Thursday, October 1, 2009

Windows XP to Debian Server Switch

Recently, I decided to switch from Windows XP to Debian, and further more decided to go cutting (read: bleeding) edge and install Debian Squeeze (Debian 6), which is still in the "unstable" phase. At the bottom of this post, I have a Youtube link to a video detailing the installation.

The list of programs that I had on my windows "server" was quite normal, nothing extremely special:
1. Subsonic - for streaming music\video (with my internet connection the video really wasn't practical.

2. uTorrent - I'm kind of a packrat, and I have almost all of the newest versions of software in RSS feeds (Check out SARDU antivirus, UBCD, etc.. I have RSS feeds for all that software so I can download the newest version automatically). As well, I for some reason need to have the newest releases for my favorite linux distro's.. you guessed it, RSS feeds.

3. Hamachi - For VPN, because I need a better router before I will implement OpenVPN, don't have enough NVRAM in my router for it to work. Feel free to donate to help me buy a better router :D.

4. Apache - hosts my web server, which hosts my freemind maps, and other test environments.

5. Freemind - For creating the mindmaps... I had this application shared through another computer, however since I was redoing that computer I was hoping to find a way to remotely share applications.

6. Remote Desktop - As I am not linux-fluent, I would need the gui for somethings, as I would not be able to accomplish everything from the command line.

The following programs were eventually used on my Debian server:
1. Subsonic - since this is Java based it works on pretty much anything. The first install went without any errors, but did not appear to work. Purging the installation and reinstalling worked... not sure what went wrong. As well, I had to change the ownership of some of the files, to root ownership.. my default logon was throwing up permission errors. However, once that was corrected, subsonic was up and running very well. The next thing I had to do was get it to start on boot. By adding the following line to /etc/rc.local "/var/subsonic/standalone/" Subsonic will boot on startup... rather easy compared to some programs rather long startup scripts.

2. Deluge - Bittorrent was eventually taken over by Deluge. This was a rather difficult one... I originally went for Transmission.. I then realized I wanted something with a Webui. Transmission was said to work with something called Clutch. However, I was unable to get that working. From there I turned to Deluge.. however, the debian repositories appear to be very out of date, they only had Deluge .5. I downloaded Deluge version 1.1.9, and after MANY struggles with dependencies for compiling and installing I finally got it up and running. The only complaint I have is that RSS feeds cannot be managed from the Webui.

3. Hamachi - Hamachi was rather easily installed, however there is one error that occurs when starting.. for some reason the tuncfg command is not run... I believe this is a permissions issue, and is something that needs to be changed with my startup script. As well, there seems to be problems connecting my windows 7 laptop to my server using hamachi; the hamachi connectivity is sporadic. I am currently looking into another solution.

4. Apache2 - Apache has been replace by Apache2. The installation was once again, very easy on debian, sudo apt-get install Apache2. There has been a change with apache2. You now edit the apache2.conf file instead of the httpd.conf file. It is my understanding that you can add lines to the (empty) httpd.conf file and they will be applied. All I did was copy my backed up web files to /var/www and replace the index.html, and I was once again up and running.

5. Freemind - Freemind was easily installed on debian, and worked exactly as it did on windows.

6. NxServer - I originally tried VNC viewer, but VNC was unable to run the server headless.. or at least I was unable to get it working. So I installed nxserver, and installed nxclient for viewing. NOTE: Once I installed xfce4 for the desktop manager, then I was able to use X11 forwarding to forward the desktop to the windows machine.. more on this in another post.

1. Webmin - Webmin is an amazing web-based administration suite for linux. A simple install and you can connect via port 10000. Webmin has many advanced options for managing your server, from apache2 configurations, to Samba configurations, all on a nice web-based interface, as shown below.

Essentially, I was able to replace my windows server with alternative software.. now it was much more difficult to get up and running, since I was quite inexperienced with Linux, but now that it is up and running, it runs much quicker than my windows box was running.. although most of that is due to the fact that I am running the server "headless". Below is a video detailing some of the installation.

At this point, the server is up and running... I have not run into any unexpected problems (once I got everything running strongly, when first configuring I ran into a lot) but there are a few kinks to work out still, especially with X11 forwarding.

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