[RndTbl] Choosing server software

Mike Pfaiffer high.res.mike at gmail.com
Wed Sep 17 13:23:15 CDT 2008

John Lange wrote:
> Mike, you'll probably get as many opinions on this as there are people
> on this list.

	True enough. I figured it would be a good place to start.

> First, it's not really clear to me what you are trying to do. What
> exactly is meant by "provide local internet services" ? How is it being
> provided? PC terminals on a LAN? Wireless? Dialup?

	In this location there are two public access PC terminals on a LAN. The 
group wants me to add wireless (two access points) to the setup.

> "extend the range of an existing public access service" seems to imply
> wireless of some kind? By extend do you mean add more wireless access
> points?

	That's one option. There is an existing public access service run by 
one of the groups a couple of blocks away. They want to extend the range 
to cover this particular building. The building is out of range of the 
existing service. I gather they also want to provide local content on 
machines which are only accessible from certain locations/routers.

> As far as providing hosting services for web sites, these days it simply
> doesn't make sense to do it yourself. There are a litany of very high
> quality hosting providers in the US which offer hosting that includes a
> free domain name, email, tons of storage and bandwidth, web based site
> management tools etc. for less than $5/month. You simply can not beat
> this so I'd strongly recommend this option for anyone.

	If they were starting from scratch then I'd agree. In this case they 
have government funding for the connection to the net. Their previous 
machine hasn't needed maintenance for close to 10 years. Nobody has 
looked at it in all this time. The machine has since been sold a couple 
of times so it's no longer under their control. Apparently it is sitting 
quietly in a corner somewhere awaiting the day an audit shows the 
current owners they are effectively hosting half a dozen groups web 
sites for free. They are hoping they could just drop in a newer computer 
at the new site at no cost. As I said, they have a fair few machines 
they can use for this purpose.

> For the router/firewall, I would choose something like a Linksys WRT54GL
> and put some custom Linux firmware on it like Tomato. These devices are
> cheap and reliable and since you mentioned wifi it would have everything
> you need. Specific roll-your-own dedicated hardware is almost always
> overkill unless you have a specific requirement for it.

	I would agree if I knew they had one (or the money to get one). I've 
asked if they could locate any wireless "home routers" in the warehouse. 
No word back yet. More likely than not they will ask me to throw in a 
couple of NICs and a wireless card into a PC and implement it that way. 
The requirement is not to spend money, and use some of the equipment 
sitting in the warehouse.

	All this is a little earlier than they planned. They had a couple of 
machines sitting in the corner no longer doing what they wanted so I set 
up FreeNAS on one of them. Then I asked if they wanted me to do 
something with the other one...

> Regards,


More information about the Roundtable mailing list