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Ubuntu's Ability Questions

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October 5, 2011 1:52:59 PM

I installed Ubuntu 11.04 Desktop last night and am enjoying it so far. I was able to remote into the system using a VNC viewer on a local network and play around. I shared a folder with with Windows 7 and was able to edit the same documents on either system.

I have a few questions regarding if it's capable of doing what I would like it to do. I surfed around the application installer through the GUI, but didn't see what I was looking for. Any answers to one or several questions or suggestions for programs to install would be much appreciated!

1. I would like to set it up as an FTP server so I can backup data to it over the internet. I would also like it to have the ability to automatically (scheduled) back folders up over the internet to another FTP server and to a local network machine. I am looking for a backup software that only replaces changed/updated files. In windows I use SyncToy and SyncBack. I figure a mapped drive across the internet (VPN?) would work the same way, but I need to do some learning on that.

2. I would also like the ability to share a folder over the internet so this may be related to the first question. I would like the ability to access my files from any computer and even be able to work inside the box as a fileserver across the net.

3. Can a program that uses .NET run on it? For instance a Windows software like Peachtree Accounting. I figured I would give it a try although I would guess I need a special package installed to run these.

4. The Remote Desktop function built into the install package says it's only good for local network access. Can I just open a port in the firewall and connect to it across the net?

So to sum things up, I need a good backup software, remote mapped drive to work with it, .Net / Windows Server applications compatibility, and internet enabled remote desktop. Thanks!

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October 6, 2011 3:08:06 AM

Answers/suggestions inlined...

DrakeConnar said:
I installed Ubuntu 11.04 Desktop last night and am enjoying it so far. I was able to remote into the system using a VNC viewer on a local network and play around. I shared a folder with with Windows 7 and was able to edit the same documents on either system.
Awesome, glad to hear things are going smoothly so far and you're able to do some neat things right out of the gate
DrakeConnar said:
I have a few questions regarding if it's capable of doing what I would like it to do. I surfed around the application installer through the GUI, but didn't see what I was looking for. Any answers to one or several questions or suggestions for programs to install would be much appreciated!

1. I would like to set it up as an FTP server so I can backup data to it over the internet. I would also like it to have the ability to automatically (scheduled) back folders up over the internet to another FTP server and to a local network machine. I am looking for a backup software that only replaces changed/updated files. In windows I use SyncToy and SyncBack. I figure a mapped drive across the internet (VPN?) would work the same way, but I need to do some learning on that.

2. I would also like the ability to share a folder over the internet so this may be related to the first question. I would like the ability to access my files from any computer and even be able to work inside the box as a fileserver across the net.
Since these two are relates, I'll address them together. While it is possible to setup a secured FTP setup, it's difficult to do properly in a manner that script kiddies won't (at best) exploit/use as their own personal file server or (at worst) exploit a vulnerability/misconfiguration to compromise your system.
As such, I suggest looking into setting up SSH/SFTP (and look into anti-abuse tools such as denyhosts). I am assuming that you have a standard router/gateway setup to shield your LAN from the nasties of the internet, but if not, you should think about getting one or setting up a SW firewall on your Ubuntu install (if there's nothing between you and the Internet)
DrakeConnar said:
3. Can a program that uses .NET run on it? For instance a Windows software like Peachtree Accounting. I figured I would give it a try although I would guess I need a special package installed to run these.
You might want to see if anyone's had success getting it to run on top of Mono/Moonlight (if they were written to avoid any MS-specific .NET code) or WINE (a general Windows->Linux ABI translation layer, not an emulator ;) )
DrakeConnar said:
4. The Remote Desktop function built into the install package says it's only good for local network access. Can I just open a port in the firewall and connect to it across the net?
While you could indeed forward ports 5800-5999 to your machine, I would strongly, strongly recommend against it (VNC has weak authentication security). Instead, what you could do (and I suggest) is tunnel your VNC traffic through SSH (you can establish a SSH tunnel using Windows SSH tools such as putty)
DrakeConnar said:
So to sum things up, I need a good backup software, remote mapped drive to work with it, .Net / Windows Server applications compatibility, and internet enabled remote desktop. Thanks!

I think I got most of those, but you may want to look into rsync (again, over SSH if remote) to handle your backup/synchronizing needs (and there is likely some nice GUI tool that handles all of the complexity of this, just giving some places to start looking)
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October 10, 2011 3:49:11 PM

Best answer selected by DrakeConnar.
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October 10, 2011 3:53:50 PM

Hey thanks for the great reply. I've been trying the get answers out of the Ubuntu Forums, but couldn't get any good advice.
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October 12, 2011 8:51:34 AM

No problem, glad to give advice/pointers when I can.
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