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Old 12-02-2010, 04:21 AM   #1
rhodes50
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Ubuntu Server Vs. Ubuntu Desktop for home file server


Hello Everyone,

I'm new to this site and thought i'd start off by saying that I'm new to linux but trying to figure everything out. Next let me explain what I'd like to do. I have both windows (xp and win7) and mac (osx snow leopard) running on my network. I'd like to find a unified system that I could use as a file server. Mainly, I'd like to have it hold music and movies, maybe run some automated backups from a win 7 desktop. I'd also like it to be a print server. I'd like to run the most simple and lightest weight OS for the server os. However, I don't think I have the basic linux knowledge to run Ubuntu Server as it is terminal based. I have installed it on my machine but I feel like im running in circles. I have it installed and can SSH in with my laptop no problem. I feel like I may be better off installing Ubuntu Desktop and removing what I dont need.

Any help / tutorials / anything woudl be greatly appreciated. If someone could give some examples of what they've done or seen done It would help me out a lot.

P.S. at htis time the server has only a 40gig hdd in it, i also have a 500gb hdd i'd be using for the files.
 
Old 12-02-2010, 04:48 AM   #2
Kenny_Strawn
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I suggest installing the Ubuntu Desktop edition and then, when you're finished installing and reboot, run the following command in the terminal (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal):

Code:
sudo apt-get install apache2 php5 sqlite sqlitebrowser
I wouldn't recommend MySQL as it has the crippling of Oracle (and we all know what that's like).
 
Old 12-02-2010, 04:55 AM   #3
eSelix
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This depends what you want to do in your server. Most things can by easily made from commandline (but install packages "mc", "pico", etc. for convenience). I recommend using system without X and other unneccesary packages, just only what you need and learn operate on terminal. It will be good for you, when you get in trouble with your desktop system. Clean system is better for security, maintance and performance, especially X reserve some MB of memory.
 
Old 12-02-2010, 05:04 AM   #4
rhodes50
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I'd like to run command only but I don't think I have the knowledge (yet) of the workings of a linux system. I'd like to set this server up to serve these files to my home LAN and also set it up to be accessed remotely, as in externally via the internet. does that work as an ftp? or are there better options?

kenny - ill wipe the server off the hdd today and install the desktop version then run the line you said in terminal
 
Old 12-02-2010, 05:06 AM   #5
Kenny_Strawn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eSelix View Post
This depends what you want to do in your server. Most things can by easily made from commandline (but install packages "mc", "pico", etc. for convenience). I recommend using system without X and other unneccesary packages, just only what you need and learn operate on terminal. It will be good for you, when you get in trouble with your desktop system. Clean system is better for security, maintance and performance, especially X reserve some MB of memory.
Maybe not X, but when Ubuntu uses Wayland instead in the next release it would be much better. However, why are you opposed to X? Especially on a home server, having *any* computer without a GUI in the home is *sick*, especially if any other members of the family are computer illiterate.
 
Old 12-02-2010, 05:32 AM   #6
eSelix
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As I said - it depends. If someone need only file server, print server, for example p2p client, etc. why installing GUI? Only for "clickable" configuring?
 
Old 12-02-2010, 05:38 AM   #7
Kenny_Strawn
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Anybody can still open gnome-terminal if they want to run any commands IMHO.

But why you say? Because if you're in a family (like me) when the majority of users are Windoze or Mac users, getting used to Linux on the server would be easier with a GUI than a CLI especially. (However, in my case, everybody is a Windoze user except for me).
 
Old 12-02-2010, 05:51 AM   #8
wpeckham
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Server or Desktop

Properly installed server is not difficult to administrate and takes only a little CLI work.
Install WEBMIN and enable for your local network, and you have the gui administration via web browser without the load of a full XWindows server.
OR: you can install desktop, disable automatic XWindows startup, and only run it when needed via startx or xinit.

Note that the critical piece here is SAMBA. It enables the Windows style folder and printer sharing using SMB protocol. You will also need CUPS for more intelligent printer sharing for LINUX and those little fruity machines. ( I hope they make MS Windows that smart someday. )
Both of those are normally part of a server install (Ubuntu or Debian, and most other distros).

Personally, I usually find it easier to load server then add what I need. Loading desktop, then searching for everything I need to clean out without bumping into dependency problems to retain what I NEED, is a bigger and longer lasting nightmare!
But then, I have been doing this for 30 years.

Last edited by wpeckham; 12-02-2010 at 05:56 AM.
 
Old 12-02-2010, 06:55 AM   #9
rhodes50
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what would be the major disadvantage to disabling xwindows startup after installing ubuntu desktop? I tried installing server only but had trouble getting everything i needed and fully understanding what I was doing. As kenny said this is for a home where all the other users use windows or mac and i will not always be around to make sure that the server is doing what it is supposed to.
 
Old 12-02-2010, 07:29 AM   #10
Kenny_Strawn
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In that case, X and GNOME should always be running, not just the system by itself, because the other members of your family are used to clicking, not typing code into a terminal. Therefore, also have GUI frontends to the server/database software (I have no idea where the GUI frontends, however, are in the repositories [or if there is such a frontend to Apache]).
 
Old 12-02-2010, 08:46 AM   #11
taylorkh
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A lot of good info so far but let me add a little as I have been doing this very thing for many years.

1 - Do you plan to run the "server" with a monitor and keyboard installed or run it "headless"? I ran my server with Ubuntu 8.04 using the gui interface an administered it over the network with the remote desktop feature for the past 2 1/2 years. Only hooked up the monitor and keyboard on occasion when I wanted to backup the OS partition or install hardware.

Last week I added storage (5 TB now) and decided to install Ubuntu 10.04 as support for the old version ends in a few months. Ubuntu 10.04 with gui will NOT boot without a monitor connected and powered on (tried some fixes - no luck) and remote desktop and auto-login no longer play nicely together (tried some fixes - no luck).

2 - I am now running the server with a "server" install of 10.04 - no gui. I access it with ssh and the 3 commands I use most are:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get uprade
sudo shutdown -h now

3 - I handle many other admin tasks with webmin as mentioned earlier.

4 - I use Gnome Commander to connect to the server with ssh to look around at what I have stored there and to move files between the server and desktop PC.

5 - I have midnight commander (mc) installed on the server to move files locally from drive to drive on the server when I am too lazy to use the cp or mv commands

6 - Design you server drive layout for convenience of backup. In your case I might recommend:

on the 40 GB drive (referred to as hda or sda depending on type) setup partitions:

sda1 - 10 GB - install Ubuntu here
sda2 - 1 - 3 GB depending on the amount of RAM - use for swap space
sda3 - the rest - mount as /data1 put important data here

and the second drive

sdb1 - the whole thing - mount as /data2

To backup the OS use something like g4l to make an image of sda1 onto sdb1 and burn off to DVD if you are really paranoid. This will allow easy recovery of the OS if you hose something up.

Consider setting up a script to mirror /data1 to a subdirectory on /data2 - two copies of important files are better than one.

7 - Use SAMBA to create share points for /data1 and /data2 - you can them map a drive letter to them in Windows. When you add another drive mount it as /data3 and create a corresponding share point etc.

8 - Assuming you are using a router for DHCP (and don't have your own DNS server running) - assign a fixed IP address to the server - makes it easier to find.

So bottom line - if you have a monitor connected to the serve at all times install the gui. You can always fall back to it as you learn command line administration. You have access to excellent help here on linuxquestions.com so don't be afraid to try things. Just be sure to always backup your data - the rest is disposable.

Ken
 
Old 12-02-2010, 10:36 AM   #12
TobiSGD
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Sorry Kenny, but I disappoint with all of your posts here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny_Strawn View Post
I suggest installing the Ubuntu Desktop edition and then, when you're finished installing and reboot, run the following command in the terminal (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal):

Code:
sudo apt-get install apache2 php5 sqlite sqlitebrowser
I wouldn't recommend MySQL as it has the crippling of Oracle (and we all know what that's like).
What would be the use of Gnome, Apache and MySQL on a fileserver? In my eyes just a waste of ressources.

Quote:
Maybe not X, but when Ubuntu uses Wayland instead in the next release it would be much better. However, why are you opposed to X? Especially on a home server, having *any* computer without a GUI in the home is *sick*, especially if any other members of the family are computer illiterate.
Why do you suppose that any family member should administrate the fileserver, especially when they are computer illiterate? How do they get in contact with the CLI in just using the server over the net? Regarding X (or wayland), as I understand the OP, this server is thought to be reachable over the internet. X and any other unnecessary running service is a potential security risk, and for a server just not needed.

Quote:
Anybody can still open gnome-terminal if they want to run any commands IMHO.

But why you say? Because if you're in a family (like me) when the majority of users are Windoze or Mac users, getting used to Linux on the server would be easier with a GUI than a CLI especially. (However, in my case, everybody is a Windoze user except for me).
Again, why should every family member be an administrator to the server?

Quote:
In that case, X and GNOME should always be running, not just the system by itself, because the other members of your family are used to clicking, not typing code into a terminal. Therefore, also have GUI frontends to the server/database software (I have no idea where the GUI frontends, however, are in the repositories [or if there is such a frontend to Apache]).
And another time, why should every family member be able to administrate the server?

If you use Samba, and that tool is exactly what the OP is looking for, your family members will see the fileserver only as another folder or drive on their system, and the printer as simple network printer. No CLI for anyone of them, except you let them ssh into the server, if they want to.
Of course you can run a web front-end to administer your server (and I think in that case you need the webserver suggested by Kenny), but I would recommend to do it with th CLI, so you can learn something that helps you if the server has any problems.
And of course you can feel free to ask in this forum, if you have problems.
 
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:33 PM   #13
rhodes50
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Taylor

thank you for the detailed reply. The definite plan is to have a headless server. I'd like to sit it in the corner after I got it set up.

Here are the things I'd like it to do.

1. I'd like it to show up as a folder on each of my machines. it would have subfolders for music, movies, documents, etc.
*also, I'd like to be able to modify (add, edit and delete existing) the contents from each machine on the network.
*as i mentioned earlier, there is a wireless Mac running osx snow leopard, a wired desktop running windows xp, wired desktop running win 7, and three wireless laptops running win 7.

2. I'd like to attach my brother laser printer to the server and be able to print to it from each of the previously mentioned machines.

3. I'd like to be able to manage the server via the WWW. I have a dynamic ip, so i understand that i would need a service such as dyndns.com to give the server a domain name accessible via the www. my trouble here is installing, via CLI all the services needed.
* I'd ultimately like to be able to type an address into my browser while im away from my home network, and have a web based admin system where I can move files, access files, change settings, reboot the system etc.

4. (optional) if there was a way for me to set up a partition to use as a time machine backup for osx that would be great.

If someone would be kind enough to somewhat outline the process I need and what exactly needs to be installed via the CLI. as in, install ubuntu server, install these processes, etc. I know most of the things I need but I feel like I am missing something while trying to install everything. I appreciate everyone's help.

Dustin
 
Old 12-02-2010, 06:59 PM   #14
taylorkh
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OK Dustin,

What are you going to do next week?

1 - should be doable with Samba for Windows machines - I am guessing that the Mac can connect with SSH using whatever file manager tool it has built in

2 - Samba can also share printers for Windows machines - have not done this with a Mac but I again would guess that it could connect to the printer using CUPS (common unix printing service). Unless of course the Brother printer has networking already built in. My HL5170DN has an Ethernet port and I simply connect it to my router and give it a reserved IP address. My Linux machines and Windows VMWare virtual machines find it on the network and print to it just fine.

3 - You do NOT want to do this. First of all you would need to pay your ISP for a static IP address. Then if you are concerned at all about security you will need to establish a VPN (virtual private network) with probably a special router with VPN capabilities, perhaps a Radius server for authentication etc. After that it gets more complicated with REAL worries about security once your server is potentially exposed to the Internet. If one of the family looses an mp3 file they can wait till you get home to restore it for them.

4 - Not sure what "time machine" is. You can setup several partitions or just subdirectories on the same partition and grant permissions to different users. If you create a subdirectory and grant read/write permissions to the account which runs the time machine process then I think the Mac should be able to connect and do its backup business.

I would recommend setting up the server box with a keyboard and monitor for the moment. Download and burn the Ubuntu-server CD image. I would recommend Ubuntu-server 10.04 LTS (it is supported to 5 years so you do not have to upgrade the thing every few months). Partition the disk something like I described earlier so you can back it up with g4l. Make sure to use ext3 format as g4l does not yet support ext4 which Ubuntu 10.x wants to use by default. During the install choose SSH and Windows sharing (or Samba services I don't recall offhand what the menu choice is but it should be obvious). Once it is installed type the following to download and install updates
Quote:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
Once you have a working install back it up with g4l http://sourceforge.net/projects/g4l/ If you have used Norton/Symantec Ghost this should be familiar. If not do a little searching and/or ask.

Connect to it from another machine using ssh or putty on a Windows machine. Post back at that point (or before if you have questions) and I will give you a couple of tricks I learned to install Webmin. Then we can discuss how to design and configure your Samba environment.

Ken
 
Old 12-02-2010, 07:15 PM   #15
rhodes50
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Taylor,

Thanks again for the thorough reply. I will be busy the next few days but i will try to get that setup like you said. I already have a copy of Ubuntu server 10.10 but i will download 10.4. I have used norton ghost in the past but it has been a while. Nonetheless I will install it and see what I can do. To partition the disk as you said, what application would i use do to this? I'm very new to the thought of applications being accessible via CLI using the internet. One thing I like about Linux is that most of my hardware is automatically supported. Anyway enough with my rant. I will download the LTS version of ubuntu server and install it.

to install g4l would i just use the command

sudo apt-get install g4l

or would i have to use a command that has the url of the package, then run the package after it has downloaded to the server.

Thanks for your patience. I know I really need to read a book that explains the structure of linux and its command system. Ive read a few tutorials here and there but Im a little pressed for time at the moment so Internet tutorials are the best I can do.

**edit**
I went to the link you listed for g4l and noticed that the file is available from the site as an .iso file. am i on a stretch thinking that it would be a bootable cd after burning?

Last edited by rhodes50; 12-02-2010 at 07:20 PM. Reason: edit
 
  


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