Introduction

Linux is the perfect choice for an operating system on which to build a network server. Much of the fame of Linux as a server system comes from its widespread use as a system on which Apache web servers are built. But the power and reliability of Linux does more than provide a stable platform for the world's most popular web server. Linux provides all of the most important network services in a single low-cost package.

Low cost, reliability, and power are propelling the continued growth of Linux as a server system. Linux has proven to be a cost-effective alternative to high-cost Unix servers. And it has proven itself to be more powerful and reliable than any proprietary desktop operating system trying to recast itself as a server operating system. Sales people might lust after the vast desktop market, but as professional system administrators, we know that the real technical action is with the server systems.

The tremendous range of network services provided by Linux means that it can be used for all of your network server needs. In this book, servers are categorized as "Internet servers" and "departmental servers." This somewhat arbitrary division is done to organize the discussion of the various services in a rational way. We define Internet services as those services that are often offered to the world at large or that are used to connect an organization to the worldwide Internet. The services that are covered in this category are:

• Domain Name System (DNS) services

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