Debbie and Kraken, Like the Wolf and the Falcon

When one of them is running, the other one is disconnected. I found that its easy to try out or focus on specific features of both systems by alternately connecting the drive with Kraken or Debbie on it and running some tests.
Written by Xwindowsjunkie , Contributor

When one of them is running, the other one is disconnected. I found that its easy to try out or focus on specific features of both systems by alternately connecting the drive with Kraken or Debbie on it and running some tests. Debbie is still running more than Kraken simply because I have a lot steeper learning curve with her than with the beast. His stuff I've seen a lot of already!

Been spending a lot of time reading on-line Debian manuals. Unfortunately a number of them are somewhat irrelevant to the current distribution. Debian Reference seems to have large chunks of fairly good info. I plan on finishing it today.

My Debian server has all of my selected applications with a few additional applications I didn't expect (OpenOffice Writer for one) but they don't seem to be much of an issue. All of the needed applications were a part of the Debian distro or the on-line apt-get system. In that regard -Excellent work! Debian-maniacs (or whatever you've decided to call yourselves!)

I'm still doing research on Debbie and Kraken. I found that the only way to use the backup facilities of either was to use an agent included with each of the respective backup aps that is installed on the target desktops. Windows Home Server (Kraken) uses a install module that can be installed ONLY on Windows boxes. Bacula on Debian has a similar method but has agents that can be installed on practically everything. Advantage -- Bacula.

Apache installed with no fuss whatsoever. In fact I had to pop open browsers on three or four different computers to believe how easy it was. Like nothing had to be done. I'll be checking out the configuration within this next week. Considering my history with IIS4, 5 & 6, advantage – Apache, absolutely no question.

Ice Weasel, the Debian version of FireFox, works very well perhaps faster than the Windows version of FireFox. No Active X support (no popups!), two points for Ice Weasel. Able to use every FireFox extension, plugin and addon, another two points for Ice Weasel. I have been a fan of FireFox since .9 Beta. FireFox gets my vote and usage not only here but at work as Primary Browser. I especially like the fact that Microsoft has bowed to pressure and allows FireFox on most of MSDN to work properly. The only places I have to use Internet Exploder is on the Passport/Live/(whatever-the-hell-they're-calling-it-next-week) websites.

The GNU C, C++ compilers are installed, along with all of the samples, tutorials and docs I could find! I have no idea how to vote on these boys yet. The price was right. Visual Studio 2005's IDE is very attractive and easy to use. Its probably the best piece of software Microsoft has ever put out. Considering the idea was that I wouldn't get into to programming on this project, maybe I should ignore this issue.

DNS caching server, DHCP3 and letting Samba handle WINS. DNS cahing is working very nicely. I haven't starting running DHCP3 yet since my other Linux system is currently supplying IPs.

File Serving is a little bit different obviously since we are matching bananas and pears. (You expected me to use Apples and oranges?) On Kraken, the WHS sets up a workgroup with a set of shares with permissions divided up by users and/or groups. Logon security can be enabled with Kerberos, hashed or not Lan Manager or https. There might be more mechanisms, this was a quick first look. Files can also be set for local workgroup access with and without web serving access. Obviously any access on the Kraken from a Linux client will have to be through Samba client services on the Linux clients which handles Kerberos and Lan Manager, at least in the Debian distro it does. The Linux client's Samba logon will have to be programmed into the WHS as a valid client even for files marked as for Everyone. That is a side effect of dumping fast-user switching and enabling controlled shares on any Windows server or workstation, not unlike leaving security wide open on a bunch of Linux systems or running a workgroup of Win9X boxes (no they aren't EXACTLY the same but just somewhat similar(;-).

My previous experience with Windows says that file sharing with Kerberos enabled will not be really possible on Win9X clients, it will be difficult with Win NT 4.0 and OK with Win2K and XP. So with WHS operating as the server, the security options will require some compromises if the home clients aren't all XP or Vista. All of the above will operate properly as Lan Manager clients. However, “Fast User Switching” can't be used on the XP Pro clients since it breaks the access to shares that are shared with anything other than simple Windows folder shares. Vista clients, who cares? I'm not paying for Vista anything after battling with Vista Beta and Vista RC1, forget it. In any case I would not expect something based on Windows 2003 Server to support those sorts of simple shares.

As you would expect with a Linux server, everything to be accessible by Windows clients has to be served by Samba. Since Samba now has the abilities to operate as a Domain controller in what would normally be a small workgroup, I'm going to take advantage of that to deal with the security issues for all the Windows and Linux clients that way. Samba, as long as you are using Lan Manager sorts of file sharing without Kerberos, will allow all Windows based clients to connect. The Linux clients will connect through the normal NFS. So I have to call this file serving function a tie until I can really exercise both systems.

The characteristics of both operating systems' methods of serving shares are similar. Folders on the WHS are not associated with a drive letter on the server just as the Linux filesystem does not use drive letters.*1 This is somewhat of a departure from traditional Windows file serving systems in the past. Its a sort of cross between the Distributed File System (DFS) and Active Directory “containers” or Organizational Unit folders. The Windows users will see an Icon or object with a label that they can drag and drop a file or folder to put the media files or data files onto the server. In other words nothing Linux users haven't seen for years.

I'm going to have to do a bunch of testing to see which works better but just from looking at it, the windows clients (XP and Vista only) will have a real easy time connecting only to the WHS (Kraken). Whereas the Linux and ALL Windows clients will require a little fussing but it can be done easily enough so that scripting can automate the process fairly well on the Linux Home Server (Debbie) I suspect.

*1. Come on guys! Do you really think that hiding a drive partition with hda, or hdb is fooling anybody? I agree that most users don't often need physical awareness of where or what is holding your data. But when the physical world slaps you into back into chaotic reality, when you're trying to fix a system with a dead drive and you can't remember which drive has hda or /home/username on it, it might be nice to know what PHYSICAL drive has what! I will eventually get used to it.

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