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Byte.com: Installing A Linux Server Takes Savvy

Apr 24, 2000, 22:03 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jerry Pournelle)

"The Penguin, like most Linux (and Unix for that matter) hardware comes with rather skimpy documentation. Better is available online, but it will all take study. You don't just buy one of these and turn it on. Setting up a Windows NT server network is simpler. On the other hand, the Penguin with Linux is extremely reliable. Once you get things going, they won't need a lot of attention...."

"Much of Linux is developed by people working on just what they want to do, with no product manager to drive them. Outfits like Red Hat and Corel do try to develop documentation and user manuals, but they're always a few steps behind. It's hard to get bright people to work on things that don't interest them much. This problem is built into the open software movement and little can be done about it. Linux will always have more people working on code than documenting it. O'Reilly and other publishers, along with Linux developers like Red Hat, are trying to do something, but it's likely that they will always be behind the curve. So it goes...."

"Once we determined we'd covered all our bases, we hooked up two 17" monitors to the Penguin server and turned it on. It came alive, with lights blinking on the RAID bay and those seven fans making themselves known. And then we began the process of configuring Linux."

"I wasn't sure how the Penguin folks would handle this, as they'd preinstalled everything prior to sending the server out here. In the event, they'd come up with a pretty nifty set-up script that automatically executes the first time you fire up the system. It asks you all the normal questions such as the machine's IP address and subnet mask, DNS domain name, DNS server IP addresses, etc. Once you've entered in all the required information, everything is complete and operational without the need for a reboot, another advantage Linux has over any flavor of Windows you can name."

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