Joined: Nov. 2005
||Posted: Sep. 30 2006,14:39
Ok. Here is my experience. I have a Mini-ITX home server I experiment with and use. It is used mostly as a file/print/backup server. The Mobo is the via 5000 board which is the least expensive and (I believe first) offerring. I have played with trying serveral different serves ftp, ssh, vnc, http (using the dsl money server), edna (music server) skype (ip phone), storing and playing movies.
The only real problem I found with the Mini-ITX 5000 was the sound does not work well if at all. I have read from another contributor that he had the same problem and found that if he jumper the front input pins on mobo for the front panel sound jack (since he did not have a case with a front panel sound input) he could get the sound to work. However the 5000 does not have these pins on the Mobo so I could not try that solution. I did purchase a usb sound jack and that will work for most things. If I had to do it over I would look a later model for the higher processor speed, althought this one works fine for my purpose. The 5000 is a 533M processor if I remember correctly. If you want a fanless mobo you are limitted and of course there is a trade off with price.
Most of the services I have tried work fine. All of the file sharing seems to work well, samba, ftp, ssh. You can even setup a vnc server and remotely get at your computer. Mine is setup as a headless server and I maintain it with vnc. You can even access your server from outside your home network using vnc over ssh for secure access.
Things that I have had trouble with and that did not work for me are:
Skype - while I got this to work the quality seemed poor to the person at the other end and since I had it on other computers that did not have this problem I did not pursue it on this box.
Video storage - there is a 2G limitation on file sizes for samba (i think) and this limits the size of video files that can be stored on the server. I am experimenting with using a linux program mpgtx to split the files.
samba - this works well but does take some configuration and study but if you have hacked the nslu-2 you must have some experience. Setting up a print server is a little challenging but I use samba on the server to print the raw file via cups. In this way the print driver is on the client. Getting the right driver for you printer on the server is not always easy since you selection is limitted.
When I first started this project I wanted to have a completely silent server so I set it up with a flash card and this work fine. However, since I wanted large storage space available I added a hard drive and the flash seemed unnecessary and did have some limitations, like the number of writes you can make to a flash drive. Using a hard drive does come with some draw backs related to noise. I find that some drives can be relatively loud if you have the box sitting off the bed room for example. However, you can use a good case to reduce the noise or with a headless box stick it in the closet.
I have not tried using this much as a http server since I really don't have much to put on it but for a simple http server monkey seems to work fine. I do not know what it would take to upgrade to Apache nor how well it would work.
Hope this helps a little and have fun.