Howdy, I'm generally a Linux noob, and I've not yet decided that I'm going to go with Linux yet, but I have some questions to help me decide if it's going to be the best choice. Here's what I want to do:

I live in a house with 3 other college students, all of which are have a University-distributed WiFi-enabled laptop. These laptops are known for their propensity to break at the worst possible moment. I'm the only one who doesn't have one of these laptops, and instead run a 1.5ghz desktop PC with at present, two harddrives. I'm going to be entering a networking AS program (after completing 87 credits in a psychology BS program which I hated), and am completing the A+ and Network+ certifications right now.

Since I'm going to be learning a lot about networking in the next 12 months, I'm gonna need to do a lot of learning on my own. It's how I've always learned best, anyway. So, I've decided to purchase another harddrive (80gb) because right now I have a 2gb and a 16 or 18gb harddrive in my computer. The 2gb houses my operating system, XP Home Edition. With this new harddrive I've decided I want to run a file server for me and my fiance and roommates.

This'll allow everyone to backup their files for the invevitable twice-a-year harddrive meltdown. I figure I'll allow everyone 4gb total, so 2gb unique, and 2gb shared.

I've also been thinking about putting some of our movies on a server and streaming them, but that'd have to be a section only I could adjust. I dunno about this idea yet.

Now, I need to be able to use my windows XP partition and still be running this server. This is a very important ability to me. This server won't be getting a ton of use, since there's only 4 people in the house, and it's only going to be used for backing up stuff during the day. If I decide to set up a streaming-movie sort of thing, it'll only be available after 7pm (since no one here watches movies before then, and I don't use my computer much after this time). I most want to be able to do streaming movies just to learn how to stream video, not because I think it'll have a great use, or be used often, at our house.

Would this be possible to do with a Windows XP WiFi network? I don't know if it's possible to serve up windows files from a Linux-based Server. I also don't know if it'd be the best way (or have the most learning value for my future career?).

I'd really appreciate any comments and suggestions you could give me in this endeavor. I'm open to not creating a fileserver, but some other kind- whatever will be most useful to my roommates and my learning (boy, I sound so nice! ;-0)

Thanks everyone in advance. I've been a big fan of this forum for a while. I've learned a lot without ever having to join.