Installing Ubuntu Server and SSH setup

It is said that the Devil makes work for idle hands. I’ve got a week off. I know, I’ll have a crack at setting up an Ubuntu server on a desktop PC.
Note to self – I really must get a life. Apparently they can be quite useful.

Right now, however, it’s probably a good idea to set out what I’m trying to achieve here.

This server is just something for me to play around with at home. I don’t need to worry too much about large amounts of traffic.
I want to keep my holiday snaps and my music on it so I can access them from the other machines in my house.

I also want to install Oracle 11g on it at some point, so I have somewhere to play with an up-to-date version of Oracle.
As 11g tends to get a bit sniffy if it’s got a GB or less of physical memory to play with, I need to make sure that the host machine has enough memory to accommodate it.

I’ll post about the Samba setup and Oracle installation separately. For now, I want to concentrate on the initial Server installation and SSH setup.

At this point, I should introduce the host – a venerable Desktop PC with an AMD Athlon 64 3200+ processor. I’ve upgraded the RAM to a “whopping” 2GB ( there’s only two slots available and I swiped the chips from another machine…who are you calling cheap ?)

As I’ve got less than 4GB of RAM to play with and this machine has always run OK with 32-bit Operating Systems, I’m going to stick with the 32-bit version of Ubuntu Server.
All of the stuff on the PC that I want to keep has been backed up onto a USB stick.

Getting the Software

If, like me, you regularly buy magazines, you’ll probably already have the requisite server ISO on a cover disk so won’t have to download it.
Using Brasero, I’ve now burned the ISO onto a CD-R so I’m now ready to take the plunge and install the server.

Installing the Server

I’m going for a very vanilla installation at this point. In time, no doubt, I’ll want some goodies installed, such as a LAMP setup. For now, however, I’m just setting up the server with SSH.

There’s a pretty good illustration of the actual installation process here.

Incidentally, if you’re ever on a server and are not sure whether you have the 32 or 64-bit version installed :

uname -m

returns i686 for 32-bit or x86_64 for 64-bit.

Installing SSH

There are two ways to do this. The simplest is just selecting SSH as one of the options on the installation. You can also do this manually once the installation is complete.
Login to the server console and do the following :

sudo apt-get install openssh-server

There are some fairly comprehensive instructions on configuring ssh here.
I’ve just left everything at the default for the moment because I want to check that it’s all working.

Before I attempt to connect via ssh, I want to make sure that it’s up and running so, just to be sure ( although it’s probably not necessary) :

sudo etc/init.d/ssh restart

Connecting via SSH from a client

I’m pretty sure that you can do this simply from a terminal session :

ssh username@server

However, I didn’t try this method until after I’d installed further packages on the server so you can give it a go, but I can’t make any promises that it works at this point in the process.
Instead, I downloaded PuTTY to use as the SSH client.

PuTTY is a pretty good choice as it’s something I’ve used on Windows clients to connect to Unix servers. It’s also pretty simple to use and, best of all, free.

To download this on Ubuntu desktop :

  1. Open Synaptic Package Manager and enter putty in the Quick Search box.
  2. Select putty from the list of results.
  3. Putty-tools will also be downloaded.

PuTTY gets installed under Applications/Internet and is called PuTTY SSH Client.

When you open PuTTY, just enter the name of the server you’ve just installed in the Host Name field and make sure that the Connect type is set to SSH.
If you specified a port other than 22 for SSH when you installed it on the server, you need to specify it in the Port field.
Finally, just click Open and you’ll find yourself with a login prompt on the server.
Connect using the username and password you specified when setting up the server and you’re in.
That was easy…now I’m off to install Samba. Wish me luck!


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