Centos 6 Linux Server Cookbook

Centos 6 Linux Server Cookbook

The Centos 6 Linux Server Cookbook is a guide to the running of Centos in both Server and Desktop mode aimed at beginners and intermediate users of Linux.

It is written by Jonathon Hobson and made available through Packt Publishing.

The eleven chapters cover the main aspects of running the Centos 6 server including Installation and Configuration, Yum packages, Security, Samba, Bind, Databases, Mail, Apache Web Server and FTP services.
These are described in enough detail for the new or intermediate user to understand without being overwhelmingly complex and the book is more than enough to get even the most trepidatory user up and running with a considerable degree of fluidity.

I was surprised upon reading the first few paragraphs of this book, as the first recipe described the downloading of Centos 6 on to a Windows Desktop and running a MD5sum check. It struck me, however, that many users reading the book will be considering swapping out their archaic old Windows kit for some nice new Centos software magic, so it does in fact make perfect sense.

The book is delivered as a series of bite sized chunks, each focusing on performing a specific task, and given the term recipes.

The opening chapter takes you through a variety of installation methods including a graphical method, a minimal method, a text based method and the adding of the Gnome Desktop to the installation though not my preference, the minimal Fluxbox, Thunar, Rxvt trio. A guide to re-installing the boot loader is also a welcome inclusion at this point, in the event of corrupted boot files occurring.

The following two chapters cover configuration and working with the installation, including guides to Mailx, NTP, Static IPs, Cron, IPv6, SELinux and Mutt amongst others.

The Yum tool and Security aspects are covered next, updating, cleaning, automating yum updates with yum-cron, finding, installing and removing packages & yum priorities are all there.

Security wise we are taken through the use of sudo,
hardening the shell environment, IPTables, SSH & fail2ban, DenyHosts and ClamAV, the latter will be useful to people migrating from a Windows environment and who have become attached to their antivirus programs.

So having set up the nuts and bolts of the Linux system and secured it, we are ready to move on to slightly more advanced topics, which commence with the Samba file share program.

We learn quickly how to configure Samba as a standalone server and enable home directories, hide files & folders, add delete and disable a user, create a custom share folder and provide a network recycle bin.

Then there is Bind, the domain tool, we are taken through building a caching-only nameserver, writing zone files and adding zones, deploying a local server with dnsmasq, logging, wildcards and hardening with chroot.

Next up is the MySql Database, although NoSql is now heavily used there are many applications suited to MySQL and Postgresql and the basics of installing these are covered in this section along with Host Based Authentication for Postgresql.

Mail services with MTA, SMTP, Postfix, Dovecot, SASL is next with variety of setups taken a look at, including building a local POP3/SMTP server and Using Postfix and Dovecot to serve e-mails across virtual domains.

The penultimate chapter is working with Apache (or HTTPD) Web Server and covers
installing the Apache web server with CGI/Perl, PHP, configuring mod_perl, and
preparing httpd for a production environment, adding a secure connection to the Apache web server by creating a self-signed SSL certificate using OpenSSL, Hosting peers by enabling user directories on the Apache web server and troubleshooting suexec. We also learn Configuring Apache name-based virtual hosting, Working with publishing directories, vhosts.d, error documents, directives, and the rewrite rule for virtual hosting.

Finally, we get to working with FTP, Building a basic FTP service by installing and configuring VSFTP, Providing a secure connection to VSFTP with SSL/TLS using 
OpenSSL encryption, Implementing virtual users and directories in standalone mode on VSFTP, Providing an anonymous upload and download or download only FTP server with VSFTP

So a decent selection of tasks to get your teeth into, all described in a highly readable and easily digestible manner. The Centos 6 Linux Server Cookbook delivers quick answers to common problems in anodyne fashion.

So head over to Packt Publishing and grab your copy.

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