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RFC: debian-lanserver Custom Debian Distribution (CDD)

Hi guys,

(Also posted to http://stabell.org/2006/03/26/debian-lanserver )

For many years I’ve been in companies that, sometimes thanks to my stubborness, were using Debian GNU/Linux as the general office server. As the number of services and the integration requirements (we don’t want 10 disjoint user databases) of these services have grown, this has become quite painful; Debian provides little help with such integration. Here is a list of sample requirements:

* Firewall with NAT
* DHCP server connected to DNS server
* Windows file sharing (Samba)
* Apple file sharing (Netatalk)
* Linux file sharing
* SMTP server with authentication, spam and virus checking
* IMAP server
* VPN server
* Intranet services such as Wiki and Issue tracking
* Shared accounts across Linux machines
* Shared calendaring and mail folders a la Exchange (if feasible)

All of these services should be operating from one common user database, pre-configured to work together, and continue to work flawlessly as Debian packages are updated. It should fit the requirements of small and medium-sized enterprises/ businesses (SME/ SMB) as much as possible.

A couple of years ago, I became aware of the e-smith server [1][2] (aka Mitel SME Server) that does a great job at the above, but it is a derived Red Hat 7.3 distribution, old and relatively useless by now. Looking around I could find one other request [3] for a SME server equivalent for Debian, but Alex Polite had not gotten any replies when I asked him.

Assuming there is no project underway to make it such a LAN server, I would like to start gathering requirements for such a server, to be implemented as a Custom Debian Distribution (a meta package), allowing anyone with a stock Debian distribution to be able to easily configure all the above services, while still enjoying the ease-of- upgrading and wide base of packages available for Debian.

If you’ve got requirements, general thoughts, information, or want to participate, please reply.

Bjorn Stabell

[1] http://www.e-smith.com/
[2] http://contribs.org/
[3] http://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2004/10/msg00055.html

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