I had had a few goes at installing Linux on my HP Proliant Microserver N40L fairly recently and thanks to a recent cockup involving an OS corruption, I’ve been presented with an opportunity to start from scratch again and document exactly what I want to do and why.
First, my rationale for purchasing the server. Well aside from the fact that it only cost me in the region of £130 after cashback, I did actually believe I had uses for a low-powered, energy-efficient server, namely:
- Sharing files across the home network (2-3 Windows laptops, 1 Windows PC and a couple of android mobile phones and an Android tablet)
- Remote access to said files via SFTP
- Streaming media to a PlayStation 3
- Potential future ventures such as coding, developing/hosting websites, running a DNS server and other assorted geekery.
First thing’s first – get the OS installed!
After some experimenting I eventually settled on Lubuntu as my Linux distribution. Fedora had refused to work with Wake on LAN and Lubuntu is a cut-down, light-weight variant of the Linux distribution I know best, Ubuntu, which replaces the rather ‘heavy’ GUI with something more light-weight – LXDE.
Installing Lubuntu itself is pretty straightforward, just download it from Lubuntu.net, use Live USB Creator to create a bootable SD (since the N40L has no optical drive) and run the installer.
Now since I don’t have a dedicated monitor for the server, the first thing I want to do is get it set up for Remote Desktop. You obviously need some sort of RDP server like xrdp to do this. Easy, either install it from the Synaptic Package Manager or hit up the terminal with:
sudo apt-get install xrdp
Now, this allowed me to connect to the server but when I try to login I get a message that just said “Error – problem connecting”. Eventually I tried to connect from PuTTy and realised that I hadn’t installed an SSH (secure shell) server this time.
At this point I wish I could tell you how I fixed the problem, but the sad truth is I’ve no idea. I installed an SSH server (
sudo apt-get install openssh-server) and this seemed to allow me to connect, but displayed a blank screen with an X-shaped cursor. I resolved this by some editing the configuration XRDP uses to kick off a new session, but then when I uninstalled the SSH server everything still worked.
The answer to the desktop was to edit the file
/etc/xrdp/startwm.sh – replacing the last line (a call to
exec /usr/bin/lxsession -s Lubuntu -e LXDE
Et viola le desktop.
Massive thanks to celem at UbuntuForums.