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I am looking for a good tutorial, or multiple tutorials, that can help me get more familiar with linux. I am not even what distro to use. I am not looking to use it as my desktop though. More like a file server.

Basically what I am wanting to do is:

  • be able to connect to the machine via a commandline interface (I do not need a gui for what I plan to do)
  • put files on the box
  • run programs I wrote on the box from another computer from the commandline

On my network I have both windows and osx machines that will need to connect to it. I am not even sure what to look for to find these tutorials on how to set this up, beyond calling it a fileserver. Any guidance would be appreciated. If I could set it up to be able to access it when away from home that would be a plus, but not a necessity.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted
  1. When in doubt, Ubuntu is a good choice
  2. You could use the Ubuntu Server Edition too
  3. Commandline connectivity would good be over SSH.
  4. A new Ubuntu edition is about to be released (9.10, Karmic Koala)
    But, if you start soon I'd suggest you start with the Jaunty 9.04.
    You may want to read up the time based releases page for Ubuntu.
  5. Consider a multi-partition setup
    where your files are organized in a secondary partition
    This will let you change/upgrade your OS more easily.
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That is what I was leaning towards. So Ubuntu Server Edition with SSH it is. Thanks for the links it cleared up a lot for me. – Jacob Schoen Oct 29 '09 at 2:26

Ubuntu has mindshare, but in reality for servers I like Debian and others like other distros, e.g. CentOS, SuSE, Red Hat, even Slackware. Any of 'em will work. Ubuntu's big current advantage is that because it's so popular there are lots of sources of help.

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just a note, its not SuSE, its openSUSE. People get ticked when you get it wrong, not me, but some fanatics – alpha1 Oct 29 '09 at 23:44

I use opensuse for basically that. Its actually a webserver, but i run remote apps and store files, and host a website off it. Any distro will work for this, its really a matter of what apps you need to run. On windows i use Xming, WinSCP, and putty to connect to the box. Xming allows you to run the linux X interface on windows, below is a screenshot of dolphin, runnin in Xming You should know what putty is. and WinSCP is a file manager that allows you to drag and drop files across the computers, as well as some file menu commands like touch, grep and such, and has a command line (very limited built in) All work via SSH, winSCP can work as ftp and scp as well.

Screenshot of dolphin running in Xming:

enter image description here

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good tip about Xming, etc. a full-on X environment isn't necessary on the server, but the OP will find a surprising amount of commandline software depends on X libraries. i ended up configuring a basic Xvnc server on my system that mostly gets ignored, but at least the Xlibs i need are already there. – quack quixote Oct 29 '09 at 6:02

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