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Old 11-07-2006, 07:34 AM   #1
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Creating a File Server


Am guessing that this has been asked or questions of a very similar manner in the past so for that am sorry. Anyway, I bought a quite old machine a couple of years ago & now that am sharing a house, I have deceided that a file server would be best for us to share files.

Anyway to the point of this thread, which Linux would be best for this simply operation? I will more than likely ended playing with it to do more functions but that is the only one for the moment.

The Spec of my machine is something like,PIII 400mhz 128mb but not touched it for years so not fully sure.
Old 11-07-2006, 08:31 AM   #2
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there is no "best" linux for this. what you want is presumably nothign more than a really basic samba installation which any modern distro can handle just fine.
Old 11-07-2006, 03:44 PM   #3
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i run centos 4.4 with samba for all my file server needs at home. Have my disks lvm'ed on my box. (5 in total).

Works for me
Old 11-08-2006, 01:52 AM   #4
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Actually I think there is a best one. I started myself with Xubuntu, before I knew how to configure Samba. And being a XFCE based distro it gave me a hell of a work configuring samba to get it adjusted the way I wanted too. I suggest you use a KDE based distro since these distros already includes easily managble Samba(Samba is the linux version of netbios) config tools. Once you get hand on the configuration and get a bit into Samba (which offers you a lot of distinct choices. It's actually quite fascninating compared to the typical standard right clicking windows setup), then I'd say convert to some lighter desktop and start editing the config file manually. But in the beginning, all you really want to do is get it up running so you can listen to some music etc, while digging deeper into the Samba and linux world.
When it comes to underlying system, BSD or SystemV etc, it does not really matter. Any KDE based distro can be my recommendation for your first experience with linux and samba sharing.
Old 11-08-2006, 01:54 AM   #5
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You may also want to check out the FreeNX server for remote desktop loggin from your room pc.

Sorry I did not see your specifications. Well KDE will hardly start on 128 mb ram... Mate... Don't believe the linux geeks telling you all wonder stories about fileservers running on 16 mb machine with 100 mhz cpu. It is true though, but it is just not for the novice to setup a server on such a small machine. It is for people who knows how to do everything from the shell and also more or less have their configuration files already managed and therefore only needs to copy them over. But if you still insists on doing it immediately instead of first testing on a virtual machine or something, I suggest you read some Samba guides and even copy some of their configuraton file examples.

I have just tested Zenwalk (XFCE distro which will run on your specs). Very nice and fast, but you need to install the samba server (easily done via "netpkg"). Vectorlinux is another choice for you. Both good distroes for older machines. But as mentioned, configuring samba for more advanced stuff than just to share a folder to everyone with read access is easier with K Desktop for your first trials)

Last edited by my.dying.bride; 11-08-2006 at 02:37 AM.
Old 11-08-2006, 04:51 PM   #6
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Thumbs up

If you want to use Debian, have a look at these articles:

The Perfect Setup: Debian Sarge


Running an All-in-One Server

Old 11-08-2006, 06:14 PM   #7
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You don't really even need to install Linux to do this. You can run a fileserver using a Linux LiveCD (no harddisk installation required). Knoppix has Samba. Slax (Server Edition) may also, but if not there's a Slax module for Samba. If you want this to be a semi-permanent solution, I'd go the Slax route because it's easier to customize Slax and burn a new CD than it is to remaster Knoppix with your specific Samba configuration.

If you want to learn Linux, sure, install a distro. Any will do for your needs. Research at and pick one that suits your tastes. If you just want a fileserver and want to give Linux a test run, try a LiveCD first.
Old 11-08-2006, 07:54 PM   #8
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Actually, there's no reason why you can't use a KDE GUI on that system, so long as you only use it to set up the server.
Trying to use it as a desktop/client will be slow.
If the GUI is not actively being used, ie you're only using the box as a server, the KDE stuff will get swapped out and will not affect the performance (noticeably).
Of course extra RAM always helps....
Old 11-09-2006, 03:23 AM   #9
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I tested VectorLinux Soho edition virtually with your ram specifics. So far this distro has been one of the few KDE based that actually ran quite smoothly on my ancient computer. Can recommend it. Both as a livecd, as a complete uncompressed install and it also looks very cute too


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