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Old 01-19-2008, 06:19 AM   #1
Edstorm
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How about using a server as a desktop?


Just wondering..

I have a server that I managed to get from a company that ditched it. "Dual core" in the sense that it has two physical processors. 500mhz each. Like other servers, it has the ability to easily unmount hard disks..

But I don't see a need for a server at home, so i was wondering if it is possible to actually use a server as if it was a desktop? And if so, do i use server edition linuxes or desktop version linuxes?
 
Old 01-19-2008, 06:50 AM   #2
bigrigdriver
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Hook up a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and Ethernet NIC and run with it. Being a server, you have room to add a few hard drives if you need them.

It won't be blazing fast, but if you check with the vendor, you may be able to upgrade the two CPUs to something faster.
 
Old 01-19-2008, 07:54 AM   #3
makyo
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Hi.

There are some considerations other than CPU speed:

1) Vendors often do not do anything to make servers quiet -- I had a SunFire server in my house once. I could not keep it anywhere in the living quarters because of the noise.

2) you might not have the best video capability, and you might not find it easy to get hardware to upgrade the capability. I have an older IBM Netfinity that has minimal on-board graphics, for example, and no provision for modern graphics cards. You might find that your server-desktop lacks a sound card -- no need for those in a server room.

The difference between server and desktop versions of Linux tends to be in the selection of the packages, the desktop being richer in GUI, interactive, media applications. That suggests that you would install for function, namely the desktop version.

I set up a new Dell server a few years ago as a compute server for a compute-intensive application that a client desired. I installed RHEL4 WS (workstation). It worked fine, video was acceptable. Very, very good IO capabilities, and memory up to 12 GB. However, it probably would not be acceptable to gamers, and there was no audio card.

If the box seems sluggish, you could experiment with RAID0 among the disks for a bit of extra speed, and memory is cheap these days, although real server memory is still on the pricey side.

So, it's certainly an interesting project, and remember that we always learn from experiments, they do not succeed or fail, we just get information from them.

Best wishes ... cheers, makyo
 
Old 01-20-2008, 05:52 AM   #4
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edstorm View Post
Just wondering..

I have a server that I managed to get from a company that ditched it. "Dual core" in the sense that it has two physical processors. 500mhz each. Like other servers, it has the ability to easily unmount hard disks..
Under *nix, 'unmount' a disk has a specific meaning - that is make the disk inaccesible to the system without physically removing it. I'm assuming that you mean 'disks that are mounted in caddies that can be slid in and out.


Quote:
But I don't see a need for a server at home, so i was wondering if it is possible to actually use a server as if it was a desktop?
Sure, absolutely, easy-peasy. But bear in mind the comment about noise.

Quote:
And if so, do i use server edition linuxes or desktop version linuxes?
For some linuxes, there isn't much difference; for the biggies (say Debian, SuSE, RedHat and derivatives) there is roughly a base system and whether it is a server or desktop is a function of whether you install server or desktop apps on top. There are also enterprise variants which shouldn't bother you as these tend to be 'more conservative, more testing' flavours with a few enterprise features thrown in too.

For some of the smaller distros it does make a real difference in that there are desktop or server focussed distros, largely to cut down the bloat. As a first cut, I'd have a look at one of the following:
Ubuntu (kubuntu/Xubuntu)
Simply Mepis
Vector
Mint
or if you are a bit more ambitious (in terms of where you want to go eventually) maybe
OpenSuSE
Fedora
(for more details than you actually want see distrowatch; for an online distro chooser see http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/)

I think you have to accept that whatever you try first won't be the final word, but it will be your 'training wheels' distro until you really know what you want and are able to cope with the full complexity of the real thing.
 
Old 01-20-2008, 06:18 AM   #5
Edstorm
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Wink

Thanks for the advice, I have cleared away the original OS (windows server 2000).

And yes, there is no audio (might be able to get one to fit into the pci slot - i'll see..). The VGA card is an ATI Rage (pretty lousy stuff =P)

I would like to try ubuntu on the server but I would rather think it would be a tad too slow to run on it (gave up trying to run on my 500 mhz desktop - it took a hell loong of time to install. )

I'll check out some of the other distros that you have mentioned.

Maybe something less intense on the graphical side (i've used damn small linux on a 500mhz comp and its faster than this darned old comp running win xp) would work.

(and yes, the others will always tell me the fastest distro is lfs.)

Last edited by Edstorm; 01-20-2008 at 09:27 AM.
 
Old 01-20-2008, 12:45 PM   #6
lleb
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distro does not matter, the GUI does. KDE and Gnome are both heavy on the RAM and GPU. as you make no mention of how much RAM the system has can not say if either of those two GUIs will work. I would try flux or one of the other lighter GUIs if you really want a GUI.

dual 500Mhz CPUs running win2k server i would GUESS you have 1G of ram. if that is the case, replace the vid card with something a little newer and KDE4 will run like a dream for you as it is 35% faster then KDE 3.5.
 
  


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