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I'm an intermediate Linux user and a relative beginner to servers. I would like some help finding resources on setting up a basic server. I have Googled, and am a member of the Ubuntu Forums, but just figure it can't hurt to ask the Stack Overflow community for help as well.

I plan on installing on an old laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad R61i or Toshiba Satellite A105). I have downloaded the latest Ubuntu (9.10) but don't know how to do any of the configurations.

I just want a server to store my files where I can access (download and/ or stream) from a browser. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated.

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migrated from Apr 28 '10 at 17:20

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Definitely doesn't belong here - since this is more of a lightweight server question (looking for just a canned program or set of programs to quickly set up, not really deal with administration issues) I actually think it's a better fit for superuser than serverfault. – Jefromi Apr 28 '10 at 17:08
Thanks very much. I didn't even know this site existed lol. – Thomas Apr 28 '10 at 19:17
@Jefromi Home servers are perfect superuser material. Server fault is more for professional network administrators. "manage or maintain computers in a professional capacity" . – Jarvin Apr 29 '10 at 17:13
@Dan: You're agreeing with me. Reread what I wrote - it's from when this was on SO, and it says that this is better for superuser than for serverfault. (A couple people had voted to move it to serverfault, and I was trying to encourage it to end up here instead.) – Jefromi May 12 '10 at 18:23
@Jefromi You are indeed correct. I didn't notice this was migrated, so I assumed "here" meant superuser. My mistake. – Jarvin May 13 '10 at 3:53

If you want to be able to connect to it from a windows machine just like a normal windows network drive, then you'll want to use SAMBA.

Please see this for instructions.

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Cool. Thanks. I'm going to install tonight and play around with it until something right happens lol. – Thomas Apr 28 '10 at 20:11
This has been very helpful. Now I'm working on how to set up a firewall. I'm having trouble with the Shorewall section in that tutorial for some reason. – Thomas May 5 '10 at 22:27

Twonky Media Server is a good Package for linux but it cost the $$

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Mythbuntu might have everything you are looking for, this can also be used to record TV in the future if needed. MythTV can be used to play videos, recordings, music and view photos

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I wouldn't use samba over the internet, unless you're connecting into your network through a vpn. What I would use instead is secure ftp. if you want to stream the media, I would look @ some software available at The only streaming software I've used from this list is VideoLAN, and that was to stream video from a Windows box. It was pretty straightforward though, so I imagine the same will be of a linux box.

Don't forget that if you want a browser based interface, you'll want the apache and php packages installed as well.


This is a pretty good intro for linux server administration. The download link is broken but the mirror download link works as of right now. I was able to build a file server accessible over the internet from it. I used samba initially, but will be blocking that from outside my home network (aka internet). Good Luck :-)

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I'll check this out as well. Sounds like what you did is exactly what I want. Thanks! – Thomas May 11 '10 at 18:10
up vote 0 down vote accepted

This was a good starting point for me. As I'm new to servers, it helped to go through a tutorial. I understand most of what I did. Thanks everyone for your input! If you've got any more, keep it comin.


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You can leave comments to answers posted to your question regardless of your rep level. Click the "add comment" link. – random May 6 '10 at 0:13
I know that. But if my own research leads me to a solution, I post as an answer instead of a comment. – Thomas Jun 30 '10 at 12:50

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