Good linux books & distros

Brad Hards bhards at
Tue Dec 3 16:45:13 EST 2002

Hash: SHA1

On Tue, 3 Dec 2002 12:59, L u k e H a m i l t o n wrote:
> Hey there all,
> I am looking into setting up my own linux server at home these holidays,
> and was just wondering what distributions ppl on the list recommended
> and why?
I recommend getting Redhat or Mandrake first. Initial impressions are 
important, and Debian is hard. Next time around, consider a system like 
Debian or Gentoo.

If you just want a server, and don't want to learn anything about Linux, I'd 
strongly recommend Mitel SME server (nee e-smith). However it sounds like you 
are more interested in the "under the bonnet" issues, so that won't help.

> I' am also look for some good linux books to aid/educate me. Would
> prefer books on specific subjects, such as:
The O'Reilly "Cricket" book is basically the definitive reference. Expensive, 
but worth it if you really care about this stuff.

> samba
Not sure. There are certainly a few books out there, but never used one.

> ssh
I have the O'Reilly book for this too ("snail" book). Interesting, and some 
valuable early stuff, but if you are familiar with PKI, you'd likely be OK 
with just the documentation that comes with OpenSSH.

'> sendmail
sendmail isn't the only game in town, and only the most hardcore hacker would 
use it. Not sure of good books on other Mail Transfer Agents.

> squide
There are probably some decent books - http caching isn't that complex though.

> firewalls
Unless you have a solid security background, start with a generic book. I 
don't remember the name, but the O'Reilly book with a safe on the front is 
meant to be pretty good.

> ftp
Again, not sure of any books.

> Or anything else I have missed and you thing would be worth a read.
The best way to understand networking stuff is to look at a running example. I 
definately recommend a packet sniffer like ethereal 
(, and you can get a description of most of the 
important protocols by reading the specifications (known as RFCs, for 
Requests for Comment - see

For example, if you want to understand ftp, print off a copy of all the 
relevant RFCs, start ethereal, open an ftp client (say ncftp) connection to a 
public server, and compare the commands you are issuing. the documentation 
and the ethereal display. When that is sorted out, configure your own server, 
and see what changes.

- -- 22-25Jan2003. Perth, Aust. I'm registered. Are you?
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