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I need a Server... is gentoo linux the right OS?
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shgadwa
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 3:10 pm    Post subject: I need a Server... is gentoo linux the right OS? Reply with quote

I have a nice P4 computer here that I want to turn into a server. I'm planning on using it as a local DNS server/dns cache and also a Squid proxy server (and some other things if anyone has recommendations). It has centOS on it now. I was thinking about wiping that off and installing gentoo on it with the hardened gentoo server kernel. But, is that our best option? I would like to have it set to automatically update in the middle of the night, and it needs to be pretty much on its own, once I set it up.

Whats the best OS for what we need? I want to install the server because we have satellite internet, and I need to do something to increase speeds and also help prevent the FAP thing somewhat.

Thanks,
~Shawn
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depontius
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best OS to use is the one that you know how to install, configure properly, keep up-to-date, and generally maintain. The reputation for "most secure OS" generally goes to OpenBSD, but if you don't know spit about OpenBSD, that's nearly worthless.

Use what you know you can secure.

That said, Gentoo is an acceptable choice, actually a very good choice, assuming you know it or are willing to learn it. It's pretty easy to configure a system for increased security, keep excess packages and features off, etc.
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andreas_st
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gentoo is a source based distribution. If you like this you are right. If you want a distribution that provides binary packages try something else.

I'm not sure what you mean with automatic nightly updates. If you want to synchronize the portage tree and maybe download new source tarballs automatically, that's OK. If you want to automatically update installed packages, that would be a very bad idea.
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Thaidog
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

andreas_st wrote:
Gentoo is a source based distribution. If you like this you are right. If you want a distribution that provides binary packages try something else.

I'm not sure what you mean with automatic nightly updates. If you want to synchronize the portage tree and maybe download new source tarballs automatically, that's OK. If you want to automatically update installed packages, that would be a very bad idea.


Agreed. You need to know that it will take longer to do security updates or funnel in any other package updates since everything is compiled. CentOS will not be as fast on a P4 but if you don't plan on spending a little time with your system it might be a better choice for you.
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shgadwa
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I was talking about automatically updating packages. Although I could just as well get up in the middle of the night and update the files. At any rate, why is it bad to have the computer automatically updated in the middle of the night? We only have 500MB allowed in one day with this satellite internet here.

At any rate, I really like Gentoo and I favour its speed and reliability. I've done a ton of research and I've had many trial and errors when it comes to installing the distro. I've been running Gentoo Linux on my laptop here successfully for over seven months now. The only problems I have had were problems that I created. 8O Fortunately, its usually quite easy to fix. So, I do know how to pull its strings.

Now, I really like the sounds of BSD. I've read a lot about it, but have almost no experience on the OS. I'm basically looking for a OS for this server that will do all that I need it to do with speed, reliability, and security.

I want the server to be, if possible:

1. A local DNS Server/DNS caching server
2. A Squid Cach Proxy Server
3. Other things to improve speed, security, and lower the amount of daily downloads by caching... if any of you have any suggestions.

Then the other question arises...

Is it worth setting up a Gentoo Server (or maybe a GentooBSD Server) on this here 2Ghz P4 tower with 2GB ram, or should I try a OS that is more easily installed? On second thought, I do not think it takes that much time to install Gentoo... I've gotten it down so that I can do it and walk away while most of it is being done behind my back. And this not needing a GUI or anything would be really easy.

Your input would be appreciated. If I go with Gentoo, I would like to know what the best USE flags would be for our situation. I imagine I would get rid of gtk, X, and all that while adding minimal to the use flags... what else should be added or removed? I've tried to find a good article on setting up a gentoo box as a server, and so far I have only found one link where a guy says that he dislikes gentoo as a server. Only because of the time it takes to install, and then update. Which I really do not mind that part.
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shgadwa
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, I would like to know if I have this right here. Its been really hard for me to find guides on this topic.

I think, the internet connection goes from modem to server computer to router. Then from that router, one ethernet cable goes to a computer in the office, the other one (50ft) goes to another router on the other side and upper floor of this really, really large house. Then from that second router, we the computers get internet access. Then all DNS and browsing activity is cached on the server/

Is that the right idea? Also, if anyone knows of good guides, please point me in the right direction. I'm basically trying to work around out 800-1300 ping count by caching and such.
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Thaidog
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

belikeyeshua wrote:
Also, I would like to know if I have this right here. Its been really hard for me to find guides on this topic.

I think, the internet connection goes from modem to server computer to router. Then from that router, one ethernet cable goes to a computer in the office, the other one (50ft) goes to another router on the other side and upper floor of this really, really large house. Then from that second router, we the computers get internet access. Then all DNS and browsing activity is cached on the server/

Is that the right idea? Also, if anyone knows of good guides, please point me in the right direction. I'm basically trying to work around out 800-1300 ping count by caching and such.


Having routers in between your DNS server could cause issues... Many routers use apps like dnsmasq to cache lookups directly on the router. You will need to make sure that the systems are all pointing to your DNS machine correctly for all their lookups.

As far as BSD is concerned it might be a good choice if you are interested in the security of your network. Take a look at the new BSD virtualized network stack. It might make managing your network easier and more secure.
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dol-sen
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want your server to download the packages at night, that is easily doable. You should however supervise and choose the updates you want since blindly updating packages is considered bad for a server. Like what was said before, gentoo is good for a server if you know gentoo and like/need/want it's flexability. As for getting help setting up your server, you should already know that gentoo has some of the best docs out there. Granted gentoo has not been considered a highly sought distro for servers and most people that would use it for a server generally already know what to do, there is not much docs about servers. There are however lots of help available through the irc/forums/mail lists to help you along your way.

P/S. I've been wanting to set up my own server for some time now and hope to get to it finally this fall.
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andreas_st
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

belikeyeshua wrote:
At any rate, why is it bad to have the computer automatically updated in the middle of the night?


That's because of the way how source based distributions work. The system is updated continually and every update may cause changes in configuration files and other updates. Let me explain it in an example. Let us assume you have a system with an installed package named software-1.2.4. Then a security problem is found and the author of "software" releases a new version which may be software-1.2.4.1 or software-1.2.5 or if there are a lot of changes and new features it might even be software-2.0.

In a binary distribution you usually don't get the new version but a patch for the old version. So it would probably be software-1.2.4-pl1 or something like that. As long as you are using the same distribution version you are usually stuck with version 1.2.4 of "software" and you only get security patches. This has the advantage of stability. You will not need to change anything in your configuration files and might even consider to update your system automatically. The disadvantages are that you never get new versions of "software" unless you change the version of the distribution and you will have to do that anyway at some point because the distributions have expiration dates when they are no longer supported and you won't get any security updates anymore. In this case you can either start from scratch and restore your data from backups or try a distribution upgrade which often breaks a lot of things that need to be resolved manually.

In a source based distribution like Gentoo or the BSDs you will eventually get new versions of software packages into your system but a new version may need changes to your configuration files that can't be applied automatically and an update of one package may cause necessary updates for other packages depending on it. Of course this may be a disadvantage and you will have to review the output of the update process and manually tweak configuration files. But the advantage is that there is no expiration date for your system and you can update it continually.

belikeyeshua wrote:
We only have 500MB allowed in one day with this satellite internet here.


If this means 500MB in 24 hours it won't make a difference whether you download updates during the day or during the night.

It is possible to download everything at any time. You just need to run
Code:
emerge --sync
emerge -uf world

at the time you want via cron. This will update the portage tree and download the source tarballs for all packages that need to be updated. You can then compile and install the packages at any time without the need to download anything and you can review the final output which will tell you about any problems and necessary changes to configuration files.
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xtz
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

U always want to supervise the package updating, unless u want to play 'russian roulette' with your server :)
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