PGP Sign all outgoing?

    - SSH and FTP over SSH2

    - Regular FTP
    ---- Most Secure
    ---- Easiest to configure
    ---- Easily configured to work through LinkSys Router

    - Samba
    ---- Authenticate via Windows XP users if possible

    - MP3 Streaming
    ---- planning on using slimp3[dot]com server (sorry couldn't post url)


    - Webcam Streaming
    ---- Goal here is since the machine will be headless and I can place it in the corner I can run a webcam easily to my window and have a nice webcam view out over downtown Toronto

    - phpMyAdmin

    - Nano Text Editor

    - Lynx Browser

    - XMLTV (and all required Perl Modules)

    - Server Management Software
    ---- What I mean by this is for the webserver I'm likely going to host several relatives sites. I'd like an easy way of quickly jumping in (web based being the best) getting their home directory created, mysql database created, new virtual host in apache, FTP account, and added to the SMTP server.

    - Optimized Boot.
    ---- What I mean by this is I want to know what's starting and why. The idea is to have this machine run everything I want but do it lean and mean.

    What I'd like to know is:

    1)- Is it possible to do everything I want?

    2) Suggestions on how to partition the 40 gb drive

    3) What software (if I haven't specified) should I use?

    4) Best Distro to use for this purpose (I'm fairly use to Debian)
    ---- If answer is debian can anyone make a software list that I can just import into dpkg and have it grab everything for me. I want to keep the system as clean as possible but install all that is necessary.

    5) Links
    ----If your really in a good mood I'd really appreciate some "exceptional" links on samba and apache configuration for the tasks I've listed above. I've found some online and kind of know what I'm doing but if you know of any really great ones I'd be happy to hear them.

    The purpose of this little project is I want to make this unix machine actually do something. I want to have a feeling that I understand what's going on and know that its not just a dumb box in the corner serving a couple of websites like it is now.

    I work in a windows company and am experienced with rolling out windows servers and maintaining them in our company... at home I want to go Linux and have the same sense of control I have at work.

    I thank anyone who answers this post, and I await your opinions.

  2. #2

    Re:Linux machine for serveral tasks

    I think that's a little too much for a 450MHz. Pesonally, I would limit it to a Webserver, MySQL, FTP, SSH, SAMBA, and a mail server. Running X with it could be overkill, but if you aren't going to use these services much, no big deal. The main concern is the streaming media. The mp3 streaming is going to take a lot of CPU power. The webcam streaming could take a bit also. As for the distro, Debian would be a good idea IMO.

    I would just suggest running the services I mentioned. and see if and where it bottlenecks. If it doesn't you might try the streaming cam, but I ahve to say the streaming mp3 really depends on how good of quality mp3s you want to stream. If you want something around 92kbps and higher, you would be pushing it with all the other services. You can try for sure, but I personally can't promise any good output.

    Sorry, I don't have any real good links, but I do have a PET on the streaming media.

    Shoutcast PET

  3. #3

    Re:Linux machine for serveral tasks

    [quote author=monkeywork link=board=1;threadid=8165;start=0#msg74234 date=1069361053]
    Below are some of the things I want it to do:

    - Run Clean!
    ---- Very easy to do updates
    ---- No un-needed software
    ---- Easy to see what is running on boot
    [/quote]

    Try SuSE 9. I just switched over to it from RH (which I have been using on production servers since 6.0), and I really like it. Just run the YaST installer, choose the minimal install, then tweak your package selection to include exactly what you need.

    - Webserver (going to be hosting several sites)
    ---- PHP
    ---- MySQL
    ---- ASP
    ---- Perl
    Just LAMP it. (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP).

    - SMTP Server (no need for POP3)
    ---- Auto PGP Sign all outgoing?
    Sendmail.

    I know everyone will say its a beast to configure and has some security flaws, but I ran it for 4 years straight for about 1000 users and it ran rock solid and never even burped.

    As for PGP, no suggestions there.
    - SSH and FTP over SSH2

    - Regular FTP
    ---- Most Secure
    ---- Easiest to configure
    ---- Easily configured to work through LinkSys Router
    For FTP I have always liked ProFTPD, but that is just because I like the config files, which, if you are fimilar with Apache, will be very easy to work with.

    That is about all I would put on one box. The rest might be over kill. I would stick to just offering web services from this host, which seems like what you are trying to do. I'm assuming you want a webserver/webmail/ftp kind of server.
    Maybe, depending on the amount of clients you serve, you can also do some of the streaming mp3 and webcam stuff, but realistically, you're probably going to bring this box to its knees if it gets even moderate usage.

    I would not put Samba on this box. Period.

    As for administration, try Webmin. It should be included in most distros.

    As for an optomized boot and stopping unneeded services. For this you're going to have to just break down and RTFM. This is all just a matter of tweaking. Some distros have more bloat out-of-the-box (SuSE, RH), but any distro will suffice if you know how to do a proper, minimal install and leave all the bloat behind.

    As for partitions, that all depends. But given some of your requirements, I would suggest creating the following partitions.

    /boot = 100Mb. That's usually the recommendation I see.

    /var/log = This depends on how verbose your logs get. Also don't forget to change Apache's default log directory to this directory. Like an idiot, I have forgotten to do that and have seen my apache logs squeeze my /var/www partition down to 0. Again, size this according to how much logging you wish to perform, e.g. how verbose it will be and how long of a log history you want to keep.

    /var/www = Plan for the unexpected. Make this at least twice to three tiimes as large as you think you site files will be.

    /var/spool/mqueue = I have used 500Mb for a mail queue on a production sendmail box for about 1000 users and it worked fine. In fact, it may even have been too big.

    /var/spool/mail = You might also think of setting this aside for user maildirs. The size of this will depend on how many users you have, and how much mail you allow them to store.

    /home = Unless you have users uploading a lot of stuff to their homedirs via ftp, you probably don't need to put /home on a seperate partition.

    / = all your remaining space.

    I have also heard of people putting /usr on a seperate partition, but if this is a webserver, I would not worry about that either.

    For production-level boxes partitions are very important, as you do not want one service squeezing out another services disk space. I have been burned in the past by not planning my partitions proberly (/var/spool/mqueue squeeezing out /var/log and /var/www, for instance, and vice versa). Proper planning will keep all your services coexisting nicely.

    ;D HTH ;D

  4. #4
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    Re:Linux machine for serveral tasks

    [quote author=monkeywork link=board=1;threadid=8165;start=0#msg74234 date=1069361053]

    - Run Clean!
    ---- Very easy to do updates
    ---- No un-needed software
    ---- Easy to see what is running on boot
    [/quote]

    I would find a bare bones distro based off of anything (Red Hat, Slack, Deb, BSD) and go from there adding packages as you need them. And as Master Copy said, ditch X. Not needed.

    My vote right now would probably be FreeBSD for the slim factor and stability.

  5. #5
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    Re:Linux machine for serveral tasks

    It sounded like your are going to set up an ISP.

    Like others have pointed out, 450 MHz with 128 MB RAM and ATA ( my guess ) is too weak for what you want to do especially MP3 streaming and webcam streaming.

    I would go for either Debian, Slack or BSD. RH is going to discontinue RHN service unless you buy Enterprise edition. I personally would do Debian.

    Web server is Apache. I have PHP, MySQL, running PostNuke and it works great. I don't know about ASP thing though.

    My favorite FTP is ProFTPd.

    I run Exim as my MTA for mail server. Its configuration is easy to understand unlike Sendmail's. Don't get me wrong. Sendmail is a great mail server which is capable of Enterprise level functions. But it comes with its own quark; its configuration is complex.

    GnuPG is what you need for PGP signing.

    All in all, it's okay to be running that many services if your server will have low hit rate. But with moderate hit rates, it will be a slooooowwwww one.

    HTH...

  6. #6

    Re:Linux machine for serveral tasks

    I'm just wondering why would steaming mp3s and webcams slow down a system ??? also I thougth webcams didn't work in linux atleast being able to view others (MSN YAHOO AIM)

  7. #7

    Re:Linux machine for serveral tasks

    It is not a linux issue, but an application issue.

    There is no reason why you can't have a webpage feeding pictures from your webcam.

    I think GMoreno has one.

  8. #8

    Re:Linux machine for serveral tasks

    I third the motion, in case I forgot to post this, to ditch X. It is extremely unnecessary for a server.

    As for ASP on Apache, try this --> http://www.apache-asp.org/

  9. #9
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    Re:Linux machine for serveral tasks

    [quote author=The Great Mojo Jojo link=board=1;threadid=8165;start=0#msg74268 date=1069405310]
    I'm just wondering why would steaming mp3s and webcams slow down a system ???[/quote]
    The reason is I/O. How many memory you have to have all those MP3 files and pictures? Your computer constantly need to read from your HDD to memory so your IO is the choking point. Every single little task will require your CPU to work more. If you have home server with only afew streams, there should be no problem. But if you are going to serve it right off the web connection, then you are asking for trouble.

    I thougth webcams didn't work in linux atleast being able to view others (MSN YAHOO AIM)
    Those are programs specific not hardware specific. Webcams does work and there are others who have used them ( I'm not one of those ). I remember one guy from University of California - Berkeley have webcam out of his dorm room to Telegraph hill road ( the main road in berkeley ) for students to check out street condition ( for parties or see how many people are out there from their dorm rooms ). His was running off of FreeBSD, IIRC.

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