IN THIS CHAPTER
Finding out about Linux and how it differs from Windows
Choosing which version of Linux to use for your server
Installing Linux as well as configuring network settings and user accounts
Using Samba to create a file server
Linux, the free operating system (OS) based on Unix, is a popular alternative to Windows Server, especially for specific applications such as web servers or email servers. Linux can also be used as a firewall or as a file server and print server on your local area network (LAN).
Linux has many advantages over Windows, not the least of which is that it is free. But price isn’t the only advantage. Many network administrators have found that Linux is more stable than Windows, crashing less often and requiring less downtime for maintenance. In addition, Linux has a solid reputation for efficiency and security.
Linux was created in 1991 by Linus Torvalds, who was then an undergraduate student at the University of Helsinki in Finland. Linus thought it’d be fun to create his own OS based on Unix for his brand-new PC. In the nearly two decades since Linux was first conceived, Linux has become a full-featured operating system that is fast and reliable.
This chapter shows the basics of setting up a Linux server on your network and using it as a file server, as a web server for the Internet or an intranet, as an email server, and as a router and firewall to help connect your network to the Internet.