Best Distro for All-in-One Raspberry Pi Server

nimic

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Hello all,
I'm interested in making a Raspberry Pi 4 into an all in one server and I'd like suggestions on which distros and software you think would be best.
What I mean by ALL IN ONE:
a) DNS - piHole for ad blocking and privacy.
b) DHCP - for manually managing 10-20 devices connected also for security.
c) VPN Server - for external access to my LAN.
d) Media Server - large media server on several external hard drives.

Other considerations:
1) I'd like to run on minimum performance demand so it doesn't burn out too fast or overheat running 24/7.
2) Ideally I'd like something I could use a 7in screen to perform all network admin tasks. I can remote in for more intensive actions but I'd like to do the day to day and quick changes on a 7in touch screen.
3) Client devices very between OS's. I have Android and iOS phones, Mac OS tablets and laptops, windows 10 home and pro and linux Kubuntu and Ubuntu. Even Kindle Fire, X-box 360, and PS4 clients would be cool though not necessary.
4) The Raspberry Pi along with 3 other clients are on ethernet while the rest are connecting to wifi.
5) I can't seem to find if this is possible but I'd like to boot to only using the terminal but then have an option to launch a desktop environment on demand.
6) I have a the 4GB ram raspberry pi and a 64GB SD card for the OS and can add 500GB through a dedicated external hdd if I need more.
7) Lastly some security suggestions would be appreciated. I'm potentially opening a huge hole into my network and want to make sure it's not too easy to access.

I'm pretty new to Linux but above average with windows. I'm currently a student learning sys. admin and linux. I'm getting better with command lines but I'd like a GUI fallback just cause.
 


KGIII

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I'd aim at a distro that's aimed at servers to start with. I'd look at CentOS and Fedora. There are certainly other server distros, but those two get used as a server frequently. Most of my VPSes are CentOS, for example.

Here's a couple of links to get you started:



In reality, most any Linux distro will work and many distros have a server-specific flavor. The two above are often used as servers. Fedora has a more rapid release cycle and CentOS is more stable - meaning consistent/supported for longer. Fedora is released something like every six months and CentOS versions are supported for a *long* time - like a decade.
 

nimic

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I'm trying out CentOS. I couldnt download Fedora for some reason Ill try again later.

Why no debian love? I tried ubuntu server and that was too barebones for my comfort. And I feel like adding KDE or Gnome are too high demand for my purposes. But i figure there should be an inbetween on a debian based distro.
 

f33dm3bits

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I'm trying out CentOS. I couldnt download Fedora for some reason Ill try again later.

Why no debian love? I tried ubuntu server and that was too barebones for my comfort. And I feel like adding KDE or Gnome are too high demand for my purposes. But i figure there should be an inbetween on a debian based distro.
You can just use Ubuntu server and then install Xfce on it.
Code:
sudo apt-get install xfce4
It's just a matter of personal preference which distros, not a matter of having no love for a specific distro.
 
Last edited:

KGIII

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You can absolutely use Debian, if you'd like. I mentioned two that are frequently used as servers, but you can make any Linux work as a server - it's just a question of how much additional effort you want to put into it.
 

nimic

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So I installed Fedora and Cent OS on VM's and I liked them. They were a little different but not bad. Then I got set to install Cent OS on my Raspberry Pi 4 and it kept throwing Kernel errors. Apparently Neither Fedora or Cent OS are officially supported by the Pi 4. There does seem to be a away to make it work by installing on a Pi 3 updating the kernel. Then migrating over to the Pi 4. Unfortunately I don't have a Pi 3. Some people posted updated iso's but that is pretty shady. I tried another method that involved using an older version of Cent OS but that didn't work either.
Thus looks like I'm stuck with Ubuntu Server with Xfce.
I also read some forums on using OpenMediaVault but the non-media server functions seem really complicated to configure and I'm not sure if it's worth it.

Has anybody had experience using OpenMediaVault for more than a media server?
 

dos2unix

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Apparently Neither Fedora or Cent OS are officially supported by the Pi 4
I don't know about "officially supported". But you can definitely do it.
Everything works on mine. Bluetooth, Ethernet, WiFi, USB keyboard/mouse
4k HDMI.


This article is about Pi 3, bit the same instructions work on a 4B.
 

KGIII

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If you just want to leave it and forget it, CentOS may be your best solution. They support an OS for like a decade - in some cases longer.
 


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