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For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to use Ubuntu Desktop 20.04 LTS as the core of this system. I download the latest build, flash a USB, and insert it into the inert workstation.

Out of the box, my RAID volumes were configured. I’ve got two virtual drives, each comprising two identical physical drives in RAID 1 volumes. The first is a speedy SSD, clocking in at 512 GB. The second is a slower SAS drive, with 3 TB of space. I plan to use the SSD for the host OS and essential VMs, and the SAS for my ISO/OVA library and primary VM storage. The former will be bound to mount point /, the latter mounted to /vault.

I power on the workstation. After the BIOS and RAID menus, I hit F2 to modify the boot order, putting USB at the top. Then I reboot the system. Before long, the Ubuntu boot screen appears. I configure the rest as follows:

  • Language: English (Pick what suits you.)
  • Keyboard Configuration: Defaults
  • App selection:
    • Normal Installation
    • Download updates while installing.
    • Install third-party software for graphics and wi-fi, etc.
  • Installation Type: Erase disk and install Ubuntu
    • Advanced features: None
    • Select drive: SSD
    • Accept defaults and install.
  • Time Zone: Chicago
  • Your name: Christopher Steffen
  • Your server’s name: hal9k-0vermind
  • Pick a username: haxys (pick your own)
  • Choose a password: replaceme (pick your own)
  • No auto-login.

Let the system finish updating and reboot. Though I love the power of this new system, it sure does take an age to boot. Once it’s done, I run the following:

sudo apt update
# Update the system
sudo apt dist-upgrade -y
# Install some important tools
sudo apt install build-essential git screen vim-nox locate net-tools haveged lm-sensors timeshift openssh-server
# Reboot
sudo shutdown -r now

Once the system reboots, I’m prompted with a graphical login screen. I log in, enable Livepatch, say “Don’t send system info,” and keep location services disabled. I double-check that the proprietary NVIDIA drivers are installed. They are.

The SAS drive needs to be installed and configured. If you need to format it, install and use gparted. Once the drive has been formatted as ext4, mount it with the following instructions.

  1. sudo mkdir /vault.
  2. sudo blkid and grab the UUID for the vault drive.
  3. sudo vi /etc/fstab and add the following line:
    • UUID=[THE UUID] /vault ext4 defaults 0 2
  4. sudo mount -a

Once it’s mounted, start TimeShift and set it up to save backups to the /vault drive. Be sure to omit /vault from the backups. Then, back the system up and save it as “Fresh Install.”

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