Gandalf Parker's site in support of the great strategy game called Dominions 3

This is an ugly little temporary page.

Most would be surprised by this server.

On the one hand, its a 90% functional Internet Service Providor. OK I dont do the dialup part (altho could) but it does act as a home server for a dozen domains, hundreds of web pages, a hundred email addresses with no limits on size or volume, ftp upload directorys, it autogenerates map libraries for the fantastic Dominions 3 game, and it hosts a couple of online worlds.

On the other hand, its an old computer that was in the closet because it would no longer run the latest windows games. Its sitting in my house, under my desk, on a home DSL line which it shares with 4 very active desktop home computers. The hard drive was wiped clean and installed with free Linux operating system and using all no-cost software to do all this.

Actually it takes more computer to create anything for the net than it does to serve it to the net. Its takes more computer to create a webpage, than to serve it up. It takes more computer to create a wav file, or a graphic, or a video, etc etc than it takes to make them available on the net. Why? Because all the server basically does is "copy" those files. It "hears" the request for the file and "copies" it out the port to travel to your machine where YOUR machine has all the work of displaying it properly. My server does not need to be able to display the images, or play the wav, or even open a browser in order to do its job.

This server does not do GUI. Linux does have a very nice windowsy type environment but I leave it off since its not a desktop machine. I do everything in text mode (old DOS lovers definetly need to look into this since it makes your old guru skills highly useful again). Consequently the load on my machine is very very small. A server like this gets along fine with minimum hard drive, minimum old graphics card, minimum sound card, no keyboard, and no monitor. The important parts are CPU, memory, and network card (even those three dont need to be too impressive).

Most peoples desktop computer is 4x more machine than it takes to put you and all your friends on the net without limits. All the email addresses you want, none of the names are taken. No limit on how large the email can be, or attachments, or how many you can store. I store my emails going back to 1980. Registering a domain name can be as low as $5/year. Its the hosting costs that kill you. You can host all the domains you want for free.

Reality. OK fine. IF one of my domains starts getting REALLY popular THEN I might have to move it to a professional server. But such a move is transparent to users. They will end up at the new location without ever knowing Ive moved. Thats how internet works. So why would I pay for hosting during my growth years? Right now my system gets continual hits yet my son playing his online worlds from his machine does not feel the traffic affecting his playing at all.

More Reality. OK yes I have experienced some security issues. Ive even put in some hours of headaches on it. But it still amounts to less than I have with my Windows XP desktop. And the occassional burps in service over the last 7 years do not amount to any more than people I know have had on professional services. Google is my operating manual. Forums are my customer service.

Disclaimer: It is possible that this might not be worth it unless it is fun. Unless you are tempted to play with linux, play with web pages, play with scripting, run your own forum or chat room or online world.. then you might find this all to be something you would prefer to pay someone else for. All I want you to know is that it IS an option. You do not HAVE to pay someone else to do it unless you want to.

Gandalf Parker
I used them, they used me
now I am my ISP
with a knick-knack paddy whack
debian linux clone
I am now my /root @ /home