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workstation or server edition for home server

asked 2018-01-12 04:34:24 -0500

cha4591929 gravatar image

hi... i am fairly new to linux and would like to setup a simple home server to run samba ( mostly windows machines in the house for photo editing software etc ) Also to act as a print server and email server.. i would also like to hook up my home security system to it so i can access over a web browser.
i have used the linux cli previously but have read that the desktop version is easier to configure ??? any advise would be greatly appreciated. Cheers

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answered 2018-01-12 22:04:01 -0500

Given what you have said, here are some recommendations which could be considered answers to your question:

1) Do not configure a system which is intentionally accessible from the Internet. If you do not know what you are doing, and you do not do it well, you will not properly secure the system and your personal information will be in jeopardy.

I'm not trying to be mean or dissuade you, but at this point, where the potential difficulty posed by the command line interface is the primary factor you are considering in your decision between a workstation and a server platform, you are not ready to do what needs to be done to prevent your machine from being hacked to pieces.

2) The reason this need not derail you entirely is that you are a bit mistaken in what you consider to be a "simple home server." A simple home server would be something like Windows Home Server, and using only its out-of-the-box functionality. That's push-button and easy to set up.

What you describe, on the other hand, is a set of not-regularly joined services: * CIFS file server (samba) * CUPS print server * Postfix(?) email server * Some sort of connectivity with a home security system (just for file storage? Hosting a web front-end of some sort?)

Few, if any, out-of-the-box solutions exist for that combination of services. CIFS/CUPS is pretty common, but a home email server? Some kind of integration with a home security system? That is non-trivial, right there. Any one of those will take you a good bit of time to get working properly at your present skill level. It's not impossible, but you should know what you're getting into.

Further, for an email server to function as you would like, you'll need a static IP address and a DNS service that you can use to post MX and SPF records. Without that configured, no major mail service will accept your mail (as a precaution against spammers, mail sent from dynamic IP addresses without proper DNS records is almost always dropped by every major mail provider). You can obtain a small virtual machine in a cloud provider with a static IP address to serve as a proxy for your home-based mail server, but again, this is really not trivial to set up. And then you have to consider what kind of back up solution you'll use, how to troubleshoot your own operational problems, and how you'll protect yourself against malicious software and spam (as was mentioned in another answer).

I hate to rain on your parade, but I'm hoping I can provide a forecast before you get the parade started, really. You may want to reschedule. Here's how I would recommend you proceed:

  1. Set up some hardware and install Fedora 27 Server on it. Constrain yourself to using only the command line. Tackle your goals in this order (ranked from easiest to most difficult):
  2. [Optional/Avoidable, hopefully] Set up ...
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Thank you for your reply... I guess i didnt fully understand the implications or possible outcomes of hitting the internet with an unprotected network. Your reply makes a heap of sense and gives me a few things to work on before i try to get too big .. Cheers :-)

cha4591929 gravatar imagecha4591929 ( 2018-01-13 03:03:26 -0500 )edit
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answered 2018-01-12 16:06:52 -0500

toddandmargo gravatar image

Hi Cha,

I have set up three Fedora server in the past two months. What I do is in stall the Fedora Xfce Live USB spin. This gives me a stripped install of Fedora. Then I add services as I need them. I do not care for the "everything" package. I only want running what I need.

Be careful with eMail servers. Keeping after the spam and virus filters is a full time job. Better to let gMail or Zoho Mail do it for you.

Be careful of setting up externally facing web servers. Again a full time job: you become a menu item on the dinner table of the bad guys who desperately want to hack you. The unprotected web can be a nasty place.

Samba is ridiculously easy to install.

su root -c "dnf install samba"

But you will need help the first time configuring it. There are a lot of help articles on the web. (XP and some multifunction scanners can be tricky to get to work with Samba.)

I use xfsdump/sfxrestore and dump/restore for backup and restore. It is command line, but it just works.

Stay away from XFS file system. It is really aggressive in its journalling. You lose a lot of stuff if it thinks something is wrong, It is VERY aggressive in that respect.

-T

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Asked: 2018-01-12 04:34:24 -0500

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Last updated: Jan 12