Howtoforge: Quality Linux Tutorials

Posted by tadelste on Feb 18, 2006 7:18 AM EDT
Lxer.com; By Tom Adelstein
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My first encounter with Howtoforge began with "The Perfect Setup" for Debian Sarge by Falko Timme. I found a site loaded with fundamentally sound and easy to follow setups for Linux administration. This is a location on the WEB that people needing to administer Linux should bookmark. But then there's more.

On Digg.com

When I met the Chairman of Corel in 1999 at the inaugural LinuxWorld in San Jose, I decided I wanted to change my consulting work and focus strictly on Linux. I recall Michael Cowpland's commitment to Linux before any other major software vendor came along. First, he chose to bring out WordPerfect 8 for Linux. That was the first commercial word processor for Linux distributed free.



Michael also committed to have Corel work on WINE and contributed back to the project. Corel also ported their WordPerect Office Suite and Corel Draw using WINE and made it available for Linux.



Michael then brought out Corel 1.0 Linux and put it into retail stores across North America. He had the clout to make Corel Linux the number one selling distribution by getting and paying for premium aisle space and putting out a remarkable package that retailers and customers liked.



During the Christmas selling season, Corel sold 400,000 units of the full-blown Corel 1.0 Linux. Now the product goes by the name of Xandros. It still has a Debian core and uses KDE for its desktop. Corel 1.0 was my first exposure to Debian and I loved it.



In fact, the first Insight Server used Corel 1.0 as its operating system. We found Exim to work well with our package. At the time Michael ran into Microsoft's machine, I had begun working with him to release a server pre-packaged with Corel.



As a side note, I felt like Michael got the same treatment as Peter Quinn. I just didn't recognize it at the time. Suddenly, Michael was investigated for security issues and his planned merger with Borland went astray. Out went Michael and in came Microsoft with $150 million to save the company. Next, Corel stopped its Linux work completely.



Regardless of the turmoil and the set backs, I thank Michael Cowpland for introducing me to Debian.



The Perfect Setup



I spent some time evaluating Xandros as a server for the late Rick Berenstein in the fall of 2003. Rick had wanted to bring out a groupware product to go along with the Xandros desktop. Rick wanted to do what Falko Timme has done with his tutorial.



An article on DebianHelp.org discussing Falko's tutorial, explains one of the issues with which we dealt six years ago. The author of the article, IntnsRed wrote:



A while ago I moved the debianHELP site to another server and was faced with the prospect of building the box from scratch. To me, handling Apache or MySQL is no problem, but I loath setting up virtual e-mail domains. Being of the lazy sort, I decided to examine free software hosting control panels and to install one on the box I was going to build.

debianHELP uses one of the products which Falko supports called ISPConfig a free software project hosted at sourcforge.net. Like the author of the debianHelp article, I consider it one of the best panels for system administrators and people just wanting to set up a web site.

While I like ISPConfig, I'm even more impressed with what the project maintainers have done. Howtoforge appears unrelated to the team that has taken 42go.com's control panel and contributed it to the community. Howtoforge also appears unrelated to the commercial venture. But they all fall under the umbrella of projektfarm GmbH.



Falko, who works on the ISPConfig project, gives his tutorials away. He gives his time away. He has written some remarkable tutorials such as The Perfect Setup series for Debian, Fedora, Mandriva, SUSE and Ubuntu just to name a few. I used his tutorials in that series to setup different boxes for testing. He has taken the hard work out of such things as setting up encryption, putting DNS in a chrooted environment, using MySQL as a backend for DNS, using CPAN to set up dependencies for things like SpamAssassin.



Howtoforge is a literal treasure trove. It has also gained significant momentum as additional authors have joined the ranks to contribute a host of quality tutorials on Apache, Samba, Xen, kernel hacking, DNS, Sendmail, MySQL, Postfix and so forth. The authors also have the kind of giving attitude one would expect from the "open" source community.



Encouraging you to poke around

I see several opportunities with the projektfarm GmbH team. One of the areas I enjoyed in my earliest days in Linux had to do with setting up servers for ISPs. Then, I discovered Cobalt and knew I was a couple of years away from having a product comparable to the Qube or RaQserver.

The ISPConfig team has released a mature product beyond anything Cobalt had. You can obtain ISPConfig for free. So, for anyone wanting to start a Linux business, here's a perfect opportunity. Install and support ISPs and work with the project to learn.

ISPConfig also provides an opportunity to set up and manage your own web site. Within a day, you can have a secure and stable server that you can take to a hosting facility and have up and running immediately. Read the debianHelp article to get a feel for this.

You can also use Falko's tutorials to set up a server to use internally on your network. You can have a stable server running to service almost any need you might have in a small to medium size business. You don't have to be a guru either.



So, I encourage you to poke around Howtoforge. What do I think of their materials? I see the best of class. I have studied their work thoroughly and have tested their products. I consider them the next "Up and Coming" open source opportunity.



In case you missed the earlier ones, don't fool around now. These guys are for real technically and they know how to behave themselves. Get in early.

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Mozilla L&F Ripoff pd 1 2,688 Feb 18, 2006 4:46 PM
Great article gemlog 1 2,618 Feb 18, 2006 10:22 AM
i agree mariuz 1 2,547 Feb 18, 2006 6:55 AM

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