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I have been looking over and researching different versions of linux for my server that I am going to be making and I am not sure which one is the best for having a server or does it even matter. I also want one that will be very quick since it will be a server so is it possible to get one without all the fancy graphical GUI's and more of just like a command prompt or something. I was looking into Debian and Fedora but I am a little lost with all this stuff now. Any help is appreciated, thanks.

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Last Post by jbennet
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I recommend debain. easy to install, and very fast. you might also want to look at slackware, a little bit trickier, but a very fast distro.

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>is debian like a command line interface?
It is if you don't install X. If you're going to install Debian, I recommend downloading the net-install CD anyway. There's no real reason to download all 20 CDs unless you're installing a lot of X applications without an internet connection.

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>How about Fedora? Is it good for a server?
Fedora is the consumer "desktop" distro made by Red Hat. If you want their server distro, you'll want to take a look at Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), or CentOS, which is essentially a free version of RHEL.

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You can try Gentoo Linux. I recomend minimal installation, you will learn a lot of stuff while installing,and also you can setup gentoo to use all your hardware at maximum.its a source based distro.So if you dont alergic in compilation,its a good choice :)

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You can try Gentoo Linux. I recomend minimal installation, you will learn a lot of stuff while installing,and also you can setup gentoo to use all your hardware at maximum.its a source based distro.So if you dont alergic in compilation,its a good choice :)

On the other hand, Gentoo has a software model that might be undesirable for a server operating system. Generally speaking, as a source-based distro, Gentoo tends to be bleeding edge, and while there's a server overlay, that isn't quite enough. Servers OSs need software that's been tried and true, and often need support for legacy software. The Gentoo developers spend very little time backporting and maintainig old packages, so often you're forced to upgrade to the latest -- which may not be the greatest.

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CentOS is probably the best choice if you like the RPM package style. You'd probably find a lot of CentOS and RHEL in larger production environments. When I was working IT at a technical college, all we used was RHEL for our Linux courses. Either are probably going to do well for you.

Bill

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as a free server I'd recommend Debian. Especially if this is going to be a node in a cluster or an MTA server.

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It might fair to say that whatever you're comfortable with is the best for you. There are pros and cons to each Linux distribution. I actually prefer to use Kubuntu for most things but I don't run heavily-used servers with lots of users or anything.

Regardless of which OS you choose, you're still going to want to study up on and implement standard security practices. There's likely going to be metric tons of documentation available for whichever OS you go with regarding how to properly secure your server and best implement the services you wish to offer.

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BillBrown hit it on the head. It's really all about preference. I started out working with RedHat servers, and then experimented with every different distribution I could get my hands on until I discovered the beauty and elegance that I like to call "apt" (the package manager used by Debian (and debian-based distros)).

I use Debian for all my server applications, and xUbuntu for my desktops. BUT it's all about preference.

In my personal experience, Debian makes a reliable, easy to manage (if you're comfortable at the command line) server. There are also graphical configuration tools, but I'm not that familiar with them, so I don't know how a new user would find them.

If you're not that familiar with Linux yet, and want a shiny web-based interface to help you get things set up, the "SME Server" distribution is really nice (or it was the last time I used it, at a previous job). Especially if you're running it in mixed (Windows and Linux) environment.

RedHat/CentOS based distributions are also very stable, but their package repositories are not nearly as complete as Debian's, and trying to resolve rpm (the redhat package manager) dependencies manually can be a nightmare. But they do provide some nice graphical configuration utilities if you are planning to run a graphical desktop on your server.

Fedora can also be used as a server, but it's the "bleeding edge" RedHat distribution, and in my experience is not stable enough for a production server.

Installing Gentoo will teach you everything you (n)ever wanted to know about Linux. Being source-based, it can be as light and efficient as you care to make it, but it hasn't made the easiest to manage server in the environments where I've had to use it.

I won't speak on SuSE... I know people who have used it with great success in server environments, but the way SuSE is configured is just not intuitive to me...

Slackware is always an excellent choice. It's "pure" Linux. It's reliable and stable, but notoriously difficult to manage.

I have the same issue with Mandriva (Mandrake) as I do with SuSE... I have a friend who swears by it though!

I think that covers all the major ones... Forgive me if this post was too long :) I like to see folks trying Linux, so I like to help them pick the distro that works best for them. Picking one that's not easy to work with, or doesn't fit your style, can make it a frustrating experience for the fresh Windows convert. These are all my personal opinions, so anyone is free to dispute them, but I try to be as unbiased as possible :)

I hope this helps!
-G

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In my view Bill is right. I worked on centos its really nice for server.

We were using it for clusters and all . You can go for CentOS

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Fedora and Ubuntu are bad for servers. They are beta-grade software!

Debian and CentOS / Red Hat Enterprise are much more stable.

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I hate to disagree with a Moderator - especially on my first post, but... Fedora and Ubuntu are far from being beta-grade software. Both are perfectly fine for a server environment for most purposes. Their stability and security are pretty much up to the server's administrator. We host a number of Fedora and Ubuntu customers and many of them have exceptional uptimes on their servers. Some of our Debian and CentOS customers don't. Depends on the admin.

To the initial question for this thread, as has been said many times, it mostly comes down to personal preference. There's some minor differences in the distributions and sometimes there's major ones. I say go with whatever you're most comfortable or familiar with. As you begin administering a Linux server you'll naturally learn about the differences in the distributions as you search the net for answers to specific questions you have along the way. :)

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I dont like using systems which are based on bleeding edge technology. For home use, yes, as they tend to have better hardware support and the features users want, but for mission cricitcal server tasks i prefer to use tried and tested stable software.

Im not against using ubuntu LTS, but the current version is not suitable IMHO for servers. Upgrading every few months is not realistic. I would rather use debian, ubuntu LTS or something based on red hat enterprise, as they have longer release cycles and commercial support.

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jbennet, you are a cool dude. I wish you'd come help me convince the IT people I work with... If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

My IT department has a habit of "sniper upgrading" production systems on us... These are the middle of the night upgrades that they don't tell us about because they "shouldn't" affect anything... Nearly lost 3 days of work the last time that happened... But I digress...

Personally, I avoid Fedora like the plague... It's as bleeding-edge as it gets. Ubuntu LTS has been pretty much on par with Debian IMHO for server use, but I am a little scared that they're already using a 2.6.26 kernel in the "stable" release...

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I wish you'd come help me convince the IT people I work with... If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

My IT department has a habit of "sniper upgrading" production systems on us... These are the middle of the night upgrades that they don't tell us about because they "shouldn't" affect anything... Nearly lost 3 days of work the last time that happened

exactly. thats why lots of businesses still run very old OS systems. If it aint broke dont fix it. Most businesses also dont like to upgrade until they absolutely have to, because they want thier moneys worth.

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i personally agree about fadora... i will never use it in a business systems... i don't use it at all... i personally say use debian or my preference ubuntu lts as a server os. if you need a rpm based system go with centos unless you want to pay for red hat...

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Companies dont mind paying for SLES or RHEL if thier business depends on it. They can save loads of money compared to microsoft licencing and be safe with the thaught that if something goes wrong, they wont lose too much money due to downtime as they have support

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