Building The Ultimate Ubuntu Home Server

It is my goal to provide the means to create the perfect home server. I have been using Linux for about 1 year now. I started with Fedora for about 3 months, and having grown tired of the look and feel of Gnome in fedora, switched first to Kubuntu then Ubuntu and finally settled on Ubuntu studio (looks cool and comes with all the needed video and audio tinkering tools that I could dream of). I love the functionality that Ubuntu brings and of course the cost!

Beyond using Linux as my desktop, when I purchased a server about 3 months ago, I was completely oblivious as to the power of running a home server. Now all my computers can communicate through an internal mail system, can share a printer, have all my files and folders backed up and in a version control system. Essentially, it provides me with a commercial level of control, without any associated fee.  Which is exactly what I want.


Removing a file from the command line

In my last post I talked about the 3 main ways of creating files from the command line. Today I will look at how to remove a file. Generally, to remove anything you would use the following command.

rm myfile.text

This is a very simple command, although by using some flags we can make it both safer and easier to use. -I gives a prompt before removing three or more files or when removing recursively, -v (or –verbose) prints everything that has been removed. You can also use the sudo command to remove a file from a folder where you do not have permissions to write.

Creating Files Using the Command Line

Trying to do a simple post a day can be quite difficult, I have found. Thinking up new and original content is nigh impossible everyday, and while I have a dozen or so major articles and tutorials in the works, today is going to be something simple.

To this end today I have decided to talk about creating files in the command line.

There are many options, although three come to mind, each with there specific purposes.

Quick Tip – Fixing a Failed Apt-Get Update – Ubuntu

Woke up this morning, and as usually I had new software to download and install through updater on Ubuntu 10.04. So I click install updates and about halfway through updating it stops. No apparent reason, but the windows is frozen and cannot be closed.

After a quick search on the Ubuntu forums and a look at man apt-get, there appears to be a fix. (more…)

Choosing A Version – Ubuntu Server

Arg. So many flavors. Linux comes in many varieties, and then those varieties have versions. It can be so difficult to choose.

At the first level, Linux is broken up into distributions. There are many different distributions, and while on some level that are all fundamentally different, Many have the same general base. For example Ubuntu, Mint and Backtrack are all derivatives of the Debian distribution, an Operating system based upon fundemental principles and a complex package management system (read more about apt here)

For the next two levels of variety i will be referencing the Ubuntu distribution.

On the second level each distribution has a number of release versions of there OS. They are usually the latest release and a long term support release. The latest release is a stable version of the development version that is actively being worked on, and while it is stable, it is the most likely to break. The long term support release (LTS) is version which is more robust and will be supported further into the future.

At the next level down, each release version comes in a number of version for each CPU type. You can get 64 bit and 32 bit architecture OS and a version that supports arm architecture as well as many others. Mostly likely however you will have an Intel CPU and so will either use AMD64 or i386 versions.

Lets look at an example of choosing a Linux OS. For this example i will be selecting a OS for my server.

First off, we have to make a choice on the preference of which distribution we want to use. I love Debian based distributions, and have recently set up a number of Debian based servers for family friends. As Ubuntu is Debian based, and seems to trend well, i am going to stick with Ubuntu.

Now we need to make a decision of which release to choose.

As I primarily and building an experimental server, to run software that is new and need the all the latest builds, I am going to go with 10.10.

Next, you will need to know what hardware you have. Ideally you should choose AMD64. This version uses a 64bit address system and is far more extensible. Its a little bit better for some processes and not quite as fast for others. If you have older hardware, you may have to use the i386 type. It uses a 32bit address system and is perfectly fine for the home sever.

Always go with the AMD64 version. 64bit programming and process is the way of the future. If you are setting up the server on an old computer running a 32bit only CPU such as a Pentium 3 or 4, you will need to use the i386. The 64bit architecture also allows for much more memory, up to 64GB in the Ubuntu kernel (may be different for server edition), while the 32bit architecture only allows 4GB of memory (strictly speaking you can install software to support more).

You also need to choose which system you creating. This is easy now, where creating a server so we will need the server edition. Below is a description of the different system types for later if you need to know the differences

  • server
  • desktop
  • netbook
  • alternate

Server edition has the main difference to all others of a different kernel I/O handler and no GUI by default. despite this you can still install a GUI with apt-get install gnome-meta or KDE-meta packages

Desktop edition is the standard Ubuntu that comes with all the bells and whistles that makes an operating system useful to the primary end users. I has a GUI (Gnome of KDE depending on your choice) and standard applications and accessories.

Netbook edition is a slim and trim version of the desktop edition. As of Ubuntu 10.10 it uses a different graphical rendering program to display the on screen information and has a different layout.

Alternate edition is the same as the desktop edition, however it comes without the live (demo) functionality. This provides a much greater control over the set-up procedure but as a restore disk is more limiting.

My computer is very old. It runs a Pentium 3 and only supports 32bit architecture (I also only have 2GB RAM) so I will be using the Ubuntu below.


This is the version that I will be using throughout the series of setting up a home server.

Adding New Software – Ubuntu and Fedora

The greatest advantage the Linux, in particular the larger distributions such as Fedora and Ubuntu, is the vast amount of easily available software the can extend a basic setup and make it suitable for any possible situation. This is then made insanely easy by package management.

Think of package management as the ability of the user to look at all the possible software that they need and select, install, setup and troubleshoot and then provide a way to automate the procedure. It’s like the master key that unlocks the heart of functionality of Linux. The two big package management programs are yum on Fedora (and CentOS)  and apt on Ubuntu (and anything that is Debian based). They both work basically the same way and provide similar functionality. (more…)

Why Choose Ubuntu Server

Why Not.

Today, servers come in many many flavors, If your reading from a web browser you got your IP address from a DHCP server, sent information to a DNS server, more information to a web server, which accessed a database server. It is inescapable. And although it is undeniable that servers are everywhere (and will one day take over the world and rule with an iron fist) Why would you need one?

I use a server in my home for a number of reasons. I have 2 desktop computers, a laptop and a home built router. My server is the place where everything is put together and all the behind the scenes work happens. I never have data loss (theoretically that is) and all of my data and internal information is stored. I also can play games with my friends on it and it also allows my printer to be accessible from just about anywhere. This all happens because I have a server running Ubuntu 10.04 (more…)

Creating and Using Symlinks

Often we want some files to be in two places at once. Perhaps you are working a website that has its files in you home folder and then you want them to be displayed in /var/www/. Or maybe the software that your working with requests specific files in one folder but another program wants the in their current one. Despite the difficulty that I have in describing why you would need such an ability, There is know denying that eventually you are going to need to know how to use symlinks.

At the most basic level a symlink (AKA the Symbolic Link or sometimes referred to as a soft link) is a pointer that points to the actually location of the files without the program knowing that the files are not actually there. It also allows for a there to be differences in group and ownership if the content of a file, but more of that another time. (more…)

The Relaunch

Welcome to the Relaunch. I created this website initially at a time when I had very little spare time and while I had good intentions it never eventuated to anything. Now things are different; I have all the spare time in the world, I have learned so much more about computing in the last 6 months and I am at a stage now where I feel comfortable writing about my knowledge.

So it is that this is the relaunch of Yet Another Linux Blog.  Below is a list of the first of a number of different series of blog posts and pages that I will be working on over the next couple of months.

Linux Basics : Adding new software

Command Line : Creating and Using Symlinks

Ubuntu Server: Why Choose Ubuntu Server

I hope you enjoy these topics and posts. They will be continued to be broadened over time and added to. I am also always looking for new topics and ideas, so feel free to let me know if you do have a request.

Once again; Welcome!

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