HOWTO: Setup a Debian/Ubuntu LAMP Server

Build Your Own Debian/Ubuntu LAMP Server – Quick & Easy Do it Yourself Installation

This howto tutorial was written by Scott from MySQL-Apache-PHP.com.

  • Apache 2 – Linux Web server
  • MySQL 5 – MySQL Database Server
  • PHP4/5 – PHP Scripting Language
  • phpMyAdmin – Web-based database admin software.

Note: Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP/Perl together commonly known as LAMP Server.

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5 Resources That Will Help You Choose Your Linux Distribution

Lets face it, there are so many Linux distributions available these days that deciding which Linux distro to use without trying every single one can be a daunting task.

Each Linux distribution contains the same base Linux kernel and system tools, but what makes a distribution unique is how things are packaged and managed. Research is the most important thing a Linux user can do when choosing the right Linux distribution. This document hopes to provide you with the necessary resources and information to make the choice that is right for you. So, how do you find out which Linux distro to choose?

  1. DistroWatch

    • DistroWatch is a website that displays top rated (popular) distributions along with newly added distributions and releases. You can find extensive comparison charts, reviews, download links and various other information specific to each distribution. This site is a must visit for anyone looking for a Linux flavor that suits their needs.
  2. Live CD’s
    • Check to see if the distribution you are planning on installing has a Live CD. This will give you the opportunity to test out features before committing valuable time and hard drive space.
  3. Distro Chooser

    • This website contains a straightforward 10 question quiz that may help you narrow your research. I have not tested the output more than twice, so I’m unsure as to which distributions the creator has as optional answers. I answered the questions to the best of my ability and the quiz answered Slackware as the number 1 operating system that fits my criteria.
  4. Choosing a Linux Distribution

    • This article has some decent recommendations for which distributions to use if you’re a new Linux user, if you’re a power user, if you’re planning on installing Linux on a server, an old computer or installing Linux for games.
  5. Comparison of Linux distributions

    • The comparison charts and information on this wikipedia page are put together very nicely. There is a ton of information on each Linux distribution located here, including history, features, technical aspects and more. Take some time to learn about some of your choices before making the jump.

Additional Tips/Resources On Choosing:

  • Make a list of what you want to accomplish and what you will be doing on Linux. Check off each item as you find out the distribution is capable.
  • Check out the activity in the community related to your distribution. Look on IRC, forums, and mailing lists and ensure that you’ll be able to seek help easily.

Conclusion:

These tips and resources are provided to help you choose the perfect distribution for your needs. Typically, the most important needs a user should desire are: ease of use, flexibility, support, and security. Remember, try out Live CD versions of distributions before you install a full copy so that you can get a feel of how things are laid out. Use these resources to your advantage and you’ll be operating on a distribution that fits all of your needs in no time. Good luck!

The Best Linux Web Resources

I have compiled a list of what I believe to be the best web resources for the Linux operating system. I have used all of these sites, or projects from these sites, over the years in my Linux ventures and continue to use some of them on daily basis.

Best Application Site:
http://www.freshmeat.net

Freshmeat is the webs largest index of Unix/Linux related software. There are a ton of Linux application sites out there, but nothing as well established as Freshmeat. There are also a good deal of articles on software applications and book reviews that I enjoy reading from time to time. If your looking for a software application for your Linux desktop, server, or router, chances are it is listed on Freshmeat.

Best Linux Chat Community:

http://www.freenode.net

Freenode is a IRC (Internet Relay Chat) server that hosts a ton of open source and Linux communities. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of help channels related to anything and everything Linux and open source. I can not stress how many times I have had a question and been able to hop on IRC and ask a chat room full of Linux geeks, while actually receiving a straightforward answer.

Best Linux Development Site:
http://www.sourceforge.net

Source Forge is the largest open source software development site on the web. Freshmeat, mentioned above, usually links to the Source Forge page of the application you are searching for. Open Source developers all around the world use Source Forge to host their applications and source code free of charge. If you are a open source software developer, Source Forge is a vital asset to you and your application.

Best Linux Document Site:
http://www.tldp.org

The Linux Documentation Project is a great resource for HOWTO’s, in-depth books, man pages, and frequently asked questions. Usually, if I have questions on a particular subject in Linux, the first thing I do is visit TLDP and search for any guides and HOWTOs.

Best Linux Help Site:
http://www.linuxquestions.org

LinuxQuestions is a very valuable resource for newbies and long time Linux users. There are thousands of users that hang around the forums waiting to answer questions and help users in the Linux community. I have received a handful of answers from this site over the years as well as given back to the site by helping users that have questions. After all, thats what makes a community strong.

Best Linux Laptop Help Site:
http://www.linux-laptop.net/

If you have a laptop, and you run the Linux operating system on that laptop, you should be visiting the Linux Laptop web site. There are thousands of entries from users that have documented their experiences setting up and running Linux on their laptop. There are categories for just about every laptop out there, so if you are having issues getting Linux running smoothly on your laptop, this site should be your first stop. I also like to check out this site before I purchase a laptop to make sure I won’t run into any compatibility issues when installing Linux.

Best Linux Security Mailing List:
http://www.securityfocus.com/archive/91

Security Focus has a mailing list that focuses strictly on Linux. I recommend subscribing to this list and taking part in the discussions. There are a ton of highly intelligent users that subscribe to this list, and if you have any security related questions, this should be one of the places you ask.

Best Linux Mailing List(s):
http://www.linux.org/docs/lists.html

There are a ton of Linux specific mailing lists out there, and it all really depends on your distribution of choice which determines the best. So instead of choosing a best, here is a link of a list of popular mailing lists that Linux.org put together.

Best Linux Publication:
http://www.linuxjournal.com

I’ve been a Linux Journal subscriber for quiet some time, and their articles have always taught me something. The subscription cost is fairly cheap for the quality of content, so I would recommend subscribing and reading what the columnist have to say. There hasn’t been a monthly release yet where I haven’t learned something new in the Linux world.

Best Linux Radio Show:
http://www.tllts.org/

The guys over at The Linux Link Tech Show do an excellent job every week interviewing popular figures in the Linux community, discussing hot topics and explaining new trends. I recommend that every Linux enthusiast listen to this show, as I have learned a lot from TLLTS.

Best Linux Search Engine:
http://www.google.com/linux

Of course Google is the best search engine! Not many people are aware that Google offers a Linux specific search. So go check it out!

Best Linux Security Site:
http://www.securityfocus.com/unix

Security Focus is a great resource all-around. I use the RSS feeds to stay up to date on the security vulnerabilities in Linux as well as the frequent, in depth articles that are published by the security experts. You can find just about anything related to Linux security on this web site.

Best Linux User Group:
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.os.linux

This user group is a great resource for asking questions and learning about other users experiences. The archive dates back pretty far and it’s run by Google, so you already know that you’ll be able to search for topics of interest without any problems.

If you have anything you wish to contribute please feel free to leave a comment. Again, these are in my opinion the best resources on the web for the Linux operating system only because I myself have used them time and time again. If there are resources out there that I left out and you find yourself using time and time again, please let me know, I’m interested in checking them out!

Simple Samba Slackware Setup

If you are wanting to connect your Windows machine(s) to your Linux machine(s) over your network, then Samba is what you need. Essentially, Samba allows your Linux machine to communicate with your Windows network to share files, resources, and printers. This document will cover the steps of installing and configuring Samba on Slackware 11.0.0. Continue reading

Setting up a Syslog Server

One very important aspect of computer security and hack prevention is the collection and assessment of system log files. In the mind of a hacker, when gaining unlawful entry to a system their first instinct is to cover all traceable tracks. This means deleting log files and possibly even setting up backdoors to enter again at will sometime later in the future. It is important, as a system administrator, to ensure that even if your system has been broken into or tampered with, that you have traceable evidence to figure out exactly what went wrong, and where it went wrong. Hackers tend to tamper with system logs making this sometimes impossible to figure out. Setting up a remote syslog server for all of your servers to send their logs to is how we can ensure that your logs will be completely accurate and un tampered with.

The syslog server configured in this example is an old 486 with an 8GB hard drive, running Slackware Linux 10.2. However, the configuration and commands will work for just about any Linux distribution.

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SSH + Screen = Easy Administration

I have access to a numerous amount of Linux machines for work and personal matters. Instead of having a ton of different SSH or PuTTY windows open, each connected to a server that I administrate, I decided to use screen to connect to all of them, and manage each one in a different screen window.

Before getting into my screen configuration, its also important to note that on top of my screen setup, I have also configured SSH to authenticate via SSH keys, so I wouldn’t have to always type the password when admining from my “playbox”.

Here is how I set up SSH keys.

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