I would recommend going with Feodra 8 and installing MythTV (from the atrpms repo). This will give you the functionality of Windows Media Center with a few added benefits. It will allow you to do the standard DVR stuff (record, pause/rewind live tv, etc.), but it will also allow you to view photos, watch video clips, watch DVDs, setup a video phone, pull news feeds, lookup movie times, get local weather info, access your Netflix account, view websites, and even setup a security system (using Zoneminder). I have been using this setup for quite a while and I absolutely love it. I can watch all of my recorded tv shows, review my security camera recordings, and setup picture slide shows for friends and family.
To get the functionality of Windows Home Server, you will need to do a little bit of work. I would start by looking into setting up your Linux machine as a primary domain controller for the network (look here: http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=183837
). This will allow you to have greater control over you files by requiring everyone that accesses the files to have an account on your private domain. After that you will want to look into the "shadow copy" and "recycle" features of Samba. The recycle feature will allow Samba to grab a copy of any files that are deleted from the network shares so that they can be placed in a backup (this is very helpful when you accidentally delete an important file). The shadow copy feature will allow samba to take automatic snapshots of the network shares for further protection.
There are tons of options out there but for automatic backups I suggest using the rsync method (http://www.mikerubel.org/computers/rsync_snapshots/
). I use this method on a server at work to create weekly backups. I start by creating a master backup on Sunday night and then use rsync to create incremental backups for each day of the week. On Saturday night I compress all of the backup files and split them into smaller chunks (I use RAR but you can also use tar,gzip, and split....see http://www.tonybhimani.com/2008/04/3...and-checksums/
Hope this helps.