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Old 16th July 2008
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Default Spare PC, need ideas for putting it to use

This is the thing hehe :-)

As some here know already, my OpenBSD install has moved from an HP Vli8 500 to a salvaged Dell 4500 case/mobo, leaving behind a still usable system with a 40GB PATA drive replacing the twin disks and a wifi card in place of the 3com nic. The machine in question also has a floppy disk and cd-rom drive in addition tot he wifi, thus

Leaving me with an unused PC ^_^



I only have one problem, what the heck to use it for!?


There is nothing service wise that I actually need, that isn't already running and configured or half memorized.



I've just burned a newer disk of Slackware (12.1) and plan on using it, assuming that getting the ralink based adapter to work doesn't give me a headache. Actually, I never realized how good OpenBSDs hardware support for wireless (without screwing around) was before now. She might have X installed but probably won't be using it actively because I prefer SSH.



I rarely use GNU/Linux distributions but Slackware is my favorite and one of the few that I have any respect for. I know FreeBSD/OpenBSD quite well but I've have never really used a GNU/Linux system on a regular basis. So I suppose it's worth trying to put one linux box into use here

You could say that when it comes to unix like systems: I chose BSD on day one as my primary system.


I've got numerous disks of FreeBSD, Slackware, Ubuntu laying around and a few for other systems; Debian, NetBSD, etc. So there is plenty of OS related options if the kernels shipped with slack hate my hardware. But I still want to set it up running a GNU/Linux.



Trying to bring this system online is very much a "because I can" operation then a "because I need to" one. This babe makes 4 PCs here. I might move my MySQL database to it or use it to store my incoming mail but there is really nothing I /need/ to use it for.....


Any suggestions?



The odds of me ever being paid to do any kind of administrator work or programming jobs is probably pretty slim without collage or previous work experience. So there are no 'professional' considerations in what to use this box for.


When I'm not working or tinkering with a program, I do enjoy 'playing' with software I can put to use, find some interesting but helpful daemon, learn how it works, learn how to configure it, e.t.c. And put it to work doing something on my LAN.


But I've generally done that with everything I can actually use....


I have needed remote access to machines at various times, so I've learned to deal with VNC, X11, RDP, and my beloved SSH to fulfill those needs on Windows/*nix. I needed a file server when my USB flash drive broke, so I learned how to work with samba, nfs, sshfs, etc. I needed to figure out how to get my printer working over the network, so I set out on a trail with cups and lpd, although I actually never had time to get the printer printing the jobs (dang gum work and family tag team monopolizing time...). Needed local access to a MySQL db to conserve bandwidth on a web site, so bingo was her namo as soon as I found the reference manual.


There has to be some thing useful this machine can do but I can't think of any :\.
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Old 16th July 2008
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SSH server for trusty daemonforums regulars?
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Old 16th July 2008
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While a free shell server poses as potentially the most beneficial learning experience you will ever have, I can suggest a couple options from my own laboratory:

want to learn VoIP: Setup an asterisk server and replace your home phone system.

need a backup server? Play around with FreeNAS or CrytoBox. Those incremental system images are always in style. Of course, the cool kids are using openBSD and doing full disk encryption.

Who said console? Make yourself a terminal server to give yourself access to machines if the network runs afoul.

Invisible man? Play around with transparent ethernet firewall/bridges and filter your traffic on the fly.

Tango and cache: Make yourself a squid proxy/caching name server for internal use.

No hands? build yourself a wireless access point and get rid of your off-the-shelf paper-weight.

IDS, anyone? Set up your own SNORT IDS box and start analyzing them packets.

Feeling crazy? try and build yourself a covert streaming media server - I installed one inside a VCR housing.

Of course, you could also make yourself a little VMWare server for playing around with new distros or LiveCDs.

Addendum:

If you're interested in learning about routing I suggest installed FreeBSD and openOSPF. (And ifstated if you have a second one your want to put in failover).

Last edited by dk_netsvil; 16th July 2008 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 16th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18Googol2
SSH server for trusty daemonforums regulars?
I'm crazy but I'm not that open minded yet ;-)



Folding@Home is a worth while idea I think, I've been meaning to investigate it further (rtfm basically)

Some good ideas dk_netsvil,

The asterisk idea is actually quite nice, especially with the state of phones here... But I think I lack the equipment! Beyond the wireless card and a few hundred metres of phone cords, I only have a couple of old WinModems sitting around.

If I knew enough about electrical engineering, I suppose I might be able to get around that.


Backups actually are handled by my file server (OpenBSD) along side my home directory ;-)


The idea of an internal name server actually sounds quite fun, unnecessary but fun.

I would love someday to manage getting into collage to learn more about networking... Since I only have after work and 'tween tasks to explore but odds are collage would be worse.

Most of my lans topology is defiend for me out of necessity... (parts, free space, etc)

Virtualization and Me != a good mix. Although if I had some kind of a data center it might make sense, utilize more of the processing power available.

I usually feed any thing I want to test through my gaming machine, because she functions as a tri-boot. One partition for XP, one for a Linux distro (in case of need), and one for testing; usually various distros that catch my eye (and get trashed), beta/rc versions of the *BSDs, or just wipe, install, and play when I need to experiment without damaging a stable system.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dk_netsvil View Post
Who said console? Make yourself a terminal server to give yourself access to machines if the network runs afoul.

I have a very great interest in such things, I guess now I have enough computers to make a go of it.
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Old 16th July 2008
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Maybe you can build a laptop, Belgian style?

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Old 16th July 2008
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Hello,

Why not write some awesome algorithm to calculate pi and try to set a new world record for the number of digits calculated?
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Old 16th July 2008
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You could also run some kind of distributed computing application like SETI@Home or Folding@Home.
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Old 21st July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stukov View Post
You could also run some kind of distributed computing application like SETI@Home or Folding@Home.
+1

Folding@Home is a very worthy DC project...http://folding.stanford.edu/


SETI is more fun than scientifically productive IMO; however, I do like BOINC based projects.



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Old 16th July 2008
crayoxide crayoxide is offline
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To break out what dk mentioned: install PF and have fun!

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Old 21st July 2008
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OT: Does anyone have a tutorial on running BOINC based projects on OpenBSD? preferably without any GUI component. (Unless it's necessary.).

Sorry for hijacking TerryP.
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