Going to use an old machine to set up a server at home, and I'm full of questions.
The first thing I'm having trouble deciding is exactly what kind of server to set up, so I'm looking for some advice. Technically I've got two old machines laying around (Dell Optiplex 960 & Dell Optiplex 755 - got both cheap from work). I had the 755 set up as a web server for awhile, but I wasn't really using it a whole lot, so I was thinking of making the 960 a media server.
If it helps any, I'm generally a gamer. I do have a decent amount of media, but I don't know how much I would actually make use of that media throughout the house. Anybody have any creative thoughts of what I could turn these old machines into that I would find useful or just fun in general?
The other thing I wanted to ask about is that I'm finding most of the "guides" out there are pretty outdated when it comes to setting up servers. Anyone have a good, up-to-date source for setting a media/web/etc. server in Linux (probably will use Ubuntu)?
I'm not familiar with your hardware, but if you got a decent CPU and enough memory (2GB or more) the Ubuntu server edition should be a good start.
Another option - though not particularly made for server tasks - is Linux Mint Xfce which is a light desktop taking less resources, particularly less memory.
A media server would require some disk space. I think media server or file server could make good use of the hardware. If you want or need to share files over the Internet, you could also run a ftp server. Having your own web server is sometimes nice, if only to play around with it and develop some web programing skills. Years ago I used to run a web server with integrated search engine for Linux documentation or anything I found useful to host.
A print server and/or fax server would be additional options. Or hook it up as a DMZ with some services running and watch attackers trying to hack your system.
Or use it as a test machine for playing with Linux, LVM, or Xen or other virtualization.
If you're a gamer, then perhaps some Linux client / server games would be of interest. You could host the server part on your server.