Jun 18, 2012

Scorched Crater Marks


I'm a fan of the old Linux server distro "ClarkConnect," which over the past few years has gotten a substantial image and code base makeover. Now it is called ClearOS (under the ClearFoundation) and it's placing respectably well (#30 as of this date) on the DistroWatch.com list. ClearOS is built primarily as a gateway server to manage the network firewall/content filtration for a home or small organization, though it has a long list of standard applications (all open source) to build more or less an all-in-one control center. Just as with the ever more ubiquitous "apps marketplace" with mobile and cloud services, ClearOS also constructs system components from apps. You can install apps for port monitoring, backups, and content filter updates, for example. This is great, though ever since that little electrical storm a while back my ClearOS server at home has been "lights out."

It's very reassuring to have some kind of control over your home network. We get pretty lazy and annoyed with Windows firewall/anti-virus hygiene and it's great to have a personal web host for tinkering. In a smaller home, especially with no basement, having a noisy, hot server box running 24-7 wears away at your nerves. I sprung for a tidy, small form-factor, fanless (just a huge, solid chuck of copper as a conductive heat sink) server from OrbitMicro.com and I was happy with it while it was not yet fried (I was a little careless, no surge protector). I've had fun picking it apart, piece by piece, looking for signs of catastrophic thermal stress failure (scorched crater marks) but it all looked good. Now it just gives a long, shrill, repeating squawk instead of the cooing little BIOS beep. I'm taking steps to really get it fixed, but I may just go with the most minimal specs junker PC I can find. From there I have aspirations to dabble in FreeSWITCH on ClearOS.

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