I have a Dell Server on which I've been running Microsoft Server 2008, I want to turn it into a simple home server for file sharing and media streaming. I'm fairly new to Linux, but understand a lot.

I want to know which would be the easiest for a noob to install and get up and running.

I have two hard drives, a 250Gb and a 1Tb, I'll be installing the OS on the 250Gb drive and don't mind loosing the rest of the space if necessary, as I'll be using the 1Tb drive for file storage. The other two computers on my network are running Windows Vista and I plan on keeping it that way (at least for now).

I'm leaning toward Desktop as it will have a GUI, and make things a little more familiar for me...then I just have to load additional 'apps' to get the full server functionality right?

Which is the best OS version (or what do I need to make sure I'm running) to make this machine discoverable and compatible with the Windows machines?

3 Answers 3


If you aren't planning to turn it into a Lamp Server (Linux Apache Mysql PHP) and just want to use it to share files on a local network I don't see any advantage of you installing the Server edition. The regular desktop version will easily suffice for that. But it's also important to note that the Server edition can quite easily have a GUI installed on it was well to make administration slightly easier.


Managing servers for the most part involved editing configuration files and thus many people manage servers with ssh using nano and command line tools.

If you are unfamiliar with the command line, the desktop can be somewhat helpful, but here you will be using gedit and nautilus, and still editing configuration files.

IMO, if you want a graphical interface, it is better to web tool, such as webmin or pphmyadmin which will give you an actual graphical interface to the server configuration.



The other potential advantage of the server edition is that it has the server kernel , which will give you better performance then the desktop kernel


To get you started with servers, see the Ubuntu server guide



Thanks for the feedback folks...

I went ahead and installed Ubuntu Desktop 11.10 and messed around with folder sharing permissions got everything working.

The OS installation ended up taking longer than accessing the folders!

I'm satisfied so far!

I'm sure I'll be trolling around the forum reading posts and asking for advice in the future, responses were so quick!

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