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The Answer Guy

By James T. Dennis, tag@lists.linuxgazette.net
Starshine Technical Services, http://www.starshine.org/

(?)The "Difficulty" is in Disabling the Services

From CARqb on 20 Aug 1998

How can I set my computer to act as a network server? I'm running RedHat 5.0 Thanks in advance.

(!)Usually you don't have to do anything special to any Unix or Linux box to enable a variety of network services. In fact it is far more common for sysadmins to put their energy into disabling the large variety of services that are enabled by default (as every service is a potential security hole).
Now that applies to services like HTTP (web servers), FTP, POP and IMAP ("post office procotol" and mail access protocols), telnet, rlogin/rsh, and various others.
If you specifically mean "network file server" then the answer is a bit more involved. There are a number of filesharing protocols that are supported by Linux. NFS is most commonly used between Unix systems. Samba is common when you want to use Unix/Linux servers in a Windows for Workgroups, Win '95, NT, OS/2 or LANMan/LANServer network. In environments with plenty of Apple Macintosh clients the natural choice would be 'netatalk' ('net Appletalk). On a LAN with DOS client systems, particularly with existing Novell Netware servers the choice would probably to use the 'mars-nwe' (Netware emulator).
Hopefully in the near future we'll see increased support for TCFS (a transparently cryptographic filesystem -- which is far more secure than NFS, even NFS over SRA (secure RPC authentication) and for CODA a new, enhanced version of AFS (the "Andrew filesystem" when it was developed at Carnegie-Mellon University, later called DFS when it was aquired? by Transarc -- which I gather is an IBM affiliate).
Thoroughly retro Linux heads could even try the RFS (remote filesytem) package (runix100.tar.gz???). RFS was a SysV network filesystem that lost mindshare to Sun's NFS and is thus virtually unheard of today.
It is basically possible to support many of these system concurrently on a single Linux host. A truly ambitious (and sick) sysadmin might try enabling them all.
It should be obvious that the Linux philosphy is to support whatever protocol the client wants. This is vastly preferable (from the IS manager's point of view) to certain systems that try to dictate what software must be installed on all clients as part of their server licensing.
I hope this all helps. To give a better answer I'd have to know a lot more about which services you want to provide. Most of them have FAQ's and HOWTO's at the LDP mirrors like: http://www.linuxresources.com/LDP (which should be the first stop shopping URL for every Linux user's questions --- followed by Yahoo! and its Alta Vista database at http://www.yahoo.com).

Copyright © 1998, James T. Dennis
Published in Linux Gazette Issue 32 September 1998

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