Best distro for mild game + web server
I'm looking to get a dedicated box colocated soon, and I wanted to get some opinions. I am not completely versed in the Linux community and I would like some feedback.
I'm looking to set it up as a game server (from Quake 2 to Battlefield 2, nothing *major*) and as a web server for hosting websites with a few mysql databases. The hardware has decent horsepower (Dual Xeons), I am just concerned about the software. After reading multiple threads here, I've narrowed my field a bit to a handful of distros, please let me know what you think:
I don't have experience with Slack, so I'll not comment on that.
Debian is rock solid with a great package management system. They are pretty good with updates & I've never received a package or update from them that didn't work. I'm typing this on a Debian machine that is a graphics workstation and web server at the same time. Flawless. Debian is my favorite distro - it doesn't try to get fancy, it just tries to be stable & work like it's supposed & expected to.
Gentoo is another great distro, though it's a little more difficult to set up. The last time I tried gentoo was probably 3-4 years ago and it was actually *quite* difficult to setup. I wouldn't attempt to do it as a newbie. That said, if you can muscle through it, you'll learn a lot about Linux. A good bit of what I know now came from going through the very manual install of Gentoo. Granted, things could have changed in the last few years, but that was my experience.
Between Debian & Gentoo; for a partial newb, I'd go with Debian.
Thanks for your input. I've been running two test machines right now, one Gentoo and the other Slackware, to get a feel of each. I'll probably setup another for Debian.
So far Gentoo hasn't been too bad, as long as you follow the installation instructions *to the letter*, whereas Slack was relatively simple to install. I ran a few test applications and they run fine, so far so good!
Food for thought:
Just about any distro that isn't "testing" will be stable enough and fast enough to run a web server, so I wouldn't worry about performance too much. What makes a big difference, imho, is how easy it is to maintain -
Are things where you expect them to be?
Are packages available for this distro or will you have to compile from source? Is there an online repository & if so, how extensive is it?
What about packages that are not in the repository - do you have to install from source or can you install from a downloadable package (like an rpm or deb)?
How [well] are dependencies resolved? What about non-repo packages?
Are updates available or do you have to monitor changes yourself?
Do you have to touch the server after the install is complete?
I like Debian because it answers all of the above questions the way I like. This is not to say that Slack or Gentoo are inferior - just that I prefer the deb way.
All that said, the best thing you can do is what you're doing - test test and more tests. My last distro eval lasted 2-3 weeks & covered probably 10 different distros. My desk was littered with OS CDs. :)
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