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Linux, Unix, and *nix like Operating Systems Forum

So what is the best all-round *nix Server OS?
Nicest one to set up, maintain and update

 10:11 pm on May 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

I was having a little experiment the other day on my Intel iMac with setting up different Linux OSs to test how they rate up. I've got to say that the nicest one so far was Fedora Core. It's nice to look at and easy to use. But I haven't got too deep. I also downloaded and installed Ubuntu, Debian and CentOS. I didn't get round to installing Debian or CentOS yet because I felt pretty happy with Fedora, but, is it the best? Have I been taken in by its pretty looks?



 11:23 am on May 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I haven't heard much about fedora lately.

Far and away the most popular girl at the dance these days is ubuntu.If there's a mainstream newb distro, that seems to be it.

My preference is still Mandriva. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it.


 12:47 pm on May 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

All distros are good, but none is good for everybody...having said that all my 4 servers powered by redhat 4 and on my main desktop is iMac and Dell laptop runs on Ubuntu Linux and Vista. If you need out of box hardware support and good support go for Ubuntu :D

Finally, there is no limit to Linux and that's the beauty, IMHO... if you want something, you're gonna find it with Linux.

Good luck

[edited by: iwannano1 at 12:54 pm (utc) on May 28, 2007]


 12:49 pm on May 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm a fan of Solaris, and I find it crashes less than any Linux variant I use (mainly RedHat variants). And it's free these days, though hardware support is best on Sun's own hardware of course.




 12:53 pm on May 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm a fan of Solaris, and I find it crashes less than any Linux variant

I also find my RHEL crash less.. Only time it was rebooted coz of kernel update or hardware upgrade. Solaris is also good but don't compare them just on crash basis. On my office FreeBSD box is running on 4.x and it has been upfor last 469 days :D


 1:08 pm on May 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well, certainly any well-maintained *nix system should be able to run many months without a reboot. (The record that I know of was ~5 years and the machine only had to be shut down to be physically moved.)

As I'm more familiar with Solaris then I probably do a better job of maintaining it.

However, *most* of the machines that I run or develop on worldwide are Linux right now, and usually some RH/CentOS flavour, and it does work well for most things.

The main thing is to turn off all the services that you don't need, which will make things simpler and safer.

Just learning HOW to switch them off properly will make you into something of an expert...




 1:09 pm on May 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

...oh, and I do intend to play with Ubuntu, and might buy a Dell laptop to test it on!




 3:01 pm on May 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

As a server OS, Fedora has the problem of non-existent long-term support. Often you want your server to run for a few years without having to reinstall every six months, and the rapid turnaround of Fedora versions means that you can quickly become vulnerable if you don't keep up with their timetable. Fedora is nice for the desktop, though.

I'm more used to RHEL on the server, and I run Ubuntu on the desktop. If you want RHEL without the support contract, try CentOS (which is identical to RHEL but without the Red Hat logos). I've never used Ubuntu as a live server, but their LTS (long-term support) versions should be good, and I much prefer APT to RPM.


 10:13 pm on May 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I use Debian stable for my servers and would recommend SimplyMepis for the desktop/laptop, it's Ubuntu under the hood, but with IMHO better hardware detection than the original.
my 2p worth


 12:04 am on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Awesome. That's a lot of knowledge there. It seems the CentOS and Ubuntu are the ones to go for really. I'm a mac guy myself, got my Intel iMac and my old PowerBook G4 but was just thinking about working with good old linux. I'm very much used to terminal and so on, so what 'flavour' of linux would be closely identifiable to OSX's own terminal and runnings?


 12:13 am on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

so what 'flavour' of linux would be closely identifiable to OSX's own terminal and runnings?

None of them. ;) Mac OSX was built on a platform that evolved from FreeBSD [freebsd.org], which is not Linux at all, but like Linux it is a Unix-clone. FreeBSD has a more liberal license than Linux.

FreeBSD is a great server OS, harder to set up than the Linux variants you mentioned, but extremely stable.


 12:53 am on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

As for servers I've used Debian, their stable release is rock solid, and the packaging system works nice and is easy to upgrade. The setup has gotten much better, device detection etc, maintaining is a snap, just subscribe to their security announce mailing list, and use apt-get(or aptitude) and it updates or installs applications.

For my laptop I use Ubuntu, have been for a close to 2 years now and its just getting better. Its based on Debian, has the mindshare of alot of smart Linux types and the people involved are (realitively) polite in the chat rooms.


 4:27 pm on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ah FreeBSD, I'll get me some of that.


 4:28 pm on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)



 8:30 pm on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Centos is RHEL (but they aren't allowed to say so...) and is typically released just a short time after an RHEL release.

RHEL is basically Fedora, but one version back, with available support, and with bug fixes and security fixes only, rather than the constant onslaught of updates you get for Fedora.

If you like Fedora, you will like RHEL/Centos, while enjoying a stable platform. Though, you may miss some of the latest features, and find you have to download newer versions of some software if you just can't give up the features.


 2:07 am on Jun 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Having used many Linux distros in many environments, I am currently most satisfied with systems built from source. Most Linux based systems I build are for used in specific environments where not much functionality on the OS level is needed, but long term stability and long term upgradebility of specific software is a pre. MTBR (mean time between reboots) for those systems is between 6 months and 2 years, and often because of physical reasons (location move, hardware upgrade etc).

Distros often come with a lot of utilities which you either don't need, or create holes or stability issues you don't want. For a server with a specific set of tasks--the question of the OP was about the best server OS--I would therefore build from source.

If you have the money to spend, consider HP-UX. But it won't be cheap, especially not because of the hardware you need, but it is rock-solid and in my experience easy to maintain.


 12:02 am on Jun 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have been using Suse and the only problem I ever had out of it, was netscape caused kde to crash, but that was four years ago, I put mozilla on it, and that took care of that gui crash problem. Suse has been around a while and they were the no. 1 distro in europe for a long time. Novell bought them, and they seem to have great support.

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