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Old 12-31-2005, 11:15 AM   #1
automaton_be
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Minimum specs for file/print server + distro suggestion?


I have never used, let alone installed Linux ever before, so bear with me if i sound a bit silly sometimes.

I have a home LAN with two desktop on the wired part, and a laptop on the wireless part. One of the two desktops (the oldest one) is about to be 'decomissioned'.

Now, I've been thinking about building a file/print server for some time, since we now always have to boot up the 'print pc' if we want to print anything, and keeping tabs on where all our files are is a bit tricky with all those decentralised hard disks.

What are the minimum required system specs for running a linux based file/print server? I don't know what the old desktop's specs are yet, but I'd be surprised if it was anything more than a PII with 64mb of RAM. Would that be sufficient?

I'd like to install SuSe, since that seems to be a pretty user-friendly distro, but it might be overkill for what I want to use it for. Are there any alternatives (Ubuntu, Debian?) which would be up to the task?
 
Old 12-31-2005, 02:03 PM   #2
GrueMaster
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Suse would be a good starter system. Don't worry about the power of the system, because the end user definition of a server is a system that shares resources with other computers. The speed and configuration of the system should be dictated by the demands put on the server. I have a couple of old Pentium Pro 200's that work fine for file/print serving. I wouldn't use them for web servers or high traffic, but for home use, the main bottlenecks are in the i/o, not processing speed.

Personally, I use Mandriva, as it has been really solid for me, and it has the most available configuration tools for what you want to setup. It is also one of the most user friendly out there. Suse has also come a long ways, so if you have it already, go with it. Whatever you decide to use, I'd recommend using webmin for configuration, and run the system in console mode (no Xwindows). There is no reason to run a gui that consumes resources (like memory) for a system that essentially sits in the corner.

My current server ran Mandrake 8.2 for several years, with the longest uptime being ~435 days. I only recently upgraded to Mandriva 2006 because I was upgrading the harddrives as well. If you plan on using this for file sharing, I'd also recommend making a small (5-10M max) boot partition, and the rest as an LVM partition. Then make the LVM drive into a reiser filesystem, as this will give you a journalling filesystem (in case of power failure it is easier to recover without file corruption). This way, if you need more space, you can install another physical drive, and add it to the lvm on the fly without having to migrate or shuffle (the other reason I reimaged my server).

Last edited by GrueMaster; 12-31-2005 at 02:04 PM.
 
Old 01-02-2006, 03:42 AM   #3
automaton_be
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I haven't purchased anything yet, so my options are still wide open. Mandrake seems to fit the bell. I notice they sell a PowerPack+ for home office servers, would that be an interesting option?
LVM seems nice, I had never even heard of that. I was planning to implement a soft- or hardware RAID 1, depending on budget constraints, I guess I can combine that with LVM for the best scalability.
 
Old 01-02-2006, 07:40 PM   #4
GrueMaster
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The PowerPack edition will give you some binary only drivers and plugins that you would otherwise have to download form separate sites, plus they have a paid support option. As one reviewer put it, "buying the PowerPack edition is like tipping the waiter".

If you want to try it out first, dowload the free edition. If you like it, please, tip the waiter.
 
Old 01-02-2006, 07:51 PM   #5
amosf
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My print/mp3 server is a P200mmx with 64meg ram. Runs mandrake. You only need the free version for a server generally. Don't need the binary video drivers, etc...
 
  


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