Dell Open Source PC As Home Server

I took advantage of Tennessee’s tax free weekend and got a Dell Inspiron 530s desktop system with FreeDOS (and without a monitor) to replace my home server with one that is much more powerful, and hopefully more power-efficient. My current system is a Dell OptiPlex GX400, with a Pentium 4 1.4Ghz with 768MB ram and about 500GB total storage. The new system has a Core 2 Duo 2.13Ghz processor, 1GB of RAM (more to be added later), and has a 320GB hard drive. I’ll be moving the 400GB drive from my current server to a USB enclosure to use with this system as well.

The old server is running Gentoo Linux, and I’m planning on running Gentoo on the new one as well. My first problem with the system was the Intel gigabit network card. It’s the e1000 driver in Linux, and although the Gentoo LiveCD detected it, the module wouldn’t load. I booted to a Ubuntu CD with the same results, and found a thread that mentioned downloading a more current driver from Intel and loading that. I put it on a USB drive, and it worked in Ubuntu. However, when I tried it in the Gentoo LiveCD it didn’t work. Apparently the Ubuntu disc has the Linux kernel headers available, but the Gentoo CD doesn’t. I was eventually able to get Gentoo installed by using the LiveCD’s networkless install then chrooting into the install from within the Ubuntu CD where I had network support. After getting a base system up, I was able to load the new network driver in Gentoo, and after 24 hours I had a working system.

I am currently doing an "emerge -e world," which will recompile the entire system. Because I had done a networkless install, I had a bunch of applications that needed updating. Remembering back to the many times I have been through this process on the P4, it’s nice to have a dual-core system. It’s taking hours instead of days to get things done. Tomorrow when the emerge is finished I will install Apache, Samba, and all the other apps I need before I move the data over.

[tags]dell, linux, gentoo, ubuntu, server, inspiron, 530s, inspiron 530s, freedos[/tags]