Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Post by Luis » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 21:17:11



Hello All,

I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my
personal host machine. Apart from the mainboard and some RAM, I will
add a 40GB HD and a DVD/CDRW combo.

My intention is to keep it working 24x7 at some corner of my living
room, and use it as a web server with Apache + Tomcat (or even probably
Tomcat only, at least in the beginning). I may also use it to download
some things with Emule. I will not attach any screen or keyboard to it
(except for the initial setup process, of course) and would always
access it remotely via RealVNC or some other remote console.

My main question is:

- Which is the best Linux distribution for this? I am an advanced
Windows XP user but I have very basic skills on Linux, so I would need
some simple distribution that does not need the kernel to be recompiled
or some other manual installation steps. I would also need some
XWindows interface unless I can run that from my remote client.

- My ADSL router works also as a firewall. Are there any security risks
if I only open the required ports?

- Is there some freeware XWindows client that I can run from Windows
XP, instead of RealVNC, in order to improve the screen refresh speed
when I access it remotely?

Thank you very much. I am new to any Linux newsgroups so I don't know
if crossposting is not nice... if so, I am sorry, but I really don't
know which is the best group to ask this question.

Regards,

   Luis.

 
 
 

Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Post by Unknow » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 21:53:24



> Hello All,

> I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my
> personal host machine. Apart from the mainboard and some RAM, I will
> add a 40GB HD and a DVD/CDRW combo.

Fanless is at best the 800Mhz board ! Is this wise ? The 1200Mhz board is
much faster....

Quote:

> My intention is to keep it working 24x7 at some corner of my living
> room, and use it as a web server with Apache + Tomcat (or even probably
> Tomcat only, at least in the beginning). I may also use it to download
> some things with Emule. I will not attach any screen or keyboard to it
> (except for the initial setup process, of course) and would always
> access it remotely via RealVNC or some other remote console.

Emule works (amule works better I find) - remember it hashes the files,
this is both an I/O and CPU intensive operation - this sucks on the 800Mhz
via boards, Im using one for this at the moment so I know how much it
sucks !

Quote:> My main question is:

> - Which is the best Linux distribution for this?

No "best"... Im using fedora core 3 on my via machine, Debian would be the
"best" choice for performance as its simpler to cut down to the core - but
personally I would save some time and go a simpler route.

 I am an advanced

Quote:> Windows XP user but I have very basic skills on Linux, so I would need
> some simple distribution that does not need the kernel to be recompiled
> or some other manual installation steps.

All Linux would need some manual steps. If you want a GUI driven solution
to do everything you want then best come back in ten years...... Its very
unlikely you would need to build a kernel though !

You will need to edit some files for the XVNC server, for amule you
would need to build and install wx libs and amule from source.

http://www.wxwidgets.org/dl_gtk.htm
http://www.amule.org/

 I would also need some XWindows

Quote:> interface unless I can run that from my remote client.

With Xvnc server you can use the windows VNC client to connect.

Quote:> - My ADSL router works also as a firewall. Are there any security risks
> if I only open the required ports?

Always a risk, just not a large one.

Forward ports 4660 to 4680 and 36406 in tcp and udp - some of the docs
i've read are not complete, it will work with less ports - just much more
slowly !

Quote:> - Is there some freeware XWindows client that I can run from Windows XP,
> instead of RealVNC, in order to improve the screen refresh speed when I
> access it remotely?

You can run X - but it wont be much faster, the 800Mhz via board its a
bit slow for this setup

From windows this works well as an X server.
http://x.cygwin.com/

If you have the time then go for, but only if you want to spend the
time.......

Jon

 
 
 

Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Post by Georg Holderie » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 14:05:03



> I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my
> personal host machine.
> ..
> - Which is the best Linux distribution for this? I am an advanced
> Windows XP user but I have very basic skills on Linux, so I would need
> some simple distribution that does not need the kernel to be recompiled
> or some other manual installation steps.

Speaking from my experience with trying various linux distros on epia
mini-itx boards I can recommend ubuntu / kubuntu as the easiest to install
and everything working out of the box.

http://www.ubuntu.com/
http://www.kubuntu.org/

For a server with remote administration this is perfect.

To get the most horsepower out of an anemic cpu you can install gentoo,

http://www.gentoo.org/

where everything is compiled during the installation and therefore optimized
for your hardware.

However the Gentoo installation is not for the novice.
Be prepared for many nights of painful frustration.
I only got my Gentoo going with the help of a friend who has a PhD in
Gentooology :-)
Once it is running, administration is a breeze.

For security Debian is a good choice because it can automatilally download
and install all security updates every day.
That's what we're using for the web server where I work and we're happy with
it.

http://www.us.debian.org/

George

 
 
 

Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Post by General Schvantzkop » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 22:09:20



> Hello All,

> I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my personal
> host machine. Apart from the mainboard and some RAM, I will add a 40GB HD
> and a DVD/CDRW combo.

> My intention is to keep it working 24x7 at some corner of my living room,
> and use it as a web server with Apache + Tomcat (or even probably Tomcat
> only, at least in the beginning). I may also use it to download some
> things with Emule. I will not attach any screen or keyboard to it (except
> for the initial setup process, of course) and would always access it
> remotely via RealVNC or some other remote console.

> My main question is:

> - Which is the best Linux distribution for this? I am an advanced Windows
> XP user but I have very basic skills on Linux, so I would need some simple
> distribution that does not need the kernel to be recompiled or some other
> manual installation steps. I would also need some XWindows interface
> unless I can run that from my remote client.

> - My ADSL router works also as a firewall. Are there any security risks if
> I only open the required ports?

> - Is there some freeware XWindows client that I can run from Windows XP,
> instead of RealVNC, in order to improve the screen refresh speed when I
> access it remotely?

> Thank you very much. I am new to any Linux newsgroups so I don't know if
> crossposting is not nice... if so, I am sorry, but I really don't know
> which is the best group to ask this question.

> Regards,

>    Luis.

Any Linux distribution is fine for what you want to do. If you have any
friends who are Linux users the use what they are using. I use Fedora Core
4, it has everything in it, but so do SUSE, Mandriva, Ubuntu. Which ever
distribution you choose I recommend that you put Webmin,
http://www.webmin.com, on your system. Webmin gives you the ability to
administer your system from a browser which is perfect for you because you
aren't going to have a local keyboard or display. Also the Webmin admin
tools for servers are very easy to use.

On you Windows box install Cygwin, http://www.cygwin.com. Cygwin will give
you an X server, ssh, tcsh, bash, basically a full *nix environment on
your Windows system. When you do the install make sure that you select
everything instead of doing the default install. I find there default
choices to be inadequate and it's easier to just install the whole thing
then to pick and choose.

 
 
 

Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Post by John Stumble » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 23:21:48




>> Hello All,

>> I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my
>> personal host machine. Apart from the mainboard and some RAM, I will
>> add a 40GB HD and a DVD/CDRW combo.
> Fanless is at best the 800Mhz board ! Is this wise ? The 1200Mhz board is
> much faster....

Should be fine for a web server. I've been running an 800MHz box with 2-3
users with KDE :-(. The processor speed should only be an issue for
stuff like audio & video processing.
 
 
 

Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Post by Unknow » Wed, 22 Mar 2006 23:53:44





>>> Hello All,

>>> I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my
>>> personal host machine. Apart from the mainboard and some RAM, I will
>>> add a 40GB HD and a DVD/CDRW combo.
>> Fanless is at best the 800Mhz board ! Is this wise ? The 1200Mhz board is
>> much faster....

> Should be fine for a web server. I've been running an 800MHz box with 2-3
> users with KDE :-(. The processor speed should only be an issue for
> stuff like audio & video processing.

He also wants to run a donkey client. As I stated the 800Mhz board is
painfully slow calculating the file hashes. For example downloading 20GB
of data with 600MB per file average - startup time with complete file
hashes 1.4Hrs on 800Mhz via, 12mins of 1Ghz athlon T/Bird, its not I/O
speed thats the bottleneck its CPU.

Jon

 
 
 

Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Post by ray » Thu, 23 Mar 2006 01:05:28



> Hello All,

> I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my
> personal host machine. Apart from the mainboard and some RAM, I will
> add a 40GB HD and a DVD/CDRW combo.

> My intention is to keep it working 24x7 at some corner of my living
> room, and use it as a web server with Apache + Tomcat (or even probably
> Tomcat only, at least in the beginning). I may also use it to download
> some things with Emule. I will not attach any screen or keyboard to it
> (except for the initial setup process, of course) and would always
> access it remotely via RealVNC or some other remote console.

> My main question is:

> - Which is the best Linux distribution for this? I am an advanced
> Windows XP user but I have very basic skills on Linux, so I would need
> some simple distribution that does not need the kernel to be recompiled
> or some other manual installation steps. I would also need some
> XWindows interface unless I can run that from my remote client.

Your requirements are at odds. Assuming this is a VIA mini-itx with
integrated C3 processor - the absolute best distro is Gentoo from a stage
one install. There is a wiki which details the steps, but it is time
consuming and demands attention to detail. Mine took about a week to
install. Gentoo will dowload every piece of software as source code and
compile it, specifically optimized for your hardware. It is significantly
faster than any 'out of the box' distro. It sounds like you're probably
not up to that yet, so go to www.distrowatch.com and do your homework.
Also pay attention to the via arena forums. BTW - note that technically,
Gentoo meets your requirements, since it would be a kernel (and everything
else) compile rather than a recompile.

Quote:

> - My ADSL router works also as a firewall. Are there any security risks
> if I only open the required ports?

Security risks are pretty much nil with Linux. I'm running four computers
on a DSL connection - up 24/7/365 with no particular precautions. Been
doing this for three years with zero malware infectins.

Quote:

> - Is there some freeware XWindows client that I can run from Windows
> XP, instead of RealVNC, in order to improve the screen refresh speed
> when I access it remotely?

Yes. See Kenton Lee's X/Motif page for a list of X servers for MS. The
standard is pretty much Hummingbird's Exceed - but it is quite expensive.
There are various products from free to insanely expensive. I favor X
manager since it supports multiple X sessions. They have a very good demo
version - highly recommended.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:

> Thank you very much. I am new to any Linux newsgroups so I don't know
> if crossposting is not nice... if so, I am sorry, but I really don't
> know which is the best group to ask this question.

> Regards,

>    Luis.

 
 
 

Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Post by ray » Thu, 23 Mar 2006 01:07:53




>> Hello All,

>> I am about to buy a Mini-ITX fanless PC in order to use it as my
>> personal host machine. Apart from the mainboard and some RAM, I will
>> add a 40GB HD and a DVD/CDRW combo.
> Fanless is at best the 800Mhz board ! Is this wise ? The 1200Mhz board is
> much faster....

I believe there are a couple of companies selling 1ghz fanless systems.

Quote:

>> My intention is to keep it working 24x7 at some corner of my living
>> room, and use it as a web server with Apache + Tomcat (or even probably
>> Tomcat only, at least in the beginning). I may also use it to download
>> some things with Emule. I will not attach any screen or keyboard to it
>> (except for the initial setup process, of course) and would always
>> access it remotely via RealVNC or some other remote console.

> Emule works (amule works better I find) - remember it hashes the files,
> this is both an I/O and CPU intensive operation - this sucks on the 800Mhz
> via boards, Im using one for this at the moment so I know how much it
> sucks !

>> My main question is:

>> - Which is the best Linux distribution for this?
> No "best"... Im using fedora core 3 on my via machine, Debian would be the
> "best" choice for performance as its simpler to cut down to the core - but
> personally I would save some time and go a simpler route.

IMHO - for a VIA mini-itx there is a 'best' - Gentoo from stage one. It is
significantly faster (being totally optimized for the hardware) than every
other distro I have tried - and I've tried a LOT.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:

>  I am an advanced
>> Windows XP user but I have very basic skills on Linux, so I would need
>> some simple distribution that does not need the kernel to be recompiled
>> or some other manual installation steps.
> All Linux would need some manual steps. If you want a GUI driven solution
> to do everything you want then best come back in ten years...... Its very
> unlikely you would need to build a kernel though !

> You will need to edit some files for the XVNC server, for amule you
> would need to build and install wx libs and amule from source.

> http://www.wxwidgets.org/dl_gtk.htm
> http://www.amule.org/

>  I would also need some XWindows
>> interface unless I can run that from my remote client.
> With Xvnc server you can use the windows VNC client to connect.

>> - My ADSL router works also as a firewall. Are there any security risks
>> if I only open the required ports?
> Always a risk, just not a large one.

> Forward ports 4660 to 4680 and 36406 in tcp and udp - some of the docs
> i've read are not complete, it will work with less ports - just much more
> slowly !

>> - Is there some freeware XWindows client that I can run from Windows XP,
>> instead of RealVNC, in order to improve the screen refresh speed when I
>> access it remotely?
> You can run X - but it wont be much faster, the 800Mhz via board its a
> bit slow for this setup

> From windows this works well as an X server.
> http://x.cygwin.com/

> If you have the time then go for, but only if you want to spend the
> time.......

> Jon

 
 
 

Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Post by Lew Pitche » Thu, 23 Mar 2006 01:30:54


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Hash: SHA1



>> - Is there some freeware XWindows client that I can run from Windows
>> XP, instead of RealVNC, in order to improve the screen refresh speed
>> when I access it remotely?

> Yes. See Kenton Lee's X/Motif page for a list of X servers for MS. The
> standard is pretty much Hummingbird's Exceed - but it is quite expensive.
> There are various products from free to insanely expensive. I favor X
> manager since it supports multiple X sessions. They have a very good demo
> version - highly recommended.

For what it's worth, Red Hat supports the CygWin port of Unix tools,
including the CygWin X server port for MSWindows. Since this is a port
of the Xorg (or Xfree86, I've forgotten which) X server, it is FOSS, and
 freely downloadable and usable without restriction. See
http://x.cygwin.com/

I use the Xming windows port of the x.org x server. It is lighter than
the CygWin port as it leaves out all of the Unix support tools, and just
gives you an X server. Along with PuTTY (an FOSS ssh client for
Windows), it makes an ideal X environment for remote access.
http://www.straightrunning.com/XmingNotes/

http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/

- --

Lew Pitcher, IT Specialist, Corporate Technology Solutions,
Enterprise Technology Solutions, TD Bank Financial Group

(Opinions expressed here are my own, not my employer's)
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Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Post by ray » Thu, 23 Mar 2006 05:22:13


I prefer X manager - it works pretty well, allows multiple X sessions, and
the eval copy handles my needs.
 
 
 

Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Post by Lew Pitche » Thu, 23 Mar 2006 05:57:53


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> I prefer X manager - it works pretty well, allows multiple X sessions, and
> the eval copy handles my needs.

To each his own, I guess

I prefer Xming. It too allows multiple X sessions (rootless, if I want),
and it is FOSS, licenced under the GPL.

- --

Lew Pitcher, IT Specialist, Corporate Technology Solutions,
Enterprise Technology Solutions, TD Bank Financial Group

(Opinions expressed here are my own, not my employer's)
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Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Post by ray » Thu, 23 Mar 2006 08:13:40



> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1


>> I prefer X manager - it works pretty well, allows multiple X sessions, and
>> the eval copy handles my needs.

> To each his own, I guess

> I prefer Xming. It too allows multiple X sessions (rootless, if I want),
> and it is FOSS, licenced under the GPL.

> - --

> Lew Pitcher, IT Specialist, Corporate Technology Solutions,
> Enterprise Technology Solutions, TD Bank Financial Group

> (Opinions expressed here are my own, not my employer's)
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> x8OemtZGqQ7OeR72eS9UH/I=
> =4BxK
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Thanks for the reference - I'll see if I can find time to try it out in
the near future. It has been several years since I did an exhaustive
comparison; at that time, I tried basically everything I could find -
mostly those referred from Kenton Lee's X/Motif page. I found that most of
the 'free' packages were quite slow - several were Java based.
 
 
 

Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Post by CBFalcone » Thu, 23 Mar 2006 07:28:22



... snip ...

> Thank you very much. I am new to any Linux newsgroups so I don't
> know if crossposting is not nice... if so, I am sorry, but I
> really don't know which is the best group to ask this question.

Then cross-post the original query, but set follow-ups to a single
group, where you will monitor the responses.  That avoids the
interminable threads from hell, gets you the exposure, and is
generally manageable and efficient.

--
"If you want to post a followup via groups.google.com, don't use
 the broken "Reply" link at the bottom of the article.  Click on
 "show options" at the top of the article, then click on the
 "Reply" at the bottom of the article headers." - Keith Thompson
More details at: <http://cfaj.freeshell.org/google/>
Also see <http://www.safalra.com/special/googlegroupsreply/>

 
 
 

Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Post by Daniel Jame » Thu, 23 Mar 2006 19:25:46



Quote:> Then cross-post the original query, but set follow-ups to a single
> group, where you will monitor the responses.

<sigh>

That doesn't work. One still has to guess which group is most appropriate
for the follow-up.

Modern newsreaders handle crossposting fairly elegantly and nobody using
one should be troubled by seeing any of the messages more than once,
crossposting with a follow-up is comparatively messy as any the answers are
liable to end up in a different group from that in which the poster saw the
question.

Furthermore, if I see a question that has a follow-up to a group that I
don't follow I don't know whether it has already been answered or not; so I
run the risk, if I relpy, that I will cause unnecessary duplication (as
well as further thread fragmentation).

Crossposting is best avoided, but followups (used this way) are evil.

Cheers,
 Daniel.

 
 
 

Best Linux distribution for a Mini-ITX server?

Post by Nico Kadel-Garci » Thu, 23 Mar 2006 21:41:28



> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1



>>> - Is there some freeware XWindows client that I can run from Windows
>>> XP, instead of RealVNC, in order to improve the screen refresh speed
>>> when I access it remotely?

>> Yes. See Kenton Lee's X/Motif page for a list of X servers for MS.
>> The standard is pretty much Hummingbird's Exceed - but it is quite
>> expensive. There are various products from free to insanely
>> expensive. I favor X manager since it supports multiple X sessions.
>> They have a very good demo version - highly recommended.

> For what it's worth, Red Hat supports the CygWin port of Unix tools,
> including the CygWin X server port for MSWindows. Since this is a port
> of the Xorg (or Xfree86, I've forgotten which) X server, it is FOSS,
> and freely downloadable and usable without restriction. See
> http://x.cygwin.com/

It's Xorg: RedHat and other vendors dumped XFree86 when they got strange
with their licensing, and when it became clear that the Xorg developers were
actually paying attention to the needs of the users (such as properly
supporting the large group of CygWin users by actually accepting patches to
make it work there.)

I've had very good success with it: it's fundamentally smaller and
friendlier than the commercial X products, and I find that it;s less likely
to fail with poorly written X apps. But X was simply not *designed* for fast
remote access speeds: stapling the X display system on top of Windows fairly
strange system to get a working display is.a hard problem.

Quote:> I use the Xming windows port of the x.org x server. It is lighter than
> the CygWin port as it leaves out all of the Unix support tools, and
> just gives you an X server. Along with PuTTY (an FOSS ssh client for
> Windows), it makes an ideal X environment for remote access.
> http://www.straightrunning.com/XmingNotes/

> http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/

Cool. How well does it do weird fonts and displays? The RedHat
"systm-config" tools have turned out to be particularly painful.
 
 
 

1. Which Linux Distribution For Via Epia-ME6000 Mini-ITX Motherboard?

I am setting up a new mini-PC built around the Via Epia-ME6000
mini-ITX motherboard with a fanless Eden cpu, Via CLE266 North Bridge
and VT8235 South Bridge. I intend to connect it to the Net 24/7 via
DSL. With Linux of course. Downloading, file-sharing and web-browsing
will be my primary usage.

Which current distribution available is most suitable for this system?

I also have the May, 2003 issue of Linux Format with DVD containing
the following Distro ISOs: ADIOSBootCD, BBlangentRouter, Byzantine,
FdLinux, RPM-livelinuxcd, SoL-diag, and VectorLinux.

What concerns me is that the Via Eden cpu is not a Pentium- or
Athlon-derivative which may complicate my install. I have read that I
can recompile the kernel optimized for this chip but I need to get
Linux up and running first.

Also, I have an IDE CD-burner sitting in a USB2/FireWire enclosure. I
would like to boot and install from that because I intend to to have
no floppy or CD-ROM drive installed directly to the motherboard.

I suspect that I will have to find out how to do half of this myself
but I will appreciate any advice that will give me a head start. I'll
be more than happy to give updates on my situation if there's enough
interest here.

Thank you in advance.

2. Emacs_on_linux_SLIP_and_GNUS

3. AD: mini-ITX case that looks like a DVD player

4. Zombies

5. mini-itx power supply

6. Re-enable CDE

7. Mini-ITX type board

8. Shell Scripts

9. usb networking on mini-itx

10. Mini-ITX has no watchdog?

11. mini-itx

12. VIA EPIA 5000 Mini-ITX output to TV

13. Low power usage mini-ITX motherboard that works with a 72.v 3000ma battery?