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Giving an old Desktop PC a new life as an Ubuntu Linux Server (Part 1)

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Just tinkering around with Linux and thought I'd pass along any practical uses for it.

I have a HP Pavilion Desktop running slower than mollasses that I stripped Windows off of and installed a free copy of Ubuntu 12.04 Server. This is to help me tackle Linux for college and I'm also looking to find practical applications for it.

The one I'd like to pass on first is basically creating your own local DNS Cache Server. This can seem redundant because many times the Router/Gateway from you ISP is usually the DNS address. It does seem to me though that some of these are limited and I'd guess they're just forwarding the name requests.

Before jumping into the Linux stuff, I'll just quickly explain what the heck DNS is. It's basically the Domain Name Service that pairs up a numerical address with it's english world wide web name. You could think of the Phone Book or these days your smart phone address book that has Names linked to Phone Numbers. Or if I call you and you see both my Name and Number which you than save that would be kind of like the DNS Cache.

So what I've done first on the command line is Sudo Apt-Get Install Bind9 which grabs the most common DNS server program used in Linux and installs it. Then I just edit the file /etc/bind/named.conf.options.

The first thing I add are forwarding addresses for when my Server just doesn't have the information a computer on my LAN is looking for. Note: 8.8.8.8 is actually a Google DNS.

forwardars {

8.8.8.8;

192.168.254.254;

};

Toward the bottom I changed listen-on-v6 to none because I'm not messing with IPversion6.

Then added: forward only;

restart the server by typing sudo /etc/init.d/bind9 restart

also make appropriate edits to /etc/network/interfaces telling the server to point to itself as a DNS

Finally of course make changes to the computers on your LAN if you want to use the local DNS server.

Anyway, just thought this was worth a look because I do see an improvement in web browsing speed.

More info here at this link. I think you can just skip ahead to the named.conf.options file. I'm not sure you really need a Zone just to Cache DNS

http://soledadpenades.com/articles/ubuntu/using-bind-as-a-local-caching-name-server/

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Lol.

It's like a record of recent viewed sites. It's typical to Cache temp files from websites to save time. I'm caching the name resolution between something like www.google.com and http://173.194.77.17 so my network doesn't waste time and resources or cause unneeded LAN traffic looking for these names to go with the IPaddress number.

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I will also say learning this can be a bit daunting sometimes as I try to gather notes and keep it al organized somehow, but I think it could pay off for me along with my college program.

I also want to share Linux tips for regular desktops that are not as complicated as this Server stuff.

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So... uh... I've never done much in the way of code or program (more of a computer hardware guy), but could you help me set up a dual-boot on a spare desktop that I'm wanting to turn into a mumble server for my wife's guild? I read enough on murmer (the server software for mumble) to know that it's a linux based program, but I've never used linux... But mainly I want to host her mumble server without having to pay monthly fees for it. :)

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If the mumble server is on the internet I'm not sure how that would work. Also, I've never done a game server myself, but that is something I would like to try out. If I have any luck I'll mention it here.

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It's a VOIP program like teamspeak. I just want to set up a private server (it's freeware, so no charge) for my wife and her guild to use, and my kids to use when they come visit. Tired of paying monthly fees for a server. It's low load, her guild isn't big at all, there would be no more than 10 people at a time on.

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I just have zero experience at all with linux, so I don't even know where to start or how to set it up. I would also need to configure a single IP address for that machine on my network so that people wouldn't need to always change their login info to adjust for the new IP each time my network assigned it a new IP address.

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Anyone curious about Linux should look into a free program called VirtualBox. With that you can install a Virtualized OS that runs inside Windows.

Also, it's typically not that complicated to make a Static IP for an Ubuntu Server machine.

Eventually, if I tackle game related things on my server I'll post the results. I think it could be a good way for me to make money if I figure this out and offer to set it up for local gaming stores or clubs.

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Depends on what you want to do with them. The desktops are easy to figure out for Web Browsing or Word Processing and other basic things.

I will say the Desktop version of Ubuntu has been great on my Netbook. It seems faster, more stable, and I've had no viruses.

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