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Tiny Linux Plug Computers: Wall Wart Linux Servers

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Hardware

Ever wish you could set up a small, efficient server? Maybe you're setting up a mail server for a couple of people, or something to hand out music files over a home network. Do you really need a full-fledged PC with a noisy fan, sucking down 100 watts and heating up the room?

Fortunately, there's a class of computers ideally suited to that sort of job: "plug computers", sometimes called Sheevaplugs after an early model. The whole computer is built into the bit that plugs into the wall, so they're barely bigger than a normal "wall wart" power supply. They use power-efficient ARM CPUs, so you can run a server with only 5 watts. They're inexpensive, usually just over $100 for a plug with 512M RAM and 512M flash. Best of all, they come with Linux installed right out of the box.

Interested? Here's what you need to know to get started in plug computing.




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