One of the things that makes the Mac great is how easily it can find network resources. Apple calls this technology Bonjour but in reality it’s a combination of a number of different protocols talked about at http://www.zeroconf.org/. Avahi is in basic terms an open source implementation of Bonjour and with it you can advertise services that a Linux server provides on your local network. I use Avahi to advertise the netatalk/afp service running on my home Linux system. By doing so, my Linux system shows up immediately in the Finder Window of all of my Macs in the house.
The only “problem” I had was that my Linux system would show up with an icon that looked like an Apple display. I wanted to appear in my Finder window as a little bit closer to reality. By default OS X is aware of all of Apple’s products and can display the appropriate icon for any product it finds. In my setup I’m happy with my Linux system appearing as an older style of PowerMac. With a bit of effort you can cause OS X to show any custom made icon you want.