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I have a Pentium 4 machine that I would like to use as a File Server. I would like to know whether I should use Linux or Windows, I have some experience with Ubuntu and leaning toward Ubuntu Server. I would like to be able to access the server from my iphone, mac, and windows computer through my router. I just need this server for file hosting between my computers/iphone locally and not through the web and printer sharing.

Will a Pentium 4 be fast enough to do transfers of about 1-2 gigabytes? (I mean not taking hours) And where would I start in setting up after install?


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migrated from Sep 13 '10 at 18:17

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

This question would be better asked at SuperUser. You don't need to post over there, your question should be migrated shortly. – Holocryptic Sep 13 '10 at 18:04
Ok, thanks, didn't know exactly which to ask in. – sange Sep 13 '10 at 18:11
Related:… – Sathya Sep 13 '10 at 18:29
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Even a Pentium 4 is fast enough to shovel packets faster than most home broadband plans can support, so transfer rate is limited by your connection speed not the server itself. As for the file-hosting question from all of those apps, you should probably look into WebDAV. I don't remember how iOS handles that kind of connection, but it is the one method that could be usable both internally on your home network and externally from the wilds of the internet. Setting that up will depend on your comfort level with either OS. IIS on Windows can do it with a plugin, Apache can also also it from Linux. FreeNAS doesn't support WebDAV yet, but it might soon.

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If my printer has a Linux driver, would I be able to print over the network with it? The printer has no network adapter (wireless or LAN). – sange Sep 13 '10 at 19:47
Printing is special. I don't know how iOS printing is handled. It isn't easy to DIY it in a secure way from the Internet, but in your home network CUPS is supported by everything, and almost everything can print to Windows (thanks to Samba). – SysAdmin1138 Sep 13 '10 at 19:49
Ok, thanks, the iPhone printing is not too important, the Mac and Windows machines being able to print is more important to me. Currently my printer is hooked to my Windows machine, but I need to be able to print from either. – sange Sep 13 '10 at 19:51

For this purpose my favorite solution is Freenas
As an aside, I run from a LiveCD, put in a floppy or USB stick to save the configuration between boots (it ca save an read it automatically). Then to upgrade I just download and burn a new LiveCD. Web based interface is pretty straightforward. I would recommend using the native filesystem, I have had problems when trying to use an NTFS disk, if the power gets cut.
Speed will depend on the network card, the distro is very light and fast, SAMBA on this is much faster than on most full linux installations I have tried.

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