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What distro would you recomend?
You mentioned you wanted to use the Linux box as a test
server. I would use the distro your real production
server uses. I would also use the exact versions of
software on the test server as was on the production
server. At least for the major software packages like
Apache, PHP, Perl, databases used, etc.
To me, maching up on software is much more important on a
test server than personal preferences for one distro over
another. After all, the point of a test server is to
see what stuff would look like or behave like in production.
If you haven't gotten a production server yet, and are
likely to get an account with a webhost, know that Red Hat
7.X is the most common Linux distro you are likely to see
offered. Many host also offer FreeBSD 4.X.
I agree, This way you know exactly where to find everything. It also allows you to update the test server with patches or version upgrades prior to making changes to the real server. Once done on the test server you can use the same config files if needed.
Well, IMO RedHat and SuSE are going to be easier to administer for a completely green person -- someone who is use to pointing and clicking their way around.
I am not sure if Redhat is any easier to use than Suse.
You mileage may vary - I don't know what caused those problems, so it might not have been Mandrake's fault. I have also worked with Mandrake less than I have with Debian, RedHat, and FreeBSD, all of which I have supported as part of my employment at one time or another. (NB, the *BSD people often have an understandable pet pieve about people mistaking the BSDs for Linux distributions. They are not Linux, and each has it's own separate kernel. They are perfectly good *nix-like operating systems with a lot of simmilarity to the younger Linux environment.)
so far I have decided to get back into the suse books and learn. I also decided to givr the box it's self a makeover, hew HD, more ram and a linux friendly modem.
I hear what littleman was saying and agree that suse is probably one of the easier versions to use. The main problem I have been having was due to the fact that the box was connecting to the net through another computer rinning win xp. In theory it realy should be the other way with the liuux system directoy connected. I think the learning curv was brought on by having to think backwards because all the reading I have been doing was on the asumption that the box was net connected.
Right now in just instaling my new toys and will hope to have an apache running by later on tonight.