Uses for a Linux box?
October 26, 2005 10:58 PM   Subscribe

What are some fun/practical uses for a PII-333 Linux machine?

As a distraction from school, I've decided to indulge my geeky side and install Slackware on an old machine. I've got all the hardware configured correctly, Windowmaker/X Windows perfectly tweaked, apache/php/mysql, etc. The original purpose was to have this machine mount my main mp3 HD via smb and run Ampache (for remote listening) and phpMp2 (for playing things on my stereo, to which this machine is connected.) They were fun to set up and are great to use, and now I wonder what else I can do with this machine. It has a very basic graphics card, 192 megs of ram, and several gigs of free space. I don't need a router or a firewall. I'm thinking of stuff like PHP iCalendar, but open and curious about non-web stuff.
posted by ori to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
I've always thought a weather station would be kinda cool.

I think the electronics involved are a bit beyond me - but linux would make it really easy to grab the data and graph it any way you wanted
posted by cornflake at 11:23 PM on October 26, 2005

* Throw in a suitable wireless PCI card, and run Kismet with alerts turned on, to catch wardrivers using active stumblers
* Run
* Wipe it and install windows
* Wireless Access Point

Can't think of anything else
posted by angry modem at 11:25 PM on October 26, 2005

Use Festival along with cron, wget and sed, so it will read you a bedtime story every night from Project Gutenberg - or Literotica, if you prefer.
posted by Orb2069 at 12:39 AM on October 27, 2005

Have a look at Icecast as an alternative to ampache.

You could also install CUPS and make it your network print server. Installing Samba on it will allow Windows PC's to access it as well.

You could also make it a photo displayer. Get a nice looking (but cheap) LCD monitor and install F-Spot (or similar photo software, F-Spot has some heavy dependencies - Gnome and Mono) and dump all your digital photos on it and it can create a photo slideshow for you.
posted by PenDevil at 12:53 AM on October 27, 2005

Another thought: Get Asterisk and you can roll your own PBX.
posted by PenDevil at 2:03 AM on October 27, 2005

I use a machine just like that as a media PC. It's in my entertainment center. I use it to rip dvds to avis, to play all kinds of movie formats, to play music, video games (MAME, NES, etc, although 333 mhz is a little low for even some mame games).

The software I have in it is custom made but it didn't take me too long to make it. There is some existing software for stuff like this but I didn't like it much.
posted by RustyBrooks at 5:44 AM on October 27, 2005

Put a big hard drive in it and use it as a file server for automated backups of other machines on your network, serving media, etc.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:02 AM on October 27, 2005

Photo gallery? I ran Gallery on my Slackware 166 mhz box but stopped doing it after a while because the image resizing was so painfully slow. With a faster machine you shouldn't have as many problems. You already host your music, why not drop photos in as well and let your friends and family view your images?

If you're worried about the machine handling the bandwidth, well, I also have a 300 mhz Pentium departmental server that gets 90 to 100,000 hits a month and handles it just fine...

Or you could set it up with Zimbra and use it as your own mail and calendar server, that certainly looks pretty cool.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:10 AM on October 27, 2005

Slap a wiki on, expose it to the web, .htaccess protect it.

Very, very useful.
posted by devilsbrigade at 11:22 AM on October 27, 2005

Oh, and if you're into amateur radio, there's a lot of linux drivers for the hardware. That could be fun.
posted by devilsbrigade at 11:28 AM on October 27, 2005

MAME! Everybody needs a retro vidmachine!

Back when I was writing a ton I used my old P200 laptop as a "digital typewriter" to forcibly remove my content from my display (with text-only, there wasn't much to worry about in terms of layout).

Re bedtime storyreader -- While Festival is free, its worth the extra $30 to get a more listenable Cepstral voice.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:30 PM on October 27, 2005

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