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Linux server, windows machines

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September 29, 2012 5:40:44 AM

I'm looking at a small side project and wondering how dificult it would be to use a Linux CentOS 5.7 or 6.2 build to run a small network of around 30 Windows XP machine, possably newer depending on funding. I've played with Linux on Linux networking doing some basic stuff, and feel confident I can set up a LDAP server for the school so each student has their own login. Permissions for what they can do is easy enough, MySQL database is easy enough w/ a PHP interface for the staff who needs to make edits. to said database. Please pardon me if I seem to typo or say something and you're like whaaa, I just took a sleeping pill and it hit me right now lol. Anyhow I've never ran a CentOS server and tied it into windows machine. I could install Fedora on all the boxes and just toss wondows out, but I want the kids to work on the most common OS, even if it is XP lol for me..

I have a small server actually, 2 quad core xenon's, 8GB RAM, basic graphics card, and 250GB HDD. In other words it not new but I see no reason it can't handle LDAP, auth's, permissions, and a small virtual drive for the kids to use. I mean a 6th grader working on a report can do w/ 2G of space.

In all honesty I have a 2nd thread out there becasue said network is such a mess it makes me cry a little inside that the kids are working in machines like that. Even a basic properly built network would seriously up the quality of they system.

So thoughts on the matter? Advise, links, books, anything think that can help in my quest for knowlege. Again I appologize for being stioned on a sleeping pill. Bastard it hard and fast ad you end with this lol. Sweet Dreams Peeps.
September 29, 2012 6:37:34 AM


Hello and welcome to Tom's Hardware Forums.

You're going down the right road - it's quite common in office systems. Any Linux system can handle this and, if you want them to, the XP systems can exchange files between them with no server activity at all.

It's all so simple I couldn't even start to write a manual on how to do it. Set up Samba in your server and target each Windows machine to find the shared files it needs on, say, a drive you call X:\ which is the storage driver on the server. That, of course, doesn't need to have a drive letter.

You could, if you felt more comfortable in Windows, use one of the XP systems to install XP on all the others using unattended commands and set the local security policies without bothering to use Command Line code in Linux.



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September 29, 2012 9:46:37 PM

Hmmm, am I overthinking this maybe since it's such a small scale? I'm trying to keep cost low and still get everything they would want in a system. With the current one so poorly built being able to assign each student a individual log in would be a step up and being able to tweak their permissions by adjusting their group would be even better.

For the shared files wouldn't that give everyone access to the same pool of files? I mean that would work if they wanted to distrubute a single file out, but if they have their own user login there personal files would be better off in a private virtual drive correct? Last thing I need to for a project to get turned to dust because someone deleted it or overwrote it.

Is there a good source to look at on the web maybe? This is something I've going to school for, but I lack enough first hand experiance to build something from the ground up. Maybe confidence is a better word for it since I've done some work on diffrent networks but never solo. I'm afraid I'll miss something during the setup or have a flaw after the fact.

This is something I think I'd really enjoy doing the more I think of it so if I could get a good source to start with I think I'd feel less intimidated. I'd prefer working with someone who was already in the field, and even if this ends up something I don't work on I'd still like to be able to read up on it. I could google a website, but if someone has one they recommend please share :) 

You mentioned command line code whcih is soemthing I actually kind of enjoyed in Linux. It somewhat took me back to my DOS days when I got my first computer in 1994. I also enjoyed logging into the server remotly we set up on campus to do little things from home, it was new to me so I can enjoy these little things I guess lol.
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September 30, 2012 6:39:36 AM



Ii hope you didn't thnk I was belittling your project. That certainly wasn't my intention - I was actually trying to boost your confidence by stressing how easy it would be. It's far easier than Windows Server 2008 in my view but there's of help written up on the Net if you want it.

Yes, a single pool would be accessible to all but every student could have his own named folder in the server and a Windows drive letter mapped straight to it from his or her XP system.



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