Using Linux in a Training Environment
For connectivity, a generic NE-2000 compatible card works rather nicely. I have had good experiences with 3COM 3C509 cards, as well as the Intel Etherexpress cards. If you are setting up a full network, be sure to purchase network cards which match any existing or planned wall connections. Don't run out and save a bundle on a rack of AUI-based cards, if you have twisted pair connections in the wall already.
We use and recommend the Trio64, S3-based cards from Number 9. These cards have proven to be quite reliable and versatile under X Windows. This is a tricky area, due to the fact that XFree86 only supports cards with certain chip sets. Other good choices include cards sporting a Tseng-4000-based chip set.
Our students are not in the graphic design business, nor are we. A low-end, LaserJet-compatible unit works nicely for source code printing and other small jobs. In fact, even a low-end printer can generally support postscript or PCL raw formats, so working with programs like ghostscript and TeX can be facilitated easily. I think our printers are coming on-line at around $400 per unit—not bad.
While installing, configuring and maintaining our Linux host machines can be somewhat time consuming, the same procedures, when performed on our student workstations, take considerably less time. Depending on which training branch you visit, our student workstations range from older 486/33 machines to newer Pentium 90 desktop models. For a simple TELNET connection, even older XT/AT or 286 machine is capable of running NCSA's freely available implementation of TELNET.
For X Windows and Motif development, a more robust platform is required. Most of our workstations have around 500MB of storage and 8 to 16MB of RAM. DCI is an Authorized Microsoft Technical Education Center (ATEC). As such, we also instruct a number of non-Unix related courses, such as Windows NT development. These courses require considerably more resources on the workstation side. The only common denominator is really the network cards used in the workstations, which are also of the NE-2000 variety.
As far as workstation tools go, we use the following software packages on each of our workstations:
NCSA's TELNET Package has truly been a gift from the heavens. It has performed reliably over a sustained time period and is quite configurable on the workstation side. With it, our students are able to maintain multiple TELNET sessions, as well as the occasional FTP to the host to upload their lab work.
X/Appeal from Xtreme S.A.S. (Italy) is a remarkable, surprisingly inexpensive X Server for DOS. It supports a number of different video chip sets, as well network configurations. A 30 day trial version of X/Appeal can be obtained at ftp://oak.oakland.edu/.
Microsoft Windows for Workgroups v3.11? In a Unix-based training room? Surprised? Not at all. One of the nice things about our setup, is that we use the freely available Samba package to allow Linux to provide shared directory and printer services to our DOS/Windows based workstations. The bulky Windows products used in some of our other courses (PowerBuilder, Visual Basic, Visual C++, etc.) can be installed directly onto the Linux host, freeing up valuable disk storage on the workstations. In fact, we even share the CD-ROM which is installed on the host machine. The student workstations can then access the CD-ROM at any time.
While there are a number of advantages to using Linux as a training solution, a number of drawbacks also manifest themselves over time. Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks? I'll let you be the judge.
Free. End of story. As mentioned earlier, the price of a stable Linux distribution on CD-ROM is exponentially cheaper than obtaining a commercial solution, such as SCO or Unixware. In fact, with the extra cash you have left over, you can afford to subscribe to Infomagic's quarterly Developer's Resource 4 CD set for the rest of your life.
Fast/Flexible Linux OS Recovery
On Demand Now
In this live one-hour webinar, learn how to enhance your existing backup strategies for complete disaster recovery preparedness using Storix System Backup Administrator (SBAdmin), a highly flexible full-system recovery solution for UNIX and Linux systems.
Join Linux Journal's Shawn Powers and David Huffman, President/CEO, Storix, Inc.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- Devuan Beta Release
- May 2016 Issue of Linux Journal
- EnterpriseDB's EDB Postgres Advanced Server and EDB Postgres Enterprise Manager
- The US Government and Open-Source Software
- The Humble Hacker?
- BitTorrent Inc.'s Sync
- The Death of RoboVM
- Open-Source Project Secretly Funded by CIA
- New Container Image Standard Promises More Portable Apps
- AdaCore's SPARK Pro
In modern computer systems, privacy and security are mandatory. However, connections from the outside over public networks automatically imply risks. One easily available solution to avoid eavesdroppers’ attempts is SSH. But, its wide adoption during the past 21 years has made it a target for attackers, so hardening your system properly is a must.
Additionally, in highly regulated markets, you must comply with specific operational requirements, proving that you conform to standards and even that you have included new mandatory authentication methods, such as two-factor authentication. In this ebook, I discuss SSH and how to configure and manage it to guarantee that your network is safe, your data is secure and that you comply with relevant regulations.Get the Guide