Hardly a day goes by when Linux doesn't make the news. Judging by the buzz, you might think that Linux is poised for world dominationthe stated goal for Linux in a now-famous quip by its creator, Linus Torvalds. In truth, Linux still faces numerous challenges before it can dominate the computing world, much less the world at large. One of these challenges is the huge installed base of Microsoft Windows systems. As a practical matter, Linux must coexist with these systems. Indeed, the challenge of coexisting with Windows can be viewed as an opportunity: Linux can be integrated into a Windows network, providing a reliable and low-cost platform on which to run vital services for Windows systems, or even serving as a workstation on an otherwise Windows-dominated network.
This book is dedicated to describing this opportunity for Linux. If you're reading this Preface, chances are you work with a Windows-dominated network but know something about Linux and wonder how you can best use Linux to improve your Windows network. In broad strokes, you can replace Windows servers, supplement Windows servers with Linux servers, use Linux to implement new services you don't currently run, deploy Linux-based thin clients, or migrate some or all of your Windows desktop systems to Linux. This book provides guidance about how to accomplish these tasks, with an emphasis on Linux in the role of network server operating system (OS).
This book will help you reduce costs and improve reliability by describing how several common Linux programs and protocolsSamba, OpenLDAP, VNC, BIND, and so oncan be integrated into a Windows network. This book provides enough information to get any of these programs up and running, provided you've already got a working Linux system. Of course, a book of this size can't cover every detail; if you need to do very complex things, you'll need to consult other books or documentation. The relevant chapters provide pointers.