Well, I've spent the better part of this long weekend trying to get not just a server setup, but a server with VMware setup. VMware is very cool virtualization software that's all the rage in the corporate world where I'm seemingly forever searching for a job in this crappy-ass economy. So, if I can learn it well, it will serve me well. Virtualization means that while you have only one physical server/machine, it can be setup with VMware (or Oracle's Virtual Box or Citrix's Xen Server, and probably others) in such a way that it appears to all the world that you have 10, 20, whatever number of servers running. Of course, you're still limited by physical memory and hard drive capacity, but still, it's very cool.
I tried setting it up on a Linux server because Linux is free free of financial cost, but you will spend hours/days/weeks of your time trying to get it configured properly. Anyway, the only version/distribution of Linux I could get it to work on was Ubuntu 9.04, as-is from the CD. Not updated, not upgraded to 9.10. Just 9.04 straight from the CD. Believe me, I tried. That's where the aforementioned "better part of the weekend" was spent. Well, at first I tried Fedora 14, but it never installed or at least configured VMware successfully.
Kept giving me some damned "C header" errors then "library" (like DLLs in Windows) errors.
I finally gave up on Linux and went with Windows Server 2003 R2. Because I have a hand-me-down Dell Poweredge 2600 server from work, I was able to use this Windows CD to install it without a serial number.
I didn't go with it from the start because I didn't think it would work without a serial number.
Don't worry, Microsoft, I'm not profiting from this, just learning. Of course, installing the VMware server on Windows was a breeze. As usual, installing stuff on Windows versus Linux is just exponentially easier. You Linux buffs can rant and rave, but Linux cannot compare. Of course the best of both worlds would be Mac OSX because it has the famously friendly GUI interface and apps with the added bonus of being built on top of Darwin, a very stable variation of the very Linux-like BSD. My current finances are the only thing keeping me from making "the switch."
Anyway, now I can go about getting familiar with VMware.