TKL bare metal config (and then some...)

Drew Ruggles's picture

The unfortunate demise of an XP box HD gave me an opportunity to change the way I have my servers/workstations configured. Something that's been on my mind, but now I'm planning on implementing.

So far, I've replace the HD and installed TKL Fileserver. This was easy enough with a Live TKL Fileserver USB stick, so no problem re-doing it again, if needed.

What I'm looking for is feedback if this makes any sense or if there is a better configuration.

Root: TKL Fileserver + Serviio DLNA Media Server

Virtualbox: XP from Ghost image

Now the other odd balls...

a) Kubuntu for a GUI workstation -- Can/Should this be a separate "user" in the TKL Ubuntu core environment, or does it make more sense to set up in Virtualbox?

b) Basilisk II environment -- will either set up in TKL Ubuntu or more likely in the Kubuntu environment, above, depending on feedback from a)



Jeremy Davis's picture

From your mention of Kubuntu it seems that you want the backend server funtionality, but with a desktop GUI? Personally I prefer to have my server sitting quietly and headlessly in the corner and as such I have ProxmoxVE (it's a FOSS hypervisor based on Debian with WebUI) installed as the primary OS. You could still do it that way. It's based on Debian Lenny so you could install KDE (or another desktop) and run your XP & Kubuntu VMs through VNC/remote desktop but if you don't plan to run tons of VMs then it may be overkill and perhaps not even really cut it for you.

Seeing as you have TKL installed already (which is based on Ubuntu 10.04) then I see no reason why you couldn't just install KDE desktop on top of your existing setup. OTTOMH I don't recall the exact command, but IIRC its kubuntu-desktop ie apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

To get the DLNA on top just apply the patch to the running system: tklpatch-apply / patch.tar.gz  I'd probably do that before installing the desktop and I'd stop as many services as you can to reduce the chances of problems with the patching process.

If you go that way (ie use TKL as a desktop) then I would definately install sudo and have the KDE user running as a sudo-user (as you would normally in a Linux desktop) .

I see no advantage to running your KDE desktop in VBox (because you will still need to run some sort of desktop on top of TKL to access your VMs and this doubling up seems silly to me). Unless of course you want to keep the systems completely separate (which I guess is an advantage).

Ultimately it depends on your usage scenario - If you plan for it to mostly be used as a server then installing a lightweight desktop (such as LXDE ie lubuntu-desktop) and running Kubuntu as a VM makes sense, but if you plan to use it as a daily desktop then installing KDE (ie kubuntu-desktop) to the base TKL makes more sense IMO.

Drew Ruggles's picture

Thanks for the comments, Jeremy. I appreciate them.

The notion was to keep the server as the base install. Keep it as light as possible, and minimize apps and data ("data" is really just multi-media for the DLNA Server and will have a separate backup -- USB drive). I was hoping to keep the other environments for separate from the server, and to make it "easier" to backup and restore them. I like the looks and sound of the LXDE desktop.

The KDE workstation would not serve as the TKL Fileserver GUI. It would be for doing "real" work -- and by that, I  mean designing homebrew labels in Inkscape and such. Most of the rest of what I do is web based -- Google Docs, GMail, etc -- so just a decent browser is "good enough."

The XP environment is needed to support a client working in legacy Windows apps -- AutoCAD, MS Access, Project, etc.

I forgot to mention I'll need a VM of the Drupal TKL for client support of site I put together for them, and when they need changes, it would be nice to sandbox them, first.

I've already set up TKLBAM for the TKL Fileserver.


Jeremy Davis's picture

Although personally if your hardware supports it I'd consider looking at ProxmoxVE with a desktop installed. You will get better VM performance from PVE than VBox IMO... but then again I'm a bit of a PVE fanboy! :)

Considering you have TKL FIleserver installed already perhaps just keep going down that path with LXDE? It's quite a nice desktop IMO, especially considering how light weight it is. Although to be honest I'm an Enlightenment (E17) convert these days (it's prettier and just as light weight). Only thing is E17 is not that great to install on Ubuntu unless you start adding 3rd party repos - not something I'd recommend on a machine you plan to use as a workhourse running important VMs!

The obvious advantage of using a TKL base is TKLBAM! If I were you I'd do a TKLBAM backup (as it sounds you perhaps have already). Then install the patch - do another backup. Install the desktop and remove unwanted apps - do another backup. Add and configure additonal desired apps - do another backup... (the backups will be small because they will mostly just be package lists, with very little data). Then you can always roll back changes and get back to a previous state if you wish to try a different route.

If you would like to consider the PVE approach more, let me know and I'll give you the marketing speil! :)

Drew Ruggles's picture

Suffice it to say I had no TKLBAM backup and it probably would not have helped, anyway. Starting over. GParted USB and wiped the hard drive clean.

Now the question is what file system should I use for my 500GB drive?

Drew Ruggles's picture

Made a 400GB ext4 partition and a 100GB NTFS, just in case.

Installed TKL Fileserver from live USB drive, and now trying to set up TKLBAM through webmin. I enter my API Key from user profile, but keep getting the error message:

Error: (7, "couldn't connect to host")

Any thoughts? Searching the forums brought me to:

...which just looks like jibber-jabber to me.

Jeremy Davis's picture

Test network connectivity by pinging local IP addresses, then a website (like and/or pinging the Hub.

Drew Ruggles's picture

Eth0 was selected, but the hardware was disabled in the BIOS. I just switched to Eth1, and called it day. Thanks for the tip. Got TKLBAM working.

Drew Ruggles's picture

I think I'm at the point where I hosed the first attempt... Doing an "Upgrade All Packages" through webmin and it seems to be "stuck" on updating "udev". How long should it take? I think I waited something like an hour, previously, then just got up and killed the system. On reboot, it was pretty messed up.

Jeremy Davis's picture

Theres a whole thread on that...

If you have a look at this thread too, it may help you to resolve your issue? If you get stuck, post back and I'll try to help clarify if need be.

The most important part is to put a hold on the udev package (so this doesn't happen again, next time udev is updated). See the line of code in this post. Although as I suggest in my last post from the second thread linked to above, personally I tend to avoid full updates/upgrades unless there is something wrong. Security updates install automatically so unless you hit a bug I wouldn't bother on updates normally...

Drew Ruggles's picture

Yeah, I just spent the last hour with that thread and running an SSH via my Android Terminal... Ha!

I went through it once, then like an idiot, hit the upgrade again, just to see if that dog lying next to road really was dead. More time in the Terminal, and no more upgrades for this appliance. Going to run a backup, now... Thanks for the help in the other thread.

Drew Ruggles's picture

I'm a little confused about the eXtplorer server... I'm not even sure I need it. Isn't a Samba fileshare "good enough?"

FYI, most of the "file sharing" this appliance will be doing is Media -- music files, photos, and videos of my 2 year old daughter, and it will only be me and her mom who push files to it, so administration of users should be fairly simple, and straight forward.

In Webmin, why don't I see any reference to eXtplorer?

Jeremy Davis's picture

For your purposes (and mine) eXplorer is not mega useful. So yes a Samba/SMB fileshare would definately be sufficient.

However in some scenarios it can be pretty cool. I run my fileserver locally (like you but virtualised) and use Samba and/or SFTP mostly, but I also have a port forwarded on my router to the Fileserver. I hand out this url (with port) to friends/family on occasion. It has also been handy when I'm at work or out and about and I've wanted something from my fileserver at home when I've forgotten to load it into my Dorpbox or onto USB. Note that eXtplorer user database is completely separate to other user acounts and has to be set up separately. I just use the default admin account for my own remote use and have a guest account setup for others. I occasionally change the password on that so I know who is using it - they usually call or message me for the new password! :)

As to why there is no reference to it in Webmin, it's beacuse they are not at all related! They are 2 different pieces of software for 2 different intended purposes. Ideally it would probably be great if there were some setting available in Webmin but until someone writes a Webmin module for it, that won't happen!

Drew Ruggles's picture

Now I know you're an advocate of the Proxmox, Jeremy, and at some point I'd like to dive in to that, but for now, I would like to use VBox to keep my own learning curve at a minimum, as I have VBox configured to run my client's Drupal TKL appliance.

This thread looks interesting re: the Headless TKL phpvirtualbox.

Does it make sense to keep in this direction? So far I haven't put LXDE on top of the TKL Fileserver, yet.

The other option is to use apt-get to install virtualbox, but which one?

Doing an APT Search yields:

virtualbox-guest-additions guest additions iso image for VirtualBox
virtualbox-ose x86 virtualization solution - base binaries
virtualbox-ose-dbg x86 virtualization solution - debugging symbols
virtualbox-ose-dkms x86 virtualization solution - kernel module sources for dkms
virtualbox-ose-fuse x86 virtualization solution - virtual filesystem
virtualbox-ose-guest-dkms x86 virtualization solution - guest addition module source for dkms
virtualbox-ose-guest-source Transitional package for virtualbox-ose-guest-dkms
virtualbox-ose-guest-utils x86 virtualization solution - non-X11 guest utilities
virtualbox-ose-guest-x11 x86 virtualization solution - X11 guest utilities
virtualbox-ose-qt x86 virtualization solution - Qt based user interface
virtualbox-ose-source Transitional package for virtualbox-ose-dkms



Jeremy Davis's picture

But IIRC it's just the virtualbox-ose (open source edition) and the other bits that are required will be pulled down as dependancies.

If you want a newer (non-open source) version then you can download the deb or just add the Oracle repo. Have a look here. My understanding is that the only real difference between the free and non-free versions is the guest addons are better in non-free.

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