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In this modern world with all-powerful mobile devices, ever-present internet connections and storage devices measuring in the multi-terabyte level you’d be excused for thinking a self-supported home or office server is as dead as the dinosaurs. How wrong you’d be.

Ever since I realised I needed a dependable back up solution I’ve run a home-built server even if broadband manages to reach gigabit levels, I’ll still want to control where my backups are stored and have instant access to them. Once you have a server stood there ready to serve, it’s trivial to start adding services to its rank of abilities. File serving, backup, download manager, torrent box, media streamer, remote access, virtualisation hypervisor and even a streaming game server. Combine a home Gigabit LAN and good wireless connectivity and you can enjoy simple, high-speed, redundant remote storage along with a host of server services. We’ll take your hand and explain how it all works. Then if you want something that’s not going to add to the electricity bill, we also explain how the Raspberry Pi can be used as a home or work collaboration server running OwnCloud and useful web server.

We also print an essay by a chap called Richard Stallman, this important message extols the need for more open hardware platforms. The world is thundering down the tracks to a place where vendor-locked proprietary devices are the only option – even Android struggles to stay freed outside of the kernel – and the problem has shifted from being able to run your own freed software to being able to access the hardware to run anything at all.

If you are after some new hardware we’ve reviewed the latest Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition running Ubuntu—it’s awesome. Plus there’s the usual huge dose of practical tutorials, Raspberry Pi projects and coding fun to be had over the hundred pages. Enjoy!

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