I’ve just started this super-nerdy project and I need some advice from my more linux-literate friends.
I’m taking a 7U chassis from work that can hold 4 slot-mounted computers (plugged into a backplane), and starting with two computers I’m going to populate the thing.
Here is what I need help with.
I want to start with one system being a workstation for people to use when they are over at my house. For this system I was thinking of using Ubuntu (in fact I’ve already installed it and it is working pretty well). But I need to know what other people who have tried out some systems think. Like Ubuntu vs. Fedora Core 4 (or 5 when it is out of beta, which looks pretty cool) or that new mandrake thing. Also, I’m looking for this to be easy to use for non-nerds, it needs to run an office suite, and so far OpenOffice looks like the best. But I want to be able to get at it, so I need to get an SSH server going on it, and some fun stuff.
The second one, is the more interesting bit. I want to run it as a gateway server / domain controller. I was thinking of experimenting with Samba 4 (but maybe not since it is super new). I was thinking after I get this working it could replace my router. And, I want this to serve as a file-server as well for my house. And, it would be good to have this running a web server with Ruby and subversion so I can do some project work on it. (Do I need to run X’s server on that so I can forward windows to the workstation box when I’m programming on it?) So I’m thinking I need to learn how to set up BIND, DHCP, Samba, Samba, Apache, MySQL, PHP, Perl, Ruby on Rails, FastCGI, etc. It might also be nice to get my wireless using that as the back-end for authenticating to my network. that way I could have a “Guest” account you just have to know the password for, and not have to go look up that stupid hex passphrase on my router every time someone new comes over with their laptop.
I have no idea what distro to use for this part. I just know I’m not clueless, but I’m not good with Linux either. So please send me opinions, ideas, documentation, etc, that might help me out.
I’m counting on my fellow geek friends out there, cuz I have no idea which direction to turn to in the vast see of Linux/BSD distros. (Can too many choices be a bad thing?)
When I get two more Single-Board-Computers I’m going to probably make a second server and start dividing up tasks (maybe run Zimbra as an email server on it again, since I toasted that server for parts the other day), and an asterisks box, so I can ge the cool VOIP action going.
In other news, Kyle and Ellen are going to be here this weekend, and Saturday Lauren is having a girls night, and I’m taking Kyle out to do something fun that is still TBD. So if you are a girl stop by my house on Saturday for good girly time, and if you are a guy give me a ring and I’ll tell you where we end up going.