seeking tips for setting up a home office...

Nigel Henry cave.dnb at
Wed Jan 18 19:50:08 GMT 2006

On Wednesday 18 January 2006 19:29, kitts wrote:
> Hi,
Hi Kitts. I'll have a go at 2 & 3.
> In a few months time i might be attempting to set up a lil office, a home
> office with about 10 people to begin, and was trying to gather the stuff
> that it would call for.
> This is probably not the right list to ask but then again it might be as i
> am looking at KDE on every system. And then again there sure will be a lot
> of people here experienced in this stuff who may be able to suggest.
> I am thinking "What are all the stuff i will require to set up the network
> stuff?". Obviously, i am looking at a linux solution and could have a
> server. The following are the topics i can think of for now...
> 1) Groupware server and clients. Maybe Kolab and Kontact? I have much left
> to understand here. I need some spam filter / antivirus for the groupmail.
> Would the server receive all mail to the domain and then serve each
> computer or simply route each computers mail request to some other email
> server on the web. If both were possible which is better. Clearly, i lack
> info.
> 2) Internet sharing and firewall. Protection as required.
I use Smoothwall Express2, soon to be upgraded to Express3 (just in Alpha at 
the moment). This can be installed on an old machine. I use it on a 100Mhz, 
32MB RAM, I Ghz harddrive machine, but would suggest something perhaps a bit 
faster, with perhaps 128 to 256 MB RAM, and a bigger harddrive. It is secure, 
and handles NAT (Internet sharing). You can also setup a DMZ (demiliterized 
zone) where you can keep your Internet accessable webserver, ftpserver, 
mailserver, etc, keeping them separate from your LAN. Connection to the 
Internet is either by serial modem (not much use if your running a 
webserver), or ethernet connection to an ADSL router/modem. I believe USB 
router/modems are a problem with Linux. Also, and perhaps I'm a bit paranoid, 
but I also have Guarddog, a GUI for IPtables packet filtering firewall on all 
my client machines. This enables you to also block selectively, outgoing 
ports. Of course, most router/modems have built in firewalls, but make sure 
you get one that has connection to your ethernet connection, rather than USB. 
Again I'm not sure of the connections. You probably just need to connect it 
to the uplink on your ethernet switch.
> 3) Connecting to the local network from outside over the internet and
> acessing it like it were local.
The Smoothwall will also handle port forwarding so that your client machines 
can also be accessed from the Internet. Obviously your ISP will have to have 
provided you with a static IP address for this to work. Otherwise you will 
have to subscribe to someone like no-ip, if you only have a dynamic IP 
address from your ISP.
Some links:        (Guarddog)
There are other hardware firewalls, IPcop for instance, and Firestarter 
(available from Sourceforge) is comparable to Guarddog. There are also many 
others, apart from no-ip offering web redirection. Nigel.
> 4) Intranet chat. Does Kopete support some protocol that works over the
> intranet so it does not hog on internet bandwidth? Maybe some protocol that
> supports voice and maybe video too. Something like Skype? Or is there
> another program more appropriate?
> I am looking for suggestions / advice from those of you experienced in this
> or possessing the knowledge. Are there some other issues i should be
> looking at? What are the kind of resources i will need? Do i have to have a
> 'static IP' internet connection? etc...
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