Here's my plan: I have an old laptop, IBM R50e. I want to set it up as a home server to be reached by the other machines at home. I'll leave it open all the time. Can it be used as a server at home? What OS do you recommend? Is it safe to leave it open all the time?
migrated from serverfault.com Aug 18 '10 at 18:56
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Yes. You do not need specialised server hardware for a server, and considering you are running this at home your requirements will be reasonable low.
I like Windows Server, but you probably don't have the money to drop on a license. There is Ubuntu Server Edition which you should be fine with if you have Linux experience and don't mind using the console, otherwise use Ubuntu Desktop Edition which is just as capable as Ubuntu Server Edition but with a GUI.
If it is well ventilated, yes. You will need to configure the power options because it will most likely want to sleep every so often (being a laptop) but otherwise can run 24/7.