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Old 09-11-2005, 07:55 PM   #1
gideont
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minimal headless file sharing box


Hi Folks,

OK, me: not real technical, I have only very basic linux experience. I had mandrake linux as my main operating system for a few months before I decided it just wasn't for me.

I just picked up a very old computer box on the street (literally).
I would like to fill this box up with 3 or 4 hard drives and be able to access these drives over my network via some form of file sharing (Samba?).

Optimally, if there was a CD i could put into the box and boot off of, totally headlessly, and be able to access the hard drives right from my windows xp desktop, that would be best. The computer is VERY basic, its an intel Pentium S, like around 300 MHz, 64 megs ram. However my guess is this should be fast enough to keep up with a single user accessing the hard drives over a 10/100 Ethernet network. Security is not of much concern. I am not concerned about the other computers on the network, and the whole network has a firewall in the router. I really don't want to have permissions headaches!

While a headless install would be optimal, I am willing to do a setup with a monitor, keyboard etc, as long as I can the operate it headlessly. I don't want to have it on all the time. I want to be able to turn it on when I need to access the hard drives and then turn it off when I am done.

I have looked around for an EASY solution to this but as yet have not seen anything that obviously fits the bill.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Gideon
 
Old 09-11-2005, 08:26 PM   #2
Matir
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Use some command-line oriented distribution. Once set up, you can do everything over ssh. What you want is definitely possible. I would reccomend debian for this situation, or Gentoo if you wanted something more customizable.
 
Old 09-11-2005, 09:05 PM   #3
slackhack
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what you are describing is very easy to do. i think the specs are fine for what you want to do (although another 64 ram wouldn't hurt).

debian is a great choice, and slackware or vector would also be excellent. then, as Matir said, set up sshd, where you can log into the box using the windows putty client and transfer files with scp (secure copy). whichever distro you pick, make sure you don't install X or KDE or Gnome. those will just add bloat to your server.

i would also set up samba so i could just mount the linux hard drive filesystems in windows directly (or, "map drive," i think windows calls it. or access them from "network places," etc). make a user on the linux box with the same name and pw as your windows user, and you will be good to go with a very basic smb.conf.

 
Old 09-11-2005, 09:26 PM   #4
gideont
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slackhack, Matir,
Thank you for your responses.

As I said, since my knowledge of linux is very low, I am really looking for the simplest easiest to implement solution. Of the disto's you recommenced, which would be the easiest to install while also not adding too much bloat? Debian?

Could you point me in the right direction for introductory information on such things as:

ssh
scp (secure copy)
samba

Also what about the "Damn Small Linux" distro?
Is that not a good candidate for me?

I was thinking that if I could boot off the CD that would maintain more of the HD capacity for the actual file sharing? Is this not a good way to go about it?

Thanks again!

FYI: When I did experiment with Mandrake, I mostly stayed inside the GUI. I did very little exploring of any command line interfaces.
 
Old 09-11-2005, 09:39 PM   #5
Matir
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Booting off the cd would make it impossible for you to keep a static configuration for samba. A hard drive install of debian could be very small. Check out the SAMBA How-To for details on setting up samba for file sharing.
 
Old 09-11-2005, 09:58 PM   #6
slackhack
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using samba:
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/samba/chapter/book/

ssh & scp:
http://www.siliconvalleyccie.com/lin...ssh-server.htm
 
Old 09-11-2005, 09:59 PM   #7
gideont
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>Booting off the cd would make it impossible for you to keep a static configuration for samba.

Ah.

Well. I'm not sure I am up for doing all this in a command line, but we will see how it goes.

Thanks again for the suggestions and I'll let u know how it goes.

I would think that this would be a pretty common thing to want to do and that therfore there would be some simple automated way of doing it? Like a simple distro set up to do just this. Oh well.

Gideon
 
Old 09-11-2005, 10:21 PM   #8
Matir
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I promise it's not that complex to setup.
 
Old 09-11-2005, 11:34 PM   #9
gideont
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OK, well i will give it a try.

I have been delayed because i don't have a keybaod that will work on the old box. Its some kind of pre ps2 port, its a big honking round port, so i need to find a an old keyboard that will work with it.

So once I set it up, will I be able to shut down the system remotely? And then when i want to power up the box, will it be able to boot and prepare for file sharing headlessly, with no addditional user input?

Also, are there and distros that I can actually install headlessly? IE with no user input needed, no monitor or input devices connected to the box?

Gideon
 
Old 09-11-2005, 11:41 PM   #10
Matir
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I think that, in order to do a headless install, you'd need a machine capable of providing a serial port. Most PCs are not. Or some sort of LiveCD that autostarts sshd with fixed user and password. I am unfortunately not aware of one.
 
Old 09-11-2005, 11:55 PM   #11
gideont
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>Or some sort of LiveCD that autostarts sshd with fixed user and password.

right, thats what I need!

Seems to me like this should already exist!

So if it doesn't exist , is it difficult to alter an existing distro to provide this function, and then reburn it to cdr?

Gideon
 
Old 09-12-2005, 12:07 AM   #12
Matir
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There are scripts to help remaster Knoppix and the like, but I have never used them. Probably non-trivial, but not complex.
 
Old 09-12-2005, 12:35 AM   #13
michaelk
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You can probably find a PS2 - AT keyboard adapter at your local computer store, flea market etc. If not, you can find them on the internet for < $3.00 US.

I like trustix (www.trustix.org). Does not require much hard drive space for the basic install but is command line only. With some distros you can create a kickstart floppy which will install with out have to manually make selections. But you need to configure the floppy from a working system.
 
  


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