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Tomas Gallucci

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Linux Tech Support [May. 8th, 2007|03:09 pm]
Tomas Gallucci
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I have a situation. Two really.

First of all, I love Red Hat/Fedora Core. I don't know why I'm so dedicated to it because I've never had much luck with it, but then again, I haven't had a dedicated bad ass machine to run Linux on either.

I've inherited an old HP Celeron box. I meant to check the specs before I left for work this morning, but I want to say it's in the 2.X Ghz range. Currently it only has 128 Megs, but I can upgrade it to 1 GB for $76.

So I have two questions for the gurus out there like ehowton, drax0r, and princessleia2. First of all, I would like to run a Linux OS on x86 architecture. I don't mind having naught but CLI, but I would be nice to have a GUI to get some things done quickly. I've not tried any other distros. I did have a bad experience installing Mandrake a few years ago. It looks too simple. What is the "best" x86 Linux distro that has a small footprint, few OS specific commands and a GUI that doesn't take a mammoth to run. I'd like use this box to run Apache as well as serve as a file server. That brings me to my next topic...

As many of you know, Black Widow died from a fried motherboard. (In four years I hadn't come up with a better name for her and I still don't have a name for my new laptop. Maybe I'll just pull a Strong Bad and call it Lappy.) The point is, I bought USB enclosures for both of the drives. I am going to use Sync Toy to sync the folders between the two drives and create a comprehensive back up upon the initial sync. I will do incremental back ups each time I sync. My plan was to either leave one of the drives (a 160 IDE drive) at work or hook it up to the HP Linux server so I can have access to all of my data at work and leave the other (300 SATA which will remain NTFS) sitting on my desk and for travel. At first I thought about making the 160 a FAT 32 drive so I could hook it up to a Linux box as well as Windows (for syncing and traveling.) I'm assuming that OS X understands FAT 32 as well.

I don't like the drawback to having a FAT 32 drive. The sectors are too slow, there is no redundancy and no journaling. I considered using ext3 or whatever Linux is up to now, but then I wouldn't be able to sync it with the other drive via Windows. I was wondering if anyone knew of a file system that Windows can read/write but would be just as accessible for Linux or, have the bugs been worked out with Linux such that reading and writing to NTFS is no longer an issue?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: ehowton
2007-05-09 12:22 am (UTC)
You don't have the ability to notice one sector speed over the other in that environment, so scratch that off your list. You'll be syncing your data, so that's your redundancy - scratch that off your list. If you can explain to me how a journaled file system is going to help your USB drive, you might actually need it, at the expense of not using it plug & play on on any of your other systems. In other words, scratch that off your list too. The only thing FAT 32 is going to limit you on is its ability to write files over 2GB in size. Trust me, you don't have anything like that.

Personally, I now use kubuntu. Mostly because I can install a complete running system in under 10 minutes. That's generally all I care about. Also, they release very timely updates. Gentoo is fun, slackware is awesome, debian is stable, BSD is now SYSV. I'm not very familiar with any others - regardless, I go through a lot of systems, and nothing loads faster ready-to-use out-of-the-box than [kx]ubuntu.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2007-05-09 03:14 am (UTC)
I get the feeling that ubuntu takes a lot knowledge to begin with. Is that a correct statement?

And since speed isn't an issue, is there any other filesystem I should work with or just stick to FAT 32? I had considered putting the IDE drive in the Linux box as a slave if I get a stable OS running and figure out the networking and daemon settings...this might finally be the time to learn about Samba...I should be able to map a drive in Windows to that physical drive on the server regardless the file system so long as Windows can read and write the filesystem, right? If that is the case, I can sync the drives that way since Windows would be able to read the IDE drive mounted internally in the Linux box even if it were running a different file system, right?
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2007-10-07 02:58 pm (UTC)
For the record, I now have tarballs that are over 10 GB on that drive witch is not formated at ext3.
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2007-10-07 03:16 pm (UTC)
Good luck with that.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2007-10-07 09:29 pm (UTC)
You make it sound like I've made a mistake or something.
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[User Picture]From: princessleia2
2007-05-09 11:49 am (UTC)
I'm going to second the [kx]ubuntu recommendation (I use Xubuntu). It doesn't take a lot of knowledge to begin with, rather it is built on the Debian infrastructure that means you can start off as a total newbie and progress into quite the power user based on how much you want to learn.

Upgrade the RAM though, it's a severe limiting factor. As it is now you'd have to use the "alternate" install CD for ubuntu because 128M RAM isn't enough for the regular installer.

The bugs of writing to NTFS are mostly gone, but I wouldn't trust a fileserver to it. We use Samba on our home network, which I think is the best solution (since, in our case, it's so much more flexible in usage than some windows FS). Honestly I don't know enough about FAT32 to see if that's a decent way to go.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2007-05-09 12:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your reply.


Sounds like I'm going to have to finally break down and study that beast called Samba. :(

I did have a question about the difference between the Desktop and Server versions of the OS. The main one is are there applications that missing from the server version that are available in the Desktop version? I know that when I used Red Hat/Fedora everything was on the discs and I could pick and choose what I wanted to install.

Is 128MB enough to run the live CDs so I can preview ubuntu?
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[User Picture]From: princessleia2
2007-05-09 01:09 pm (UTC)
With Ubuntu (and Debian) generally you only get the basics of a system on a single CD. Which means for a Desktop install you get a GUI, a bunch of popular apps, whatever they feel a normal person would want and will fit on a 700M iso. With a Server they don't give you a GUI, just give you a webserver or mailserver or whatever you choose to install during the installation. Once you have the base system installed you use either the command line applications or the "Synaptic" Package Manager to click through lists of packages and install what you want - the packages are downloaded from the internet and installed real quick. The package management system used is called "apt"

I used the server install on my laptop because I only had a 3G harddrive and didn't want to fill it up with a lot of applications I wouldn't use. So I did the most basic installation possible and installed everything I wanted via apt (including the GUI!)

No, 128M RAM is not enough to run the LiveCD.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2007-05-09 01:13 pm (UTC)
downloading and installing the GUI like that is impressive.

I'll get some RAM and give ubuntu a try.
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[User Picture]From: princessleia2
2007-05-09 07:45 pm (UTC)
Not too impressive, if you have supported hardware it's as easy as typing "apt-get install xserver-xorg xfce4" (and maybe a couple other packages you sort out needing)
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2007-05-09 11:35 pm (UTC)
well of courseto you and I it is a command that consists of only so many keystrokes.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2008-02-23 05:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks for pushing Ubuntu. While my server was short lived, I learned a lot from setting it up and using it. I think I'm about to have another opportunity soon to manage my own server. This time I'm considering Debian because one of the goals is to run work's software on my server. While they don't currently support Ubuntu carte blanc they do support Debian, ergo...

I'll post about it when the time comes.
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