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COMP1691

Enterprise Server Management


and Security

Lecture 1
Linux – distribution choice, installation
and configuration
What is a Linux distribution?

*from Wikipedia
What is a Linux distribution?
• Each distribution contains matching software elements guaranteeing compatibility
and conflict-free behaviour. It contains also a system kernel with kernel modules
and documentation.
• Most of Linux distributions are available for free, however, due to the fact that
preparing such a release requires some man power, time and energy, some
organisations / institutions that provide Linux distributions require some more or
less symbolic fee for the distribution itself or for technical support or software
updates. This fee is usually much lower in comparison to some commercial
systems.
• Distributions may differ one from another in terms of standard
applications or their versions. Quite often various distributions are
equipped with additional applications / tools used for installation and
system administrations. They may also provide coherent and integrated
software management tools (package managers), for example RPM
(RedHat Pakcage Manager), APT (Advanced Packaging Tool).
• There are also more ore less signifficant differences in terms of location of
configuration files, their naming, directory structure, etc.
Distributions – origins
Distributions – origins
Distributions – origins

Independent distributions :
Distributions – origins
Specialised distributions :

Educational distributions :

+LiveCD distributions (Knoppix, Monopix, etc.)…


Distributions – origins
Distributions – origins
LinuxDistributions.svg
Which distribution to choose?
• Take into account what you are going to use the
system for (is it going to be a server or rather an
alternative for Windows OS)
• Think of your system architecture (is it supported
by the chosen distro?)
• Do you think you / your company may need a
technical support for your distribution?
• Take into account default number of pre-
compiled packages, filesystem type, implemented
security mechanisms or general user friendliness
Linux Distributions - purpose
Distribution Producer First public release Base distribution Purpose
Arch Linux dev team 2002 none general
Ark Linux dev team 2003 none desktop
Red Hat Enterprise Linux
CentOS CentOS Project 2003 server, workstation
(RHEL)
Debian Debian Project 1993 none general
Fedora Fedora Project 2003 Red Hat Linux general
Gentoo Linux Gentoo Foundation, Inc. 2002 none general
Knoppix dev team 2003 Debian live
Mandriva Linux Mandriva S.A. 1998 Red Hat Linux general
Novell, Inc., openSUSE
openSUSE 1994 SUSE Linux general
Project
Red Hat Enterprise
Red Hat 2002 Red Hat Linux, Fedora server, workstation
Linux (RHEL)
Red Hat Linux Red Hat 1995 none server, workstation
Softlanding Linux
Slackware dev team 1993 general
*from Wikipedia System
GNU/Linux dev team 2002 Sorcerer general
SUSE Linux Novell, Inc. dev team 1994 Slackware, Jurix workstation, server
Ubuntu Canonical Ltd. 2004 Debian general
Linux Distributions - platforms
Distribution IA-32 x86-64 IA-64 ppc ppc64 sparc32 sparc64 arm alpha
Yes
Arch Linux Yes No Yes[18] No No No Yes[19] No
(>=i686)
CentOS Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No Yes
Debian[20] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[21] Yes Yes Unofficial
Fedora[22] Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes[23] No
Gentoo Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[24] Yes
Knoppix Yes No No No No No No No No
Mandriva
Yes Yes No No No No No No No
Linux
openSUSE[28] Yes Yes No No No No partial[29] No No
Red Hat
Enterprise Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Linux[32]
SUSE Linux
Enterprise Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Server[34]
Ubuntu/Kub
untu/Xubunt
*from WikipediaYes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No
u/Lubuntu
Linux Distributions – software / packages
Approximate
Approximate Default package Graphical
number of pre-
Distribution number of management Package format Default installer installation
compiled
source packages tools process
packages
ABS: 9,835,
Arch Linux 9,835[38] Pacman .pkg.tar.xz AIF No
AUR: 38,006[39]
RPM,
CentOS 1,660 RPM Anaconda Yes
yum/up2date
Debian 29,050[41] 14,975 APT .deb Debian-Installer Yes
Fedora 22,000 yum, PackageKit RPM Anaconda Yes
Gentoo 15,691 31,136[44] Portage ebuild Yes[45]
Knoppix 3,600 APT .deb No
urpmi,
Mandriva Linux 22,600 RPM DrakX Yes
rpmdrake[49]
openSUSE 51,067 27,650[51] YaST, Zypper RPM YaST Yes
Red Hat
3,000 RPM, yum RPM Yes
Enterprise Linux
SUSE Linux 22,000 YaST, Zypper RPM YaST Yes
Ubuntu,
*from Wikipedia35,784[50]
Kubuntu, APT .deb Ubiquity Yes
Xubuntu
Linux Distributions – Security Features
Software
Compile time Mandatory
Distribution executable space grsecurity RSBAC
buffer checks access control
protection

SELinux[60],
Debian/Ubuntu Yes PaX Optional Optional
AppArmor
Fedora / Centos /
Yes SELinux[61] Exec Shield[62] No No
RHEL
Gentoo[63] Optional SELinux PaX Optional Optional

Mandriva Unknown AppArmor[64] Unknown Unknown Yes

Hardware NX
and other
SUSE Linux Yes AppArmor[65] methods in No No
mainline kernel
and toolchain[66]

Tor-ramdisk Unknown Unknown PaX Yes No


CentOS Linux – Requirements (not clear)

• Processor:
– Minimum: Pentium IV 2.4GHz
• RAM:
– Minimum: 768MB
– Recommended: 2GB
– Optimal: 4GB Maximum
• Storage:
– Minimum: 2-3GB for installation without GUI (but can be
further reduced)
– Typical: 6-7GB for installation with GUI (KDE or GNOME)
– Optimal: >128MB
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
Windows Servers 2008 – Installation – Full
Version
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – media installation process
CentOS Linux – kickstart installation
process
• An organisation is rolling out CentOS / Fedora / Red
Hat Linux
• The same configuration is required for all Linux
machines
• Manual configuration takes very long
• Some kind of automation of the install process would
be required so that the installator would not need user
interaction during the install process
• Using alternative tools, such as Norton Ghost is fixed
and cannot be used in case of hardware changes whilst
kickstart can be easily used for any hardware
architecture
CentOS Linux – kickstart installation
process
Kickstart installation requires special configura- tion file.

Luckily, if there is any pre-installed version of the Linux


system that is of the required configuration, the
installation tool (anaconda in case of CentOS, Red Hat or
Fedora) creates a special file anaconda-ks.cfg in the /root
directory.

Otherwise the file can be created from scratch. Then it


can be placed in any place that can be accessed from the
computer, i.e. USB stick or a network location (for
example WWW server).
CentOS Linux – kickstart installation
process
CentOS Linux – kickstart installation
process
CentOS Linux – kickstart installation
process
CentOS Linux – kickstart installation
process
CentOS Linux – kickstart installation
process
CentOS Linux – kickstart installation
process
CentOS Linux – kickstart installation
process
CentOS Linux – kickstart installation
process
CentOS Linux – kickstart installation
process
CentOS Linux – kickstart installation
process
CentOS Linux – kickstart installation
process
CentOS Linux – kickstart installation
process

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