How to turn an Ubuntu desktop into a convenient Linux-based server

If you have a desktop computer and a laptop chances are that, in the long run, you end up spending more time working on your laptop than on your desktop. If repurposing your old desktop into a fully fledged server seems like too much of a commitment (either because you do not have the time to set it up or do not want to give up your desktop), you can still configure it as to offer services to other computers on your network without having to go for a server operating system.

Accessing a computer from your local network usually just means assigning an static IP address to your desktop and have it though that IP address every time. The peculiarity with desktop Linux distributions -such as Ubuntu or Fedora- is that they now ship with an utility called NetworkManager which tries to make it “simple” to manage networks. The problem with NetworkManager is that, in my opinion, it was designed mostly for a mobile scenario, where a laptop moves around and tries to join different networks along the way, but this is rarely the case for a desktop computer, which just connects to the same network every time. Furthermore, depending on your router configuration, it may prove difficult to impossible to have a NetworkManager-enabled desktop PC to have the same IP address assigned every time the computer joins the DHCP network.

In this post we will present a method for completely disabling NetworkManager from your Ubuntu desktop system and, using the old-school Linux networking facilities, have your desktop computer’s network connection set up your way, offering services to other computer without sacrificing Internet access.

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