Welcome to the world of Linux and Plugcomputers!
These days, there are many possibilities to set up a home server. Many different NAS-systems (Network Attached Storage) are available which also have basic functionality like file sharing, user management, FTP-access, BitTorrent download client, mail-server and so on. But buying a complete system, plugging it in and using the given functions is not what I want. I want a linux homeserver where I havefull control over the system and which gives me the possibility to add the functions I'd like to, which is much more fun ;)
This is what I am looking for:
- Sharing files in the home network
- Using a media center (like XBMC or MythTV)
- Direct reading access to the sharing folders and writing access for some specific users
- A backup-folder for every user (on a RAID-system for better data protection)
- The backup-folder or at least its content has to be encrypted. No one would feel very comfortable to have a backup location where theoretically everyone could read the content.
- Doing the backup should be system independent which would make it much easier to maintain
- FTP-access from outside the Home-network (or better SFTP)
- Accessing only specific folders
- Router/Gateway (and if needed, some kind of firewall)
- running a wuala-client
- If possible, the server has to run 24/7 (or at least during the daytime) which requires low power consumption
- Some kind of home-automation (sensors, switches, ...) controlled over the network
Using my old desktop computer as Linux-server (running ubuntu) was not a very good idea. The main problem was that it is very loud due to the fan noise and it used too much power, which is not needed. It worked pretty good by using Wake-On-Lan to start the server and remotely shutting it down when not in use, but that's not what I consider a perfect solution. A perfect solution (as I consider it) came up with the Plugcomputers, which have enough computing power for a home server, they run with low power consumption, they run with linux and they are aimed at the use of free and open source software.
The first time I heard of Plugcomputers was when I found out about the Sheevaplug. Of course, there were other low power computers available before the Sheevaplug came up, but they were basically aimed at developers and running them at home without a case is not what they are made for. Even though the Sheevaplug and the further developed Plugcomputers like the GuruPlug-family are also considered as development tools, their compact size, their nice housing and the available interfaces (network, USB, eSATA, Wireless, Bluetooth, ...) make them a perfect tool for the use at home. Especially because of their low power consumption, they are the perfect device to use as a home server.
The goal of this website
When I first got my GuruPlug, I started to take notes beginning with the initial setup steps of my linux homeserver. Since the plugcomputers are relatively new and setting up a home server becomes increasingly popular, I decided to share my ideas, thoughts and results. It should make it easier for other interested people to start, and since development-time is often wasted with the search for the right information, why not sharing my results and having one place for all.
The blog is the place where I will describe my progress, so it will be the place with the most changes. As soon as I finish one step, like setting up a new functionality, or if I get a new idea, I will publish an article about it. Feel free to add any idea you have and leave a comment if you have any question or contribution.