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This chapter presents the second case study in Part Four, which is a development workstation. In real life, I'm a computer scientist and software engineer, and this case study is based on the system I built to meet those needs.
Once you've read this chapter, you'll know how to duplicate that configuration. Just as important, you'll have a basis for tweaking it to customize it for your own network and needs. If you've also read the previous case study of a desktop system, then after also reading this chapter you'll have an appreciation for how simply tweaking a few details can produce a very different system.
The first step to building any system is to understand the details. This section describes the goals and requirements that drove the development of the development workstation configuration presented in this case study. You should read this section and then compare it to your own needs and goals.
This example is aimed at software developers, but a lot of it is more generally applicable. Chapter 14 detailed a configuration that is useful for simple, everyday desktop use; that configuration might work fine in some corporate environments, but typically such environments are a lot more complex than your average home desktop. So, even if all you need is a desktop configuration at work, you may need much of the information presented in this chapter, especially the material in the sections "Network and Management Tools", "Corporate Interoperation", and "Security Issues". If you actually are a software developer, of course, you'll need all the content in this chapter.
The system presented in this case study is used for development for a variety of purposes in several languages. For example, this same configuration with surprisingly minor changes has been used to develop Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) applications, as well as hard real-time control software for electrical distribution equipment. This chapter, however, focuses only on the first case, since it's actually the more complex case in terms of system configuration. Many of the elements in this chapter set up the environment for developing software.
However, as much if not more of the content in this chapter focuses on configuring the system to work correctly with a corporate network. Such networks usually have an extensive authentication and file distribution mechanism (such as NIS+ and NFS, as discussed in this chapter), and so the workstation obviously has to live peacefully with these services. Additionally, the realities of modern business dictate additional functionality that the system needs to support, such as the ability to work with office documents, use standard company software that may only exist for other operating systems, and so on.
These dual (and sometimes competing) goals are what you'll find in this case study. What you won't find is extensive detail on how to install a lot of the software in this section; this chapter assumes you've already read Chapters 7 through 13 and refers to them extensively. Additionally, this case study is largely a superset of the desktop case study, so it may help to read Chapter 14 as well.
As with Chapter 14, this chapter starts out with the basics. In the next section, you'll read about how to start with a stock Red Hat Linux 7.3 system and use it to reconstruct this case study.
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