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I've spent a fair amount of time using various *nix systems, but don't have a lot of experience in setting them up from scratch (unlike Windows, which I can more or less do in my sleep at this point, much to my dismay - I keep waking up and discovering I've set up a new box. Anyway.)

Looking to shore up this hole in my education, I've been playing around with getting a linux machine up and running on my home LAN of late. (Using Fedora 10 due to some advice I got out in meatspace.) While the install went fine, its that first batch of configuration that has me somewhat puzzled. The usual combo of google and sweat has got the thing more or less working, but are they any decent tutorials out there for someone who kinda knows what they're doing in the big picture, but doesn't know what to do with his Linux box on day 2?

Edited to add: wow! This is all great stuff! (Keep it coming?) Thanks, y'all!

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6 Answers 6

Fedora is considered a bit of a "bleeding edge" distribution; they are often the first distribution out with newer stuff. Not that it's bad or unsafe or likely to eat your data -- I've used it full time since its first release -- but you can expect more issues with a newly released Fedora issue than with some other releases that aim to be conservative. Fedora 10 has been out for a while (11 will be released this month), so it's perfectly fine for a beginner at this stage. Just letting you know.

There's a number of people who put up guides reflecting what it took for them to install Fedora and get it configured and running. Here are some:

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Not sure if it's day 2, but on redhat based distros (Fedora, or the far stabler Centos), learn to use yum.

yum update
yum install apackage

If you go Ubuntu, just use a Live CD for a while and experiment with the dpkg package manager (or its GUI).

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The PackageKit gui's are mature enough at this point to do most yum tasks without needing the command line, but it isn't going to be a snappy on performance as yum. –  Ophidian Jun 6 '09 at 13:08

It sounds like you're looking for fun things you can do with a Linux Server now that you've got it running.

  • Webserver. Run Apache/PHP. Change the headers/signatures. Make it look like you're running ASP.Net on IIS!
  • Fileserver. Samba. Set it up so every use can see their home directory plus some public shares when they login
  • Authentication. Get Apache, SVN, SSH, and FTP all authenicating off the same password in /etc/passwd. Mess with /etc/pam.d Then try and get Samba to do it. Hint: I don't think it's possible.
  • DHCP/Firewall - Segment your network into trusted (your computers) and untrusted (everyone else). Block them from accessing your stuff (helps stops worms!).
  • Proxy - tunnel a computer through a transparent proxy. See if you can detect it.
    • Then, tunnel all of the untrusted segement through the proxy. Then do Upside-Downternet
  • Graph the computers stats CPU, Fan Speeds, Voltages, Disk Read and Write activity, Network traffic
  • Graph the weather! See fluctuations in drive temperature as a factor of outside humidity or temperature.
  • Find out how much bandwidth your house uses
  • Use it to remind you of stuff. My server emails me the weather every morning.

There's no limit, and there's a ton more ideas that will be catered to you. Do you want to know exactly what time your daughter gets home at night, but you want to go to bed too? Hook up an RFID reader on the door and log when it breaks contact! Orrrrr hook up RFID with a cat door to only ley your cat in!

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Fantastic! (But, I don't suppose you could provide some links on the first few bullets?) –  Electrons_Ahoy May 1 '09 at 23:06
    
For apache, php, and samba just read all the configuration files and you'll find the options. –  Tom Ritter May 2 '09 at 2:29

The Gentoo Handbook is a great resource even if you're not using Gentoo. The other documentation describing setting up home routers and all that is also very much worth it.

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Perhaps a little lower level than what you're looking for, but Linux From Scratch is a great project that teaches you how to build a Linux system entirely from source. It's a great way to learn the guts of Linux, before you move to a well packaged distribution and promptly forget all the detail. :)

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The Linux Reality podcast has some excellent episodes geared toward your situation (day 2). It was an invaluable resource to me when I was in your shoes. Unfortunately, he's not producing any more episodes, but he has been gracious enough to leave the feed up indefinitely.

I also enjoy listening to the Linux Action Show guys. They do a lot of "in depth" reviews and keep me updated on Linux news that I otherwise would probably miss.

Next, I keep an eye on /r/linux over at Reddit. There's always a good nugget or two that bubbles up to the top.

I've been using Linux exclusively for three years now and still feel like I learn something new every day.

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