Earlier this year I replaced my desktop PC, a Dell Dimension 4700, with a Mac Mini as part of my effort go 100% Mac for my home computing. OS X is a terrific platform for the desktop power user because it looks great, feels great, is well supported by open source projects. It also runs on a variant of Unix giving you full shell access and lots of other great stuff.
Since then, the Dell has been sitting by my desk, waiting for a good use. I already have a Linkstation Live that I use for a low power home server (print server, mt-daapd, subversion, samba, etc.) so I didn’t have an immediate need for another PC around the house.
Last week I started playing with OpenWRT as part of a neat new project that will be an upcoming feature on this blog. I suddenly needed a Linux environment and some extra computing power to help build custom OpenWRT images. Debian to the rescue!
Before anyone says anything, I don’t really have anything against the incredibly popular desktop Linux distro Ubuntu. The real reason I choose Debian is that I know Debian, and Debian just works. My new server runs headless and I use ssh to login and compile from my Mac, so the advanced graphical features of Ubuntu would be lost on me.
Installing Debian is a breeze. Within 30 minutes of burning the Debian quick start CD, I was up and running. After installing a few addon packages, I was compiling OpenWRT images.
Instant development server. Awesome.