want to get rid of NT4.0 and use linux as server platform...issues!

Oskar Teran
Frequent Advisor

want to get rid of NT4.0 and use linux as server platform...issues!

hello people,
I have a few issues coming up. The network here uses NT 4.0 for the servers. It has been installed for a few years and not well maintained. As usual, the OS's are corrupt due to not being maintained and just due to being NT 4.0.
I'm pondering installed linux on those servers instead...we also have one main HP-UX box in here as would be great to tie in all of them.
So, NT uses WINS......correct me if I'm wrong but can't you use DNS bind to replace this?? Or some sort of DNS implementation?? I've tried to find the docs. on this but can't find a good explanation for it...I just recall reading an article somewhere.
Next.....DHCP. Linux can do this.....I just have to transfer over the static mappings for the switches, routers...etc.
Next.....PDC (primary domain controller). The worst NT box is the PDC. Can I make a linux box imitate that or should I install an NT PDC and do the rest as linux BDC's (backup domain controllers).
We also have several remote users logging in as well so the dial-up has to work too.....though mostly just for email....which is an exchange 5.5 server.

If anyone has any good sites or documentation on migrating an NT shop to a linux shop....that would be ideal....if not......great advice is always welcome!! :)

thank you,
Stefan Schulz
Honored Contributor

Re: want to get rid of NT4.0 and use linux as server platform...issues!

This are a log of questions. Although i can't answer most of them directly you will find a lot of answers in the following book.

This is a book which is released under the GPL. You can download it as html or pdf files. (Of course you can also buy it)

Samba can simulate a NT Domain, this is afaik described in this book.

Windows can use DHCP and DNS. If you set up the necessary Servers you can point Windows to them. No porblem.

Setting up an Mailserver with dial-in and perhaps Webinterface is something i haven't done til now. Think this is also possible but needs some reading. Sorry can't help you with this.

Anyway, hope this will help you.

Regards Stefan
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Stephen Bouzan
Frequent Advisor

Re: want to get rid of NT4.0 and use linux as server platform...issues!

First of all a properly configured NT server will run forever and do it well. I would fix the NT Server and keep in place. Are you have stability/uptime problems with the NT box or are the disk partitions not ideal to suit your needs? In any case spend the time and fix the problems you are having. Clean up users accounts, group permissions, fix registry problems, remove unwanted services, etc. (check you event log). If the server is totally shot then backup your data and rebuild (good time to migrate to Win 2000).

Now, build a test Linux server and add it to the Domain as a file server using Samba, DNS, Mail, etc. Remember, Linux is not a commercial product and getting things to work correctly can be a duanting task. NT has better support and more resources availible.

DNS resolves host names to ip addresses.
WINS resolves netbios names to ip addresses. Make sure you understand the difference.

You should have a DNS server on you network. I would run it on Linux to get you familiar with it.

Hope this helps and good luck...

False sense of well being.
David Figgins
New Member

Re: want to get rid of NT4.0 and use linux as server platform...issues!

Check the how-to's and faq's :

there are two classes of how-to documents,
the regular and mini, so you will want to
check them both for topics.

> Samba (NT file shares and PDC)
> BIND and DHCP (There has been a recent security service release on BIND make sure you have security patch)
> check out tftp for those routers.
> ppp, pptp for those dial-ins/internet

I don't believe there is no drop-in replacement for exchange/outlook.

For email, sendmail and a pop3/mapi service
will allow for outlook to retrieve mail, but
you have lost the ability to share addresses, and calendars.

you will have to ask around about the calendar
sharing. there may be a web page server (like yahoo) or another service. The only other possiblity that I am aware of is a "netscape server" solution....

best of luck,

Tony Watts

Re: want to get rid of NT4.0 and use linux as server platform...issues!

First I would like to mention that, NT is an excellant server, ours have been ru nning great since we put them in, we havent done much of anything to them except for mem and hd upgrades, we have 4 of them, and 6 novel servers, which we have oodles of probs with, my suggestion would be to clean up the NT box and create a linux box just for testing, and as for my expierience with linux, we tried but failed with a linux server, some of the programs we wanted to use were dos based and were vital to operations, and even with wine we couldnt get them to run, and we could barely get it to run other windows apps, and they ran poorly at that, I would recommend waiting for a few years until someone gets it right first, because with all my years, i still cant do it, and we had a team working for 4 months...hope this helped...Tony
Erik Williams
New Member

Re: want to get rid of NT4.0 and use linux as server platform...issues!

Although Linux is a great O\S, I would recommend that you keep your current NT domain structure. If you do want to remove your PDC altogether, you'll have to work in a p2p workgroup, which might not be the best situation according to the number of users you might have. From want I can put together, you best options would be to rebuild your PDC and BDC's with NT 4.0 (if you don't want to upgrade to win2k). You will also be able to keep your wins configurations this way. In reference to your dial-in connections for your Outlook users, I would keep NT here also. The MS implementation of PPTP is easy to administer and trouble shoot if you're coming from an NT background. For DNS, DHCP, and firewalling purposes, Linux is your baby. DNS and DHCP could probably reside on the same box. You will have to do a little research to incorporate your Linux machines with your NT network. I recommend "Linux Network Administrators Guide" and "DNS and BIND", both by O'Reilly. Hope that helps.

Warm regards,
Erik Williams, MCSE
Oskar Teran
Frequent Advisor

Re: want to get rid of NT4.0 and use linux as server platform...issues!

thanks a lot for the info. and sharing your experiences.
I did some more research and analysing of the servers and it turns out that two of those servers use old DOS based programs for invoicing and billing purposes in the accounting dept.
Those arent' supported in a linux platform! Due to this, I'll have to keep the NT 4.0.
FYI > I worked for several years in a lab. testing hardware and software for the office industry.....we ran a test of windows NT/2k against linux and unix....brutal benchmarking tests and load testing using all sorts of services (http, DNS, DHCP, throughput....). After only half of those tests, the NT/2k servers were half dead. The unix was the best, 2nd linux and a very distant third - win NT/2k. After that I was amazed at all the commercials from MS. It opened my eyes to the truth of advertising and that old saying " don't believe everything you hear".....basically DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE.
I'll give MS the credit that their stuff is easy to work with and set up.....but looks arent' everything now are they? At best a compromise between user friendly approach and rock solid stability would be great.....but for now it seems you can't get both. Its the same with other things as well as far as performance is concerned. Cars for instance.....great handling = firm to harsh ride. You can't get a nice, soft, big car, GMish ride and the handling of a have to compromise.

Sorry for the rant......just reflecting on the realities I have to deal with at work! :)

Have a great weekend everyone!!

George Laverick
Occasional Contributor

Re: want to get rid of NT4.0 and use linux as server platform...issues!


I have a similar situation to yours. We have an NT Server which is hosting a DOS/Win 3.1 Based application. I want to replace this with a Linux server. The results of the attempt may interest you. When the application was moved to Linux (shared via Samba), users running Win NT 4.0 were no longer able to run the app.; it would lock up in the opening screen. However, (this is the interesting part) it runs beautifully for any user who runs Windows 2000 Pro. If anyone has an idea why tis is, I would love to hear it.