One of the great things about linux is its versatility. Ironically, this is one of its problems too…
What do I mean by that? Simple. If I download a standard linux distribution with the purpose of setting up a file server, I will probably end up spending the better part of a weekend setting it up.
– Which packages should I include?
– Which should I exclude?
– How should I set up the security / firewall etc?
– Setting up samba from scratch?
– Setting up some sort of backup system?
– What about remote access?
I used to just install everything from whatever distribution I had in hand and spend a lot of time tweaking.
Turnkey Linux (http://www.turnkeylinux.org/) provides a great solution. Instead of downloading the standard ubuntu DVD, you download a small distribution that’s already customised to do exactly what you want. There are many different appliance to choose from: LAMP servers, File servers, domain controller appliance, etc etc… The images are tiny (around 100-200MB) compared to the full-blown DVD image and they are also supplied as VM images! In other words you can just download one and run it on VirtualBox or any other VM system!
Turnkey Linux appliances are based on Ubuntu, which means that there are thousands of packages you use to customise your appliance.
My file server at home is now powered by Turnkey Linux.