Why I get up everyday: Creating a the next generation of Linux NAS Distros

Houston we have a problem

Recently I’ve been inspired to writing something up today to address something that I think the Linux distro ecosystem needs to have: A better NAS distribution. Yes we have OpenMediaVault and openFiler, but that’s just about it. Recently I found Rockstor, but it’s still in early development. But one thing that these distributions have in common, is that I don’t think I could sit my sister or my mom down at the web GUI and say “Build me a RAID1 array with a hot spare. Also make a SMB share” (Granted they would really not even know what I just said in the first place but you get the point.) the GUI’s for these distributions are good, but there only for the technically inclined. I (and some help from the community) hope to change that….

The Vision

I wanted to create a NAS / Server distro ever since college (Which is how I got started in Linux and open source in general), my goal is to create a distribution that micro businesses, startups, and even home users could use to set up there own private server / infrastructure for there own use without being technically inclined but also cater to technical people as well. I drew inspiration from Zentyal, Microsoft Small Business Server, and QNAP / Synology which all targeted small to medium businesses, you could say that I’m just reinventing the wheel again but even Linux was like this ( A better alternative to Minix at the time.).


Even before writing this story up I have been trying to work on something, I first experimented with NodeJS + Express to prove to myself that I could make the darn thing. It’s only a REST API that interacts with LVM2 but that’s about it, it somewhat works but I just scraped the project because I couldn’t handle Javascript on the server side with this type of project. I’ve opted to use Go (Unless someone can talk me out of it.) because it was more to the metal and it had all of the features that I needed in the standard library. So I play to have a REST API server that handles different features I have in mind (LVM2, Btrfs, shares, firewall, Docker, etc) which then talks to the front-end. The front end is going to really special, because I want the user to feel right at home when it comes to configuring everything, so I’ve found a browser based desktop written called OS.js, I have also made a iOS / Android like front-end just in case if I can’t integrate the API with the front-end (Which is highly unlikely but I like to have backup plan). Like I mentioned, the backend will have docker support so that applications can be built and distributed easily. I haven’t decided on a base OS, but I would like to get the API server and front-end server built so that I can just easily switch between different base OS’s to test out. It’s a really big project with lots of new technologies, however I am the only one working on this project.

In this for the long run

It’s a big endeavor but it’s going to take some time before this project (if it ever does) gets to the status of projects like Rockstor or FreeNAS. But I hope both the drive that I have, plus the vision of the project has inspired someone to either start something or maybe help out with my project. Weather or not I get support, I’m writing this to maybe drive thoughts, discussion, or just to write what drives me to get up every day.

Note: Thank you for reading, if you would like to contact me about this project please email at opensourcejohn2112@gmail.com.

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