A whole new area

I have a pretty good desktop computer that is just sitting around getting obsolete. I would like to set it up as a server for my home network. Not a web server, but file server and print server primarily. Best bet would be for it be run without a monitor or keyboard. So, I’m looking for suggestions where I can obtain documentation, a lot less terse than man pages, that I can use to learn what I need to reach my goal. Kinda like “Linux Servers for Dummys” (does that exist? I’ll have to google that!).


Specs and disks? TBH I just got a cheap NAS and whacked some 1 TB drives in it and use as a samba share…less power, small fan…

It’s a Dell Inspiron with a Intel I5 @ 3.5 G, 12 G of 2400 ram and a single 1 T drive. I may want to change out the drive, but the rest of it should be more than I need for a server. I really don’t “need” to set this up, I have a Buffalo server that works, but I’d like to set it up headless and learn to maintain it using my desktop.


If your new Server is serving files to windows computers and Linux computers, I imagine a Samba server. But if only serving to Linux computers it’s a different matter. So here’s a question: what operating systems would the Clients be using in your Lan?

On Thu 02 Nov 2017 12:36:01 PM CDT, swerdna wrote:

If your new Server is serving files to windows computers and Linux
computers, I imagine a Samba server. But if only serving to Linux
computers it’s a different matter. So here’s a question: what operating
systems would the Clients be using in your Lan?

Or create a local ‘cloud’ owncloud or nextcloud(?) etc… But yes if
no windows machines just use ssh/sftp, well there is winscp?

Cheers Malcolm °¿° SUSE Knowledge Partner (Linux Counter #276890)
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All connecting machines will use openSUSE as an operating system. What I don’t know, and am looking for documentation for is:
What software should be installed.
How to set it up so that the computers in the network will have access to the files on the server.
What to use so that the user will be recognized on the network an not have to “log in” other than on the box he is using.
If I set up the server without monitor or keyboard, can I use the graphical desktop on the remote computer, or is it all command line?
Can the server be a print server? Would that take the load off each remote computer?
Um… so many things.

It wouldn’t be right to ask each question here on the forum, I’m asking for advice on where to find all this information, a book, a web page, where ever.


I would suggest think about how much storage you need (perhaps look at LVM) and also more important your backup strategy for your data. You say a 1TB drive, then you need something to back that up to…

Since it’s got some cpu power and ram, look at say one or two virtual machines doing different things, then you can snapshot that as a backup, if push comes to shove move the VM onto new hardware, temporary hardware… so many technologies…

Did I mention backup strategy, backup media and testing? :wink:

Actually, I disagree with that assumption, Bart. Personally, I think it would be a great thing to be asking here. The resulting thread(s) would be a step-by-step educational experience for other openSUSE users interested in similar objectives.

So, ask away.:wink:

Don’t re-invent the wheel; use something designed for this task - such as FreeNAS ( http://www.freenas.org/ )

If you want central authentication and there’s only linux machines, have a look at NIS.
If you want the server accessible for users have a look at NFS
There are tons of good howto’s out there on how to set these up. In the past I’ve used those two to export /home from the server and mount it on all PC’s. But, as time went by, PC’s were replaced by laptops that were also taken away from home …

You could also think of Nextcloud server, and install the nextcloud client package on the other machines.

If you are actually going to use the server in a production style, get an extra disk for automated backups

And, there the option to add the server as a mounted remote “drive” through Dolphin / Nautilus etc.

Alright, here goes: First, and most important is the fact I don’t really need a server. I want to use it as a learning tool. With that in mind, I envision using the server as a central location for documents, photos and the like that will be available to all (linux) machines on my network. I said “my” network as I don’t want access from outside my network. I do not see serving web pages even internally. I will of course, need to add or replace the hard drive. 4 T should be enough (said with a smile) Perhaps just mounting the server drive via an entry in each computer’s fstab would be the most logical. But, how to set up the permissions so only the user’s log in to the machine they are on will allow access?

As it is now, each computer has printers installed and is running it’s own printer cache, spool, process whatever, and if two people want to print to the same printer at the same time, I guess we’re letting the printer itself figure it out. Somehow, it does! Seems like I should be running all that on the server and offloading the processing from the local machine. How to do that?

Then, I want to remove the keyboard and monitor from the server and do all the updates, management and the like from my own computer. I’m thinking I should learn to do it all from the command line, but wonder if I could use a graphical method? For a lot of things, I find it easier.

With this in mind, I’m guessing I should install Leap 42.3 on this server machine, using a local monitor and keyboard to get it started and then, using SSH, log on to it and finish setting it up. This sound right?


Perhaps start with openSUSE software patterns, the YaST Software Management module can display a list of patterns to choose from, to install collections of applications for many different purposes. When you install a pattern, application(s) are installed with a default configuration which can provide a simple, working start point. Following is a screenshot of the available Server patterns, when you select a pattern in the left pane you can view the specific apps within that pattern in the main pane to the right.


Documentation resources are varied.
Much of the time documentation for smaller “utility” apps are usually included.
For larger packages, official documentation is usually in a separate package so you may want to do a quick search of the repository for optional packages like documentation, and possibly related YaST modules which would be graphical, easy to use tools for setup and configuration. Official documentation is almost always extensive and complete but perhaps too much for a first time deployment. If you find yourself overwhelmed by official documentation, perhaps a YaST tool is all you might need to get started, and then experiment for yourself… Nothing beats actually see something that works as soon as possible.

Of course search these Forums because whatever question you might have has probably been asked before. If you want an updated answer or can’t find something, pose your own question as you’ve already done.


You’re asking about “Single Sign-on” for which NIS is probably the simplest to deploy.
If authenticating is really not any issue (The network is only yourself or all highly trusted family) then you can consider no authentication, configure anonymous access for your Network services.

A printer queue supports multiple submitted printer jobs. All modern printers today have a small amount of memory to support, or you can configure a machine with more resources to be a Print Server to handle a larger number of simultaneous jobs and network connections if the printer isn’t already network enabled.

The easiest way to set up a machine is to have monitor, keyboard and possibly mouse attached at first but a fully headless install can be done, too.
If you use the YaST Remote Administration module to install and set up, you’ll have remote graphical access, even if you go headless. The openSUSE community documentation on this is pretty good (The following applies whether you’re running TW or LEAP)



… and, see, Bart? You get usefull answers like these.:wink:

(I highlighted Knurpht’s response, but you also have good advice from Tony.)

Oh yes! I have always gotten quick, accurate, useful answers to any problems I have had over the years! Always!

This server will most likely be useful alright, but it’s mainly a training exercise for me. I see I have quite a few choices I can make. It would probably be easier if I had a real need. I’ll do some studying and come up with something I can use and see if I can set it up. I already have a 4T Buffalo device sitting on my desk that I use for backup. I should probably have the new server do a sync of some sort to it based on a cron job. And I want to get the printers sorted out. I’ve always been able to get them to work, but never understood why they did!

Gonna be a few days though, I’ve got to go pick up what’s left of one of my steers at the packing plant tomorrow! Yumm! Steaks! The rest of the day will be spent hauling gravel to a construction site. That’s if it warms up enough that the stuff will come out of the truck! And I still have my wife’s computer sitting here waiting for me to figure out what’s wrong and fix it. Best Buy’s Geek squad says it’s fine, but it isn’t! When I find the bad part, I’m going to take it to that store and stuff it up… rather down their throats! :slight_smile:


Alright! Here we go. My network is composed of my desktop and my wife’s desktop. Both are running Leap 42.3. I have a laptop (42.3) that is used infrequently. I have another laptop that has Win 7 on it. I can access the drive attached to my router with it to get a file, and can access the internet through the router. I have two multifunction printers, an HP and a brother. I also have the usual stuff such as a TV and a home automation system and … but I don’t need to address them from my computers.

So now, I have a new Dell (with a too small drive :frowning: for the time being) that I installed leap 42.3 with the server package. I included the file server, print server and mail server packages but no graphical desktop. It has a user name and password, and the has it’s own password. It is attached to the network with a dedicated IP address. It has no monitor, keyboard or mouse.

My first question is: If I am sitting at a computer attached to my network, and I want to do something on the server, what is the accepted method? I do not forsee a need to address the server from outside my own network and in fact would like to prevent such access. I did enable SSH on the server. Is that needed on an internal network? If I trust all users on my network, should I use something other than SSH? Can I access the server from a terminal window on my computer’s desktop? I looked at the man page for SSH and the more I looked, the more overwhelmed I became. If that’s the proper method, could I get someone to suggest the proper command?

Next: I would like to replace some of the local folders on both my and my wife’s desktop to be actually on the server. Example: The Documents folder on both computers would actually be a folder (directory) on the server, so we would actually share that folder. I know I’ll have to change the default file creation permissions on our machines. Right now, I’m using a little utility I wrote to log our machines onto a Buffalo server that sits on my desk. But, it doesn’t have Linux permissions, so it works, but not great.

Answers to these questions will get me going.


If your “server” is set up right next to you, just swivel your chair and place your hands on the keyboard attached to that machine… :slight_smile:
Or, again if your “server” is right next to your workstation, you can invest in a KVM (Keyboard/Video/Monitor) switch so that you can use the same monitor/keyboard/mouse for both your Server and Workstation…

if your Server and Workstation are separated by a longer physical distance, then you would have to consider a remote console, generally over the network. Of course, such solutions require a working network.

And then you can consider remote graphical consoles like VNC, X over SSH and others…
a remote text console like SSH.

If you intend to use only your machine and your wife use hers, and you never swap and use each other’s machine, you probably want to leave your install defaults alone and store your User files locally on each machine. Remember that any time you store files on another machine, you’ve introduced a bit of complexity that can always be broken.

But, there are good reasons to configure network shares on your Server or your Buffalo File Server… You might want to **expand **your available storage and you might want to make some files available to not just your local User but to the other(s) (ie your wife) as well, and make those files available regardless whether you or your wife are actively on the network or not.


Well, it’s pretty close but your method would be way too easy! :wink:

I have figured a way to log on to the server using Konsole on my computer. I even spent the whole day figuring out how to get NFS running on the server and my computer. (YAY!!) I created a directory /home/common on the server drive and a folder /mnt/Server on my local drive. In my home folder is a link to /mnt/Server and I can open it and move files from my computer to the server and back. I will duplicate this on my wife’s computer and my laptop. I would like to have all files on the server be read/write/executable for my and my wife’s computers and the laptop. I suppose I could change the default creation permissions on all machines to 770, but I kinda don’t want that on the local machines. Is there a way to make that permission be active for just the server?

Also. since I had to change the firewall settings on my machine to allow NFS, are there any security considerations to consider? I am wired to a router that has a WiFi server.