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This system

Except for a number of private issues, such as account names, passwords, etcetera, this section is an ongoing attempt on to describe in detail all of my ongoing efforts to configure this server system with all kinds of hard- and software that I know of and make use of. For years I've been a stickler for documentation anyway and have amassed an extensive collection of personal tech notes, so I figured that sharing them all in the spirit of Open Source would not only give me an excuse to update my website, but also to organize them all and keep them up to date. At the same time it will serve to demonstrate some of what I know and like, and with a little luck it will even attract some comments from other people.


Ever since I set up my first server in 1994, I've always built them myself from components. Nothing special: just normal off-the-shelf PC hardware. These days I use three basically identical Chieftec chassis for my server, workstation and a spare. When the time comes, I use the spare chassis to build the new workstation, after which I use that to build the new server with, replacing only the hard disks. I do this every three years, mainly to reduce the risk of disk failure, but also to take advantage of faster components. This strategy has a number of advantages:

  • It saves me money, since it would be more expensive to replace both systems completely every three years.
  • It allows me to take my time to replace both systems: I only have to replace the old one with the new one when I feel it's ready.
  • Since the "new" server's motherboard is always three years old to begin with, I never have any teething problems with it. If there were ever any problems with one or more of its subcomponents not being supported by the software, by this time those problems will have disappeared.
  • It makes more sense from an environmental point of view, since over time I contribute less hardware to the world's computer scrap heaps.

Since 2001 I've only used Debian GNU/Linux: the stable version for my server and the unstable version for my workstation. The reason is the mountain of software packages available through this distribution, as well as the fact that it's free and has a large support base. Where the configuration is concerned it is also more flexible than other distributions. Sure, there are occasionally some problems that must be dealt with, especially when using the unstable version, but I've always been able to handle these problems and in my opinion they cerainly don't weigh up against the advantages.

Last modified: 2010-04-25, 21:59

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