Boston University Linux is based on Fedora Core Linux, but specifically tailored for the BU environment.
We've added security updates, made modifications to make software work better with the way things are set up here, and added some applications that we think you might like to have.
The server edition of BU Linux provides a modern, stable, and robust server platform suitable for long-term deployment in many roles throughout the university.
Currently, only i686-class machines are supported. This includes almost everything from Intel's Pentium Pro on. AMD64 and Intel EM64T systems will work fine using their 32-bit mode. Watch for a 64-bit version later this summer.
Specific Notes on Server Applications
BU Linux 4.5 Server Edition (Zodiac) includes three different choices of Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) for your mail server. Each of these open source servers has its unique strengths, and you can install one or more and use the utility system-switch-mail to choose which is active.
The default is IBM's Postfix, which is designed from scratch to be secure and easily configurable. On a newly-installed BU Linux machine, Postfix is configured to exchange mail on the local machine and to send mail out to other systems, but not receive mail from the network. For this reason, outgoing mail from global BU accounts (those matching valid BU login names and with the proper UID) will appear to come from @bu.edu rather than @hostname.bu.edu. Local users (including system accounts) will retain the hostname, but without reconfiguration, any replies will bounce. Changing the system to accept mail is easy; see the BU Linux web site for details.
For the maximum flexibility and for compatibility with existing configurations (and with existing expertise), we also include the traditional standard Sendmail. And, if you have particular special needs, you may find that the new Exim MTA fits your situation best.
No matter which MTA you choose, please contact us if you need any assistance. With so many options available, the situation can be confusing, and it's unfortunately easy for an accidentally misconfigured system to become a target for spam relayers. We have significant expertise at configuring both Postfix and Sendmail in a variety of situations, and will be glad to help.
This release of BU Linux provides two options for FTP. The first is vsftpd, which is designed to be simple and secure. This is the most appropriate for almost all situations, but if you require more power and flexibility, we also include ProFTPd, which has many more options and a configuration syntax similar to that of the Apache web server.
Please also remember that FTP is an insecure protocol and that any passwords used travel over the network in plain text. For this reason, it's best to avoid anything but anonymous FTP. For user-authenticated file transfer, use SSH and SFTP. (SFTP is provided by the OpenSSH server and enabled by default.)
The web server software included in BU Linux is the industry-standard Apache httpd. We also include PHP 4.3 and many other useful tools for building a web server.
If you need to provide authenticated access to web services to BU users, please contact us and we will provide you with our University-standard Weblogin module. This provides a powerful and flexible means of single-signon access control for the BU user community and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to provide this for your users.
BU Linux includes MySQL 4.1 and PostgreSQL 7.4. For less demanding SQL applications, we also provide SQLite 3, which provides simple SQL databases without the management overhead of running a SQL server.