I chose the Ubuntu Server 11.10 for my installation. I was familiar with Ubuntu desktop at home and I had used the server edition at work as well. I've found that I couldn't have made a better choice.
I installed a few things to make the server interesting.
- DNS. I'm able to use www.halverson.net on my local network.
- MySQL. I have a test Java app that I like to play with every now and again and the app is backed by MySQL.
- SSH. Remote management is the greatest. I still don't have to sit down there and work with the computer.
- Apache HTTP and Tomcat. For running the aforementioned app.
- World Community Grid. The server runs 24x7 so I'm making good use of the CPU for a good cause.
The major challenge I had was setting up the DNS. I think the directions on the Ubuntu server guide were clear, but only after I had it working. Further, I found that I couldn't get my router to recognize a primary and secondary DNS without the secondary finding the www.halverson.net outside of the network. I'm not sure why that is.
It seems if I've made use of a computer that is near end of life. I'm glad I did too.