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Old 12-26-2007, 03:45 PM   #1
Fireside
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Question Linux distro like Windows Home Server


Hey all,

As you can tell I am a newbie to this forum. I have been a SA for many years....and i am sure like many of you, by the time I get home - I don't want to spend a TON of time working on my PCs.

I have read some about Windows Home Server and I like some of the fuctionality. Bascially I am wondering if there is a Linux distro out there that has some of the same fuctionality and ease of use. So far I have found NasLite (30 bucks) and FreeNAS (does not seem to be too mature). Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Fireside
 
Old 12-26-2007, 05:12 PM   #2
Samotnik
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Any Linux distro've got the same functionality you want it to have. But some distros (named end-user-oriented or desktop-oriented, e.g. Mandriva, Ubuntu, SuSE) are less sutable for server due to great number of bells and whistles designed for noobs.

I advise you Debian. This is a high balansed distro great for server and desktop application both.
 
Old 12-26-2007, 05:12 PM   #3
townie
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hi
i goggled "Linux home server" and got this article i did read it form start to finish (look @ the picture still)
here the link hope it is of help to you
http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS9015653445.html
 
Old 12-26-2007, 06:56 PM   #4
masonm
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Any Linux distro can serve as a server OS. Some are easier to configure than others, but any will do the job.

Perhaps if you'd specify what exactly you need/want perhaps someone can steer you in the right direction.
 
Old 12-27-2007, 07:54 AM   #5
Fireside
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masonm View Post
Perhaps if you'd specify what exactly you need/want perhaps someone can steer you in the right direction.
Excellent Point - why cant you all read my mind ?

OK here is a link to some information on Windows Home Server:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/pro...r/default.mspx

Here is a quick list of what it does:
  • Auto back up of systems (and/or selected folders)
  • Intelligent backup - if you have 5 copies of XP it only makes one copy of each .dll, cab, etc...
  • If you seelct an option on a file or folder - it automatically stripes that selection on multiple disks (sort of mirror/RAID)
  • Auto creates a large pool of disks - any USB or internal disk added gets attached to this nig pool
  • creates web sharing of any media you select (can act like a sling box)


The product has been getting good reviews (even for a windows OS) - it is based off of windows server 2003. However - it seems very restricted and maybe a little too simple - but I do like the fact that it would limit my interaction over my home environment. Like I said before - I am sick of putting out IT fires by the time I get home.

I also found this product that looks pretty good:
http://www.clarkconnect.com/

Any feedback?

Thanks again for all the responses!
 
Old 12-27-2007, 08:22 AM   #6
onebuck
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Hi,

Several have suggested that any distro will work for you. I would suggest that you look at Slackware. As for your M$ Windows server, You are baiting for a sure Flame war by posting such a M$ link. I have to use M$ but a lot of Linux users don't like M$ and will do anything/everything to tear it up/down.

After reading the link, another M$ venture to increase Billy's M$ share! You can do what M$ is suggesting with a simple GNU/Linux server setup. How much of your IT time do you want to spend?
 
Old 12-27-2007, 09:07 AM   #7
Fireside
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onebuck View Post
Hi,

Several have suggested that any distro will work for you. I would suggest that you look at Slackware. As for your M$ Windows server, You are baiting for a sure Flame war by posting such a M$ link. I have to use M$ but a lot of Linux users don't like M$ and will do anything/everything to tear it up/down.

After reading the link, another M$ venture to increase Billy's M$ share! You can do what M$ is suggesting with a simple GNU/Linux server setup. How much of your IT time do you want to spend?
I am neither a Windows hater....nor lover, but $180 for a product that is supposed to be aimed at the Home User for a home server (a product that 90% of all home users will think is useless) is just way to high a price. It is a shame - because a product like this could really help a lot of non-IT people back up priceless data - I think of how many people will lose picture and videos of family and friends because they do not bother to backup.....the digital revolution has its disadvantages. Anyway - I am looking for a free or near-free alternative.

I really do not want to spend too much time - I would not mind some initial setup to get samba and other services up and running - but after that I would love to be able to keep hands off most of the time.

Thanks again for all the advice,

Fireside
 
Old 12-27-2007, 10:40 AM   #8
XavierP
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Good point - note to all coming after this post: the link given gives an idea of what functionality is available, that is the focus here, not the company that makes it.

The auto backups are useful, you could probably do something very similar on a Linux server with rsync. While Slackware is an excellent product for a server, if you don't want to spend time tuning it, it may be beyond the scope here. I would suggest Ubuntu Server Edition as a close match - lots of wizards, mostly gui setups and the Ubuntu team tend to give you one of each type of tool preloaded.
 
Old 12-27-2007, 11:24 AM   #9
onebuck
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Hi,

I agree that the link is controversial from a M$ point. I think it all depends on how much your time is worth in $$. I really don't think setting up a home server or any server is that difficult. But for an average M$ Windows user to setup a server that is not turnkey will be difficult if not impossible.

As for backing ones data from a M$ product. Well my use would be limited. I go the other way and use my Linux to do the backup(s).

Setting this up is not that difficult. As the MOD points out about Ubuntu Server Edition as simpler means to setup a server. I still prefer Slackware for the simplicity and nothing between the OS an me. No Wizards or whatever! Sure you will need to do more work but that's the fun of IT.

Edit: BTW, I stated before that I must use M$. I'm not a M$ hater or lover. Just a user that must support it as another OS. OS are not a religion to me but just a tool.

Last edited by onebuck; 12-27-2007 at 11:26 AM. Reason: comment
 
Old 12-27-2007, 11:35 AM   #10
Fireside
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Quote:
Hi,

I agree that the link is controversial from a M$ point. I think it all depends on how much your time is worth in $$. I really don't think setting up a home server or any server is that difficult. But for an average M$ Windows user to setup a server that is not turnkey will be difficult if not impossible.
I was not trying to bring controversy - I was really wondering if a linux version has been developed or was in development. This is a rare product for MS - developed in a year - and for most users - works as advertised.

I have found - as have most that use Linux/Unix if windows can do it - there is usually a free version out there for linux that works as well and usually offers more user freedom. So I was hoping that there might be a preconfigured linux Kernel that provides similar functionality with minimal configuration. (Smoothwall is a GREAT example of such a specialized kernel!)

Quote:
As for backing ones data from a M$ product. Well my use would be limited. I go the other way and use my Linux to do the backup(s).

Setting this up is not that difficult. As the MOD points out about Ubuntu Server Edition as simpler means to setup a server. I still prefer Slackware for the simplicity and nothing between the OS an me. No Wizards or whatever! Sure you will need to do more work but that's the fun of IT.
I have used slackware in the past - (a long time ago - 1999 or 2000) liked it then - but I think you are both right....probably too hands on for what I am looking for.

BTW - what tool do you use for your windows backups on your Linux server?


Quote:
Edit: BTW, I stated before that I must use M$. I'm not a M$ hater or lover. Just a user that must support it as another OS. OS are not a religion to me but just a tool.
Amen


Just another thought - if I am going to configure - I was thinking about using OpenSolaris - any thoughts or feedback on this plan? Or do you guys think Ubuntu Server would be easier and more hands off?

Thanks again!
 
Old 12-27-2007, 02:45 PM   #11
Fireside
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Well - now I definately want to find a good linux alternative:

Quote:
Microsoft has just posted a Knowledge Base document saying that it's confirmed Windows Home Server corrupts various files when saved to the server by certain apps. The bug affects several MS apps, including Money, Outlook 2007, Vista Photo Gallery, Live Photo Gallery, and SyncToy, but it also hits Quicken, Quickbooks, and -- fatally for a media server -- BitTorrent clients. Microsoft says it's working on a fix, but that in the meantime, you should avoid using WHS with these apps.
http://www.computerworld.com/action/...icleId=9054178
 
Old 12-27-2007, 03:10 PM   #12
masonm
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The kernel runs the system itself, all of those other functions are performed by additional software not the kernel itself. As already recommended the Ubuntu Server Edition will give you the simple point and click functionality you're probably looking for. Slackware or Debian will probably give you added stability but at the cost of more hands on manual configuration.

It really boils down to your own personal preferences as, again, ANY distro will do all of these things if properly set up. Automatic backups can probably be set up as a Cron job although that's something I normally do manually. The rest is simply setting things up how you want it.

Any Linux distro will likely be more stable and have fewer issues over the long run than an M$ system with it's inherent bugs and security issues.
 
Old 12-27-2007, 03:31 PM   #13
Fireside
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Originally Posted by masonm View Post
The kernel runs the system itself, all of those other functions are performed by additional software not the kernel itself.
Thanks, I was thinking specialized distro. Well I may give this a shot tonight or this weekend. I will let you know how it all turns out.

Thanks again for all the ideas!
 
Old 12-27-2007, 03:37 PM   #14
onebuck
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Hi,


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireside View Post
Well - now I definately want to find a good linux alternative:

Quote:
Microsoft has just posted a Knowledge Base document saying that it's confirmed Windows Home Server corrupts various files when saved to the server by certain apps. The bug affects several MS apps, including Money, Outlook 2007, Vista Photo Gallery, Live Photo Gallery, and SyncToy, but it also hits Quicken, Quickbooks, and -- fatally for a media server -- BitTorrent clients. Microsoft says it's working on a fix, but that in the meantime, you should avoid using WHS with these apps.
http://www.computerworld.com/action/...icleId=9054178
I would definitely setup a SOHO Linux based server if I were you. I just read the linked article. M$ will work on it over the holidays??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireside View Post
I was not trying to bring controversy - I was really wondering if a linux version has been developed or was in development. This is a rare product for MS - developed in a year - and for most users - works as advertised.
I did not take it as such. I just believe that M$ can be. As for the M$ development time frame. The product is based on a proven product that was based on a proven product....

Typical of M$. They will rehash whenever the money is there to be made.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireside View Post
excerpt from Microsoft's Windows Home Server corrupts files;

Windows Home Server, which was unveiled nearly a year ago by Chairman Bill Gates at the Consumer Electronics Show, is a heavily modified version of Windows Server 2003 designed for consumers and small businesses. Hewlett-Packard Co. launched the first hardware powered by Windows Home Server, its $599 and $749 MediaSmart Servers, last month and is now shipping systems to customers.
I don't think purchasing something from HP/M$ for that amount of money would be a wise thing. I would invest my time and money on setting up that new Slackware server.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireside View Post
Just another thought - if I am going to configure - I was thinking about using OpenSolaris - any thoughts or feedback on this plan? Or do you guys think Ubuntu Server would be easier and more hands off?
I haven't used Solaris for a while. The Ubuntu Server would be the easiest for a server.
 
Old 12-27-2007, 06:30 PM   #15
andrewdodsworth
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As others have said any Linux distro will do filesharing and backups using Samba and rsync. I've used SuSE for my main home server since 9.x and never had any admin hassle that wasn't self-inflicted! Rsync is an excellent tool for backing up between disks and servers and over limited bandwidth. Only thing I think that WHS does that would be beyond Linux (correct me if I'm wrong) is in enabling you to restore Windows machines from the server rather than a recovery disk. However, in my environment virtually all production data is stored on the fileserver and backed up from there, so the need for backing up Windows machines is limited.
 
  


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