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OpenLinux -- A full-featured server platform that goes beyond the basics of Linux

OpenLinux -- A full-featured server platform that goes beyond the basics of Linux

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted May 30, 2002


When Linux distributions are available for free over the Internet, and for $10-$100 from major companies such as Red Hat and SuSE, why should an organization pay $599 for Caldera's OpenLinux Server 3.1.1?

When Linux distributions are available for free over the Internet, and for $10-$100 from major companies such as Red Hat and SuSE, why should an organization pay $599 for Caldera's OpenLinux Server 3.1.1? Because you get what you pay for.

Because you get what you pay for. OpenLinux is not just a basic release of Linux with Apache server bundled in, it's a seven-disk set of CDs, with a highly secure version of Linux 2.4.2 that has all of the unnecessary ports disabled.

Virtually every type of service and hardware support that might be needed for an enterprise-class server is included: intrusion detection with Tripwire, Logcheck and PortSentry, remote administration via browser using the Webmin tool, Java SDK 1.3, software and hardware RAID support, the Reiser journaling file system, support for SMP and up to 64 GB RAM, the Apache Web server with the Tomcat Java servlet engine, the PHP library, the Mod_backhand load balancing module, and the Squid caching module, as well as HTTPS, SSL, and PKI support. It also includes file and print services for Linux and Windows, a POP and IMAP email server, the IP-Chains firewall server, the WU-FTP server, the BIND8 DNS server, a DHCP server, a PPP dial-in server, OpenLDAP, the INN news server, and the Majordomo list server.

The price of this package would be justified for many administrators for the mere fact that it elimintes the need to collect all of the components. However, it also offers many other benefits, including one of the best installation programs we've seen for any type of server (not just Linux), a documentation server that allows access to the 380-page documentation set from any browser, a browser-based administration console that provides a secure GUI management console for the server from any browser, and a 60-day evaluation of the Volution systems management product.

The set of CDs also includes an evaluation copy of the workstation version of OpenLinux, source code for the server and workstation products, and a CD full of additional software and utilities.

We installed OpenLinux Server on two servers, a Dell 2450 and an HP rc7100. Both installations went without a hitch, using the default full installation. The Lizard Installation Wizard found the video adapters, network adapters, SCSI adapters, and SMP chipsets; all were automatically detected and correctly installed. The KDE GUI is solid and easy to use. The Webmin management console allows secure GUI administration of the server from any browser, and the permits configuration of the Web server and other server products as well as basic administration.

This product takes Linux from a fairly esoteric server product generally suitable to experienced Linux administrators, to a general server that is easy to install and use and suited to any system administrator who can handle a Windows or NetWare installation.

Our primary concern with this product is that it is unclear what will happen to it in the long term due to Caldera's role in the recently announced UnitedLinux initiative expected to be released later this year.

Pros: Comprehensive software package; All ports and system access points are closed by default, resulting in a very secure server; Very easy to install and administer; Inexpensive, relative to comparable servers and application suites

Cons: Support will diminish as UnitedLinux ramps up

Version Reviewed: 3.1.1
Reviewed by: Logan Harbaugh
Last Updated: 5/30/02
Date of Original Review: 5/30/02

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