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Old 28th July 2008
MrDetermination MrDetermination is offline
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Default Newbie requesting too much time/effort!

Hello,

I'm a novice Linux user and a new BSD user. I've loaded Ubuntu on a half dozen machines and mucked around in another half dozen distros. I've been in that learning curve off and on for a year or so. All I've done in BSD so far is:

-Load it on an old laptop

-Load xfce on that

-Load it on a "rough draft" box (like a "training wheels" version of a file server)

-Set up key-auth OpenSSH and harden login security

This Essay was extremely compelling, on a basic level. So compelling, in fact, I would like to build my next file server on BSD. Here is a summary of what I would like to accomplish, given my current understanding:


Hardware:

-Low power consumption (as low as possible given the rest)

-Five 1TB SATA hard drives in Raid 5, 4TB of storage space (I've never implemented RAID before). I'm willing to buy 6 drives when it comes time for hardware purchasing.


Software:

General:

-Headless operation

-Automatically updates OS and applications daily

-The ability to know which of the drives has failed when any of them do

-The ability to hot swap out drives at will for disk maintenance

-The ability to "share" anything on the RAID array with my LAN (read only)

-A safe "open" place on the RAID array to write data (dump files here)

-Efficient file management (move files, tar, rar, zip, etc)


Applications:

-Moblock between WAN and all applications: http://moblock.berlios.de/

-HFS-like simple HTTP file server (for easy "anywhere") read access

-Safe and easy WAN write access to the "dump"

-Direct Connect client, bandwidth throttling

-Bit Torrent client that monitors the dump for .torrent files, bandwidth throttling, encrypted connections

-Newsgroup client that monitors the dump for .nzb files and .zip files containing .nzb files, encrypted connections

-irssi + screen - Accessible from anywhere

-All the above to come online at power up (it would be nice if they could come up 30 seconds apart - IRSSI, 30 seconds, MoBlock, 30seconds, Newsleecher, 30, Torrent, 30…)

So, if it is okay, as I go through this I'll just ask questions here in this thread. Is that okay?

Any hardware/application suggestions?

Suggested reading links?

What would you do differently?

Am I going to have to run Xorg?

Which apps should be run under a unique user?

Which apps should be run in jails (I have yet to touch jails but they sound like they'll be useful to me)?
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Old 28th July 2008
DrJ DrJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDetermination View Post
-Automatically updates OS and applications daily
I'll leave the rest to others, but I'd suggest strongly that you not do this. You really should read /usr/src/UPDATING and /usr/ports/UPDATING before you do anything. Most times there are no issues, but more often than you would like there are.

When updating src (the kernel and world) you should use mergemaster, which is interactive. In ports, you run into things like a gettext upgrade, where you have to recompile all your installed ports. You have no way of knowing what you will find, so you do it manually.

Besides, server stability is more important than having the latest and greatest. If it works, why bother to upgrade? FWIW, I update my desktops every few months, but I have not touched my server since Jan 2007. I ought to do so one of these days, but it works well, the benefits from updating would be modest at best, and I would have to recompile a whole lot of custom-ported applications that I would then have to get working again. So it just keeps on running.
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Old 28th July 2008
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stukov stukov is offline
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Quote:
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-Automatically updates OS and applications daily
As DrJ said, you are better off updating only vulnerable applications. You can check which applications you need to update with "portaudit" and periodic scripts (you will receive them by e-mail every day).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDetermination View Post
Am I going to have to run Xorg?
There is no need for X on a headless machine, in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDetermination View Post
Which apps should be run in jails (I have yet to touch jails but they sound like they'll be useful to me)?
I would separate applications in jails by purpose they serve. For example, a jail "torrent", a jail "irc", a jail "fileserver", etc.
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Old 28th July 2008
DrJ DrJ is offline
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Quote:
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There is no need for X on a headless machine, in my opinion.
Agreed. Just make sure the board you choose can redirect its output to a serial port or (much better) to an Ethernet port. Then you can mind it quite nicely if you are comfortable on the command line, which is all that a server really needs.

You should also check that it can boot without a mouse or keyboard attached. Often they can, but not always, particularly if you go for a consumer-level board. "Real" server boards do not suffer from this problem.
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Old 29th July 2008
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@MrDetermination:

I'd suggest bookmarking the handbook and buying (or picking up from your local library) a good book.

For a project like this, you need a strong foundation. To get that strong foundation, you need to learn the fundamentals first (and worry about specific implementations later).

Forums are generally most appropriate for specific technical questions. Eric Raymond has a popular essay on the topic of asking questions - it's definitely worth a read.
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Old 4th August 2008
MrDetermination MrDetermination is offline
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Thanks, I've been poking through the handbook already.

Ordered Absolute and Building a Server.
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Old 7th August 2008
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Quote:
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Thanks, I've been poking through the handbook already.

Ordered Absolute and Building a Server.
Absolute is a great reference and you can actually read it all the way through too (suggested).

Cominig from Linux (chaos) to BSD (order) you will need to think a new way, at least I did, and once I "got" it, BSD is like a work of art. I find it hard to use Linux anymore, but in some situations I have to. I think you will find BSD to be better designed and definitely more stable.

Good choice and welcome aboard.

-Tim
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