Coming back to Linux after 15 years; Network sharing & media main focus
Hello, I started out with Slackware Linux 7, when I ran a hobby ISP for a group of friends, family etc. Since I shut that down I've been using that infamous OS that is not a fruit. But it's new direction is not for me.
I have 8 desktops, 1 laptop, and a server.
Desktops are typically 16 - 32GB RAM (2133 or 2400mhz), I7 Ivy Bridge processors, EVGA GTX 570 or better video, 120gb SSD as boot drive, with 1 - 3 TB of spinner storage, 650 W PSU, ASRock Extreme 4 Mobo's, 24" or 27" dual monitors. All PCs have 5.1 sound systems, one from a Creative Fatality Extreme Gamer, the rest of the mobo.
I do an enormous amount of DVD/Blu-ray authoring/backups/conversions.
Typical applications on all desktops are VLC, Malwarebytes, Office 2010, DVD/BD authoring programs, Adobe products, Winrar and VMWare.
The server has 21TB of storage. All of the software, games, movies, basketball and TV shows are stored there, rather than risking my original disks. It runs a server OS (2008 R2), with an I7 processor, 550 Ti video, ASRock Professional Mobo with Dual NICs, It runs Internet monitoring software, IIS for our internal website, WSUS, a Database back end called Firebird, and manages the backups of the clients.
For now, I'm only going to start with the clients. The server I will leave until later unless I am forced to do it sooner as a dependency for the clients.
This is a home network, not a business.
We have 3 LED LCD TVs, 2 PS3s and 4 Blu-ray players all network enabled. We use the Blu-ray players to watch stuff from the server, as well as having a PC connected to each TV for that stuff that the BDP won't play, or for added flexibility when needed.
I'm looking at either uBuntu, or Mint. Don't know which is better suited to my needs. And don't know if I would use Cinnamon or Mate.
To get the ball rolling, could I respectfully ask for recommendations on what distro might best suit my needs.
I do expect that I will have to change packages for some (or most) stuff, but I will need to be able to at least read office files. I do an enormous amount of work in Excel and Word
Sorry this was long.
probably go with Mint mate edition, & you can install Cinnamon later on.
- it's just a partial download, to change to Cinnamon or XFCE or whatever.
you could also look at Zorin-os, which is a windows lookalike,
but still based off Ubuntu, like Mint is ..
even Kingsoft office, but that has a paid upgrade, if you run the free version.
- best to convert, just one PC, test that for your needs, work out what those are,
and apply those to your 2nd PC,
& as they say:- 'rinse & repeat'.
expect some issues to arise & deal with them,- there is always an answer.
Pretty advanced for a home setup that is for sure. I agree with the wow statement. You have the skills and hardware and software that is for sure. Going to be hard to convert all of that maybe.
Some adobe products are a bit tricky to get to work on linux. There are some tricks to get past some of the new issues. Performance of any windows/mac app on linux will not be a good as you may need or like. There are few linux alternatives to Adobe products. Few Mac only products will run well in linux too.
Not sure you can beat your setup with linux.
I might explore some sort of thin client or nx or iscsi sort of install or rdc to some server. There are a few linux distro's that tend to be geared toward media and they could be tried. Almost any big name distro could really do what another can. Not sure there is an edge to one over the other.
I think your best bet is to think about changing the server. The cost of the server OS and client is the big ticket. There is Open ldap and newer authentication and application delivery like 2X that might do.
I'm intrigued by when you say you have a website on your server, is this just to give quick access to the media stored on it? I had never considered this approach (I had also never had 21TBs of data).
As for the OS, do you mean that you want to switch all of your PCs, desktops and servers to Linux? As far as distro selection goes, it really depends on how familiar you are with Linux, you said you used Slackware back in version 7. I started using Slackware at version 13.37 and can't be happier with it, but if you want something user friendly, Mint or Debian might be good. I suppose a media-based OS could be good for your setup too. As jefro stated, you can do all of the same things with different Linux distros so it comes down to a matter of preference. I prefer Slackware because it is very minimal and forces me to learn more about the system I am using. Lots of people prefer Debian-based distros because they do more work for you out-of-the-box. However judging by your post I have no doubts in your level of expertise.
thanks for your replies.
@pierre2, @jefro: I have worked in I.T. most of my life, so this network has evolved over time.
@jefro. My decision to return to Linux is driven by two events (1). Windows 8 and M$'s appalling lack of attention to customer feedback and (2). M$'s decision to end Technet - and I relied heavily on technet resources, as well as access to the software.
I have no need to make my PC's look like windows. Compatibility for what we do is the main thing. So far it seems that Ubuntu has many of the packages that we already use. I will probably set up VMWare player for a Windows 7 VM for that stuff I can't get working well in Linux. I do a lot of complicated Excel stuff, and I'm yet to find another program that caters for my needs that is not Windows based.
The kids are into gaming, as well as needing applications for homework and social networking.
I am also an ex-programmer. I originally wrote web-based applications for community sporting organizations using cold fusion, but has since moved onto Perl. I have also used VB, and mainframe languages.
It seemed a waste to not utilize those skills. So I created my own internal website which we use for linking to various web resources, automation of various duties, such as M$'s WSUS to keep clients updated, some home automation tasks and so on.
My Linux skills would be Novice. Most experience would be with Sendmail, Apache and nntpcahe. GUIs on Linux back in the 90's were not all that prevalent - it was mostly command line stuff.
Initially I will convert the PCs we use for media functionality, after having set up a test system. Then I will test each of the applications/packages we use, and/or find alternatives. AThen possibly start converting the more important heavily used machines over. Eventually the server will also be converted.
My timeline is probably going to be around 2 years, given my existing commitments, and the desire to thoroughly test everything.
As I said, Ubuntu and Slackware so far seem to have the best support.
If anyone is interested, I've attached a layout of the network.
sorry to waffle on like that..
It seems to me like you have most of it figured out. The only thing I can think to say is that libre office should support all the things you need to do in excel. If not according to this
It is possible to get excel working with wine (Although there are some caveats). And lastly, as far as game compatibility goes, wine is pretty good, but not perfect. In some cases, your kids might get frustrated if they are not familiar with setting up a linux system for themselves. And I'm not sure how receptive you would be to fixing their every problem for them. Perhaps a dual-boot for the sake of game compatibility would be worth a try. Unless they are mostly console gamers, then the issue would not exist. Hope this helps.
Edit: Just saw your "GAMES-PC" in the pic you posted. I personally do not have a windows partition at all. This laptop came with Windows 8 and I quickly abandoned it for Slackware. So far I haven't come across a game I cannot play with wine. But DX10 mode won't work with wine yet. Just some things to keep in mind. Maybe a virtual machine could work, but that seems like it would take up a lot of resources.
Resources is not an issue. All the machines have SSDs and 2TB spinners (at least), in the kids case they also have a 500gb spinner. I'm not adverse to adding more resources if needed.
Although, dual booting seems to defeat the purpose. If we dual boot it would be windows 7, not 8, but I still have to maintain the licenses.Right now technet covered that, especially because M$ consider new motherboards as new PCs, requiring a new license.
I don't have a problem with assisting them in maintaining the PCs, but you are probably right, because they have never been exposed to linux, there might be a lot of work for me, and a lot of frustration for them.
Converting the single function PCs will hopefully give them time to get used to it, and over time, become less resistant to having it on their PCs.
I'm going to install ubuntu and slackware later today as VMs on my machine and take a quick look, make a decision and then move on to the test PC with all the apps to test.....
Unless anyone thinks these two distros might not be the best choice for my needs?
I think we want to be polite. Some may hate one distro over the other but it all depends on you. I'd at least peek at www.distrowatch.com for some choices. Server choices may be RedHat based like Centos/Scientific or OpenSuse. Workstations focus usually on modern, media and such.
I doubt that your limited skills in slackware will be a plus. I suspect you'd be able to move between distro's pretty easily. Distro's tend to be source based so Debian based tend to use same ideas and tools. Some of the newer distro's are finally using the BSD model for some of the device names. A bit odd to many linux users but common to unix and bsd users.
Sorry for the delay in responding. My son is turning 18 and have been busy with his celebrations.
thanks for all your help; I'll be back with some more questions soon :D
I do similar stuff - more graphics design and modelling than video - and that works for me. I can have a windows screen running in 2GB of RAM on a virtual screen, so I can run RhinoCad and Corelsuite.
All the data is on a linux machine - windows just sees that as a network share. Its very seamless.
I believe if you have enough RAM you can use a copy of windows to run the windows app full screen directly and have multiple 'windows' programs running apparently as pure Linux programs. But I never needed that.
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