Cobalt FAQ
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Cobalt FAQ

Here are the answers to many commonly asked questions about the  Cobalt server appliances..
 
General Question Index

Are Cobalt products Year 2000 compliant?

How do I upgrade the memory in the Qube?

Does the 2700 support virtual web hosting (hosting of multiple IP addresses), what about email?

Can the 2700 be used as a secure (SSL) web server? What about server authentication?

I'm not very familiar with Unix (or not at all familiar), and am concerned that I only know enough to be dangerous. Do I need to be a Unix guru to administer a Cobalt Product?

Is the OS, on the Qube, ROM-based or disk based?


What About security issues with Linux ? I'm not sure I want to put up a machine that will automatically issue a security risk to my customers?

What type of chip is in the Cobalt server appliance? Who is the manufacturer and what is the speed?

Can I connect a Cobalt server appliance to modem racks and become a dial-up ISP?

Are the Microsoft Frontpage98 server extensions available on Cobalt Products?

Why do you use port 81 for web access?

How do I enable Server Side Includes?


General Questions

Are Cobalt products Year 2000 compliant?

We believe all products shipped by Cobalt are Year 2000 Compliant.
We also believe that the underlying LINUX operating system is also Year 2000 compliant; however, as with all of Cobalt products, testing continues of both the products and the operating system after release to ensure the highest quality.

How do I upgrade the memory in the Qube?

The Cobalt Qube, CacheQube and RaQ use standard 72-pin 5 volt EDO 60ns non-parity SIMMs. The 2700WG and CacheQube support up to 64MB of memory using 2 32MB SIMMS, while the Cobalt RaQ supports up to 256MB of low-profile (up to 1.15") memory.
Note: Only qualified technicians should upgrade memory. Our warranty does not cover damage caused by improper memory installation.

Does the 2700 support virtual web hosting (hosting of multiple IP addresses), what about email?

The 2700WG & D are capable of virtual hosting but the functionality is not supported. You can configure either Qube through telnet, use this guide for help.

Virtual email is also possible but requires experience in configuring sendmail, our email software.

The Cobalt RaQ is designed to support virtual web hosting, email and ftp services out of the box.

Can the Cobalt products be used as a secure (SSL) web server? What about server authentication?

Yes. Cobalt will be offering a secure server as an add-on package in September. The software is licensed from RedHat and provides functionality similar to their Secure Web Server (see http://www.redhat.com ) but due to US government export restrictions, users outside the US will not have access to this software. Mintra do provide a SSL Plug in offering 128 bit encryption for users outside the US

I'm not very familiar with Unix (or not at all familiar), and am concerned that I only know enough to be dangerous. Do I need to be a Unix guru to administer a Cobalt Product

You don't have to know any Unix at all. The beauty of the Cobalt Qube is that you get Unix stability and functionality with a web interface. All the features and functionality of the Cobalt Qube are accessible from the administration web pages. The only way to break a Cobalt Qube is to telnet in and delete system configuration files or modify these files so as to make them non-operational. If you do decide to modify configuration files, save backups before you begin!

Is the OS ROM-based or disk based?

The OS is disk based. This allows for simple future system enhancements.

The Cobalt Qube has a terrific form factor. Does it use less power than a PC?

The 2700 is extremely power efficient. Power consumption is about 25 watts.

What About security issues with Linux ? I'm not sure I want to put up a machine that will automatically issue a security risk to my customers.

The Cobalt Qube Linux implementation is as secure as any commercial Unix implementation on the market today. Linux was developed with publicly reviewable source code, and as such, has been subjected to a tremendous amount of security testing. We feel our server appliances are at more secure and stable than Microsoft Windows NT.
(see
http://www.kirch.net/unix-nt.html )
There are of course fundamental security issues common to all Internet servers, and there are insecurities inherent in being connected to any network. Fortunately, the Linux developer community has been far more responsive to security events than most commercial vendors, including Microsoft.

When security events do happen, fixes appear rapidly, which means we can bring them to you very quickly as well. The current version of the Qube OS has a couple of design weaknesses: Plaintext passwords are transmitted over the network to gain authentication. This is common for Unix systems and can addressed by installing ssh, software that supports encrypted telnet sessions) You can only use these technologies if the client supports them, which is sometimes a problem with Windows95. Encrypted password files are accessible to users on the server appliance. Since we have to cater to systems with low levels of security (e.g. Windows95, NT) that don't support secure methods of authentication, we necessarily have to provide a method for those users to access our machines.

An individual with enough computing power and 'hacking' expertise could crack a password and gain access to the system. Such an individual, in order to crack the password, would also need direct access to the network that the Qube administrator uses to access the Qube. Once again, this feature is inherent to almost all Unix systems. There is significant development going on at Cobalt to address the complex security issues that are inherent in open network computing. We feel we have done an excellent job so far in balancing the need for security with the desire for a rich feature set.

What type of chip is in the Cobalt server appliance? Who is the manufacturer and what is the speed?

The 2700 Series (RaQ, Qube) use the 150Mhz superscalar RM5230 MIPS processor made by Quantum Effect Design.

Can I connect a Cobalt server appliance to modem racks and become a dial-up ISP?

While Cobalt server appliances excel in web, FTP and email hosting for IPPs (Internet Presence Providers) or ISPs, they are not designed to provide multi-line dialup connectivity. They are specifically designed for Ethernet connectivity. You can run PPP on the Cobalt RaQ, but that supports just a single phone line. Setup requires specialized software and Unix skills. We have not tested any multi-line serial devices or terminal servers on any of our products. A server appliance can be used as an authentication device for a terminal server, but we have no plans to develop this application.

Are the Microsoft Frontpage98 server extensions available on Cobalt Products?

Yes! You can download the extensions from the support / software section of the Cobalt  website. Some basic documentation is in the docs section.

Why do you use port 81 for web access?

Cobalt runs the administrative server on port 81 and all public servers on port 80. If you have a firewall and want to be able to manage a Cobalt server appliance from outside the firewall, you will have to enable access for that port.

How do I enable Server Side Includes (Qube,RaQ)

For security reasons, we do not enable SSI by default. To enable SSI on your RaQ and have .shtml extension available for your main directory, you will need to telnet to your Qube or RaQ and login as root using the admin password.

1. Edit the /etc/httpd/conf/srm.conf file and un-comment(by removing the #) the following line:
#AddHandler server-parsed .shtml

2. Edit the /etc/httpd/conf/access.conf

Under the directory heading for your directory , add Options Includes. This example will enable SSI for your home directory:

<Directory /home/httpd/html/groups/home>
Options Indexes ExecCGI Includes
</Directory>

3. To enable .shtml mapping for the default page, edit
/etc/httpd/conf/srm.conf
Add index.shtml and home.shtml at the end of this line:

DirectoryIndex index.html index.htm home.html home.htm
index.shtml home.shtml

4. Now you will need to restart your Web server for the changes to take effect you can do this by typing: kill -1 `cat /var/run/httpd.pid`

**NOTE: the ` encasing the cat command is the tick on the ~(tilde)
key, not a quotation mark.

 
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