OS and Samba Installation
We opted for Red Hat 8.0 for this system, although SuSE 8.1 would also be a fine choice. We did a Custom install, where we went through and chose only those packages wed need to keep the OS footprint to a minimum. Youll definitely want to install Samba, which Red Hat calls "Windows Server." Samba lets you connect the Linux box with your Windows machines, so you can transfer files back and forth. Youll also want to install all the Gnome-based media players, or KDE-based media players if you want to run KDE. Red Hat runs its own polished version of Gnome by default. There is one VERY important detail to remember during the OS installation process when prompted for which boot-loader you want to use, be sure to select LILO, rather than GRUB, which is Red Hats default boot-loader. For a reason we have yet to determine, the GRUB boot-loader wont work with the nForce chipset, whereas LILO works without a hiccup.Remember to do all your system tweaking logged in as root, and then once thats all done, login as a non-superuser to prevent any accidental trashing of vital system settings/components. To get Samba up and running, install the RPM (Red Hat Package Manager), and then bring up the Server Settings utility (Red Hat Menu=>Server Settings=>Services and click the ballot boxes for both SMB and SWAT (the Samba Web Administration Tool). For SMB, click on the Start button in the utility to start the SMB service. Change hostname to something other than "localhost." Wed suggest something like "media-furnace." To do this, bring up the Network control panel (Red Hat Menu=>System Settings=>Network) and go to the DNS dialogue tab. Where you see the field for hostname (itll say localhost.localdomain), change this field entry to whatever you want the name of this server to be. Now youre ready to run SWAT and configure your Samba server and its shares. We suggest first creating the directories youre going to want to share. On our system, we created the following directories:
After the OS installation completes, the good news is that youve got all the drivers you need on your hard-drive. However, you will want to download the latest version of Samba, 2.2.8, because previous versions have a pretty serious security hole that will leave you very vulnerable to attack. If youre behind a NAT (broadband) router, this is much less of a concern, but its so easy to download and install the Samba 2.2.8 RPM, that its just something you should do.
/media/musicTo run SWAT, bring up a Mozilla browser window (Red Hats default web browser), and type:
http://media-furnace:901 (the convention is http://servername:901) where "servername" is whatever youve named your server.You will then be prompted to login, and do so as root and provide the systems root password. Now that youre in, go ahead and create your user accounts and shares. For more on how to do this, see our recent story on building a Home Linux Server.