[thechat] Suggestions?

William Anderson neuro at well.com
Sat Dec 14 03:07:22 CST 2013

On Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 5:38 PM, Luther, Ron <Ron.Luther at hp.com> wrote:
> Hi Gang,
> My home machine finally gave up the ghost this week.  [...]

I've been away all week and haven't been paying 100% attention to
non-work stuff, so I missed this :(

Ron, if there's a chance that this isn't your "only" machine at home,
I would maybe suggest using it as a server.

Pull the CMOS watch-style battery as suggested and clear the BIOS
settings, so that you can change the defaults (allow boot selection -
ideally, you'd want it to boot first from HDD anyway, but having the
option of mashing F10 or whatever while the BIOS is loading to boot
from something else would be nice).

Then download a copy of Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS from ubuntu.com (if
your machine is new enough, 64-bit will probably work, but 32-bit is
guaranteed to work regardless) and burn it to a CD.

Once it's installed and booted, you'll get a boring "login:" prompt;
log in as the user you created when you set it up and run this

sudo apt-get install ssh

You can then use PuTTY on a Windows box, or ssh from an OS X Terminal
window, to connect to the command line.  There are a ton - literally a
ton - of HOWTOs on the net to take a stock Ubuntu 12.04 server and
make it into the perfect file/backup server (using stuff like Samba
and rsnapshot), personal cloud server (OwnCloud, Eucalyptus, etc), web
development server (Apache, MySQL, PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, etc),
media server (Plex Media Server, etc) and so on.  There are also loads
of FAQs and HOWTOs on how to keep everything maintained and running up
to date, i.e. adding/removing users, changing passwords, updating
installed packages, modifying configurations, etc.

The key stuff you'll want to prepend Google searches with is "Ubuntu
12.04" or "Ubuntu precise" (precise is the Ubuntu/Canonical codename
for 12.04).

If you have additional drive bays inside, jam in some MOAR DISKS and
you have a great space to store media, backups, shared files and so

So many things can be done from that little command line that it's not
even funny.  It takes a machine away from your front-facing view, but
you could literally hide it in a closet with a crappy old USB keyboard
and a crappy old 14" LCD monitor (just in case!) and forget about it.
Until you realise you suddenly have a sweet little core to your home
network :)

Anyway, just a suggestion ;)


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