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I have an AMD K6-2 350 mhz machine with 192 megs of ram and I plan to have about 50gb hd space spanned over 3 drives. If I can get away with not having a cd-rom drive, I'll swap it out and put in another 20gb drive.
I would like to use this comp as an ftp and web server; I think Apache and MySQL is what I'd like to use on it, and I have no preference for the ftp. I'm not sure how much more security it will need as I already have a 486 running smoothwall for my firewall.
I would also like to be able to map the drives to my Windows based computers on the same network. If this is not possible, I will need some alternative to being able to share the files over the network.
I've tried going through these forums, as well as distrowatch and google, but it all seems rather overwhelming. Could someone please suggest a good distro for this?
I don't really care if it has a gui, and I don't need any extras. All I need is some decent documentation and I'm willing to fight through the learning process.
most distro has the almost the same packages that you can use for your setup requirements. but try looking into whiteboxlinux  or tao linux. these are both derived from Red Hat Linux enterprise so you can have almost 5 years of updates via yum. documentations are widely available here at LQ or via google. you just need touse the search strings.
ie for FTP:
the documentation for RH AS 3.0 at www.redhat.com is a good place to start.
- not be optimised for i686, because it wouldn't run on your K6. This rules out one of my favourites, Arch Linux
- should give you detailed selection of packages, so you can only install what you need. This rules out a number of easy to install desktop distros like Ark, Kanotix etc etc
- any distro will have a web server, ftp server and samba, so the software is not an issue and there are still plenty of options left: above-mentioned Tao and Whitebox might be a good bet, as well as Slackware or Libranet (like Debian, but easier to install), or if you like, any of source-based distros - for example Lunar, because it is pretty solid. Source based systems can be a bit trickier to install, and compiling would initially take a good while on your box, but at the end you'd have a nicely optimised system with just the packages you need and nothing more... but if you're a beginner, you might be better off sticking to binary distros.
No, I don't think so. LFS is really a learning tool, or a base for rolling one's own distro - but there are no practical advantages to be gained over source based distros like Lunar or Gentoo. But there definitely is even more work involved in getting it going!