Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

old components - WHICH LINUX - 24/7 file server

Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
Share
December 15, 2007 4:28:07 PM

I've got some old components lying around... quick summary:

400mhz Intel cpu (around 400mhz, can't remember exactly)
192 meg ram
8 gig harddrive

I'd like to make a file server out of this. A friend suggested Linux.
Just wondering which LINUX I should use.... some considerations follow

- low usage: friends and family only... there may be days where it's used a lot and then weeks where it's inactive
- want to keep it on 24/7.. set it and forget it
- I have two windows computers on my network; I want to hook the linux machine up to this network and add/remove files on its hard drive via the windows machines.... I will not have a monitor on the linux machine except during initial install and setup

So I just need a compact, reliable OS that will work with this ancient hardware and act as a low use file server. Integration into my existing network/router etc is very important as I will not have a monitor on this system.

NOTE: this will be my first time using LINUX
a b 5 Linux
December 15, 2007 4:58:01 PM

Try Ubuntu server 7.10 install samba and follow the howto at samba.org

GL :) 
December 16, 2007 12:21:33 AM

I agree with linux_0, ubuntu is a pretty easy distribution to use, although I would recommend a distribution that allows you to configure which packages you install right off the bat. Maybe things are different with ubuntu server, but my experience was that this wasn't possible during installation. Personally, I liked the control I was given over the installation process with Fedora Linux, although there may be better server options out there.

The point I am trying to drive home is that you should look for a lightweight distribution that will allow you to select what packages you want to install at install time so that you can strip out any extra bloat that would be present in a desktop system. Since this is going to be a file server, you really have no business running a graphical environment on it, and you shouldn't need stuff like firefox and openoffice installed on it either since they will just take up space and resources that could better be used to run samba.

Just realize that servers and desktop machines are fundamentally different animals and ought to be handled differently. Keep that in mind and you'll have at your disposal a fast and reliable server.

-Zorak
Related resources
December 16, 2007 2:38:01 AM

Good advice guys.
Yes - looking for a lightweight install... no frills, no GUI
** One thing I was wondering was if it will perform ok on a 400mhz cpu and 192ram? (the parts are just sitting around so I figured I do this as I've always been curious about having a file server)
a b 5 Linux
December 18, 2007 1:28:24 AM

davelakecity said:
Good advice guys.
Yes - looking for a lightweight install... no frills, no GUI
** One thing I was wondering was if it will perform ok on a 400mhz cpu and 192ram? (the parts are just sitting around so I figured I do this as I've always been curious about having a file server)


Pretty much any Linux that will let you do a server install will work well. Ubuntu server edition can do this, so can Debian, SUSE, and of course Gentoo. Since it's a set-it-and-forget-it server and maintenance is to be a minimum, I would also recommend the Red Hat Enterprise clones such as CentOS.

A 400 MHz CPU will be more than enough to power a text-mode Linux install and handle a decent amount of file and network traffic. 192 MB of RAM is also more than enough for a file server running in CLI mode- you could probably get by with a third of that and be fine. 192 MB would be enough to run a full GUI if you wanted to. Your OS install will likely be in the 400-1000 MB range, so an 8 GB HDD will work fine, although 8 GB is awfully small if you decide to do a lot of file serving. Plop a few-hundred-gig PATA HDD in there and you'll be doing well. I've used Linux on computers not that much more powerful than yours and it's been fine: PIII 450 MHz "Katmai", 256 MB RAM, 6 GB HDD, 440BX chipset.
December 26, 2007 3:46:58 PM

MU_Engineer said:
I've used Linux on computers not that much more powerful than yours and it's been fine: PIII 450 MHz "Katmai", 256 MB RAM, 6 GB HDD, 440BX chipset.


Ten years ago I was doing software development on Linux on a 90MHz Pentium with 64MB of RAM... worked fine, including running X-Windows.
a b 5 Linux
December 26, 2007 4:36:01 PM

Hey :) 

I can beat that!

I used to run it on 486s many many years ago :) 

Linux will run on almost anything 386 or better however modern distros require something fairly modern to run on and need more than 64MB.

The more RAM you have the better.

The realistic minimum for X is about 256MB, it will run with less but I wouldn't recommend it ( knoppix needs about 80-96MB for X ).

You may be able to get DSL to run on 64MB.

:) 
December 27, 2007 3:31:01 AM

Ubuntu 7.10 Server + Webmin = Win!

Once Ubuntu 7.10 and Webmin is installed, you shouldn't have to put a monitor/keyboard/mouse on the system until you need to upgrade it...

Ubuntu 7.10 Server
Webmin 1.380

Enjoy!
a b 5 Linux
December 27, 2007 2:09:45 PM

Great suggestion from knightrous

Webmin is simple and quite nice.

If webmin is not your style you can use the GUI tools instead.

:) 
a b 5 Linux
December 27, 2007 4:33:04 PM

You could do it that way or you could have a look at:

http://www.freenas.org/

LiveCD images available and based on BSD goodness so you get your added geek points. I had a quick play with it under a VM and was quite impressed.
December 29, 2007 12:44:32 PM

you could always free free nas or on of those BSD servers
January 2, 2008 6:07:06 PM

linux_0 said:
Hey :) 
I used to run it on 486s many many years ago :) 


Well, I used to run Linux on a 486 with 4MB of RAM, but it ran like crap. Even 8MB could barely handle X-Windows.

But it probably ran better than Minix on an 8086 with 512k and two floppy drives.
!