3.3. One User's Perspective

I use Linux both at work and at home.

At my place of employment, we are using Linux to provide Internet services for hundreds of users. These services include TACACS (dial-in modem user) authentication, web page hosting and proxy caching, as well as SMTP and POP services. In addition, we are using Linux to provide NFS services, and also for providing and mounting SMB-protocol (WfW/Win95/WinNT) file & print and FAX services using the Samba package.

At home, I use Linux for my personal needs, such as Internet services, software development, and of course game playing (seeing Quake II running on a Linux box is a thing of beauty)! One of the things I love about Linux is, no matter how hard I pound on it, it does not crash! It's also a great way to learn, develop, and maintain my Unix skills.

I am using the Red Hat 6.1 distribution of Linux (see http://www.redhat.com/ for more information). This distribution includes all the necessary software for a full-blown unix system -- shells, compilers & interpreters, networking support, the X Window System, and all Internet services (eg. Mail, news, web server, telnet, etc.). The distribution comes standard with Linux kernel 2.2.12.

At my place of employment, the Linux-based system we use as our primary Internet server has the following configuration:

  • Kernel: 2.2.12

  • Machine: Pentium II @ 300 MHz (bogo-mips 299.83) with PCI-bus, 256 Mb RAM

  • one 3 Gb Fujitsu IDE hard drive (/dev/hda)

  • four 4.4 Gb Quantum Fireball SCSI hard drives (/dev/sd0 through /dev/sd3),

  • 24x speed SCSI CD-ROM (/dev/scd0),

  • Adaptec AHA-131 SCSI controller

  • HP SCSI DAT tape drive (/dev/st0 and /dev/nst0),

  • Intel EtherExpress Pro 10/100 Ethernet card

We have a second system -- an even nicer Intel box -- also running Red Hat 5.2, running in another office location. It provides networked file & print services via Samba, local web caching via Squid, and secondary DNS services. Unfortunately, this box is over 50 km away from where I usually work, and therefore it's left pretty much on its own -- yet this baby is really my pride and joy! Here are some specs:

  • Kernel: 2.2.12

  • Machine: Pentium II @ 350 MHz (bogo-mips 349.80) with PCI-bus, 256 Mb RAM

  • one 4.1 Gb Quantum Fireball SCSI hard drive (/dev/sda)

  • four 9.4 Gb Quantum Fireball SCSI hard drives (/dev/rd/c0d0, /dev/rd/c0d1) as hardware RAID level 5 array,

  • 36x speed SCSI CD-ROM (/dev/scd0),

  • BusLogic BT-948 SCSI controller

  • Mylex AcceleRAID 250 (DAC960) RAID controller,

  • HP SCSI DAT tape drive (/dev/st0 and /dev/nst0),

  • Intel EtherExpress Pro 10/100 Ethernetcard

Having an incredible 24+ Gb of available storage space, with redundant storage configured as a hardware RAID5 array is a humbling feeling. The Mylex RAID controller works great, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to others seeking a hardware RAID solution! (If you are interested in configuring your Linux system with a RAID array, see Section 11.2 for details.)

We have four other Linux systems in place; an Alpha, a Sparc, and two Intel boxes; two of which are being used in production, and then there is my own personal system at home, but I won't bore you with the details.

This document will attempt to remain as hardware independent as possible but it may be helpful to you if you know where I am coming from as far as hardware is concerned.