I've built a silent soho server with an Atom mini-itx board. I need to choose a server OS for It. My needs are really simple:

  • File and print server on a small lan with only WinXP/7 (samba only no LDAP)
  • Dropbox text-mode client install (to have lan synch for a bunch of files and a little cloud backup)
  • Remote admin through ssh
  • Git for versioning all the documents in a folder (a free/cheap time machine ;) )
  • scheduled backup on an external USB drive

I've tried Ubuntu DESKTOP 10.04 just to test the system and everything seem snappy, now I'd like to ask you a piece of advice to choose between:

  • Ubuntu Server 10.04 (starting with something simple like this)
  • freeNAS
  • a clean Deabian install
  • Windows Home Server (if you really think It's a better choice I'm going to buy the license)

My main goal is to have an hassle free install since my requirements are small (the network has only 6 clients). I can manage to go only with the command line although I'm neither a linux newbie nor an expert.


You should use whatever you feel most comfortable administering. I would recommend Ubuntu because there is a lot of support available if you need it. I personally like Turnkey Linux. Webmin comes preconfigured so you don't have to do everything via command line unless you want to. The new TKLBAM tool allows you to easily configure a system backup to Amazon S3. Their current machines are still running on version 8.04, but the new versions should be out soon.

  • what changes if I want to use a sata connected compact falsh for the O.S. ? – microspino Sep 27 '10 at 10:56
  • If it is sata connected, it should show up the same as any other hard drive. There may be other system settings you could tweak, but I don't have any experience installing to CF. – slacker Sep 27 '10 at 14:40

Some people may not agree but I actually have a QEMU/LibVirt based virtualisation host running on a machine with a Atom 330 and 2GB of RAM running 24/7. Although the D510 does not have Intel-VT (like the Atom 330), it can nonetheless run virtualisation using QEMU with kqemu instead of KVM.

The reason that I am recommending this is because I have come to find it to be very useful. With a VM host, I can install a number of different VM systems instead of having to choose one specific one. This gives me the flexibility of using the appropriate OS for a specific task and even to experiment.

Since I am using the kqemu kernel module, the VM performance closely matches that of a native machine and does not degrade significantly. Not to mention that isolation is really great. I have a single VM in a public facing DMZ and the rest of the VMs can only be accessed from within the local network.

This is a guide to install libvirt on Debian Lenny, which has a non-KVM QEMU package.

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