The Ultimate Linux Box for the Consumer Market

I have an idea on how to put together an ultimate Linux box that is consumer friendly, not only in ease of use, but friendly to the wallet.

Motherboard: Intel Core Two Duo processor running at 3.2Ghz
System Memory: 2GB (more if you can afford it)
Disk Space: 320GB minimum (again, more if you can afford it)
Video: any of the nVidia graphics chipsets (for the best Linux support around), or an Intel graphics chipset (built into the motherboard, and well supported at that)
Audio: Creative SoundBlaster Audigy SE (for 24-bit audio)
Display: any of the Samsung Syncmaster series (they are the best LCD screens)

...and the distribution:

SimplyMEPIS 8.0

Why? First this distribution was built for ease of installation, use and administration. Second, the distribution uses the repositories from the stable version of Debian Lenny, and that means a TON of software is available for download, specifically, more packages are available for download there than for any other distribution. Third, SimplyMEPIS runs faster than Fedora, OpenSuSE, or Mandriva on this system configuration.

Ultimate Linux Box - Why not speed up the internet?

Keith Eckstein's picture

I built my Ultimate Linux box and detailed the process at www.InternetAccelerationAppliance.com

Basically it runs Squid caching proxy server, a caching DNS server and an ad filter.

The next step is to integrate SAMBA for a backup/archive area and some sort of antivirus.

I've created a pre-seeded Debian build to make replicating it really easy.

Something like this is going next to nothing to build and will aid ALL who use it to connect to the internet (whether they use OSX, Linux or Windows).

All the best

Keith Eckstein
www.InternetAccelerationAppliance.com

10 year old Newb

davbran's picture

It was about ten years ago that someone brought a copy of RH5.2 into class and said, "I give up, I can't make it work" ... I asked him if I could try.

I was hooked, but I was confused. Today I am still hooked, and still confused. All the tutorials I have encountered take me back bash commands, which I don't mind, but some of those bash command tutorials come without explanation. Going back to the days of DOS commands, I knew Dir was a directory query and I knew that putting in a -p switch would pause the list when the page was full. But I don't know what a pipe is, I know where to find it on my keyboard, but i don't know how to use it. With DOS, I had to learn because there was no internet available when I started. Now I follow tutorials and sometimes I gleen something from them, and sometimes I don't. For instance, to this day I can't find a single tutorial to explain how to use the hated Microsoft Boot Manager to choose linux from instead of installing Grub to the MBR.

The same I find is true with finding the "Ultimate Linux Machine". I can't find a guide for building a new linux box, one dedicated to linux. Smaller than my windows box in size, but as punchy. I want hardware I know will work on a basic install. I can't tell you how infuriating it is to listen to a Linux Guru tell me he doesn't know why my wifi didn't work, his works just fine without needing to modify anything. A year or so back I attempted to make the permanent switch to linux. I pulled windows off my rig and popped in (k)ubuntu, I had this problem with each of the two distros, when I went to install everything was fine through the install, but on the first reboot, I had a black screen. For two days I was without a computer because I was researching this issue. It seems that my monitor/video card arrangement wasn't recognized on install. I had to build an xorg.conf file. This to me was counter productive. Eventually i found there were many things I still missed from my windows box and went back to it.

Recently I decided to use an old laptop for Linux, I installed linux on it, it's a single core running at 1.73GHz with 2GB of Ram. I was enjoying things fine, until I went to watch something on Hulu, and again I was disappointed. In FireFox, hulu ran like mud, skipping, stuttering and lagging. Then I tried Hulu Desktop ... which worked fine for some time, then started to degrade. I checked specs and even in linux Hulu recommends a dual core processor, I understand this is not a linux issue but rather a 3rd Party Vendor issue lol don't get me started. Believe it or not I put Windows 7 in and am watching video fine.

So, before some of you start thinking this is some fanboi rant, well it is ... I am a fan of Linux, or at least I would like to be, otherwise I wouldn't keep coming back. It has nothing to do with my views of MS as a company or any other for that matter. I simply like being able to get in up to my elbows.

That being said, for me the Ultimate Linux Machine is the one someone else built, and I have worked on and it works well. I want to change this. I want it to be my rig. I want it to be my blood sweat and tears on the boards.

So if anyone can point me into the direction of a decent hardware compatibility site, that would be great.

Also, and I know one really should learn to crawl before they walk, I have an interest of building a server in house. Is there any reasons I couldn't use the same box as my workstation AND my server, since I won't be pushing it as hard as my windows machines?

The ultimate home web server

David H's picture

I am not sure what the specs would be, but It would be great to have an inexpensive and very green (10 - 25 watts) flash style or SSD appliance(?) that would perform services (maybe plone, mail) that you could plug and run. Web sites and such could be stored on a thumb drive and would integrate into the web mix when attached to the usb port. Home broadband connections aren't going to hit 100 Mb/s, but I would still have a Gb NIC. At 10 or so watts, who would care about having this home based server running 24x7x365? Just make it powerful enough to stream video and green enough to leave on all the time.

I Guess I'd have to say something different

kjnelan's picture

I first started watching Linux back when it was just beginning to wear diapers and have watched it grow and yet remain somewhat the same. I have both loved and hated it for that very reason, but ultimately it's what makes Linux special.

To me the ultimate box would be a combination of things around my house put together that actually work and will boot any flavor of Linux. To me an ultimate box is one that works, works well, and will do what I need it to do.

My current box to me is the ultimate because it boots fast, holds everything I need, connects to the Internet, and allows me to receive, correct, and send back my student's papers (not to mention I don't have to worry about the viruses they spread throughout their MS Windows environments.)

My current box is a simple AMD Sempron 64 (yes they did make them so check before you slam me) on an old biostar k8t88 motherboard with onboard networking, sound, etc... and with 1 gig of ram, 2 150 gig hard drives, an old ATI Radeon 9200 (which while not the best on the market, allows me to do everything I need). My monitor is not the best, but it's an 18" widescreen Mag Innovision that I bought new for $127.00 2 years ago. I think my system cost me a whole $340.00 (not including the monitor of course).

Basically my system is an affordable system that anyone can put together and use. To me, that is the description of an ultimate system: simple, cost-effective, reliable, and it works when it's all put together.

Here in Mexico I'm thinking

Anonymous's picture

Here in Mexico I'm thinking on something like this:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ @ 3GHz
4GB DDR2 memory
HDD 160GB
DVD±R/RW 22X
LCD 17" @ 1280x720 (I think it is AOC)
10/100 Mbps wired network
Integrated video

Running Ubuntu (last version available).

It's affordable and I think it wouldn't have bad performance.

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