This is Part 3 in a series of articles exploring the Amahi Home Digital Assistant server software. Part 1 walked through the necessary steps to create a new Amahi profile. In Part 2, we set up the Fedoral linux base install that Amahi runs on. Part 3 continues on with setting up Amahi for first time use and then we will explore the web administrator interface. Let’s begin.
When we wrapped up Part 2 of the walkthrough, we had just rebooted at the final stage of the Fedora linux install. Once it the reboot is complete and the operating system boots for the first time, the Fedora login screen with the user I configured is shown.
Just click the user account and then the login box appears, prompting for password. Upon successfully entering the password, the desktop loads for the first time.
On the Fedora desktop, there are a number of Amahi-related shortcuts. The one we’re interested in is the Amahi Installer. Double-click this shortcut to begin the Amahi web installation.
After launching the installer, the default browser will start displaying http://localhost:2000 and then prompt for the Amahi Install Code that we received in Part 1 of this walkthrough. If you didn’t write it down or forgot what it is, you can retrieve it from your Amahi Control Panel by logging in at Amahi.org.
After entring the correct install code and hitting the submit button, Amahi begins downloading and installing the required packages.
Once installation is complete (took a while), we receive a congradulatory message and notice to reboot the system. Just click Reboot and wait for the system to come back up.
After that reboot, you should be able to access your Amahi HDA from any system on your internal network simply by typing in http://hda. Since I installed mine on a VM with NAT enabled, I had to access it from the Fedora install itself. We’ve got to log in to Amahi in order to see what’s there.
After logging in for the first time, we’re forced to re-create our user password. I just chose the same password and continued on and that’s when the dashboard is presented for the first time.
Now, for my first run I had to do a little bit of work. I did not want to use the DHCP server that Amahi enables by default since my pfSense gateway server already handles that duty, so I had to head into Settings > Servers > DHCP Server to disable and stop the service. Both the Watchguard and DHCP services must be disabled to accomplish this. There is a warning associated with disabling each, so just click OK for those and continue. After disabling, the DHCP service still must be stopped, so do that and click OK for that warning.
Now we can get back to some sort of order in exploring the Amahi HDA dashboard, so let’s return to the Users tab where we get a list of all the users associated with our HDA installation. Right now, all that exists is the original user account. We can create a new one if we want by clicking New User, but I’m not going to.
The next tab displays the shares created by the default installation of Amahi HDA. As you see, pretty standard stuff and some not-so-standard stuff, but all readily available via Samba. I had to supply credentials in order to view, so I guess Samba security is enabled by default, whether you like it or not. I only sound surprised here due to my long-standing use of unRAID, for which I do not use user-based folder security for Samba shares. Selecting a share in the dashboard expands some additional options and information. You can also create new shares from this tab.
The next tab is Apps. Under the applications tab we can view our Installed applications (none so far), Available applications and Webapps. Webapps are web-hosted applications such as WordPress or Gallery, which are typically seen as live Internet site platforms. The idea here is create a full Intranet experience running on Amahi HDA.
Under storage, we can view information regarding the available partitions and disks being used by Amahi. Available and used space, drive temperature (not available for me since I was using a VM) are a few things you can observe.
For the Networking tab, you’ll get an overview of all DHCP leases and Static IPs. However, I disabled this functionality and so mine shows nothing.
Getting closer to the end, we visit the Settings tab again…this time we’ll go through it a little more throroughly. Under the first sub-menu, also named Settings, we can change the default language, enable more advanced options (I’ll check this so we can take a look), enable a guest dashboard and see some other basic system information. We also have buttons for rebooting or powering down our server.
The second sub-menu under Settings is Servers. These are all the different services that our Amahi is running. By default, all of these would be green and show as Running, but earlier in this article I disabled DHCP, so it shows as Stopped. If you did not explicitly set any of these to stopped and yet you see one, or more, indicating that, then you probably have a problem and you should visit the Help link at the top of the dashboard.
Next up are Themes. I only have the included theme installed, so that is all that shows up. If others were available, they would be lined up alongside the default theme with a nice preview of it below. You can install new themes under the Apps tab.
The last sub-menu item is Calendars. The built-in calendar server can be used alongside with popular clients like Outlook, Thunderbird, etc. to track appointments, meetings or anything that can be set in a calendar. You can read more about it here.
The final tab is Debug. If I remember correctly, the debug tab became available when the enabled advanced settings check box was set, but I’m not completely certain (pretty certain though). In here we can view various output regarding App Logs, System and Logs.
That’s it for this installment. For the next one I’m going to try and scrape enough of this together to show some very basic usage and draw a conclusion based upon some other popular home server choices. Check back soon!
- Amahi Home Digital Assistant – Part 1. Creating a profile.
- Amahi Home Digital Assistant – Part 2. Installing Fedora.
- Amahi Home Digital Assistant – Part 3. The Amahi web interface.