Many Linux systems run servers—programs that respond to network requests for data transfers. (The word server can also refer to a computer that exists mainly to run server programs.) Even if a computer isn't primarily a server system, it can run a server or two as a secondary role, or it can run a server in support of another function. For instance, Linux prints using software that is technically a server, but it can be configured to work only locally rather than over the network. The remaining chapters of this book are devoted to servers, and they describe several common Linux servers, including web servers, file servers, e-mail servers, remote access servers, and miscellaneous servers. This chapter begins the server coverage with a look at a very fundamental issue: configuring your system to run servers. Three methods of doing this are common: SysV startup scripts, super servers, and local startup scripts. Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages, and understanding how and when to use each method is a prerequisite for effective server configuration.

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