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  • Robert Watson
    Robert Watson created a new discussion
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      Posted on Friday, 02 September 2011

    In part 1, I discussed the various home server offerings currently available and a rather superficial critique of each of them.  In part 2, I’ll layout what I’d like a home server to do in bullet form.  The ideal home server should, in no particular order: Provide a secure resource so that all resources are available within the home network and remotely via a home website.  Goal: you're never a click away from home.Provide a central redundant storage medium for server & home computers to share and backup files with.  A shared environment should be assumed so that linux, windows & mac users have a seamless connection to this storage medium.  An auxilliary service should be available to backup this central backup to a remote location for redundancy.  Goal: you're resources are available 24/7 from anywhere even if all h*LL breaks loose.Provide gateway services to home client computers including spam filtering, antivirus screening, etc.  Goal: Keep your home safe.Provide for a single sign on experience so that when the user logs into his computer all files, etc. are immediately available.  This sso would also be applicable to the server web interface so that there's only one credentialing service that every app uses.  Goal: One login that rules all.Provide a secure home website where the user can not only access his files, etc but also securely,on a per user basis, share with friends and family.  The home website should require minimal back-end administration, where the overwhelming majority of content is created & maintained in the front-end.  Resources shared could be files, calendars, security camera viewing, music, videos, photos, etc.  The web interface will provide a consistent but attractive and individualized interface.  Goal: Securely share with friends & family without worrying about uploading content to strangers.The secure home website will expose all content services with a consistent user interface and access restrictions.  Goal: a slick & seamless interface rather than a hodge-podge of different services with their own 'unique' interface.Utilize open-source software where ever possible but create down stream repo's which are individualized for the Home Server.  Goal: Keep the open source community alive and provide for sustainable & stable software.Create dual secure web interfaces for administering the ClearOS server along with a separate home website.  Goal: Separate the functions of the server websites, one for control, the other for content.Provide a DDNS client/server so that the home server is always available. Goal: The user can always go home.To this end, I suggest we use ClearOS for the server backend/administration and utilize Joomla along with it's many components/modules/themes/etc for the home website interface.  Using ClearOS to provide for ldap, samba, gateway services, etc we can utilize the exisiting infrastructure of ClearOS to provide the backbone of the home server.  Using Joomla 1.7, JEvents(for calendaring), JomSocial(personal social network), EasyBlog(personal blog/news) along with some custom components/modules I've created a demonstration website which should give you an idea of where I think the ClearOS Home personal website should aim.  Disclaimer: using Ubuntu @ present for some development issues but will switch to ClearOS 6 when it gets a little further along.The development website utilizes Joomla1.7 more robust acl so that content access has better control.  I've created four demonstration users with different access levels:John Q. Friend (user: jqfriend password:jqfriend)John Q. Clan (user: jqclan password:jqclan)John Q. Family (user: jqfamily password:jqfamily)John Q. Private (user:jqprivate password:jqprivate)Robert

  • Robert Watson
    Robert Watson created a new discussion
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      Posted on Friday, 02 September 2011

    I would like to begin a discussion about the ClearOS Home edition being considered.  I’ll give a brief, and certainly not all inclusive review of competing home server setups available along with my personal vision of where ClearOS Home should go. There are several options in the home server market ranging from attached storage devices with minimal functionality to true server operating systems with varying degrees of user friendliness.  I won’t discuss the simple NAS devices available on the market, nor the nix variants such as FreeNAS because I think we could all agree that we really want something more from a home server.  I briefly discuss the three main flavors of home servers available (Microsoft Home Server, Apple OSX home server and the Linux Amahi Home Server) along with some of their strengths and weaknesses. Microsoft offered the Windows Home Server (WHS) several years ago and in spite of several manufacturers WHS offerings it was never able to make big inroads in the commercial space.  If you asked yourself why I need a home server and then looked at WHS, you’d still be asking the same question.  While WHS was good as a network storage device and automated backup device for windows pcs there was little more offered.  Access to your files via the web was primitive at best.  The latest version of WHS2011 hasn’t changed their paradigm of home server software and I think it will die quietly within the next few years. Apple offers OSX Home Server and is reviewed here.  I haven’t had a chance to personally setup or use this software but I think it’s closer to a full featured home server that I’d purchase if it wasn’t a proprietary and expensive system.  The attractive parts are common among all apple products: intuitive user interface, tight control of applications so that everything “just works”.  The cons: ITS PROPRIETARY, only runs on mac hardware which makes it more expensive.  If anyone has real experience with this offering, please chime in J Fedora based Amahi Server, an open source “home server” product which attempts to bring in the “best of open source software” to produce a functioning swiss army knife home server.  Has a “marketplace” for apps which are designed to plug in and work according to what you want.  Unfortunately, I think this is really only useable to linux admins since the average home user is probably more familiar to either windows or apple products which are pre-configured to a consistent user interface and paradigm. Most windows or apple users aren’t going to be competent to setup and configure an amahi server where it’s bulletproof….and If you really want to crack the home server space that is what you’ll need.If you have any feedback, ideas or rants about what I've written here, please feel free.  In part 2, I'll layout what I think ClearOS Home should be capable of and how to get from here to there.  In part3, I'll layout the business model we can all engage in to make this 'the home server'. :)Robert