linux home server

They have: 1 posts

Joined: May 2009

hi everyone,

I am currently looking to replace my windows server at home with a Linux one. My needs are fairly simple - the current server runs IIS, php, ,mysql to run a few websites and is also used to share files for my own family and my nephews and nieces and store all my music and videos which we play on the xbox, pc etc. (To accommodate all the different users I also have an AD tree running and home drives.)

I have a limited experience of linux, enough to install and work my way round - which distro sounds best for the job?

The other area I'm not completely confident is what sort of Active Directory type software is available on the nix so I can still join the workstations (they are all win xp / vista) to a single server and administer logins and home drives from one place?

Can anyone also advise me how easy it is to upgrade from large versions in linux, for example just choosing two arbitary values, going from 4.x to 5.x, for the same distro would it be as easy as sticking the dvd in and going through an upgrade option, or would you need to reinstall fresh and rebuild the websites and restore data from backups etc?

sorry for the long post.

JeevesBond's picture

He has: 3,955 posts

Joined: Jun 2002

Active Directory is probably going to be tricky. Smiling

Some background: Microsoft took LDAP and Kerberos, extended and made them proprietary, then called it Active Directory. Except for the nasty proprietary extensions, Microsoft were doing a good thing, because setting up LDAP and Kerberos, then getting applications (such as Apache and MySQL) to integrate with them, is a huge pain in the arse.

Eventually the EC forced Microsoft to release some specs (a year, two years ago?) for Active Directory, so now we have: Samba 4, which is still in development. However, I've heard of it being used in some large production environments, so if it works for your needs, I wouldn't hesitate to roll it out over your family... errr, I mean for your family. Smiling

which distro sounds best for the job?

You'll probably hear different answers from everyone you ask about this. I'd say Ubuntu or maybe Debian.

Can anyone also advise me how easy it is to upgrade from large versions in linux

Upgrade instructions for Ubuntu are available at: Pretty simple!

So, if you're on version 4.x, to get to 5.x you'd SSH into the server and type:

sudo do-release-upgrade

If I were you, I wouldn't immediately wipe Windows and try to replace it. Get a good feel for Linux, and whether it can even do what you need, preferably in a virtual machine.

There are also some Web-based GUIs to help you with your server configuration, have a look at E-Box Platform, we have an article on installing VirtualMin (but that's aimed more at Web servers). There's even what the City of Munich uses (GOsa).

One good way of getting started is with the E-Box live cd.

Anyway, hopefully this will get you started.

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Greg K's picture

He has: 2,140 posts

Joined: Nov 2003

I at one point a few years ago played with Samba on a FreeBSD machine to do user authentication on Windows XP machines. I never got past the basic uses, but for basic user authentication it worked fine. I even set up roaming profiles, so the your "my docs" and type of stuff went to what ever machine you were logged into. (now this part was slow and at least for our network would not be practical and made me realize why they have gigabit networks... LOL)

The server a the time was a PII 266Mhz system with 64 megs of ram, and for years it ran pretty good for 8-14 users. So it can only be better now.

Just food for through.

Also, Jeeve's guide for setting up Debian is great, I have used it to set up my server at home which runs web sites. I also installed SAMBA, and set it to share a USB 640meg drive.


They have: 121 posts

Joined: Dec 2008

If you're just talking a small network, domain authentication, which Samba supports in its production build as Greg K has experienced above, is possible. This would allow roaming profiles, etc. There are metric brickloads of tutorials online about how to get this going.

There is always the old 'e-smith' Linux distribution - Renamed 'SME Server', which is supposed to make setting up back office-y stuff like this easy... (


They have: 1 posts

Joined: May 2010

Just would like to know whats the max users that can be connected to a home linux server running on a PII-PIII 333Mhz pc computer with about 500mb of ram. Using the xampp server? At the same time is what I'm asking.

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