Ghosting onto the Net

Communicating from the office to home using a Linux server and the Internet.
A Note about Windows 95 Configuration

If you decide, as I did, to hook up some WinTel boxes to your Linux server, here are some hints to get it up and running.

In the following examples, I am assuming your personal network is on the 192.168.1.* subnet, the Linux server is at 192.168.1.1 and your Win95 machine is at IP address 192.168.1.2.

Select the network icon in your Win95 Control panel. Then select the TCP/IP -> network card entry in the list. Click on properties, so that the properties window will appear, and do the following:

  1. Under the IP Address tab, select “Specify an IP address”, and enter 192.168.1.2 in the IP Address field, also enter 255.255.255.0 in the “Subnet Mask” field.

  2. Under the Gateway tab enter 192.168.1.1 in the “New gateway” field, and click the Add button. This tells Windows that the Linux server is the gateway.

  3. Under the DNS Configuration tab select “Enable DNS”, and enter the host name for your machine in the “Host field”. Then enter the domain you use for your internal network.

  4. If you have the DNS name server running on your Linux server, enter 192.168.1.1 in the “DNS Server Search Order” field and click Add. If you are going to use your ISP's name server, enter your ISP's name server IP address in this field instead.

  5. In the “Domain Suffix Search Order” field, you can re-enter your internal domain and click the Add button.

  6. Last, click on the Okay button. Windows will reboot and you will be set to go.

Conclusion

This setup has worked quite well for me. Every morning before I go to work I decide whether I want to be able to access my box from the office through the Internet. If I do, I just turn it on, and at 7:30 AM cron starts the appear script, and I'm off to the races.

There are some security issues to be aware of—once your server is on the Net, anyone can access it. To prevent people from being able to telnet to your server from anywhere, add the following line to your /etc/hosts.deny file:

ALL: ALL

This entry denies access to your box from everywhere—it is a good default. Now add the following entry to your /etc/hosts.allow file:

ALL: LOCAL myisp.net mywork.com

This entry allows you to connect only from systems on your local network, your ISP and your place of work. (For more information about these files, see the man page for hosts.allow.)

Scott Steadman (ss@stdmn.com) is a contract programmer who lives in Lawrenceville, Georgia with his lovely wife Kim and their two cats.

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