I've been thinking more seriously about setting up a home server. Yesterday I looked at the Freedombone, Yunohost and Freedombox projects - these are some of the noteworthy attempts to make a Linux distro specially geared towards home servers. All three are based on Debian Linux and can be run on a variety of hardware. Cheap Raspberry Pis, old computers and other cheap machines are what people normally use. In my case I will be trying from an Eeeepc netbook, since I have one lying around and its electricity needs are a bit smaller than those of a normal laptop. I do have an unused Raspberry Pi, but it's one of the early models and has only half a gigabyte RAM.
My initial experiments were failures. It took many hours to download Freedombone from Bob Mottram's site, and even then it seems that the data was corrupted. Yunohost's download took just a couple of minutes but the thumb drive wouldn't boot for me. I will try again with these later. Or I'll just work from another distro - my eeepc already has a Debian distro on it. These kind of experiments always seem to take me longer than for most people.