i would like to make a file server with all my drives and set-up a raid in case of disk fail.i've got something like 10 drives from 160gb to 500gb. i've got a q9550 and 8gb of ram.
how can i protect my server from other people on lan?
i'd like to take this moment to shill Alpine Linux. it's small, easy to set up, and the wiki can get you started on what you want in less than an hour.
If your drives are all that old (do they even still make 160GB hard disks?), it seriously might not be a good idea. Traditional RAID doesn't work well with drives of different sizes. btrfs or ZFS can do it, but that's not really going to achieve what you wanted unless you set it up right.
I'd suggest instead grabbing two new drives, say, 4TB in size, you should comfortably fit everything on one of those, and RAID-1 mirror it (mdadm would be easiest). It'll save power compared to running 10 old drives, too.
Any Linux, whichever you find comfy and easy to run with minimal hassle for a long time (Debian 8.0 jessie?), and yes, samba should be alright, although can be a little tricky to set up properly (smbpasswd is generally the missing link in the config).
I'm curious about that one. Might try it out on a tiny VPS, it looks useful for that.
my biggest fear is that someone could access to data stored on my server through lan: i live in a "college" and we are all connected to the same router, so i could see other pc's over the network.