Build an IoT device
Highly specialised Linux distributions reared for very particular tasks
Use the Pi to turn appliances into Internet of Thingsenabled smart devices.
Linux’s malleable nature is often exploited to create barebones distributions that perform singular tasks. This might be running routers (OpenWRT), software firewalls (IPFire) or gateway servers (ClearOS).
One such interesting distribution is
TheSSS (Smallest Server Suite, http:// thesss.4mlinux.com), which helps you deploy servers with a single keystroke. The distribution includes popular open source packages over a minimal Linux base to roll out fully fledged web, file, proxy servers and more on your local network. There are several use cases for such a quick fire server. For instance, you can deploy a FTP server to quickly share files between several users on an intranet. Or, set up a temporary proxy server to see if it helps take some load off the network. Broadcast meeting minutes or other information via the included web server. By weeding out the deployment complexities from these essential services, TheSSS opens the doors to lots of possibilities.
TheSSS runs as a Live system by default, but it can also be installed on a hard disk. Once the distribution is up and running you can enable the servers with a simple command, such as httpd start, to fire up the Apache web server. The fact that the distribution enables you to run the servers from memory without installation makes TheSSS very useful. It’s the perfect backup server for when the main server running on a network goes down. TheSSS runs on both 32bit and 64-bit hardware and the ISO weighs in just over 100MB. It’s based on the 4M Linux distribution which in itself is a miniscule distribution that packs in a fully functional LAMP server along with the usual desktop productivity tools.
A storage pool
A simple backup server is sometimes not enough. If you seriously want to protect your data you need to use a Network Attached Storage device. While off-the-shelf NAS devices cost several hundred pounds, the Debian-based Open Media Vault (OMV, www. openmediavault.org) enables you to cobble
together a NAS server of your own for free. The distro offers the power of commercial solutions in a package that’s easy to set up and manage. OMV is a lightweight distro and doesn’t really need a very powerful host; in fact, the project makes an image of the distribution for the Raspberry Pi. Using the Pi as an always-on NAS box sounds like a wonderful use of the silent little device.
Before installing the distribution, plug in all your storage devices to the server. If you’re using the Pi you can use self-powered USB disks. Once OMV is up and running, you can configure and manage the server using its intuitive browser-based admin interface.
above The servers in TheSSS can be configured via a web-based interface. In addition to all these servers, the 4M Linux distribution includes several useful maintenance tools