Mobile Line Of Business

Richard Jones (MVP)

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So,   I’ve been playing around with various Raspberry Pi projects for a couple of years.

I’ve had a few hits (caller ID,  home automation, audio airplay) and I think only one miss (Time Capsule).

Whats been great, is that its been easy to have Linux machine that doesn’t matter too much if I get things wrong and it breaks,   its not mission critical or anything, and unrelated to what  I have todo with work.    

So I want to try and build a better Mac and PC backup solution,   have a proper continuous integration server for mobile projects and GIT server.   Working for a Microsoft partner, its also great to get a fresh perspective on what else is out there.   

So we’ve had an HP Proliant server (something like a ) in our office just doing nothing for a while and I took it upon myself to see what could be done with this box.


First step,  as I’m familiar with Debian Linux  ( ) was to install that latest Jessie build.    This required me to burn a complete install DVD.   I needed todo this as the HP server has SCSI DVD and hard-disks,  so to get the necessary driver support thats what was required.

Install took about 15 minutes and I had a machine I could use.      Next step was to lock the machine away out of sight.  I have too many monitors on my desk already so, I needed this machine to just run unobtrusively.   I made sure I could SSH to the machine (which I should admit I called Beasty) away from my desk.

Beasty was just connected to the network and powered.   I needed todo the majority of work out of hours,  so I made sure I could SSH connect to the machine from home over our VPN connection to our office.   All good.   So back to the same sort of Raspberry PI experience; I now have a fast Linux machine that I can connect to out of sight;  we were ready.

I crave as easier life as I can muster (as I’m sure we all do).   The next step was to ensure it was easy to copy files back and forth from Beasty.   I’m using Macs and PCs all the time so I installed Netatalk for Mac file share support and Samba for Windows file sharing.  Netatalk 3 was a little bit of a trauma to get up and running but once done,  I could access my home directory and also using an external hard disk on the server use Beasty as a Time Machine for Mac backup.

I then installed CUPS which let me share to Macs and PC’s a couple of Zebra label printers.   This has the added bonus is that from iPhone, iPad I can now AirPrint Labels.   Lets face it, who doesn’t need that in their life….


So moving on from here.   I installed GIT.      This was a breeze.   GIT means I now have source control in Xcode on my Mac with a secured remote repository on Beasty.    I can work locally and then push changes up-to this team server.       I’m not sure if this is the way to go as our company is focused around Microsoft Team Foundation server,  so I am going to try and get GIT integration going with this and compare with the open source alternative.


So to recap for free ,I have a Mac/PC/iOS File and print server with cross platform source control solution built in about an hour.    

Right now I’m installing Gnome Window Manager to take me from command line management to something a little bit more 2015.  I’m blogging about all of this while I wait for the install to finish.   


I’ll keep you posted...


posted on Sunday, November 1, 2015 8:03 PM