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Old 3rd May 2016
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Oko Oko is offline
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Location: Kosovo, Serbia
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Originally Posted by Insider View Post
Here's the project: I was thinking of instead of getting an external hub/port replicator for my MacBook Air (a good one is $100 minimum), why not get a separate, fully fledged small PC server (I'm OK with a price of up to $200, you can buy a Kangaroo PC, Intel NUC and various other boxes in the price range. On a side note, if you want a 256 GB SSD in a MacBook Air/Pro instead of a 128 GB one, that would be $200 extra, too, that $200 is better spent at peripherals, hub/port replicator -> small PC server, especially), the PC server would connect to the MacBook air via fast (ac) Wi-Fi. The PC server would connect and share Ethernet Internet and various drives, such as a HDD/SSD for files, USB flash drives, SD cards... with the MacBook Air.
I have this

as a firewall/UTM (Unified Threat Management). I had 4GB of laptop RAM laying around and I got 16GB SSD drive for $10. I run flashrd of USB drive for about 6 weeks but running non-embedded vanilla OpenBSD is making easier to thinker with it.

I also built NAS appliance using ECS NM70-I2 (V1.0) Intel Celeron 1037U 1.80GHz Intel NM70 Mini ITX Motherboard. It runs DragonFlyBSD

Originally Posted by Insider View Post
First, is this a good idea at all? I'm not a UNIX expert, I understand there is a learning curve for all the three, major BSDs I might be interested in taking possibly for other, future projects.
Depends on your aptitude and how much time you have to "waist". Could be very rewording experience, a new hobby. Also could lead to collapse of your marriage if you spent too much time tinkering with it.

Originally Posted by Insider View Post
There are also things like 'ready made' (FreeBSD based) FreeNAS (for files) and pfSense (for network) and I seem like to want a combination of these two in one box, which might or might not be a good idea.
FreeNAS is a fine product. I have several FreeNAS servers at work. I opted for FreeNAS instead of vanilla FreeBSD at that time because it had less step learning curve and I we needed a pair of file servers quickly. ZFS learning curve with FreeNAS was still very steep even for a guy like me who has being using UNIX circa 1991. On the long run you will be better avoiding turn-key appliances as you will find yourself using a small subset of features but paying a huge price of the lack of flexibility.

I don't recommend pfSense for production use. Any product which is named after a software coded by a group they prefer not to mention is non-starter for me. On the more technical front PF has always felt as unwanted bastardized child on FreeBSD and it is on the life support IMHO (please no flames I'm entitled to my opinion). That being said if you have never managed a firewall or even if you have managed but looking the ways to improve monitoring/backup, add few trick to your repertoire you will learn a lot by installing and playing with pfSense.

Originally Posted by Insider View Post
Your thought? How would you do it? What level of expertise is needed? What's my best bet if, for the time being, as a beginner/not so technical user, I want something that 'just works'? The recommended OS can be BSD or Linux based, or else.
If you want stuff that just works I would recommend

with the original software (runs OpenBSD fine with few caveats). FreeNAS of for that matter anything ZFS based is not an option for home users due to high hardware requirement. Again please no flames I run multiple ZFS/(FreeNAS and TrueOS) file servers. My largest file server has currently over 144TB of data so I should know something about it. HAMMER is awesome for home use but it is not for inexperienced users. Linux lacks a decent file system but if you are OK with 90s technology (XFS is nice file system) you could use something like



Somebody mentioned WiFi. I really like this device

but as somebody pointed out the WiFi performance will be lacking comparing to a dedicated WiFi router which you can buy for about $30. Again Ubiquity has really nice WiFi mips-64 based routers/hot-spots.

Last edited by Oko; 3rd May 2016 at 02:06 AM.
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