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What is the best linux distro to use as a file server for windows and mac clients? Also how would I go about setting this up? I am a noobie to linux, so please be kind.
The easiest server for a new user to setup would be ubuntu server, you will most likely want to setup ftp or samba based shares which are reasonably simple to setup.
Just feel free to use something closer to your Linux experience, Ubuntu, Fedora Core but even OpenSUSE or CentOS may fit your needs.
To serve those clients you need to be familiar with these pieces of software:
- Samba, file sharing using windows share, you'll be happy to use on Win and OS-X machines as well. WARNING: if you're using Windows 7 you may apply few fixes to avoid authentication troubles (we'll discuss about it later on on a separate topic if you want)
- MediaTomb, UPNP file server (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Plug_and_Play). A must have if you're using upnp software or media players, DLNA clients and even recent LCD TVs have this tech inside.
- VLC for audio/video streaming if you're a geek and you'd like to have your own channel, but even ICECast/Shoutcast sw
We may assume to do something practical with real cases if you want