September 6th Meeting Report * FreeNAS 8.2 * Ubuntu 12.40.1 * openSuSE 12.2 Release

With 10 in attendance, the meeting start with a round of introductions of those present as we had a couple of new attenees. Following the introductions, Clint launched into his 90 minute presentation on FreeNAS 8.2. For the presentation, Clint had brought 2 computers along a wired network with a wireless router for Internet access. Computer one was a Gateway high performance FX laptop computer that he had installed two physical hard drives in order to create a FreeNAS server. While you can run FreeNAS in a virtual environment, Clint recommends a dedicated physical system for this application unless you are in an "enterprise" environment running on high end high performance systems. The second system was a small "road warrior" i5 64 bit system running Ubuntu 12.04.1. The reason for having two systems is that you have do administration via a web browser and the only thing available on the FreeNAS server is a console screen for the basic setup of the server (ip address, password) and shell access. FreeNAS is designed to be administered using a web browser such as Firefox or Chrome. There are two ways to get a running FreeNAS system. One can download the iso, burn a CD, and then do the installation. The other way is to download an image file that you can then write to a USB drive and boot the system from that. Unless you have two more more drives, the recommended approach is to run FreeNAS from a USB drive, such that it can use the entire internal hard drive(s) for storage. Clint showed how to create the bootable USB drive from the image file using Ubuntu's ImageWriter as well as a utility that you can use in windows, Win32DiskImager.exe, for transfering the image to a USB device. One other note was that you need a utility capable of extracting the downloaded imagefile, such as 7z. He also noted that while the FreeNAS image download for 8.2 was only 78 MB, after extracting the image file, the actual image file is 2 gigabytes and you need at least a 2 GB USB drive to copy it to. FreeNAS downloads are available at Sourceforge. There you can download the isos, image files, and plugins for both 32 bit (x86) and 64 bit (x64) systems. Clint then discussed the resources available for setting up and administering your FreeNAS system. First off is a Quickstart available from the FreeNAS home page. There is also an excellent 235 page 8.2 Guide available from FreeNAS that provides comprehensive instructions on using FreeNAS 8.2, just click on the pdf link. Other resources includes the CIFS (Samba/Windows) file shareing and "a href="">plugins Another resources is the currrent issue of Linux Format magazine #161, an extensive article on FreeNAS starting on page 90, and DVD with FreeNAS 8.0.2 iso's on it. The next 45 minutes was spent going through the vaious adminstration tasks including volume management, creating CIFS shares, installing the FreeNAS BSD "Jail" in which you can run applications secure from the actual FreeNAS sever and even lives on its own IP address and if someone was to run an succesfull expoit on the "Jail" server, which is highly unlikely, they would not be about to get out of the "Jail" and access anything on the FreeNAS server itself or its files. FreeNAS is based on BSD which is a very secure server platform itself. Also show was setting up a plugin application such as DLNA media sharing server and working on the command line when necessary in FreeNAS. Concluding his representation on FreeNAS, Clint then talked about the latest update of Ubuntu 12.04, the .1 release which had been long awaited way of updating existing 10.04 desktops. It was suppose be released back in the June-July timeframe but only released recently. Clint has a 10.40 desktop and based on his experience with this new release of 12.04, doing a fresh install, he came across a number of issues, and he will not be updating his 10.04 system anytime soon. Bottom line was that he was not favorably impressed by 12.04 and while it is a good usable Linux desktop, the number of issues present have been widely reported, says to not go there. If you do decide to install 12.04.1, one resource you can use for post install tasks is as Things to do after installing Ubuntu 12.04 for a perfect desktop or in Clint's opinion, a not so perfect one... Lastly, Clint gave a quick tour of openSuSE 12.2 which he has also installed on his laptop. This is the latest and greatest from openSuSE and widely heralded as perhaps the "most advanced office desktop in the world" which maybe an overstatement however, it is a very stable release featuring the KDE desktop. The meeting concluded with some short questions from those present which were answered by members of the group. Another great meeting. Our next meeting is October 4th.