Mint Home Server

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Mint Home Server

Postby Oceanwatcher on Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:05 pm

I really like Mint and I think it is a natural development to make another version - the Mint Home Server.

There is another thread about using Mint as a thin client server here

http://linuxmint.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=151&t=13872

This is not my main concern though. What I am first and foremost thinking of is a file/print server. As such, it needs to be able to handle everything that has to do with disks, partitioning, formatting, RAID (yes, a software raid should be possible to set up even if hardware is ABSOLUTELY preferrable), backup, users, groups, permissions etc.

Also, configuring printers, hosting printerdrivers for various platforms etc.

Nedless to say, it has to be totally transparent for both Microsoft and Apple OS'es.

A common addressbook and a common calendar for the whole family would also be something to think about.

Looking ahead in time, I think the network in the house will be the main distribution for media. So it would be nice to have an easy way to share audio feeds and video feeds. Some kind of streaming server working on multicast with a nice GUI. Everything here HAS to have a GUI. I listen to a small selection of internet radios, and it should not be necessary to start two streams and use double bandwith when I can set up the stream on a server and then distribute it locally from there. I would also like to add a capture card to the server so I can distribute a TV signal. Or two... I could then use vlc as a player on each computer in the house.

In the thread mentioned above, it becomes clear that the kernel of a server can be optimized so it gives better performance than a "desktop kernel". So this needs to be done for this version.

My big concern right now is that there are millions of timebombs out there today. People are storing digital pictures, video, audio on laptops and desktops without any thought about crashing harddrives. Linux Mint has an interface that is easy on the eye, easy security updates and good multimedia support. All good things for a server edition like this.

I like a server to have a nice interface as well as a commandline. I like to have the choices. And stripping away all desktop tools in Mint and then add server tools and network tools would make a very interesting server. It must be able to run headless, and to avoid having to develop a html interface for it, just have remote desktop via vnc as a default.

I am not sure if I am right, but is it right that XFCE is more lightweight in terms of resources than Gnome and KDE? If this is the case, it might be the right choice for a server.

What I would not like to see in such a server:

Firewall
Router
Anything that mean this server wouth act as a gateway for the home network.

I really do not like to have my valuable data on the same physical machine that is the first point of contact for the outside world. There are a lot of other options for doing that job. Smoothwall or pfSense just to mention two.

Later, it might be appropriate to do a small business server with mailserver, LAMP, intranet (web and Wiki), Open Exchange etc.

Unfortunately, I can not put together a distro like this myself. But I have a PC here that is ready to test whatever someone else can put together.

Any thoughts of a project like this? I really like the idea of having a recognizeable interface for all boxes...
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby lakehousetech on Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:29 pm

I've heard a few people mention this in the past, and I have to agree that it is a good idea for the future. I can understand where Mint really is geared towards the casual user at the moment, but I would love the opportunity to have a server option available. I have to build a server at work soon, and might take a stab at installing the required items to get a LAMP up and running from Elyssa. Otherwise I might go for Ubuntu server, Debian, or CentOS as alternatives.
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby 900i on Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:39 am

I have got a Compaq Proliant ML350 G1 box sat doing nothing at work. Was also thinking of making it a file server for my house and putting either Ubuntu Server or Clarkeconnect on it, but Mint server would be an even better idea.
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby lakehousetech on Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:07 am

How hard do you think it would be to set up Elyssa as a small business server? I'm not an IT guy (engineer) so I figured someone might have a clearer idea of how to go about doing it. Once I get my test machine to my new apartment I'll give it a shot, but it's gonna be a couple weeks.
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby 900i on Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:55 am

Wouldn't know where to start, in the past I have run my own web server at home using Apache and serving basic pages on generic server gear like Intel dual processor motherboards with server chip sets. But software wise I have never setup a LAMP server.
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby lakehousetech on Sat Aug 30, 2008 10:13 am

We should see if a mod will sticky this thread (Husse). I'd like to give it a try soon and post setup information and results. My main needs for this particular small business server are:

* LAMP - Needed for Document management system (Knowledge Tree or similar), SQL database, and other services.
* File Access - for computers running Windows XP internally and distance via VPN or similar setup.
* Software RAID - if possible (doing this on the cheap!)

I'm sure I'll think of more things, but this is a good start. Will post back soon. Let me know if your interested in helping out.

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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby Oceanwatcher on Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:55 pm

I will start by installing Elyssa and stripping away what definitely is not needed.

Then I need to be able to control the server from another PC so I can run it headless. VNC is a good system, but there might be better solutions. Ideas?

Then LAMP has to be installed. I need to have it to run a local WordPress test. As well as other PHP based things.

I would like a great admin interface to LAMP. NOT html. What are the best ones out there?

For me, a document mangement system would also be great. What choices are there?

Some kind of calendar server is needed. Our family need a way to manage our time and let others see what we have planned. There has to be clients for both Linux and Windows. Good suggestion in this area - calendar programs - will be highly appreciated. I am aware of the Mozilla products. We all use Firefox and Thunderbird today. But I like having one main function for each program, so I am looking for a feature rich client that is very actively developed. OpenGroupware.org might be something to run?

Would be nice if we could help each other get this to work. We should also find out what things that should be standard. I think LAMP is so useful that it might as well be standard. Same with a remote management system. I must admit, I really like the way you can manage a Windows server remotely.

I am a bit excited about this. There are several projects that intend to build home servers. But they are either not being developed actively or they have some idea that a server should be a router, firewall and many more things at the same time. I am a bit allergic to put too many main functions into the same box... I do want a firewall, but on a physically different box.
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby lakehousetech on Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:29 pm

I'm going to work on this as soon as I get situated in my new apartment. BTW I think your website and photos are pretty cool. Nice interface and the black really helps bring the photos out. Did you design the website yourself, or go another route (template or web designer)?
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby Oceanwatcher on Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:38 pm

Cool :-)

Glad you liked the site. It is based on Joomla with a template from Rockettemplates that I changed a little bit. The galleries are down with a flash slideshow software.
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby Oceanwatcher on Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:01 pm

"Seek and you shall find" said someone much wiser than me.

It was almost too easy to get a remote control to work. I have tried this on some other distros and could never get it to work.

Preferences>Remote Desktop and put a checkmark in all four boxes. Add a password and you are done.

I used TightVNC to connect, only entered the IP of the Mint PC.

Now, this was a desktop setup, so there are a few things I expect to have to do to get it working for a server. First of all, my desktop pc has two monitors and I had problems seeing what was on the second monitor. But as I do not intend to run two monitors on a server, this is a non-issue. Second, I suspect this might only work if you are logged in. But I will have to try this out. If so, I will just have to set up auto log-in.

I will also have to turn off the first of the two lower checkmarks in the Remote Desktop preferences (security). If it is on, there will be a dialog box on the Linux desktop asking for confirmation when I connect through VNC.

I have had problems before making a setup like this headless. I am not sure it ever will be headless, but the option needs to be there. I just need to prevent X from displaying any errormessages if it do not detect any monitor.

This, for me, is step one. I need to be able to leave the server running in a closet somewhere and just log on to it from whatever pc I am working on.

Next is to choose a good text editor. I use PSPad on Windows and would be happy with something similar on Mint. Linenumbers, syntax highlighting and some more. I will post a question in the Ubuntu forums about this as well. I am sure there are good suggestions for a Gnome based text editor.
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby Oceanwatcher on Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:16 pm

The second thing I have been looking for is a good text editor. Seems a lot of other people are asking for the same thing in the Ubuntu forum. I will install and test one editor that looks very promising, Bluefish Editor - http://bluefish.openoffice.nl/index.html .

It is meant as a web editor, but handles a wide range of filestypes. It has many interesting features and I look forward to try it out.

Do you have a favourite editor? What is it and why?
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby Oceanwatcher on Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:26 pm

Installed Bluefish. It is available in apt and it was only one file that was downloaded.

From what I can see so far, it covers my needs. Of course, I have to work a bit on it to be totally sure, but it seems very ok. So for now, I will settle on this one.
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby Oceanwatcher on Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:14 pm

I am searching for various GUI for administrating a Linux server. Stumbled across this page. Looks very promising. Would love to have this embedded into a Mint server.

http://85.214.17.244/gadmintools/index. ... e&Itemid=1
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby lakehousetech on Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:03 am

@ Oceanwatcher. I finally got back home to pick up my test machine, so I hope to perform my own server configuration within the next week. I will post as I make progress. How have you made out in regards to the admin GUI?
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby Oceanwatcher on Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:13 pm

lakehousetech wrote:@ Oceanwatcher. I finally got back home to pick up my test machine, so I hope to perform my own server configuration within the next week. I will post as I make progress. How have you made out in regards to the admin GUI?


Cool. I need to replace the powersupply on my server. I am also going on a trip and will probably be back in a week or so. So no testing before that. But I will be online looking for bits and pieces that could fit with this concept. One thing that I just remembered is that VLC media player exist for Linux. And VLC is also very capable of streaming video. So for those that would like to use the server as an entry point for a video stream, VLC is a possible solution. As far as I know, VLC kan also take an incoming stream and relay it. So instead of having everyone in the house watching/listening to 3 copies of the same stream, we can all connect to VLC locally and reduce the bandwith use.
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby bbardon on Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:39 pm

Oceanwatcher wrote:I am searching for various GUI for administrating a Linux server.


Are you familiar with Webmin? It's a web-based server admin interface, can do almost anything you need to do on a server. There are many plugin modules for Webmin so if it's not in the basic install it can be added right from the Webmin interface.

http://www.webmin.com/index.html

Regarding the remote control, just leave X off the server. Use SSH for command line access and Webmin for remote admin. VNC is great, but it's unsecure across public networks unless you tunnel it through SSH or a VPN.

I know this is the Mint forum, but the *buntu Server Edition has preconfigured package selections that make it dead easy to install a LAMP server. I'm relatively new to Mint, but most of its features are geared toward desktop ease of use, are they not? A server doesn't need a GUI anyway so Mint has little advantage here over Debian or *buntu.
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby Oceanwatcher on Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:32 pm

bbardon wrote:Are you familiar with Webmin? It's a web-based server admin interface, can do almost anything you need to do on a server. There are many plugin modules for Webmin so if it's not in the basic install it can be added right from the Webmin interface.


Yes, I am very familiar with Webmin and really do not want it on my server :) It is very tech oriented, not too userfriendly and never completely compatible with the distro you use it on. But as long as you know this, it works ok. I want to have a Mint interface to make it as easy on newcomes as possible. By using the same interface, people will already know where to find things and familiarity is gold. And commandline is our enemy! :D (I am very familiar with the commandline and the flexibility etc. It is just not something I would ever expose a "newcomer" to as long as I can avoid it).

bbardon wrote: Regarding the remote control, just leave X off the server. Use SSH for command line access and Webmin for remote admin. VNC is great, but it's unsecure across public networks unless you tunnel it through SSH or a VPN.


Absolutely not. X stays on the server. If someone need a server of the type you are talking about, then just use Ubuntu Server. No need to make something new. And who said anything about using the server on the internet? This is a server for the local network, well hidden behind a firewall. Period. Any access via the internet is a totally different story. For exactly the same reason, I would never put a Windows 2003 or NetWare server on the internet. And any access to them would have to be over VPN as you correctly stated.

There are masses of people out there that would love to have a server, but because a server has a commandline interface or a limited web interface, they can not use it. Everything I have seen so far has been geared towards the tech savvy. A server with a Mint GUI is absolutely something worth looking at. It is time to think outside the box.
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby whitemice on Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:01 pm

Oceanwatcher wrote:Some kind of calendar server is needed. Our family need a way to manage our time and let others see what we have planned. There has to be clients for both Linux and Windows. Good suggestion in this area - calendar programs - will be highly appreciated. I am aware of the Mozilla products. We all use Firefox and Thunderbird today. But I like having one main function for each program, so I am looking for a feature rich client that is very actively developed. OpenGroupware.org might be something to run?


If you need any assistance installing/configuring OpenGroupware please post on our lists. CalDAV support of trunk has been tested with Lightning 0.8
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby lakehousetech on Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:20 pm

I've begun my installation and configuration of Linux Mint server in a business environment. So far it has gone off without any trouble. Absolutely smooth. Up to this point I have the following up and running:

LAMP (easy via Knowledge Tree DMS installation)

I now have to make sure that SSH is disabled, as well as block unused ports via iptable. I'm also going to setup a mail server and linkage with a the company website, which will hopefully be based on joomla. I'm going to publish all of the information in a single document once I am successfully live. I'm considering creating a new thread since this particular setup is focused on a business environment. Any thoughts? I'll post back soon.
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Re: Mint Home Server

Postby AfterEight on Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:31 pm

Hi Guys,

Just read though this topic.
I have a couple of PC's on my home network, mine is the wonderful Linux Mint 5 KDE, the kids have *buntu ? something or other ( it was me that set it up too :oops: )
I have also been thinking about a file server. That is, after a conversation I had with the IT guy at work.
The idea of a Linux Mint interface would be real helpful for me too.

Can I ask how you are getting on ?
How soon do you think that this will be ready for us 'none command line' / 'none tech savvy' newbies out here ?
Don't wish to sound too pushy, but a good set of join-the-dots instructions would also be a really good idea.

PS If it would help, I don't mind testing it out for you. Just let me know and I will see about picking up an oldish PC to use from somewhere.

While I am here, I would like to thank everyone at Linux Mint for the sterling job they have done.
I don't miss windoz at all since first trying Mint earlier in June. Two big thumbs up from me.
( Still can't get over the fact that EVERY piece of software on this PC is FREE !! Two more thumbs up for the whole Linux / Open Source community )

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