General Server Advice


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Feb 20, 2021
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After getting more and more aggravated with MS, I made the jump to Linux a year ago. That was a big leap for me since I've been a Windows admin and developer for most of my 40+ year computer career (Used GEM and other precursors even before Win 1.0). I'm now retired. My machine is dual boot since I have some crucial software which is Windows only and doesn't work (because of copy protection, apparently) under Wine. Alas I'm not doing so well. Out of habit and familiarity I tend to spend a lot more time in Windows but trying to be more self-disciplined and use Linux more.
But that's not what this post is about, I just wanted to let you know a little of my background.
I am getting ready to build a multi-purpose Linux server. Purpose #1 is to force myself to learn more about it!!! Beyond that tho, I want an always-on file server, mostly for media files, a Plex media server, Node-Red and MQTT server, and also thinking of doing a home router/firewall. The machine I'll be using is an oldie-but-goodie HP Z600 Engineering workstation, dual Xeons, 24GB of ram, an SSD for the OS, (overkill, I know) and a bunch of old HDDs for the media and other files.
I've already read like a gazillion different articles online and am feeling a bit overwhelmed. Some of the info seems contradictory.
So first question of course is the one everyone asks, which distro? I'm running Mint on my desktops. I've tinkered with regular Ubuntu, Pop, and several others and I can see that under the skin they're all very similar. Next, question is desktop or server version? Don't mind terminal, and use it as needed, but I really tend to be more of a GUI and mouse sort of guy. The server will be headless once set up, and I've read many times you can run GUI apps thru SSH but the details are sparse and I've been unable to get it to work. I think I'd rather just use VNC, NoMachine, or some other remote-desktop type software. I understand it's wasteful to have a desktop for a server, but do I gain any significant advantage by ditching the desktop?
I also have a bunch of questions about routing and firewall software but I'll save that for later.
All comments and suggestions, and even criticism is welcome, even if it doesn't directly relate to the above. Links to articles that you have found helpful are also appreciated. Thanks!

well slackware might have been a bad choice mainly due to the fact that the last stable release is 4 years old. But see this : slackware alpha which currently uses kernel 5.10.17 kernel so nobody can say its outdated.

its probably the most unix like so for instance daemon for apache is /etc/rc.d/rc.httpd . its the oldest surviving Linux distro and thus user base is very knowledgeable. It has the reputation as being rock solid as a server. latest install dvd iso

i never did get around to using slackware as a server with a static IP to host my own web site; but i do use apache for web dev and its very configurable and gives me now problems at all .

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