2.3. GNU/Linux services

GNU/Linux has servers adapted for any work environment.

The service categories we have mentioned have equivalents that we can provide from our GNU/Linux systems to all other machines on the network (and from which they can also act as clients):

  1. Applications: GNU/Linux can provide remote terminal services, whether by direct connection through series interfaces of dumb terminals, serving to visualise or interact with the applications. Another possibility is remote connection in text mode, from another machine via TCP/IP services such as rlogin, telnet, or in a secure way with ssh. GNU/Linux provides servers for all these protocols. In the case of running graphics applications, we have remote solutions through X Window, any UNIX, Linux or Windows client (or others) with an X Window client can visualise the running of the environment and its applications. At the same time, there are other solutions such as VNC for the same problem. Regarding the issue of web-run applications, GNU/Linux has the Apache server, and any of the multiple web running systems are available, whether Servlets (with Tomcat), JSP, Perl, PHP, xml, webservices etc., as well as web application servers such as BEA Weblogic, IBM Websphere, JBoss (free) which are also run on GNU/Linux platforms.

  2. Files: files can be served in various ways, either through FTP access to the files, or by serving them in a transparent manner to UNIX and Linux machines with NFS, or by acting as client or server towards Windows machines through Samba.

  3. Database: it supports a large number of relational client/server type databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL and several commercial ones such as Oracle or IBM DB2, among others.

  4. Printing: it can serve local or remote printers, for both UNIX systems with TCP/IP protocols and Windows through Samba/CIFS.

  5. E-mail: it offers services for clients to obtain mail on their machines (POP3 or IMAP servers), as mail transfer agents (MTA) to recover and retransmit mail, such as the Sendmail server (UNIX standard) or others like Exim and, in the case of outward sending, the SMTP service for outgoing mail.

  6. Web: we have the http Apache server, whether in its 1.3.x versions or the new 2.0.x. or 2.2.x. versions Also, we can integrate web application servers, such as Tomcat for servlets, JSP...

  7. Network information: services such as NIS, NIS+ or LDAP allow us to centralise the information from the machines, users, and various resources on our network, facilitating administration and service to users, in such a way that the latter do not depend on their situation in the network. Or if our organisation has a certain internal structure, these services will allow us to model it allowing access to the resources to whoever needs it.

  8. Names services: services such as DNS for machine names and their translation from or to IP, by means of the Bind server for example (the standard UNIX DNS).

  9. Remote access services: whether to run applications or to obtain remote information on the machines. The servers could be the ones we have mentioned for the applications: X Window, VNC etc., and also those that allow some remote commands to be run without interactivity such as rexec, rsh, ssh etc.

  10. Name generation services: services such as DHCP allow TCP/IP networks, to dynamically (or statically) generate the available IP addresses according to the machines that need it.

  11. Internet access services: in certain situations there may be a single output to Internet (or several). These points tend to act as proxy, since they have access and they redirect it to potential Internet accesses on behalf of clients. They also tend to act as content cache. In GNU/Linux we can have Squid for example. In this category, a gateway or router could also come into action in a GNU/Linux system, whether to direct packages to other networks or to find alternative resending routes. Also, in the case of small installations such as domestic ones, we could include the Internet access by modem through the PPP services.

  12. Filtering services: one of the most commonly used security measures at present is firewalls. They basically represent filtering techniques for incoming or outgoing packages, for the different protocols we are using, to put up barriers against unwanted ones. In GNU/Linux, we have mechanisms such as ipchains and iptables (more modern) for implementing firewalls.