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Old 1st November 2007, 22:25   #1  |  Link
Inventive Software
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Minimalist Linux server install - suggestions?

Firstly, my requirements. The ideal is that it's accessible through the web, so I don't have to carry my media with me to uni and can just access my read-only server remotely and listen to music or watch videos during boring lectures. OK, not quite the last part, but you get the picture. I guess it's sort-of like a file server, but remotely accessible. The acceptable is that it's a file server that I can plug my laptop into so that it can access the music and videos that are on the hard drive.

Secondly, I know Linux can do this, but should it be Linux at all? What about BSD?

Thirdly, exactly how would I go about doing this, i.e what software do I need? As an afterthough, an MP3 decoder would be good so it can be played back locally, but what's good in that regard? I know of mpg123, but have never used it?

Lastly, my intention is to keep the Windows XP install on the server just in case I really need access to something, and replace the Windows 98 SE install I have on there with this Linux server install. Having multi-booted Linux in the past, and knowing it can be done relatively easily, is it possible with the 98 install on C:?

Help with this would be much appreciated. I'm going in almost blind with the server stuff, but I have used Linux in the past and consider myself competent.
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Old 2nd November 2007, 01:27   #2  |  Link
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Just use the XP install and use http://www.orb.com/orb/ to stream the content ^_^
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Old 2nd November 2007, 01:39   #3  |  Link
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LOL! You're semi-joking if you think I'm using my XP install to stream stuff over the internet, yes? That thing doesn't have a firewall.
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Old 2nd November 2007, 01:47   #4  |  Link
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Who needs a firewall? Close all your open ports
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Old 2nd November 2007, 08:29   #5  |  Link
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inventive Software View Post
Secondly, I know Linux can do this, but should it be Linux at all? What about BSD?
Use what you can install and know best. That said, since you are keen on security, OpenBSD would probably be ideal for the task you described if it has working support for reading NTFS partitions. Otherwise I'd recommend Debian stable or FreeBSD.

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Thirdly, exactly how would I go about doing this, i.e what software do I need? As an afterthough, an MP3 decoder would be good so it can be played back locally, but what's good in that regard? I know of mpg123, but have never used it?
You'll need a HTTP server (Apache may be overkill) and perhaps some kind of a streaming server. I'd say HTTP is enough for most purposes.

mpg123 is a very simple and limited command-line player. There are much better alternatives available, such as mpd.

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Lastly, my intention is to keep the Windows XP install on the server just in case I really need access to something, and replace the Windows 98 SE install I have on there with this Linux server install. Having multi-booted Linux in the past, and knowing it can be done relatively easily, is it possible with the 98 install on C:?
That probably depends on how XP was installed: does it have its bootloader on the Win98 partition or somewhere else. IIRC Grub can switch BIOS disk IDs so that Windows can boot from a secondary partition, but it's a bit risky if you don't know what you're doing.
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Old 2nd November 2007, 09:08   #6  |  Link
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I'd go with Debian netinstall from the stable branch. What are your specs? I've pretty much set up something similar. Its amazing how much I can get out of this ancient pentium II 350 / 160 MB RAM. I have a TV capture card installed in it and I can stream wmv/mpeg4 at 320x240@25fps - its quite viewable

Concerning file server - (s)ftp would be enough? If you need access via http then I'd suggest lighttpd, as has been said apache would be overkill.
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Old 2nd November 2007, 11:36   #7  |  Link
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I'd think about twice using freebsd, at least the 6.2 variety runs out of buffer space pretty easily when there's heavy network usage, and never did find satisfactory answer to the problem. Could be packet filter now that I think about it.
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Old 3rd November 2007, 23:39   #8  |  Link
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you could try out solaris 10 X86 if you're really keen on security
http://www.sunfreeware.com/
that site should have everything you need, if want help with the install and config of solaris if you choose it gimmie a ring
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Old 4th November 2007, 23:39   #9  |  Link
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I'd go with debian stable, i have very small server (NSLU2 - 233mhz arm, 32MB RAM), and use it as webserver, central backup facilty and print server.
You can do secure remote access with ssh or ftp.
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Old 5th November 2007, 02:05   #10  |  Link
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Debian seems to be getting mentioned a lot. I contemplated FreeBSD, until klinika swayed me from it. My upload speed isn't great, but I *should* be able to stream from that PC to uni. Hadn't heard of mpd until now, so thank you nm, that will be very useful, I'm sure. Specs: Intel Celeron 800 MHz, 512 MB RAM, 100 Mbit NIC, NVIDIA GeForce 5200 PCI
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Old 5th November 2007, 10:54   #11  |  Link
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Oh, but I never had any problems with the 5.x variety It is a great os, but I guess it boils down to how bleeding edge your box is. If it's older you have more choices in the matter, but if it's newer, well, go for linux.
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Old 6th November 2007, 13:33   #12  |  Link
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SMEServer is the way to go.

I use it on Compaq small form factor Pentium 2 boxes, with 64MB RAM for fileservers.

For mail/db/media/encoding boxen I max them out with 512MB RAM.

http://wiki.contribs.org/SME_Server:About
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Old 15th November 2007, 06:56   #13  |  Link
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nothing wrong with freebsd 6.2, have been using it for months and had no problems, and i have been hitting the crap out of it on gb lan xfers, also i know of a few sites that are using it (web) and they get a lot of hits and its fine.

Just make sure you get the -release version and not the -stable version (stable isnt stable)

you could always try slackware linux 12.0
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Old 15th November 2007, 11:21   #14  |  Link
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most easiest way is to really use the smallest possible choice and from then, a lightweight solution

but I would even recommend apache, even though it is a bit slower than lighttpd, its more feature rich and you probably will have less problems in the long run with it

plus there wouldnt be that many other apps running on that box anyway....
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Old 15th November 2007, 14:51   #15  |  Link
klinika
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Quote:
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nothing wrong with freebsd 6.2, have been using it for months and had no problems, and i have been hitting the crap out of it on gb lan xfers, also i know of a few sites that are using it (web) and they get a lot of hits and its fine.
Yeah, on my suspect list is the network driver for the onboard nforce2 adapter. The driver for it is pretty much a hack. Haven't tried the new driver yet though.
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Old 15th November 2007, 20:34   #16  |  Link
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might just need to rebuild the kernel - would have thought it would have supported that chipset tho
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Old 21st November 2007, 17:13   #17  |  Link
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FreeNAS

I've never tried it but this is what I'm planning to use as my home server. Seems to have most of the bits that one would need. This way you can be the guinea pig

http://www.freenas.org/

Hope this helps...

C
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Old 25th November 2007, 12:02   #18  |  Link
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For a novice user, I'd recommend the minimal install of openSUSE because this one lets you still use its configuration-tool YaST in text-mode, which means you don't have to rely on the command line in order to set everyting up, start and stop services etc.

When openSUSE's installation routine comes to the choose-your-desktop dialog select 'Other' instead of KDE or GNOME and then select minimal install. After installation has completed, type 'YaST2' into the command prompt and configure your server.

If the machine has very little memory you can run the openSUSE installer itself in text-mode: At the boot-up screen hit F3 ("screen resolution") and choose 'text-mode'. [edit: 512 MB RAM are more than enough for graphical setup. My Notebook with 256 MB RAM runs a full-blown openSUSE GNOME desktop.]
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Old 26th November 2007, 16:51   #19  |  Link
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http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/ ?
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Old 21st December 2007, 05:57   #20  |  Link
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http://distrowatch.com/

Excellent site if you are trying to find exactly what you are looking for. There are a lot of good distros out there. Stay away from BSD if you ask me unless you prefer diddling with the tools instead of focusing on content. Take it with a grain of salt but this has been my repeated experience.
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