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I am the quasi computer expert at work and have been able to get a network of almost 20 computers working in a peer to peer configuration. Everything works well until my network load gets over 10 computers and I start to have issues with the machine I am using as a file and print server.
My network is predominantly consisted of PC's running XP Professional with 2 Win 98 PC's and 3 occasional laptops running XP Home Edition.
I understand that Linux O/S would be a suitable choice for my network server and enable me to expand the network beyond the current 10 simultaneous conection limit imposed by XP Pro. It certainly would be cheaper than the other obvious choice of a Windows Server solution with the expense of all the CAL's. I also appreciate that Linux may have additional benefits regarding security and safety of data from viruses and the like.

I am however concerned that you have to be knowledgeable in the ways of Linux to get a server up and running. I would like to enable file and print sharing across the network, enforce some rudimetary securuity and access permissions across folders and have some way of automating backups and archiving old material.

Where can I find out information onthe ease with which these tasks can be achieved (especially as I am used to the comfortable GUI afforded by Windows and am familiar with where many of these settings can be configured).

This is your chance to gain a convert..........

Prety much any distro should be able to do that. If you want GUI configuration though, pick Mandriva, it's configuration tools are excellent. MAndriva is not primarily a server OS though, and you probvably wont get such good performance or reliability out of it. You could use debian, which has a good reputation, or something more ahrdcore like Gentoo. Whatever you pick - Install webmin from - It makes setting up Windows file and printer sharing pretty easy, and I wouldn't go without it on my server.

As far as printing goes, Gentoo might not be the best option if you're new to Linux, since getting anything but the simplest printer to work requires a bit of fiddling, not to mention that the instllation would put most newbies off Linux forever.


If you want to setup a samba file server , plus for a 20 computer network maybe you even wanna consider a domain controller, that way the "who can access what" problem is fixed.

And you are a bit newer to linux, I would recomend that you download CentOS 4.x series. Once you do that follow this guide

It will enable you to setup a CentOS 4.x (4.0-4.2) Samba Primary Domain Controller with LDAP backend.

Well since I'm still under military service, and I'm learning to do some programing in Delphi , I don't have to much time left, but I WILL try and help you trough the process should you have problems installing it via the guide.

And once you do it, I will also show you howto install backuppc, that will solve your backup problems (I thinks forever).

Robert Becskei
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