My setup and plans (1 year Linux Challenge)

First this is not me telling others how or what to do with their machines.

This is just where I am at with computing and technology.

Over the past couple of years I have grown bored with AAA gaming and hardware. I tried to to chase a ultra high end system and all it did is give me a giant honking machine I felt tethered to at home. Didn't travel as much as I used to and it irked the crap out of me.

I will be selling my desktop and replacing it with three much more portable machines.

The laptop:

Plenty of power to still do compiles, video transcodes, and some VM testing. This is the same model System 76 sells but a little cheaper. Will be running Ubuntu

The portable HTPC:

Perfect form factor for an HTPC to take to hotels and the such. Ideal for Steam streaming, kodi, and Emulators (more on that later). Will be running Debian stable

The tertiary machine:

Nice for light in town travel, Steam streaming, emulators and as computer for my workbench. Something even more fun I will go into later. Will be running. May go with a GPD pocket if it comes out soon.

What I currently have:

Acts as my primary storage server is not directly connected outside my network runs a cut down version of debian with a nice web gui.

MacOS has been replaced with Debian and is running my Web Services and connected to the NAS via NFS.

It uses Yunohost for ease of use for my family and also runs Plex to host my media.

This runs pfsense for squid catching, oopenvpn clinet and server and of course as a firewall.

I have a managed switch that handles QoS and Vlans

I also have two and soon two be three Raspberry Pis. One runs Debian and acts as my Internet condom I ssh into it and surf the net and download files. The other runs freebsd and acts as a software defined radio receiver with sdr-rtl because of curiosity. The third I plan on getting will run octoprint with debian because I don't want to babysit a 3D printer.

I have a VPS that runs FreeBSDt o act as a mail forwarder using dovecot and postfix for system mail. I pay for a real mail provider for personal use. It also use it for openvpn when I need a direct connection to something.

Info on the web services mentioned

Yunohost acts as a really nice dashboard and single sign on for other services

I use Tiny Tiny RSS, Next Cloud and Zerobin to glue my machines together.

Plex is proprietary but so good there is also a .deb repo for eaas of use.

Fun stuff to use with sdr-rtl:


squid for caching:

Dovecot and postfix are a bit dry and won't go into same for sdr-rtl

Now for emulation and games.

Steam s a nice all in one solution putting games in one place. But doesn't quite cater to roms.

Ice solves this:

Now running and maintaining a bunch of emulators is a drag. Retroarch is a nice way to put all that in one place:
It has a really nice port for Android by the way.

Now for controller the GP Win can act as a controller and second screen for chat programs as a synergy server:

But that isn't always ideal and the 8bitdo is a great portable controller. It also works with android.

The compute stick is the tv friendly 10ft UI and the laptop becomes the mother ship more or less. The servers then keep it together.

On the OS's I like Debian/Ubuntu do to the massive software repositories for them and both are pretty stable on LTS. The other big thing is I don't want a bunch of distros and have to write separate scrips for them. FreeBSD is because when i need something light I will compile the setup and ports is the easiest way to do it.

I really have no need to use Windows. Nothing that interest me is there. I started with SunOS as my first OS and prefer to stay with *nix based systems. Also it is much hard to bend close source to my will.

A further plan may be build a homelab with smartOS. Mainly because I miss Solaris and as an easy way to test upstream software and OS's:

On phone I run a Nexus 5x with Paranoid Android:
Also did a thread on helpful android stuff:

So yeah I guess I am in the challenge now.

Sorry if this is a bit of a ramble, but i needed to consolidate what I have been doing because it has become hard for me to keep track. And this is to organize myself and maybe entertain/educate.

And will update this as i go


@Ethereal @Kat @MFZuul

There I finally did a full outline of my setup


Successful thread!



The fans I need to sell the desktop should be here tomorrow so I can move forward with all this.


OK got all the parts and the machine is running correctly sans the multi card reader

I might sell it here.

Going to be selling this. That list doesn't take into account that one gpu is a 390x nor the price of the power supply. I will be selling for $1900 about $1000 cheaper you would by the parts new. It will be coming with a full Windows 10 pro license as well. Note the multi card reader doesn't work quite right but think it can be repaired.

I would rather sell to the community but only if there is interest

Quick poll to gauge interest here:

  • Sell on Level 1 Techs?
  • Sell on third Party Reseller?


Votes are public.


This is a very cool idea. The one thing that keeps me from Linux full time is AAA gaming. I doubt I'll be bored anytime soon, with games like For Honor coming out.

I do have Linux exclusively on my laptop where I do a lot of school work, however.

Best of luck to you!


Huh, maybe we should do a thread about workflows :U

Will I have been using Linux for 14 years. And *nix for 20. Very little culture shock for me.

Also Wii U emulators are starting to get stable amd the Linux steam/gog library has gotten good enough that I no longer feel like I am missing out.


My workflow is odd my VPS runs bots that report back to me on my current fascination. Save the data to my next cloud server which backs up to the nas via rsync/cron. The other VPS just forwards system mail to my phone.

The side sysadmin work is just a matter of running scrips written in perl/python. I read their logs and manually fix stuff if there are errors.

Gaming is an odd mix steam streaming, synergy and retroarch.

My setup is basically a giant Rube Goldberg machine. Sometimes I replace or change parts. It breaks comically and I have to duct tape it together. Sometimes I get lucky and it works.


You plan on jumping on the skylake train or the Ryzen one?

AMD has a bad track record with laptops. Will be going Intel+NVIDIA for the laptop. Unless they surprise me.

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Do it

Best kind of setup


I would be willing to go with an AMD laptop if they exsisted.

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I'm just doing the obligatory joke.

Also pray for the day..... One magical day

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The rig is up for sell.

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Settled on this for the 3D printer I want:

This will help accelerate the project I am brewing for spring. Gonna automate a patio garden


Civ6 is on Linux now last game I gave a crap about.


Did not know that, nice, something to kill time with.

Been messing around with dosbox Linux on my laptop, I know I'm late to the party, just want to play fallout. Kinda makes me mad GOG doesn't make all their dos games work on Linux. Not super hard to get them to work, but just lame that some are and some are not.