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  • Migrating from Windows2k to Linux

    We’re a small company that has been providing our services over the web for about 5 years. I hate to admit it, but I’ve never explored running a Linux web server and have always stuck with what we already know, regardless of cost or lost features.



    Like everyone else, we’re a little sensitive to all the possible security breaches in our Windows servers and now that it’s time to start writing checks for Windows2003, I must admit that Linux is starting to become appealing.



    Have a few questions:


    • I don’t ever hear anything about security breaches to Linux servers. Is it because I’m overly sensitive to my own servers, or is it less of a problem?
    • What do you do for antivirus software on a Linux box?
    • Where is the best place for me to start my research to learn Linux?
    • What’s the best distribution to implement? Is Redhat, Mandrake, or any other version better than the rest?

  • #2
    A higher percentage of servers that are broken into on the net are actually Linux servers. However that's probably due to the fact that there's more Linux servers than Windows.
    "63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs, you get 1 whacked with a service pack, now there's 63,005 bugs in the code."
    "Before you critisize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you critisize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes."
    Utopia Software - Current Software: Utopia News Pro (news management system)

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    • #3
      What do you do for antivirus software on a Linux box?
      Linux viruses are VERY rare, but doable. I was reading that one of the only ways to make a Linux "virus" is to program it in assembly or something. Meh http://www.f-prot.com/products/home_use/linux/

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      • #4
        Linux tends to be better supported in terms of security rather than Microsoft and its Windows. This is because when a loop hole is found in Linux, you can go to any of the thousands of Linux sites and find an immediate fix. Where as with Windows you have to wait for MS to release a patch of some sort.

        You can find a large variety of antivirus software for Linux. Some freeware, some quite expensive. Symantec has some nice solutions, but for a pretty penny. Depending on the control panel you decide to use has an impact on how prone your box is to viruses.

        I don't really know what you mean in terms of Linux research. You might want to pick up a few reference books on Linux. Learning the basics such as ssh is rather easy, and is the best tool when dealing with Linux.

        I have not had a chance to use anything other than Redhat in a production environment, but I would definitely take a look at Debian and SuSE. I've used Redhat 7.2, 7.3, 8.1, and 9.x and must say they work quite well, but have been compiling my personal machine with Debian and SuSE and they look like a better solution in my opinion. For now, I would probably still go with Redhat just because it is a little more common on the web.

        Hope that helps.
        Trent Gillespie Mod Theater Gillespie Photography

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        • #5
          all good info to have. Thanks a million.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by PDT816
            What do you do for antivirus software on a Linux box?
            Well, if you really don't use it as a file server (FTP or Samba), I don't think you will need antivirus software for it. If it will handle e-mail, then SpamAssassin for spam and MailScanner for viruses is one option. Both are Open Source and thus free of charge. Good commercial products include Kaspersky Anti-Virus.

            Where is the best place for me to start my research to learn Linux?
            Well, Linux Online and Linux.com will provide you with news. DistroWatch.com has comprehensive info for comparison and development news of all known GNU/Linux distros. The Linux Documentation Project (list of mirrors) will give you help with using it, and so will of course any sites regarding the distro you chose.

            What’s the best distribution to implement? Is Redhat, Mandrake, or any other version better than the rest?
            Currently I recommend Debian GNU/Linux as its woody release (stable) is ideal for production use and it's secure (IMO). Red Hat Linux has become more of a money making product and some of its stuff is abit too customised for it (Apache HTTPD for example and OpenSSL due to American patent legislation), so it's not #1 IMO, despite it's the most popular one. Mandrake Linux and SuSE Linux are also getting abit bloated as you get KDE installed by default, unlike Debian GNU/Linux and Slackware Linux (I doubt you use GIMP (etc) with the server ).
            "I believe each individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it in no way interferes with any other man's rights." - Abraham Lincoln

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            • #7
              And of course one shouldn't forget about ODP's Linux categories.

              http://dmoz.org/Computers/Software/O...Systems/Linux/
              "I believe each individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it in no way interferes with any other man's rights." - Abraham Lincoln

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              • #8
                clamAV is great! and free!
                Hungry ?

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                • #9
                  Hmmm, where do i start.

                  All the post's have been great, I've got a few things that you may want to look at, before your server going live. First i'll start with a few links -

                  http://www.thelinuxshow.com/
                  www.redhat.com
                  www.freebsd.org
                  www.slackware.com
                  www.tldp.org
                  www.linux.org
                  www.linuxnewbie.org
                  www.linuxquestions.org
                  www.xfree86.org
                  www.freshmeat.net
                  www.linux.box.sk
                  www.linuxtoday.com
                  www.lwn.net
                  www.penguintalk.com
                  www.gnu.org
                  www.learninglinux.com
                  www.beginnerslinux.org
                  www.linuxdot.org
                  www.linuxjournal.com
                  www.snort.org
                  www.insecure.org
                  www.linuxsecurity.com
                  www.whitehats.com
                  www.winehq.org
                  www.linux-firewall-tools.com
                  www.apache.org
                  www.php.org
                  www.mysql.org
                  www.proftpd.org
                  www.all-linux.net
                  www.kernel.org
                  www.linuxworld.com
                  www.linuxgames.com

                  There are various patches out that enable you to pump up security, one that springs to mind is NSA's SELinux (Security Enhanced) which introduces Mandatory access controls into the linux kernel - enabling it to use more finer grained access rights. www.nsa.gov/selinux

                  You could, if not going to mess about with selinux, install a set of patches by solar designers - Non-executable Stack Patch. Basically, this patch just stops code that has been injected into the stack to be non executable ((thus stopping stack smashing) i've read a few places about avoiding it, but it seems like a very difficult task that not many people could pull off).

                  There is also a patch around for the TCP/IP stack, which alters the stack so that when port scanners scan the host, it returns false OS detection results. I've heard it does affect the system peformance, but it's pretty good that you can get it to show up as a win95 machine I can't remember the link, i'll try to find it.

                  As far as the best distro for you goes, i'd stick with RH or mandrake for the while, as those are some of the more friendly distros.
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                  www.unlocked-networks.com

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Rasbelin
                    Currently I recommend Debian GNU/Linux as its woody release (stable) is ideal for production use and it's secure (IMO). Red Hat Linux has become more of a money making product and some of its stuff is abit too customised for it (Apache HTTPD for example and OpenSSL due to American patent legislation), so it's not #1 IMO, despite it's the most popular one. Mandrake Linux and SuSE Linux are also getting abit bloated as you get KDE installed by default, unlike Debian GNU/Linux and Slackware Linux (I doubt you use GIMP (etc) with the server ).
                    I work at a webhost company myself, and all our servers run Debian. Our client servers run Debian stable (woody), simply because Debian stable is about the most stable production environment you can ever have on any computer. Which is Ideal for servers

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kevinj
                      As far as the best distro for you goes, i'd stick with RH or mandrake for the while, as those are some of the more friendly distros.
                      For production environment servers, friendly isn't what you want, you want stability and reliability, and Debian is better at that for sure. True enough, it's not as easy to install (though I've heard positive feedback about the new installer that's been made), but esp. its stability and apt-get make it a great choice for a webserver..

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                      • #12
                        I must agree. I switched 2 months ago from Red Hat to Debian on our main server. The server runs now much better. For example: I never had any problems with table corruption (MySQL 4.0.12) or larger log files (2 GB and higher) on that machine.

                        A note on Red Hat Linux:
                        The next version of Red Hat Linux is now called Fedora Core and comes with a product lifetime of only 6-9 months . The only official product of Red Hat is now Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KuraFire
                          For production environment servers, friendly isn't what you want, you want stability and reliability, and Debian is better at that for sure. True enough, it's not as easy to install (though I've heard positive feedback about the new installer that's been made), but esp. its stability and apt-get make it a great choice for a webserver..
                          I haven't used debian, i've heard alot of positve feedback though. IMHO, i beleive that if enough effort is put into setting up the server (whether is be rh/mandrake, gentoo etc etc) they can be suitable within a production environment.

                          Edit:i don't run redhat, i use slackware so i can't really compare slack to debian as i haven't used it.

                          Regards,
                          Kevin
                          Last edited by kevinj; Thu 9th Oct '03, 2:23am.
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                          • #14
                            For general workstations, I would recommend Suse over anything put out by Mandrake or Redhat. Both Mandrake and Redhat have serious problems for day-to-day work. Mandrake can't detect hardware if you force it to and Redhat can't run without general protection faults on a daily basis. No mind you this is on workstations using GUI's.

                            For Servers I would recommend either Debian or Slackware. Redhat is getting too bloated and their support is getting money hungry to pay for all their lawsuits and activism. I currently run a server with Redhat 7.3 and I can honestly say it is the last distribution of thiers that I will be running. My next server will most likely be running Debian.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Wayne Luke
                              I currently run a server with Redhat 7.3 and I can honestly say it is the last distribution of thiers that I will be running. My next server will most likely be running Debian.
                              There is a pretty good guide about converting Red Hat => Debian:
                              http://trilldev.sourceforge.net/files/remotedeb.html

                              I used this guide to install Debian remotely on a RH9 server
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