[thelist] unix system for development environment

Burhan Khalid thelist at meidomus.com
Sun Oct 12 03:14:41 CDT 2003

Roger Harness wrote:

> I'd really like to set up some form of a UNIX server, mainly just for
> developing/testing PHP/MySQL, PERL, and system administration and Apache
> stuff. Just sorta practice. And I'd like the power trip that would hopefully
> come along with it.
> Trouble is, I don't seem bright enough to set up *nix on my win98 system, so
> i'd like to set it up on another computer, and hopefully even be able to
> telnet/putty into it, just like i'd do in real life.

I would suggest you get a cheap computer (atleast 128 megs of RAM), and 
load gentoo on it. The install process is not simple, but very well 
documented. Once you have that installed, you can choose to install only 
the components that you need. This is what I have done for an old 
computer (Pentium Pro 190 / 96 Meg RAM / 5 gig hdd) at my house.

The problem with most distributions is that they come with so much junk 
that you (well me personally) don't need. Especially if this is going to 
be just a development server.  The thing I like about gentoo[1] is that 
it has a very elegant installing system (portage based). It will 
download the source, compile and configure the package for your 
particular setup, will even setup the configuration files for you.  Once 
you have your server setup, enable php/ssh/apache/mysql on it, and then 
just use putty to do any work on it. I am currently installing cvs so I 
have something to practice my cvs skills on.  I just leave it on and 
sitting in the corner happily humming away.

> And recently, I've seen that Wal-mart is selling the cheap-o systems with
> 'Lindows' pre-installed for like around $200! Assuming this is a version of
> Linux, do you think it might be possible to convert one into my practice
> center?

I haven't tried Lindows personally, but from what I can see on its 
website, its more of a desktop than a server distribution. I would 
recommend against trying to tweak it into a server (although it can be 

If you want more information about gentoo, how to install it, etc. just 
email me offlist and I'll be happy to help you out. There are also 
plenty of other helpful people that are active in #gentoo on freenode.

Burhan Khalid

[1] http://www.gentoo.org

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