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Linux server setup on school network


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The computers at my school are completely locked down, with Deep Freeze and everything. I've been trying to get a programming/electronics/computers in general club. We've got it started, but with Deep Freeze, students can't save their work to the computer, we have to reinstall MinGW every time, and it's just a pain. My IT teacher allowed me to setup a Linux box where I can make each student their own login so we can just SSH into the server to do our programming lessons. This will also help them because none of them have ever used or even seen a real Linux machine.

The thing is, I'm not sure how to go about setting up the networking because it has to be hooked up to the school network. Static IPs could mess up the school DHCP, couldn't it? Because the server might give out the same address, or the address might be already given out when the server is powered on. Is there a way I can have the server ping an address, if unsuccessful, set that IP as its own, and if successful, try another IP, etc? Thinking about it now, this would be possible with a bash script ran at startup, right? Is there a better or easier way of doing something like this? I'm also thinking a VPN might help, but I hardly know anything about VPNs and how they work.

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I'll talk to the Network Admin, but my IT teacher told me that they freak out whenever a system they setup is even connected to the network. The Admin knows what the plans were for the machine, but I don't know what he'll say about a DHCP reservation. I'll talk to him though.

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Basically its a way of creating a DHCP address that is only assigned to that particular machine. Nothing untoward and any admin should be ok with this. You can also just rely on DNS and let the IP change, if its on 24/7 it will only change every now and again.

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once a DNS reserves an IP via DHCP, the DHCP server wont allocated the address again untill the DNS reservation has been released from the A Name and C name records so you should be OK with running the box via DHCP but to be on the safe side check with your netadmin and get his blessing before proceeding just so he doesn't come in a bitch at your world

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I sent him an email regarding the situation. I was told that the DHCP of the wing of the school in which the computer is located maintains the reservations for a day, but it won't always be on, and it will also be headless, so finding out the IP won't be so easy each time I turn it on. He also gave me a high address that he said, after looking over his logs, doesn't look like it's ever used that he said I could set as the static IP, so that's what I did. I think I'll look into the DHCP/DNS solution though, because that would also give me a better understanding of how it all works.

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I think your best bet is to use the static address he provide you.

I will for now, but it won't hurt to look more into DHCP, DNS, and the overall configuration of such a network (I'm assuming it will be similar to a small-medium business setup?). I'm in pretty good with the Admin, and I even talked to the district wide Admin (told him how I got into the computers, how I got the passwords, how easy/simple it is to get around Deep Freeze, and, of course, recommended solutions to the vulnerabilities.), so I could probably get permission to do a lot of stuff with very little effort, so I won't go trying/doing things without talking to the Admin first.

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I sent him an email regarding the situation. I was told that the DHCP of the wing of the school in which the computer is located maintains the reservations for a day, but it won't always be on, and it will also be headless, so finding out the IP won't be so easy each time I turn it on. He also gave me a high address that he said, after looking over his logs, doesn't look like it's ever used that he said I could set as the static IP, so that's what I did. I think I'll look into the DHCP/DNS solution though, because that would also give me a better understanding of how it all works.

Is there no way he can set a permanent reservation up for you? Its really not that hard if you can provide the MAC address. Is it a MS shop?

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I have no clue how hard it is to setup a permanent reservation, I'm just gonna take what he gave me and run with it. With the static IP, I think I'll be good for now. Like I said, I'll learn more about networking and see what I can do with that, if anything. And, MS shop? Not to sure I know that you mean, unless you're asking if it's mainly Microsoft machines? I think we've got about an even number of XP machines and OS X machines.

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LOL, Netware is an OS in its own right, has nothing to do with Linux. Was very popular before NT4 and Active Directory became mainstream. Due to piss-poor budgets its used in a lot of educational places as they were one of the few places that had enough computers to need something like AD before there was AD and never had the cash to replace it. And I fucking hate it, god awful thing to work with.

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  • 2 weeks later...
My honest opinion? The network admin should be more helpful for you being it a computer club. He must be really paranoid :P Course I guess I would be too.

The last thing you want on a network is a load of machines setup by teenagers with no supervision, considering that if it does all go tits-up you will be in front of the school board having to explain the situation.

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