Installing Ubuntu Server 12.04 from USB key on HP Proliant Microserver n54l

HP N54L Proliant Microserver

HP N54L Proliant Microserver

These are notes on installing Ubuntu Server on a new HP Proliant Microserver N54L

I had initially wanted to do the install from the USB key without any user interaction – I don’t have a VGA compatible monitor.  I tried to use the steps indicated on this post   but wasn’t able to get the SSH server to start when I turned the server on with the USB key with Ubuntu installed on it.

So, after buying a DVI-D compatible, low profile, fanless video card (Sapphire Radeon HD 6450 625MHZ 1GB DDR3 PCI-E DVI-D HDMI VGA Fanless Video Card), I was able to look at the boot process to see what was happening.  It turns out that some of long filenames (particularly in the Ubuntu 12.04.02 AMD64 server ISO) are beyond 104 characters and get truncated when extracted and created on the USB key (see bug discussion here).

So, I ended up doing the following:

Ubuntu Logo


Steps taken

  1. Downloading the older 12.04.01 release instead of the 12.04.02 release from Ubuntu here.     The older release does not have the problem with the long filenames on USB sticks.
  2. Then in order to easily format and extract the downloaded ISO onto a USB key, I downloaded this open-source LinuxLive USB Creator program  (I installed the program in Windows 7 which is running under Parallels on a MacBook. If you don’t have Windows available you could use UNetBootin)
  3. Plugging the USB key into one of the front panel’s USB slot worked for me, other users have reported that if that doesn’t work, try the back USB ports, or failing that, opening the front panel and installing the key onto the USB slot on the mainboard.
  4. The Ubuntu installer then comes up automatically. The n54l is configured to boot first from USB and then any hard drives, so you don’t need to modify the BIOS prior to starting these steps.

Other notes:

  • The  Sapphire Radeon HD 6450 DVI-D works with the mid-2000’s Apple Cinema Display
  • The USB key I used for the initial Linux install was 1GB

Media Servers

I am using the n54l as a NAS, Apple Time Machine backup, possible development/staging server for programming projects (including LAMP and SVN servers), and as a media server.  My requirements are:

  • can index and serve through uPNP (DNLA) music (MP3) and video files stored on the n54l drives
  • can play music directly from the NAS to the stereo through a standard stereo cable
  • can be remote controlled by portable devices (Android phone, and Apple iPhone and iPad)
  • can stream music and movies to the portable devices themselves

XMBC looks good but I didn’t like the remote interfaces as much as the Plex ones.  Plex seems worth giving a try and has good (paid) Android and iOS applications.

Plex Media Server

Plex Media Server

Installing Plex Media Server on Ubuntu 12.04

  1. Install Avahi so that devices on your network can see the Plex server advertise itself to the:

    sudo apt-get install avahi-daemon

  2. Add the Plex repositories to your apt sources list, so open it in an editor:

    sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

  3. Add these repositories somewhere in your sources.list:

    deb lucid main

  4. Then wget the repository key and install it:

    sudo apt-key add

  5. Then update your apt repositories:

    sudo apt-get update

  6. Then install Plex itself:

    sudo apt-get install plexmediaserver

  7. Then connect to Plex through a browser:


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