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How to Network Red Hat Linux and Microsoft Windows
Last updated: 9/7/02

OUR NETWORK.  Our home/office/shop network consists of several computers at any one time in my Office/Shop and two computers used my Wife and Son, which are located in their respective offices.  All are networked on a 100BASE-TX Ethernet local area network (LAN) with an SMC7008BR combination broadband router/seven-port Ethernet switch.  The router also provides shared access to the Internet via a cable MODEM.  The router has a DHCP server and is used by all of the PCs used as workstations to manage IP addresses.  The PCs on the network are running Windows 98, Me, and 2000 Pro operating systems.  Other computers with Window NT Server (old server used for support) and XP operating systems are occasionally introduced into the system.  The network is usually configured as a peer-to-peer Windows network with workgroup name of WORKGROUP.  The Linux server is built from used parts (one does not need a speed demon for a server on a small LAN; save that for the user PCs) and was added to the network primarily as a learning testbed, to see how Linux stacks-up as a small business/home office workgroup server as compared to various Windows versions and Novell, and as a development system for our web sites, which are running on a remote FreeBSD unix system maintained by a hosting service.  The web sites employ an Apache web server and run several large scripts that use php and MySQL.  Also, my Son might try to "barrow" the Linux machine (when I'm not looking) for a game server at a LAN party.

ROUTER CONFIGURATION.  This configuration can be done after the Linux install.  Many LAN/routers use 192.168.100.x or 192.168.0.x. Ending the network IP with 0 and the Broadcast with 255 is a common practice.  The Gateway and Primary DNS were assigned the IP of my router.  It is the same IP that one uses to view the router's HTML interface with a browser.  The router has a DNS proxy server. These settings will be different if the firewall/router is installed and Linux host is going to perform the router NAT function.  The router is configured like so:

The last 6 digits of the MAC address were changed to X's in the picture so as not to make them public for possible(?) security reasons.  It is important that the Linux host static IP address does not fall within the scope of the DHCP server and that it be on the same network segment (192.168.123.*) as the router and PC's.  On can determine the Ethernet adapter's MAC in RH 7.3 by opening a terminal window (see below) and typing ifconfig.  HWaddr is the MAC address.

Linux could be setup with its firewall, a second network adapter, and an Ethernet switch or hub to perform the broadband router function, but a router does it better for about the same cost and uses less energy.  Linux could also be setup in a similar manner, but with a MODEM instead of a second network adapter, to share a dial-up Internet connection.  Samba could be run with a dynamic IP address obtained from the router.

SECURITY AND BASIC NETWORK CONFIGURATION.  As all users of the system are trusted, security is not a problem (not really required).  However, I did not want novice users to "accidentally" access those parts of the Linux host that would normally be managed by root.  Simplicity is a goal.  At this point, I do not plan to attach a printer to the Linux computer or print to a network printer on another computer from the Linux computer.  I decided to have one directory that could be shared by all users and one directory for each user that only that user could access. User directories would be restricted with a password.  This configuration is pretty much what Red Hat has outlined in the RH Customization Guide.  This article elaborates on that guidance and stresses salient points that might other wise be overlooked. So, here is Samba simplified:

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