Hacking up a Linux Server

A few months ago I installed Linux Mint on my old computer. I’ve always been a Windows guy, but interested in Linux. I also like Apple, but that is another story. I’ve played around with Linux before, but never really got very deep into it.

I suppose it has mostly been fear. Fear of not knowing how to do something. Fear of messing something up royally (the dangers of being a power user without much knowledge of the system). This fear has been expanded by the lack of hardware. Now that I have a good laptop and that is my primary computer, I felt able to use my old, home-made net-top (a kind of small and underpowered desktop) as a server.

I was able to successfully get file sharing set up so now I can share files between my laptop, my wife’s computer, and my work laptop (I currently work from home). I also installed and set up Apache, MySQL server, and ColdFusion 10. In fact, I started Nerdy Noahz Notions on my server before posting it on a shared host.

I still have some kinks to work out, but it feels good. Unfortunately I tried various things to get it set up so I could remote desktop into it using Windows’ Remote Desktop. I tried a script someone had and it messed up my window manager. I switched to another from those installed and available. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to fix it.

I want to get a NAS device and use that for the file server so that if I do mess something up and need to start from scratch, I don’t have to take it offline. That and a dedicated NAS device will hopefully use less power than even my net-top. The one I’m looking at (Synology DiskStation DS213j) has some kind of plugin system to add additional functionality. I want to set it up as a DLNA streaming server so I can watch saved content on the Blu-ray player (or one of the gaming consoles). It also can act as a Time Machine destination, so I can use it whenever my wife or I get a Mac.

Fun times as a nerd.

Disclaimer: no servers were hacked (in the “hacking into your system” kind of way) in the making of this article or in the events reviewed herein. I just hacked my way around trying to get things installed and running like I wanted (with at least some success). Hacked as in not really knowing enough to get it done in an efficient and precise manner. …in case anyone was wondering…

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