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What OS to use with my server/htpc?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm building a htpc/server that I will use for:
-file sharing (locally)
-data consolidation
-watching movies/tv (it will be connected to the tv via hdmi)
-remote downloading
-possibly hosting a small website and vent/teamspeak server

It doesn't need a special htpc GUI, I don't mind just using a mouse and keyboard beside my tv and opening movies or streams the same way I do it on windows.

Also, I get both Windows 7 and Windows server through my college for free, so the cost of windows is irrelevant.

I have decent experience with Bash and the non-GUI linux distributions but none with the "Windows replacement" distros like Ubuntu. I don't mind learning but since the cost of windows isn't a problem, the linux distro would need to be better and just as low maintenance.

Computer's specs:
-Celeron G530
-Radeon HD3650
-2x2TB Caviar Greens
-4GB ddr3
-ECS H77H2-M3 Mobo

Should I use windows 7, windows server 2008 or an alternative Linux OS?
    
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post #2 of 9
I just built an A4-3500 rig that I'm using as a combo HTPC / file server. I am using and would recommend Linux for this task. Reason being, you can have the convenience of a HTPC-oriented GUI if you want (I use XBMC, for example) and still be able to SSH in and do the other things you want in the background, even without interrupting any currently playing media.

However, if you're going to use Netflix you will be pretty much stuck with Windows because of Silverlight.
post #3 of 9
I usually recommend CentOS for linux servers. When it comes to setting up systems that need to be secure and reliable without much done on the users part, I usually go with the BSD's or Linux distro's that share the same mindset like CentOS or Debian.

CentOS/Debian use older versions of the kernel that are polished and stable. The only updates pushed out are generally only security fixes, so you don't end up getting a feature update to working software that might put the stability of your system at risk.
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post #4 of 9
I'd suggest. XBMCbuntu. You'd get a ready built XBMC plus Ubuntu behind the scenes - so you can add all the "daemons" (eg file sharing) you like.

One bit of advice though - don't host public facing sites on your file server / HTPC. Keep them two separate.
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkcloud89 View Post

However, if you're going to use Netflix you will be pretty much stuck with Windows because of Silverlight.
At risk of splitting hairs, it's because of DRM. Silverlight works on Linux, DRM in Silverlight does not.
post #5 of 9
Windows 7 will do what you want.
IIRC, Windows Server does not have the media playback support of Windows 7 (their may be a work around for it though).
No idea if Windows 7 can do the website hosting (I would think it could with some tweaking).
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post #6 of 9
I use Windows 7 with my little HTPC and file server. Works great and does everything I need/ want. Its a Dell, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.6ghz, 6gb DDR2. Atleast I think its that, I havent needed to mess with it lately......
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post #7 of 9
OOTB windows server does not support DNLA streaming

you can put miniDNLA on linux and stream to TV`s and media boxes around the home + smart phones
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
ok, so windows server isn't a good option.

I should also clarify that the website hosting I may do is more for testing purposes than actually hosting a public site that sees traffic.

The thing I like about linux is how easy it is to ssh into, either locally or remotely. In windows I should be able to set up remote desktop or teamviewer to achieve basically the same thing though, right?
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkcloud89 View Post

I just built an A4-3500 rig that I'm using as a combo HTPC / file server. I am using and would recommend Linux for this task. Reason being, you can have the convenience of a HTPC-oriented GUI if you want (I use XBMC, for example) and still be able to SSH in and do the other things you want in the background, even without interrupting any currently playing media.
However, if you're going to use Netflix you will be pretty much stuck with Windows because of Silverlight.
You bring up a good point about being able to ssh in without interrupting currently playing media. However, I believe teamviewer allows this functionality on windows and if it doesn't work, this will.
Quote:
Originally Posted by frozne View Post

I usually recommend CentOS for linux servers. When it comes to setting up systems that need to be secure and reliable without much done on the users part, I usually go with the BSD's or Linux distro's that share the same mindset like CentOS or Debian.
CentOS/Debian use older versions of the kernel that are polished and stable. The only updates pushed out are generally only security fixes, so you don't end up getting a feature update to working software that might put the stability of your system at risk.
Sorry, I wasn't clear about what I meant by "hosting a small website and vent/teamspeak server". I kinda think that CentOS would be quite a poor choice for a media server, no?

So... apart from slightly easier remote access, I don't really see any point in using linux for this.
-I can get a HTPC GUI on either windows or linux (also I don't even need one, they usually just slow me down).
-file sharing should be easier between multiple windows 7 computers than between linux and windows 7
-teamviewer allows easy enough remote access
-the computer is more than powerful enough to run windows, so a lighter and less bloated OS isn't necessary.
-updates for windows are bad but Ubuntu has a similar problem, no?

The idea of using Linux was kind of attractive but thinking about it, I don't really see a point any more.

Thanks for you input everyone, if anyone has any more advice, let me know.

edit:
What's the best way to transfer large files from win7 to win7 through a wired network? Homegroup folder sharing?
Edited by slicedtoad - 9/4/12 at 12:26pm
    
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post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by slicedtoad View Post

ok, so windows server isn't a good option.
I should also clarify that the website hosting I may do is more for testing purposes than actually hosting a public site that sees traffic.
The thing I like about linux is how easy it is to ssh into, either locally or remotely. In windows I should be able to set up remote desktop or teamviewer to achieve basically the same thing though, right?
You bring up a good point about being able to ssh in without interrupting currently playing media. However, I believe teamviewer allows this functionality on windows and if it doesn't work, this will.
Sorry, I wasn't clear about what I meant by "hosting a small website and vent/teamspeak server". I kinda think that CentOS would be quite a poor choice for a media server, no?
So... apart from slightly easier remote access, I don't really see any point in using linux for this.
-I can get a HTPC GUI on either windows or linux (also I don't even need one, they usually just slow me down).
-file sharing should be easier between multiple windows 7 computers than between linux and windows 7

Samba would work just fine to share between Windows and Linux computers.
Quote:
-teamviewer allows easy enough remote access
-the computer is more than powerful enough to run windows, so a lighter and less bloated OS isn't necessary.
-updates for windows are bad but Ubuntu has a similar problem, no?

Linux updates do not generally require rebooting, with the exception of kernel updates. The most you would be required to do is restart X, which is literally 3 keystrokes (Ctrl-Alt-Backspace)
Quote:
The idea of using Linux was kind of attractive but thinking about it, I don't really see a point any more.
Thanks for you input everyone, if anyone has any more advice, let me know.

If you can get Windows 7 and Windows server for free, I say do it even if you don't end up using it right away. You never know when you might need it. I got Server 2008 and SQL Server this way, though I'm not using them at this time.
Quote:
edit:
What's the best way to transfer large files from win7 to win7 through a wired network? Homegroup folder sharing?

Any shared folder would work. For Win 7 > Win 7 (or even Linux Samba > Win 7) any shared folder can be mounted as a remote drive, which would be the way to go.
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