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Old 03-24-2020, 02:01 PM   #1
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So I've dabbled a little bit with it before, but now actually have a use for it. I'd like to take a simple Linux install on a VM and put CrushFTP on it. The install looks pretty straightforward and only dependent on Java:

https://www.crushftp.com/crush9wiki/...inux%20Install

So I'm just wondering what Distro would be the easiest for a non-Linux-er to tackle. Command line seems like it is the way to go to keep it basic.

I will need to have it work with a Windows domain, as local users access it through a file share. So I'm not sure if I'll need to domain join it?

Updates are also a question...I'd rather manage it as little as possible. Do I need to worry much about keeping the OS up to date? Is that fairly easy? It will only be exposed to the internet through port 443.

Thanks!
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:55 PM   #2
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I've always had luck with Ubuntu. We have a few servers that need linux and we will install ubuntu.

I find that I'm always googling how to do stuff anyway because the amount of time I need to be on the server is usually few and far between, so I forget how I did something last time.
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Old 03-24-2020, 02:58 PM   #3
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Ya, that's where I figure I'll be at because once it is running, it is all manged through the web interface. So I don't want a Linux install I'm going to have to babysit, or that stops working a year in, and my lack of skills mean I have to fatz around with it for hours. I assume Ubuntu can be installed without a GUI?
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:01 PM   #4
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Yes. I don't think I've used GUI on any of our Ubuntu installs actually.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:18 PM   #5
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I prefer CentOS (or RedHat for corporate use) over Ubuntu but that's mostly because I'm more familiar with how the OS does stuff, either CentOS or Ubuntu would be fine.

For updates you should be able to setup a "cron job" to run security updates once a day (that'll vary depending on the OS but there should be tons of tutorials on how to do that on the Internet). I'm not actually sure what port the package managers use, I assume it's 443 but I'm not 100% positive on that.

I'm not sure I understand how it's interacting with users.. i.e. why it has an FTP server on it and how different users will be accessing it.

Is it FTP because you want people to access their home folders remotely over the Internet? And you want them to authenticate with their Active Directory accounts? If that's the case wouldn't a Windows server be easier?
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:29 PM   #6
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The FTP server is for external users to access data from us. I currently have it on a Windows server, so there is a shared folder access that internal users can dump the files into the appropriate folders, rather than using FTP software or the web interface. So ideally I could setup a share like that again.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buff View Post
Yes. I don't think I've used GUI on any of our Ubuntu installs actually.
Uh, so which one?


https://ubuntu.com/download
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
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The FTP server is for external users to access data from us. I currently have it on a Windows server, so there is a shared folder access that internal users can dump the files into the appropriate folders, rather than using FTP software or the web interface. So ideally I could setup a share like that again.
Is it solely boredom that's making you think of switching? What are your limitations on the windows box?
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:22 PM   #9
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Is it solely boredom that's making you think of switching? What are your limitations on the windows box?
It's Windows Server 2008R2 so it is EOL. I mostly want to avoid buying another MS license. Desktop Windows has a limited users you can share with, so I'd need a server OS. Which seems like overkill for this.
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Old 03-24-2020, 06:26 PM   #10
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My vote goes to CentOS. I feel it is a little more server friendly then ubuntu but my ubuntu experience is generally with older laptops and desktops. All of my servers, data transfer machines and high systems are CentOS usually in the 7.4 range.
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Old 03-24-2020, 07:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzz View Post
The FTP server is for external users to access data from us. I currently have it on a Windows server, so there is a shared folder access that internal users can dump the files into the appropriate folders, rather than using FTP software or the web interface. So ideally I could setup a share like that again.
There's got to be a service that would serve this need that wouldn't require you to maintain a server yourself for, but I can't think of anything specifically. Dropbox or something similar.

(How can you tell I try to find the laziest way to do something lol)

For what you describe (and I've never done this myself so this is all theoretical and maybe it's harder than I know) I'd setup a Samba share on an Ubuntu/CentOS box either with no limitations if there's no need to restrict access to only certain internal users or maybe a shared credential that gets cached on each workstation. AD integration can be done with Linux AFAIK and I assume with a Samba share as well but I have no idea how.

But a Samba share should make it easy for Windows clients to connect to the server internally.

For the external FTP same kind of thing.. if it's read only and a single read only account will do, a local account on the Linux box will suffice. If multiple accounts are needed then those can still be local to the Linux box, but then it maybe becomes a maintenance burden (depending on how often things change). And if you integrate with AD then there'd probably be a way to set FTP access via the AD accounts (maybe not with the built in server though) and you can maintain the external access via AD accounts too.

But I'd rather pay some service $20 a month to manage all that nonsense for me if I could
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Uh, so which one?


https://ubuntu.com/download
If I'm reading your posts correctly, you want server
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:59 PM   #13
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Oh, I won't be using Linux directly to run file sharing. CrushFTP is an ftp server software, with a web interface. It's really powerful, secure, and easy to use. I just need an OS to run it on. Making a VM and installing it shouldn't be that difficult.

I've even setup a bat script on it so all you have to do is type a user name, password (or random if you want) and expiry date. It creates the FTP account, and sends an email to the user automatically with how to access it. So any of my users can make client accounts and know nothing about FTP servers.

I really dislike Dropbox, and we feel better have direct control of client files on our server, in Canada.
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Old 03-24-2020, 09:30 PM   #14
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Makes sense, and yeah a web interface like that sounds great for your scenario!

Good point about control of data, there's been times I've avoid using services for that reason (medical data specifically).
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Old 03-25-2020, 04:39 AM   #15
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I've only really dabbled in Linux as well so take my comments with a grain of salt.

I've read that if you have an external access, you might want to keep separate boxes for your internal server and the one that is externally accessible. Otherwise, it could turn into a convoluted mess. This also avoids someone attacking your online side and somehow paralyzing even the internal server side.

I've dabbled with Ubuntu and Linux Mint before. Ubuntu looks more like Mac OS and Mint more like Windows, but this doesn't matter if you pop open terminal after the OS install to do everything you want (which IMO is cleaner and faster anyways). Mint is based on Ubuntu and Ubuntu is popular so it's easy to look things up and just apply it. I'm leaning towards the idea that you want a LTS (long term support) distro. Ubuntu 18 LTS is supported till 2023 for instance.

One of the problems I ran into trying to dabble in Linux is that once you install the unit to what you want, you just kinda leave it alone and not worry unlike a windows box. Updates were more likely to mess up your set up or offer no discernible benefit than help. The guy who helped me build my NAS deemed that updating Mint wasn't necessary unless somehow (unlikely) the set up suddenly partially stopped working such as a power failure and UPS failed to save the unit. He considered that with basic encryption and passwords, it would essentially be fine.

I also had a FreeNAS set up that I was tinkering with a buddy who works in IT and had a reasonable understanding of networking/security. But FreeNAS doesn't seem like it would work for your needs. This IT buddy also deemed that updates were not necessary (and would more likely break networking and functionality settings than help security wise) as long as encryption and passwords were robust. He said the weaknesses were at the end points in terms of access where the data was view able un-encrypted (when accessed) as opposed to the box and the OS itself. In both cases, we ran the boxes for 6+ months without updates and tinkering with no issue.

If you are going to insist on updates, I think there is a way to automate updates, but if you do, I'd suggest setting it only to specific types of security updates rather than all updates. I'm sure you can look up how to do it. But for whatever reason, most of the guys I spoke with felt that someone taking the time and effort to try and break into a linux box for a small insignificant company was exceptionally unlikely. This was a weird opinion to me and I am not sure if it's considered best business practices for your situation, but in theory I guess you could and there are businesses who have had these things running non stop for years with no updates with nothing happening. Again, I am unsure as to whether it is best practices to do this.
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:37 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Oh, I won't be using Linux directly to run file sharing. CrushFTP is an ftp server software, with a web interface. It's really powerful, secure, and easy to use. I just need an OS to run it on. Making a VM and installing it shouldn't be that difficult.

I've even setup a bat script on it so all you have to do is type a user name, password (or random if you want) and expiry date. It creates the FTP account, and sends an email to the user automatically with how to access it. So any of my users can make client accounts and know nothing about FTP servers.

I really dislike Dropbox, and we feel better have direct control of client files on our server, in Canada.

We use Citrix Sharefile for this, it has options for cloud storage and local storage that you setup yourself
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:46 AM   #17
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We use Citrix Sharefile for this, it has options for cloud storage and local storage that you setup yourself
We are pretty limited on budget these days. CrushFTP is like, $50 for as long as you want, and an upgrade to the new version is $30. It'd be tough sell to go from that to $50/month.
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