June 12, 2006

Dear Lazyweb

I’d like some sort of house server thingy. scribb1e and I both have laptops, so we’d like somewhere to back-up important stuff. scribb1e has read the Pragmatic Programmer book and would like to keep her life under version control, which I think means Subversion here (not quite as good as Perforce, but free). I have the vague idea that we could connect something to the stereo and play my extensive collection of mp3z through it. We’d like the box to be more or less silent and quite small.

Possible candidates include the Mac Mini and the NSLU2, affectionately known as the Slug. With the Slug, I’d buy a big external drive onto which I would put a proper Linux distribution, as described on the web page. You don’t seem to be able to buy small and quiet server boxes if you don’t want to mess around with ordering the bits and building them yourself, which I don’t.

The Mini’s standard disk size is a bit small, but other than that it certainly does everything we want. However, it’s somewhat pricey for a box we’re not going to use interactively. The Slug is a lot cheaper but will require me to resurrect my Linux-fu (and if I want sound output, get into the sort of horrific kernel nargery that made jwz buy a Mac). I could buy the Slug and some networked other audio output thingy as I’ve heard you can get those these days, but I’ve no experience with them.

This must be a fairly common thing in other geek households. What have the rest of you done?