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So Im a complete newb when it comes to enterprise level linux distros, and linux servers in general.

I know my way around Most Linux Desktops, but Im going to be setting up a small Linux Server that multiple people would be able to Terminal into (probably through SSH or Putty)

How would I go about doing this (storing the users/passwords and such)....And is there a good FREE distro to do this? I was looking at Ubuntu Server, I was gonna do Centos but im a little bit iffy as their latest release is taking a LONGGG time. (We use Red Hat Enterprise 5.3 at work....but obviously I can't afford that lol)

Thanks all.

edit: Also how do you make like "names" for the server, so instead of 164.25.252.35 (or w/e ip, i just made that one up)

it could be something like tron.dev.sauron.com or something.... (ya im a NUB)

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First of all, your users should not be using passwords to log in to SSH, and should be using keys+passphrases, unless you absolutely must use passwords for some reason. For general information on how to set up SSH, I would look into specific information for setting up SSH on whatever distribution you end up choosing (most of them will have a tutorial on their site), or just google for "How to set up SSH".

Ubuntu Server is an excellent server distribution (which powers extremely high-traffic servers, such as those that Wikipedia runs on) and has packages for everything you'd need to do this (openssh-server, etc.) They also have very regular releases, so if you're worried about slow release cycles, this will not be a problem.

As far as how names like tron.dev.sauron.com get converted to IP addresses, this is known as domain name resolution. If you are trying to set up a remote server for people to log in to, you're going to need to register a domain name and either (a) run a DNS server yourself, or (b) use a DNS service that will route it to the proper IP. (See this for more info: http://www.boutell.com/newfaq/creating/domainathome.html). The latter is likely a much better option.

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But how exactly do you set up users/passwords and such so multiple people can log in? –  Mercfh Mar 22 '11 at 13:41
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