> Greetings, O Learned Ones
> from:  Sam Haynes, Pathfinders 2008
> I haven't the foggiest as to how you came to be in my favorites list,
> other than that I probably tagged you in an ongoing search for both or
> either something to replace Win XP  and or build my own personal server.
> I have been usining XP for several years now.  Recently, I tried to
> install XP from my OEM cd and was notified by Gates and Company that XP
> would no longer be supported. Bummer! So what else is new?  Time to part
> company with Bill? Vista was tha final straw.
> I need something that will replace XP in all the essentials but without
> a useless bag full of coverups for poor performance..
> Debian was the first encouraging encounter. It was recommended as a
> cheap entry into the personal server concept, using a two to three year
> old PC chassis. Sounded good but I could never figure out just how to
> download it.
> So, FreeBSD appears in my fave list and server appears in the same
> paragraph as operating system.  Here is my plan.
> I am 76, a retired Master Electrician, PC builder since '87, have a wife
> of 40 plus years, debilitating medical problems and a strong belief that
> I can milk a living out of internet affiliate marketing despite the
> current economic crisis.
> My current model is to generate a basic website, use my existing isp to
> promote two consistent converting products, bootstrap the proceeds from
> that into building my own dedicated server to market 'how-to' products
> over a hundred or more websites.
> All using ready to serve apps and a WYSIWYG HTML  generator.
> I appreciate your time reading this over long monologue... I'd
> appreciate it even more if you could take some time to throw some
> suggestions back at me..

Just some ideas from the $.02 department:

As far as replacing XP with something else to be used as a desktop machine,
ala the GUI route, my own personal preference is the KDE desktop. I've been
using it so many years now it is second nature, but there are
just "useability" patterns which I've become so accustomed to that make it
so I don't want to use XP any longer. I just like KDE as a GUI instead of
the XP interface. It is also, imho an easier transition from Windows for
someone with little or no Unix experience.

I used KDE on FreeBSD as my main desktop for many years, but I finally gave
in to openSUSE 10.3 on my workstation as I really found a need for
Virtualbox and being able to run virtual machines. I have three Linux
browsers, a VM with Windows XP SP2 and IE6, and a Windows XP SP3 VM with
IE7, Opera, Firefox, and Safari. I confirm that all xhtml-transitional web
pages I write look the same in all of these. And I can do this with no
rebooting the machine.

If you are totally new to Linux/Unix and have zero experience and just want
an easy, out of the box "something other" than XP you might try the latest
incarnation of Kubuntu. I know in a FreeBSD list these comments are
sacrilege, but the broader picture is what your needs truly are.

Now on the server side things are much different. In spite of the steep
learning curve associated with being a newbie to Unices, I still feel
FreeBSD makes a better server platform. You just need to recondition your
expectations to administrating it largely via command line, as most
sysadmins who operate FreeBSD servers do not install any GUI software on
them. I know I don't. You will find maintaining a FreeBSD server much less
aggravating than Linux. It is coherent, clean, well documented, a well
thought out and very complete operating system. Performance is pretty good
too. Especially when you factor in what you payed for it! :-)

As far as setting up server(s) at your home, this is a good way for
learning. It is also a test platform for any web sites you may be running.
Keep a mirror at home to make and evaluate changes thoroughly _before_
uploading them to your active site(s). Never make changes that you haven't
tested out first.

Now running a real live "Web" presence out of your house is probably not
really a good idea if it has anything to do with business. A personal blog
can go down for indefinite periods and no harm done, but a business site is
a different story. First, the reason for having your servers located in a
data center is they are sitting directly on the "fat pipes" of the
Internet. Second, these data centers are "multi homed" in their peerage to
other backbones. If one connection path develops a problem your site is
still going to be accessible via one of the other paths. You simply will
never have the kind of connectivity found in a real data center at home.

I do not approve of HTML WYSIWYG editing abominations such as Dreamweaver
and their ilk. They make it seem like anyone can write a Web page but in
reality what they output isn't standards compliant. Over the years I've
looked at a few, and found they all output crap. The only way to write
technically proficient Web sites is to know the material. It does initially
take quite a bit of time, but is easily helped along by all the example
content you have to look at in the process. And all the standards and info
you need starts right here:

This sounds like a lot, and it truly is. So carve it up into bite sized
chunks. Set up a beginner's network at home. One box for FreeBSD as your
server, and a second box as your workstation. Begin by learning how to
sysadmin your server. The Handbook is priceless:

Now this is long enough already so I'll quit at this point. There is much
more to what you're going after, but if done a piece at a time in an
orderly fashion you can get there. 

Best wishes for good luck 
- Mike

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