Windows or Linux for home server?

Question from MManLA
“I was thinking to myself the other day that I might be building a home server by the end of this year, due to the fact of how much data I will have in my household, as well as I might have a HTPC also to throw in the mix, which would have 4 PC’s in the house (Not including the server). I wanted to know what software you guys use or recommend. I need something that can primarily work as a file server, maybe a print server, and a FTP server (for transferring large GB session files for collabs). I was reading up on linux, and it seems like it will be able to handle Window files.

I just need the machine to hold all the files and transfer them over the net. I heard that I can get Red Hat with Samba, It will be read by all of my PCs. So shall I get Linux, wait and get a copy of Vista, or even wait and see if Windows Home Server will have an OEM copy on newegg.com? And if Linux, can I use Nortons on it? It MUST be able to read, but not necessarily, run the programs that I will store on the multiple HDDs, and stream music and movies. Thank you in advance. ”


Answer from pcytdpah
“Linux is ideal for those tasks, vista would be complete overkill as would buying any OS for this chore.

Windows with Filezilla ftp server would also be fine but using ssh on linux and the filezilla client would be super secure.”

Answer from pcytdpah
“As a file server the only thing you might want talking to the internet are ssh or ftp (I suggest ssh unless you’re using a very slow machine as the server). Therefore you can configure the built in firewall to only let these services talk out and restrict other stuff to local addresses only. However, this is probably overkill and you really just need to make sure there are no server services running that you don’t need.

You might want to look into running antivirus that checks for *windows* viruses if you’re saving lots of windows files on the server so that you can get rid of them there rather than have them potentially infect all the machines that take data from the server, however it’s up to you to determine if the risk is there…”

Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.