Versia has a comprehensive guide to setting up Debian 5.0 on a VIA ARTiGO A2000 barebones storage server:

After playing with FreeNAS I ended up using Debian for my server. FreeNAS is a great distribution if you want an out of the box experience, but I found it hard to customise, mostly because I’m not very familiar with BSDs. Also, they are switching to Debian for the next version. So, Debian it is.

This post will explain how to set up a NAS server with Debian running essential services such as ssh, samba, nfs, cups, rdiff-backup and rtorrent with a web interface; and using two HDDs in RAID 1 mode with everything encrypted. It took me awhile to research all bits and pieces, hopefully it will save you time if you are going to do a similar set up.

More: DIY NAS with Debian Lenny

freenas logo 100x100Olivier Cochard-Labbé, the original founder of the FreeNAS Project, has indicated that FreeNAS is in need of some big modification to remove some of its current  limitations (one of the biggest is the non support of easly users add-ons).

This will probably require a full-rewrite of the FreeNAS base.

He also mentions that plans with regards to the future of FreeNAS are:

- Volker, the current FreeNAS project leader and main developer, will create a new project called "'OpenMediaVault" based on a GNU/Linux using all its experience acquired with all its nights and week-ends spent to improve FreeNAS during the last 2 years. He still continue to work on FreeNAS (and try to share its time with this 2 projects).

ixsystems logo- And, a great surprise: iXsystems, a company specialized in professional FreeBSD  products and services, has offered to take FreeNAS under their wings as an open source community driven project. This  mean that they will involve their professionals FreeBSD developers to FreeNAS! Their manpower will permit to do a full-rewriting of FreeNAS.

Olivier will come back to actively work on FreeNAS and begin to upgrade it to FreeBSD 8.0 (that is "production ready" for ZFS).

FreeNAS is a free NAS (Network-Attached Storage) server, supporting: CIFS (samba), FTP, NFS, AFP, RSYNC, iSCSI protocols, S.M.A.R.T., local user authentication, Software RAID (0,1,5) with a Full WEB configuration interface. FreeNAS takes less than 32MB once installed on Compact Flash, hard drive or USB key.

MaximumPC has a step-by-step article (Cheap and NASty - How to Build an Open Source FreeNAS Server) on how to set up your own FreeNAS NAS server. All this step-by-step with many photographs and suggestions as to the best hardware you’ll need for your FreeNAS server, how to install and configure your server.

If you've been wanting to set up your own NAS storage server, this is definitely for you.

Don't want to pay for Windows Home Server? We show you how FreeNAS lets you create a server for storing, sharing, and streaming all your digital content—for free!

Back in the day, the average nerd household had one or two computers, a printer, and a game console. If you were lucky, you had an Internet connection on one of those computers—forget about the printer; forget about the console. And forget about home networking. But now, the average geek household has a multitude of machines: desktop computers, laptops, netbooks, Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones, and networked game consoles—not to mention terabytes of ripped movies, music, and photos. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a central location where all of those files lived that was accessible to all your computing devices? A place where you could back up all of your computers, host your media files for streaming to your console or other computers, and use as a file share for your whole network? Yes. Yes, it would.

Five ways the no-cost server software can benefit your home network

1. Storage

Let’s face it: A family’s worth of home movies, music collections, photos, school assignments, and ripped DVDs takes up a lot of room. Rather than keeping all that content scattered among four computers and six external hard drives, centralize! Use FreeNAS as a central repository for your family’s media, so everyone can access it.

2. Media Server

A FreeNAS server isn’t just a place to store your media—it’s also a fully featured media streaming machine in its own right. The built-in Firefly media streamer creates a library in iTunes that anyone on the network can access. And with FUPPES, the open-source UPnP server, you can transcode and stream movies to your networked computers, HTPC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or any other UPnP or DLNA-enabled media player. It also streams photos and music!

3. BitTorrent Downloading Machine

Rather than wasting your personal machine’s processor cycles and bandwidth, use your FreeNAS server to automatically download and seed .torrent files. We’ll show you how to set a watch folder so that your NAS will immediately download any torrent it finds there.

4. Web Server

FreeNAS is configured through a web GUI, which means FreeNAS has a built-in web server. You can use FreeNAS to host your own websites—and even access them from outside your home network!

5. Backup Server

Back up all your computers to your NAS box—whether you’re an advanced Unix user and back up using FreeNAS’s built-in rsync support, or you merely point your backup software toward your FreeNAS user folder, a FreeNAS server is a great centralized location for data archives.

Full Guide (printer friendly version)


For some days it looked as if the FreeNAS project was dying a slow and uncertain death. Olivier, who originally founded FreeNAS, announced that FreeNAS will continue as a FreeBSD based system, whilst Volker will  set up and develop a Debian-based NAS system called OpenMediaVault.

Olivier will return to the FreeNAS project and Volker will contribute to FreeNAS as well.

FreeNAS needs some big modification for removing its present limitation (one of the biggest is the non support of easly users add-ons).

We think that a full-rewriting of the FreeNAS base is needed. From this idea, we will take 2 differents paths:

Volker will create a new project called "'OpenMediaVault" based on a GNU/Linux using all its experience acquired with all its nights and week-ends spent to improve FreeNAS during the last 2 years. He still continue to work on FreeNAS (and try to share its time with this 2 projects).

And, a great surprise: iXsystems, a company specialized in professional FreeBSD offers to take FreeNAS under their wings as an open source community driven project. This mean that they will involve their professionals FreeBSD developers to FreeNAS! Their manpower will permit to do a full-rewriting of FreeNAS.

Personally, I come back to actively work in FreeNAS and begin to upgrade it to FreeBSD 8.0 (that is "production ready" for ZFS).


FreeNAS has been a very useful and stable product. The version numbering (0.69, 0.70 etc) may make one think we're dealing with a alpha/beta phase product, but FreeNAS is being used in several production areas.

What is the general reception of Volker's announcement to move FreeNAS to Debian?

  • I love a NAS like freeNas on Debian. When will there be a beta?
  • I'm looking forward for the first release of coreNAS. I wish you all the best with all the hard work that must be done.
  • It should bring easier upgrading, wider HW support - this port to linux-based OS should work wonders. Hopefully the filesize remains small. Keep it up!
  • Because it's easier for me to handle Linux OS.
  • If it will be anything like FreeNAS but with the option of painlessly adding packages and btrfs, I'll be there.
  • Cant wait till this one is released.
  • I used before Freenas but I try Openfiler for the ACL features but I don't like the WEBGui because we can modify a lot of parameters like in freenas (for example anonymous login for ftp,...). If this project include all the feature of Openfiler and FreeNAS with the WebGUI of Freenas,...
  • Switching to linux is a great step forward ... if all protocols will be supported like in freenas, then this will be the best NAS ever ever ever ... pls, release some info in regard to progress ... how far is it ? ... can't really wait to try it.
  • This port to Linux-Based OS should bring easier upgrading, wider hardware support. I just hope the filesize stays small! (source)

From these comments we can gather that there's definely some interest in a Linux based NAS solution, combining the strengths of OpenFiler and the ease-of-use of the FreeNAS WebGUI.