If people weren’t so afraid of change, the unknown and having to learn something new Microsoft would be in a world of hurt in the world of low to mid range PCs. Linux would overtake them in a heartbeat. Ubuntu is so impossibly simple to install, that you almost have to try to screw it up – especially when performing a clean install on a fresh box. A simple 6 step installation, that takes less than 20 minutes to complete from CD insertion to surfin’ the web.
I bring this up only because I was trying to figure out what OS to run as a files server at home. At first I thought about just using XP, then looked at Windows Home Server (which isn’t even out yet), then decided to throw Edgy on the box and see what is what. As it turns out, it took me less than 2 hours to get it up and running on my network, with the second hard drive mounted and shared. This 2 hours included getting all the other programs I like to run, setting up my desktop, and playing with gdesklets – not to mention surfing the web for other things like getting VNC running on it too. It was a piece of cake, in fact, it took me 2 or 3 times as long to get my new XP machine running and updated with the correct software. That’s not including my games and downloading the patches for them, and getting all my other nit picky settings just so. Windows is just too complicated and they make it far more difficult than it needs to be.
Getting Ubuntu to serve & share
After installing the latest release (6.10 Edgy Eft) of Ubuntu, I downloaded and installed Samba, which allows me to create the server share for the secondary hard drive for all files. I used this basic tutorial to install and config Samba on my machine, and it worked like a charm. The only catch I ran into was I initially set the drive up to be FAT32 formatted and had problems with CHMOD and CHOWN, so I changed to EXT32, and set it CHMOD 777, knowing that eventually I should change it back to 755, and CHOWN it to the local user.
I also used gparted to setup the hard drive as hdb1, and then changed some settings in the /etc/fstab so I could simple mount everything listed, and have it auto-mount on startup. All in all it was quite painless. There were a few glitches in getting the partitions right, and I wound up getting those set using fdisk in the terminal.
All I have to do now is find a place for the server to reside. Since I installed VNC, I’m not going to bother to hook up a keyboard, mouse or monitor as I have it set to auto login with the desired user. Easy. I will eventually get some backup software to auto-magically back things up to the file server, and most likely get a SATA drive, something like a 250gb or so to hold the data – I might even get fancy and build a RAID so it’s all nice and redundant…..