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Old 02-23-2009, 06:25 PM   #1
rkyle
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Setting up personal home server


Hey there LQ!

So I've been putting together a small project recently. I wanted a small low-end computer that could stay on 24/7 and do a number of small tasks like torrenting, storing data, and web-hosting (nothing industrious -- something to tinker with and help learn some Linux administration).

So anyways, the questions are as follows:

I purchased a MSI Wind Nettop 100. I'm planning on having this run without a monitor. SSH is good enough for me, but do I have options for running this with a remote desktop?

The computer that I'm hoping to network this box with is a Mac. From what I recall from installing Ubuntu on my Mac, it could see and read my HFS+ partition fine, with the exception of a few permissions errors in the home directories. Are networked folders going to be a pain?

Given these points, what does LQ suggest in the ways of distribution choice, packages and tools, other random ideas?

Thanks in advance.

-kyle
 
Old 02-24-2009, 12:08 AM   #2
Randux
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You can use VNC server on the headless box and a VNC client on the boxes you want to connect to it with. That will give you a desktop on the headless box. I personally recommend Slackware for everything and this is no exception
 
Old 02-24-2009, 12:40 AM   #3
lazlow
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Well if the point is to learn towards getting a job, I would look at the two most common distros in the work environment; RHEL and Suse. Centos is a clone of RHEL that is free to download/update. It has been a long time since I ran Suse but last I heard there was a free version of this too.

If the point is just to learn towards expanding yourself, pick whatever distro that feels right to you. Most of us go through a few distros over the period of a few years before we really settle in on any one distro. Many people switch distros several times a year. Grab a few live cds and see what you like.
 
Old 02-24-2009, 12:53 AM   #4
gergely89
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For a home server, which is by default located at (your) home, you should grant yourself a monitor for the server - it's just so much easier to set up everything correctly and sorting things out. You can later on still playing around with doing maintenance via SSH. If this is supposed to be a learning system, then do not make it too hard and frustrating in the beginning.

linux

Last edited by gergely89; 02-27-2009 at 10:56 PM.
 
Old 02-24-2009, 01:11 AM   #5
jlinkels
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That is a nice mini system you bought yourself. What you want is possible, and a headless system is quite feasible for a server. However I have to advice against *buntu. It is too much GUI oriented and you are not supposed to have a real root account. (You can, but then you are breaking the Ubuntu policy). The same is valid for all those "install-and-play-it-is-as-easy-as-Windows" distros.

For installation and the first few days you should have monitor attached in case you do stupid things with the network.

Personally I love Debian, its configurability, its stability, but sometimes I spend a day or two solving a difficult problem.

jlinkels
 
Old 02-25-2009, 05:16 AM   #6
rkyle
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Thanks for all the input!

I've got a good friend with a head for administration who definitely agrees with both debian and slackware.

Also, kernel 2.4 vs. 2.6?
Flash drive boot volume smart/stupid?
 
Old 02-25-2009, 06:00 AM   #7
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkyle View Post
Also, kernel 2.4 vs. 2.6?
Flash drive boot volume smart/stupid?
2.6, no discussion about it. I am not even sure 2.4 is still maintained, anyway it lacks a lot of updates.

I think 2.6.26 is the kernel for the current Debian Stable version, it should be all right and ..well ... stable.

Flash drive boot is not stupid but if you are mounting a hard disk for data storage anyway, gives no additional advantage. Flash drives are nice if your machine is acting like a router or so with only operational data to store.

jlinkels
 
Old 02-25-2009, 07:59 AM   #8
Randux
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Agree with jlinkels, neither Slackware nor Debian is shipping with a 2.4 kernel option. 2.4 is dead. Long live 2.6. At least until 2.7
 
Old 02-25-2009, 08:13 AM   #9
AuroraCA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlinkels View Post
That is a nice mini system you bought yourself. What you want is possible, and a headless system is quite feasible for a server. However I have to advice against *buntu. It is too much GUI oriented and you are not supposed to have a real root account. (You can, but then you are breaking the Ubuntu policy). The same is valid for all those "install-and-play-it-is-as-easy-as-Windows" distros.
You should not give advice on products on which you have no experience. Your knowledge of Ubuntu seems to be hearsay. Ubuntu Server is not GUI oriented or interfaced. The use of sudo is not a problem in administering a system and "breaking the Ubuntu policy" is an non-statement. There is no Ubuntu rule or requirement that you must use sudo. If you prefer to use a root login it is quite possible and easily set up. Ubuntu Server is a very stable and reliable alternative to any other Linux distribution for a home or business server. You can even add a GUI interface if that suits you but there is no GUI interface by default.
 
Old 02-25-2009, 09:52 AM   #10
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuroraCA View Post
You should not give advice on products on which you have no experience. Your knowledge of Ubuntu seems to be hearsay.
It is not hearsay, I installed (and deleted) Ubuntu various times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AuroraCA View Post
Ubuntu Server is not GUI oriented or interfaced.
I can't remember that I was offered a choice during Ubuntu installation to install server or workstation, or that I had a choice during downloading. But if you say so and can point me to where I make the mistake I'll happily accept that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AuroraCA View Post
The use of sudo is not a problem in administering a system and "breaking the Ubuntu policy" is an non-statement. There is no Ubuntu rule or requirement that you must use sudo.
OK, I am installing Ubuntu. The installation asks MY name. I enter that (jlinkels) and in all future GUI actions I have to enter MY name if permission is requested for administrative actions. Not the root account.
So I set up a root password (sudo passwd root), and from that moment on I could log on as root in de Console. In the GUI however root was not allowed to do administrative tasks, but jlinkels was. How confusing can it be?
When I complained about that in this very forum I was strongly advised by people who had more knowledge than me not to try to break this policy. "Take Ubuntu as it comes" was the strong recommendation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AuroraCA View Post
If you prefer to use a root login it is quite possible and easily set up.
As explained, in the console it is, but in the GUI I have to be jlinkels to perform adminstrative tasks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AuroraCA View Post
You can even add a GUI interface if that suits you but there is no GUI interface by default.
Is that a choice during installation? Because I checked the home page and there is not download option for server.

jlinkels
 
Old 02-25-2009, 01:40 PM   #11
theNbomr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randux View Post
You can use VNC server on the headless box and a VNC client on the boxes you want to connect to it with. That will give you a desktop on the headless box. I personally recommend Slackware for everything and this is no exception
Or, you can run a desktop remotely by simply using the remote X server. Probably easier.
If the server is headless, maybe even graphic-less (ie. no video card), then a desktop will not start, due to no local X server. You could, maybe, run a desktop on an Xvfb session, but there still won't be any keyboard or pointing device.
Really, why do you need a desktop on the server at all? If your local workstation has one, all you need is the local X server to support any graphical applications you want to run on the server. I daresay, this would be the standard model used by most sys-admins. Certainly by myself and anyone I know personally.
--- rod.
 
Old 02-25-2009, 02:07 PM   #12
AuroraCA
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Ubuntu Server is "hidden" on the front page of the www.ubuntu.com website. If you don't read the website or instructions for installation you will not get the full picture and will probably have problems.

You need to read the website and don't forget that there is always Google that will help you find things that you don't know anything about.

Last edited by AuroraCA; 02-25-2009 at 02:09 PM.
 
Old 02-25-2009, 03:33 PM   #13
jlinkels
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I take it you are not referring to "Unbuntu server Beta program now open" banner on the web site?

jlinkels
 
Old 02-25-2009, 03:40 PM   #14
AuroraCA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlinkels View Post
I take it you are not referring to "Unbuntu server Beta program now open" banner on the web site?

jlinkels
No, I am referring to the Server Edition over the stack of rackmount servers in the middle of the page to the right of the Desktop Edition. The server "Learn more" link points to:

http://www.ubuntu.com/products/WhatI.../serveredition

It is just as prominently displayed as the Desktop Edition links.
 
Old 02-25-2009, 07:21 PM   #15
jlinkels
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OK, I admit. It is a server edition and I overlooked it. It has almost good specifications.

But I don't like it. I don't like the way I am pulled into installing the latest and the greatest on my server. It took me three times before I discovered the stable server edition on the web site. I really was convinced that the beta was THE server version. Why is beta exposed larger than the regular version. It also appears in the first lines of the server version information page.

I am feeling almost pushed in the direction of 8.10 with all the newest packages and even kernel 2.6.27. Mind you, a server does NOT need the most recent kernel, on the contrary. I haven't checked all package versions, but as far as I can see a vast number comes from Debian testing. It is reported widely (in articles on the web etc, you might consider this hearsay) that Ubuntu takes its packages from Debian Unstable. Well, this is not something I want on my server. The server version should be advertised for its stability, not for it being up-to-date.

However, this drifts in the direction of personal preferences I have as of the marketing style of Ubuntu. All this promotion doesn't really demonstrate whether the product is good or bad.

So in the future I will refrain from making comments on the server version until I tried it myself. My opinion regarding the desktop version remain fully unchanged, and whenever applicable I'll state that here in this forum.

jlinkels
 
  


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