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TCP/IP Network Administration

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4.7 netconfig

During the installation of the Slackware 96 Linux operating system you are asked if you want to configure the network. If you answer "yes", netconfig begins. netconfig can be run by the superuser at any time from the shell prompt.

netconfig presents a series of screens that prompt for basic configuration information. The first two questions, hostname and domain name, are simple enough. However, the third question may cause some confusion. It asks if the system should be configured to use only the loopback interface. You may wonder why anyone would limit TCP/IP to the loopback interface. The reason is simple: the person wants to run TCP/IP but has no physical network. Students who are studying TCP/IP, perhaps on a home computer, sometimes use this so that they can work with TCP/IP without a physical network. Clearly, the users attached to your network should answer "no" to this question.

The remaining questions are straightforward. netconfig asks for the system's IP address, the IP address of the default gateway, and the subnet mask. It then asks if you will use a name server. If you answer "yes", it asks for the IP address of the name server.

That's it. It is easy to answer these questions using the planning sheet we developed above. But if you know what configuration questions your users will be asked and what order they will have to answer them, you can improve the planning sheet. Reorder the planning information to match the order of the questions and add answers for the yes/no questions so that the users do not get confused. Here is the peanut planning sheet redesigned for netconfig:

Enter hostname:

peanut

Enter domain name:

nuts.com

Do you plan to ONLY use loopback:

No

Enter IP address:

172.16.12.2

Enter gateway address:

172.16.12.1

Enter netmask:

255.255.255.0

Will you access a nameserver:

Yes

Name Server:

172.16.12.1

## This completes your network setup. ##
## Hold on to the remaining information for future reference.##

Broadcast address:

172.16.12.255

Mail server:

172.16.12.1

Mail relay:

172.16.12.1

Print server:

172.16.12.3

NFS server:

172.16.1.2


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