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Linux / Unix Computer Requirements

If you choose to install one of these operating systems, you should be aware of the risks and benefits.

Important Considerations

  • Beyond the information on this page, ResNet only offers limited support for these systems.
  • Hacking into multi-user operating systems is common and may result in your computer violating our acceptable use policy. You will be held responsible if this occurs, even if you had no knowledge of the hack.
  • Because it will not be accessible from off-campus locations, hosting a web page or other service on your computer will not be possible.
  • You are responsible for not violating the acceptable use policy if you provide services on your computer.

Minimum Hardware Requirements

There are no minimum hardware requirements for running Linux / Unix. If you can get it to run, congratulations!

Minimum Software Requirements

You must ensure that the operating system and all software is kept up to date. Security updates come out for most Linux distributions daily. It is your responsibility to stay on top of these updates to ensure conformance with the acceptable use policy and, more importantly, to keep your machine from getting broken into.

Some of the most common pitfalls of Linux machines are configurations that have been overlooked. A few things to watch out for are:

  • SMTP server running on port 25 (ex. Postfix, Exim, Sendmail)
  • SSH allowing version 1 connections (only version 2 should be allowed)
  • FTP (port 21) or Telnet (port 23) services running

Additionally, you must run a firewall (such as iptables) to prevent unwanted connections.

Linux Recommendations

Linux is available in many different "flavors" known as "distributions". A few of the most popular ones are:

Ubuntu Linux
Ubuntu has been hailed by Desktop Linux and eWeek as the most popular Linux distribution today. It is the easiest to install and use for first-time Linux users, but versatile enough for pro-users as well. Recommended for beginner to advanced Linux users.

Gentoo Linux
The most hardcore Linux distribution around, Gentoo throws you head first into Linux knowledge by having you build your system from the ground up. Recommended for intermediate to advanced Linux users that want to learn a lot and run a very customized operating system.

Debian Linux
One of the longest running distributions, Debian is still under active development, but the install process remains difficult. It tends to be used for servers, rather than desktops.

SUSE Enterprise Linux
The commercial version of Linux from Novell. You have to pay for it, but unlike many others it comes with support.

The open source (and free) version of SUSE from Novell.

Mandriva Linux
Another commercial Linux distribution that comes with support. Recommended for Linux beginners.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux
The commercial version of Linux from Red Hat. You have to pay for it, but it comes with support.

Fedora Core
The open source (and free) version of Linux from Red Hat.

Unix Recommendations

The most common Unix variant (aside from Linux) is BSD, developed at UC Berkeley. The most popular open source distributions of BSD are:

Telephone: (858) 534-2267
E-mail: resnet@ucsd.edu
Location: Applied Physics and Mathematics 1313

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