The Problem to Be Solved

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Before working on any new project it's important to have a good grasp on just what ends you are trying to achieve. Accomplished podcaster and all-around good egg [Allison Sherridan](https://twitter.com/podfeet/) of the [Nosillacast](https://podfeet.com/) has a policy for product reviewers on her show: _first, start with the problem to be solved_. Since I believe this is a wise and logical course of action, the second post in the home technology series will do just that. Let me just start with the caveat that I'm going to throw the word **need** around rather loosely for this post. I realize these are toys, for the most part. I could certainly survive without them, but these are toys and tools that I use in my day-to-day life pretty extensively, and a number of my…
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Taking Stock

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Quite some time ago I started a series of posts on setting up your own home server from scratch using a desktop PC running Ubuntu. The series was fairly popular and provided a good detailed look at just what it takes to get a home server going. Well the server I built is going away and I find myself planning, once again, how best to address the computing needs of my household. It seems obvious to me that I **need** a server. I've had one for the past few years and it's been very beneficial for a number of reasons. But times change, people change and computing needs do, in fact, change. This series of posts is going to be as much for me as anything else. I figure if…
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Home Server Build part 5 – DNS Basics (Ubuntu School)

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Once the server has been configured one major "infrastructure" task remains - setting up DNS. This is where those clever names you thought up back in [the "prerequisites" stage](http://kdmurray.net/2012/06/23/home-server-build-part-3-os-installation-ubuntu-school/) come into play. Strictly speaking DNS isn't required for everything else to work properly, but it's one of those things that makes the overall solution that much more elegant. When you're connecting to various components in your network it's so much nicer to refer to them by name rather than simply by IP address. A key piece of information you'll want to keep close at hand is the Webmin [BIND module](http://doxfer.webmin.com/Webmin/BINDDNSServer) documentation. This provides an easy-to-understand guide to managing DNS using [BIND](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIND) and Webmin. It was key to me being able to complete this tutorial. ### Create the Domain's Master Record…
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Home Server Build part 4 – Remote Access (Ubuntu School)

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Now that the basic server is set up and ready to go it's time to get started with the good stuff. The first thing on the priority list is making sure we know how to control the server. Being able to control and administer the server remotely is the key to being able to run the server as a [headless](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headless_system) machine. The key technology of this remote access strategy is [SSH](http://www.openssh.org/). ### SSH - Secure SHell SSH is a key technology common in all [POSIX](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POSIX) operating systems. The program provides command-line terminal access to the remote system over an encrypted connection. SSH has effectively served as a replacement for telnet which provides remote terminal services, but is not encrypted. It is also possible to route traffic from your computer through…
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Home Server Build part 3 – OS Installation (Ubuntu School)

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This is the latest in my series of articles discussing the setup of a home server using Ubuntu 12.04 server. This article will guide you through the setup process which is quite simple and easy to follow. ### The System: Ubuntu 12.04 Server (LTS) 1. At boot the system will prompt for the language to use during installation. 2. Select the **Install Ubuntu Server** option from the list. 3. Select the language to use for the system. 4. Select the country the system is in. 5. Select the keyboard layout. If you have a system created in North America you can skip auto-detect and take the defaults on the next two screens. 6. The system will begin some initial configuration and load basic components. 7. Enter the system's hostname that…
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Home Server Build part 2 – Prerequisites (Ubuntu School)

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Servers are a misunderstood breed of the computer world. Most people think of a server as a large powerful computer sitting in the basement of a corporate office. The truth is that a server is a much less specialized computing device than most people realize. It's simply a computer that provides one or more services to other computers on the network. And truthfully, even in many corporate environments today the servers have been virtualized, or deployed as [blade servers](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_server) which take up very little physical space and help to cut down on power and cooling costs -- but that's a topic for another day. This section is all about the things you want to make sure you've thought about before you get started with your server project. While the process…
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Home Server Build part 1 – Introduction (Ubuntu School)

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What started life as an idea for a blog post as much for my own future reference as it was for anyone else has taken on a life of its own in what will be at least a 6-post series. It's a step by step guide to how I've configured my primary home server including all of its hardware, services and applications. I find that on occasion this server, as with all my computers, could benefit from a full OS rebuild. I'm a bit of a junkie when it comes to computer maintenance, so undoubtedly that has something to do with it too. My Windows and Mac systems are typically not much of a challenge. The lack of customization required for me to get them back to the point at…
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