Re: Which distro for a server?
From: Jeroen Geilman (jeroen_at_nospam.net)
Date: Fri, 02 Jan 2004 04:06:11 +0100
Max Khitrov wrote:
> Jeroen Geilman wrote:
>> Menus ? Oh boy have you missed the point completely...
>> My servers do not have X windows installed, I have one that runs xvnc
>> for experimentation, but for a production server - who needs a GUI ?
> Someone who has started with linux just a few weeks ago ;)
Uhm - no.
That is totally a Windoze attitude - that in order to "learn" the system
you start with the visual GUI bits because they'll be easier on you.
For me, that has just never been true - I started using RH6.x (0,1,2)
and have never even run X on those. I used RH6.2 for about a year, and
at the end had only just started to realise how big this thing really
is... how deep the rabbit hole goes ;-)
When later I discovered the joys of other distros - primarily debian and
gentoo - I started using X and KDE/Gnome on Gentoo, but still not on
debian, since these are servers, and what I need to learn / know about
them I *cannot* learn using a GUI.
And using Gentoo forces you to learn the relevant skills anyway ;-)
> Seriously though, I agree with you and I'd love to be able to set up
> everything that I need with only a text console. However, when you know
> what you want to do and have no idea on where to even start looking
> (other then going to a newsgroup and asking how to do it), that doesn't
> exactly help me in learning linux on my own.
That's how I learned - without even the benefits of usenet or the web.
Do, learn, fail, experiment, do, fail, do, learn some more...
The only way, really.
If you are serious about administering a Linux server or system, then,
yes, somewhere along the way you will have to bite this bullet and LEARN
- really, really learn - what makes it tick.
If, on the other hand, you need a server-type thingy NOW, and you want
an easy job of admin-ing it, then by all means - go the GUI way ;-)
> On the other hand, if you
> have more specific suggestions on what I should read/do to be able to
> work with linux completely from a console,
I'd suggest trying to install Debian - it can be a real pain, but boy
will you learn stuff!
Then - when it's up and running - install webmin, and you can use the
web interface to manage just about anything that runs on that machine
remotely and securely.
This includes the core system, any network servers, disk stuff, mail,
web, etc. etc.
As for reading suggestions, in real-paper form I'd gladly recommend one
of the O'Reilly books on using or running Linux - they cover the whole
spectrum, from installation to system administration to user tasks.
For ebook/internet stuff, start in the obvious places - www.tldp.org,
which is the official Linux Doc Project, full of essential HOW-TOs and
FAQs, or any of the linux[user. newbie, links, whatever] sites out there
on the 'net - there are thousands (really).
Some good ones:
www.tldp.org - the original Linux documentation project
www.justlinux.com - help and docs for users by users
www.linuxlinks.org - loads of links, including support/starter help
www.distrowatch.com - latest news about different Linux distributions
www.linuxiso.org - similar, mostly full CD distro's
And Googling for "linux newbie help" gives around half a MILLION hits -
don't tell me you haven't tried that yet !
> I'd really appreciate those
> suggestions. And half the time, I know that what I want to do is
> possible, but how in the world do I find some command, for example,
> other then just printing out a very long list of commands and going
> through them one by one?
Try apropos, which checks whether there is a man page about the command.
Or else type a letter or two and then hit <tab>, this will limit the
list to just those commands...
When you know a command name, you should always first do #man <cmdname>
to see what it does, what it's for, and what it is not.
But a structural answer to your plea simply does not exist - I have
found that I accumulate commands at a rate of several new ones a week,
not to say that I keep using them all, but long experience really does
mean knowing and using several hundreds of commands - at least on the
level of being comfortable with them and knowing what they do.
There are some good websites out there that will quickly try to get you
up to speed on the 20-odd most important commands needed to administer a
Linux system - Google around.
If you want a list of things to try, here are some recommendations:
- install Samba as soon as feasible, it will give you an unbelievable
feeling of control when you get Windows networking essentially for free.
It has a very good web interface as well (SWAT).
- for a server, try to get SSH running as soon as possible; it will let
you work anywhere, anytime - you'll only need physical access to the
machine when you mess it up ;-)
Get PuTTY for Windows to connect to the machine - it has no peers.
- and always, ALWAYS read the documentation that comes with any
interesting piece of software; it exists for a reason, namely: you
really, really need it.
> Right now I'm just really lost without some kind of GUI.
I know what you mean, and I know the feeling, I used to have it when
starting out with RH6.2 about 4 years ago.
Any one of my Linux systems has in excess of 1800 commands installed.
How many of those do you think either ARE GUI tools, or HAVE GUI tools
to replace them ?
Hint : not a lot, probably less than 5%.
The reason I started to use the console was simply that there are no GUI
tools to do even some of the most basic things - so I had to learn.
Eventually you will need to go native and use the console - and probably
use it extensively, as it takes some time (a year is not that much) to
start to understand the power at your fingertips...
Yes, you've heard it before, it sounds trite - believe it!
Oh and Google - always Google - Google is your friend.
(This should be Rule# 0 in the Book)
In any case, the best of luck with Linux!
And have fun ;-)