Switching my energy-efficient homeserver to Aeon/MicroOS - questions

I am running a homeserver and have documented how to setup a homeserver using best practices, official documentation (arch wiki) etc to have as little as regular maintenance as possible and as little as notifications, only ones that matter. It should just do its thing. And very, very easy to restore (BTRFS).

After summer I would like to switch OS from Manjaro, which I only chose because out-of-the-box it does a lot right already, but obviously with lots of things a server doesn’t need, to OpenSUSE Aeon. I have read the wiki mostly already, and it made me very happy.

However, a few questions remain, just to see if I understand things. Hope the experts have some time to look at the following questions:

  1. Does it use bash or zsh by default?

  2. Does Aeon support something like a sysRq key, Suse seems to have it. Allowing one to gracefully reboot or power-off the system if the OS freezes. Is there a guide how to enable it for Aeon?

  3. Cronie and systemd are used by default in Tumbleweed, I suppose also in Aeon?

  4. I consider the following list of tools to be OS system tools, essential to my server to work properly. Am I correct thinking I should install these tools via transactional updates? Would that be considered a best-practice for these tools specifically?

  • wireguard-tools
    Wireguard is part of Linux Kernel, but this package is quite essential to be able to use Wireguard properly.
  • btrbk and mbuffer
    btrbk is the de facto system tool for BTRFS backups. It does the snapshotting, backing up to different local or networked (SSH) or USB locations, archiving backups, setting retention policies per target etc. Since it works directly with btrfs filesystem, I would also use it to delete snapshots automatically (to adhere to my retention policy).
    mbuffer is optionally used to provide a progress indication.
  • rsync, grsync and nocache, rsync
    to securily copy files and do so optionally without cache. Optionally also the GUI version of rsyn.
  • smartmontools including smartd systemd service
    to get S.M.A.R.T. data from drives and also warn when thresholds have been reached.
  • hdparm
    to read/set drive firmware settings
  • MergerFS
    to unionize multiple drives, without raid, just simple user-level unionizing.
  • SnapRAID
    to create parity drives, especially in combination with MergerFS.
  • PowerTOP
    Essential to ensure all C-levels of CPU (C-10) are used when idle and all hardware that can go into a lower state of power consumption, will do that. A homeserver is idle most of the time, saving power here is essential for an efficient server.
  • msmtp, s-nail
    The simplest way on Arch-based and Debian/Ubuntu based distros to allow the OS to send email notifications by adding your public SMTP server and set your default address in /etc/aliases. Not sure if OpenSUSE has its own solution. I simply followed Arch Wiki here, which is very simple to setup.

And lastly:
I always replace Gedit (Gnome Text Editor) with Pluma Text Editor. Very used to Pluma now (Xed is nearly identical so also an option if Pluma is not properly supported).
My main question here: I suppose Aeon comes with Gedit by default, not installed as Flatpak. If I want to replace it with Pluma, should I install it in the same way Gedit is installed? Or via Flatpak?

@zilexa Hi and welcome to the Forum :smile:

  1. Bash, but you can change…
  2. Yup with configuration tweak.
  3. Cron is dead, systemd timers are used.
  4. Wireguard works fine in my local tests last year… for the file system ones, the default is btrfs, never tried those raid tools… mail tools are the same.

You can use distrobox, so install your favorite distribution and carry on like you have in the past… Then there is podman as well.

The default text editor and others are already flatpaks, so install/remove as required…

Not sure why you would run a desktop for a server? For openSUSE there is YaST and Cockpit for local/remote management.

I use the self install image and combustion to build up what I want on the base via a virtual machine, then can just plug in the USB device with an image on the storage medium, boot and done, then finish off.

Best to test and see what works and doesn’t work for you :wink:

  1. Bash is the default in the base system
  2. Use systemd timers
  3. Only use transactional-update for things that absolutely need to be in the base system. i.e. Hardware Drivers and such.

The list you show there seem like things you would want to install in the base system, as they mostly seem to be hardware related. With the exception of rsync and its friends, and the mail stuff, I would recommend using a distrobox for that.

gedit is indeed installed via rpm as the default gui text editor. If you wish to use a different text editor, recommended practice is to use flatpak.

Generally speaking, if you’re planning on using this machine for pure server duty, I’m unclear why you’re looking at Aeon though. That’s not it’s intended usecase. You can certainly use it on a server, if that’s your pleasure, but it’s developed with the desktop in mind.

@sfalken not here…

flatpak list | grep Text
Text Editor	org.gnome.TextEditor	44.0	stable	user

zypper se -i gedit
Loading repository data...
Reading installed packages...
No matching items found.

Richard must have changed that. I don’t actually use Aeon myself anymore. It makes sense though. We only install Kate via RPM on Kalpa due to there not being a Kate flatpak.

I stand corrected.