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Old 08-25-2006, 10:22 AM   #1
d-train3054
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Son of The Brand New UltraMegaSuper "Which Distro" Thread (Servers Only)


First of all I sincerely apologize if this is posted to the incorrect forum. I also apologize if someone has already requested the same info. I had performed a search but none of the other posts had the same requirements...

Anyway, for various reasons (only one of them being money), our small company has decided to migrate our server's OS to a Linux distro (10 machines currently running Windows 2003 Server). Our plan is to migrate them one at time to hopefully minimize any inconvenience to our users. We would prefer if the transition was seamless and transparent to our end users.

OK so my question(s)?:

Being a total newbie to Linux I am looking for a distro that is/would (and in order of importance):
  1. Free and Open Source: Money may be only one of the reasons for the switch, however maintaining licensing for 10 servers with client access license is a huge pain and very expensive.
  2. Have a GUI to manage various applications and services (yes, I am aware that this is not recommended for a server but this is what I am used to using.
  3. Include some sort of package management system for app installs
  4. Obviously be able to integrate with Windows desktop clients
  5. Have good community support
  6. Possible have the ability to migrate MS Active Directory data

Any advice, help, support is greatly appreciated.

Side note: We would eventually like to switch our desktop os as well but we all use high end CAD Modeling and Finite Element Modeling/Analysis software that (at this time) requires Windows.

Thanks, Darrell

Last edited by d-train3054; 08-25-2006 at 10:23 AM.
 
Old 08-25-2006, 11:07 AM   #2
kevinatkins
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Hi,

Probably the easiest would be SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10. Sure, it costs money, but it's substantially lower than the cost of licensing Windows 2k3.

So in relation to SuSE and answering your points -

1. It isn't completely free, but the ease of set-up may more than offset the initial outlay.
2. GUI no problem, and all configuration carried out using the YaST system configuration program (excellent).
3. Package management handled by YaST, including automatic updates, etc. Easy to use.
4. Windows integration is good - can act as a primary domain controller, and setup is relatively straightforward (GUI wizard based)
5. Community support.. well, it's a commercial product, but Novell do invite community participation through the Open SuSE project, and they seem to be pretty good citizens, passing fixes back to the community, etc.
6. It might be possible to migrate Active Directory data (SuSE uses open LDAP instead, but it does pretty much the same job).

An alternative to consider might be Ubuntu 6.10 LTS server. This doesn't include an X server or GUI by default, but you can always add this via the Apt package manager (which is brilliant, by the way). However, configuration as a Windows PDC is trickier than with SuSE, albeit entirely possible - there are one or two very good how-to's on the web. It's a very good distribution, completely free of cost, and well supported.

There's also nothing to stop you using any other Linux distro and tailoring it for server use - eg, you could try OpenSuSE (free of charge)... it all depends to what extent you want to get involved with manual configuration etc.

If you want the easiest ride, SuSE SLES 10 takes some beating, but how about grabbing an old machine and experimenting over a couple of days - see what fits you best?
 
Old 08-25-2006, 11:08 AM   #3
acid_kewpie
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what you're after is nothign special.. pick whatever you like the look of really. if you really wan't somethign explicitly server shaped, try centos, but there's really no such thing as a "server" distro, it's just down to how you use it....

1. yep, no problem, anythign you can get from distrowatch will be free to use.
2. yep. by default.
3. yep, every distro worth using has some form of package management.
4. integrate? what does that mean?
5. any popular distro is going to have good community support, hence it being popular.
6. not distro specific at all, would be doen to the services you install on it, e.g. OpenLDAP
 
Old 08-25-2006, 12:38 PM   #4
d-train3054
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Thank you both (kevinatkins and acid_kewpie) so much for your time in helping me to answer those questions. As a matter of fact, I had been playing around with Ubuntu LTS 6.06 Server this past week. I had troubling installing it on 4 older machines (freezing during file system creation) but finally got it installed on a 5th machine. Being that I'm a total Linux newbie I didn't know how to diagnose those freezing issues so I just tried different computers and hard drives.

I was able to install Ubuntu, added serveral different packages (SSH, Apache, PHP, MySQL) from some instructions I found on howtoforge (sorry, I cannot post links) only to realize that I really have no idea what I'm doing from the command line. If I had some sort of GUI to visually see the status of services, etc., I would at least have a better idea of what I'm doing.

However, since my first post asking these questions, I went ahead and attempted to install the desktop version of Ubuntu (to give me the GUI). The livecd boots up just fine but when I choose to install to the hard drive, it locks up again when I attempt to partition and create the file systems.

Now granted this if off-topic but I downloaded and installed Ubuntu Desktop LTS 6.xx (can't remember which minor version) a couple of months ago to evaluate as a Windows desktop replacement and had no trouble whatsoever installing it from the live cd on the very same computers.

Anyway, thanks again for your advice. I guess I need to post these issues to another forum.

Thanks,
Darrell

Last edited by d-train3054; 08-25-2006 at 12:40 PM.
 
Old 08-25-2006, 12:58 PM   #5
kevinatkins
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Hi,

Oops - I got it slightly wrong.. it's Ubuntu 6.06, not 6.10 as I originally wrote. Anyway, having cleared that up, it's quite possible to add a GUI environment to the server version of 6.06 LTS - eg, Gnome. At the command line, try issuing something like 'sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop' and that should install the default desktop environment, taking care of all required packages and dependencies. At least, I think it should - haven't tried it. You'll need a working internet connection for this, preferably a fast one!

As for freezes during standard Dapper installation, I've got to admit I don't like the LiveCD installation method. It's probably well worth considering the 'alternative install' CD, an iso for which is available from the Ubuntu website - this is much kinder to lower-spec systems. If you've found that the LiveCD runs OK on your tatget machine, it's a fairly safe bet that installation should go OK, using the alternative install method.

Good luck!
 
Old 08-25-2006, 03:38 PM   #6
d-train3054
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Kevin, again thanks so much for your help. I didn't intend for this post to turn in to a troubleshooting issue.

Just an update: I tried the alternate installation but warnings about not being able to copy certain files from the CD. The check-cd utility notifies me about all sorts of checksum errors with varying files on the cd. I read on one of the Ubuntu forums about burning the cd at a slower speed. I tried that but got the same results. I tried downloading from a different mirror, same thing. I know that during a Windows installation cd read problems are often associated with varying RAM configurations (don't know technical details). I will try removing one of my SD-RAM modules and possibly switch them out. I will let you know the details.
 
Old 08-25-2006, 04:00 PM   #7
XavierP
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Son of The Brand New UltraMegaSuper "Which Distro" Thread (Servers Only)

By casting my marvellous mod eye over the forums, I have noticed something. You are all trying to get around the existing megathread by asking questions about servers, aren't you?

Well, I'm onto you. This thread is a "Which Distro" thread purely for asking "Which distro should I get for my server?" No longer will you have to wander around the forums looking for like minded people - they will all be here. Eventually.

If you spot any threads which need to be here, report them and they will eventually be moved here.

Mod Note:For clarification, this thread is purely for "Which Distro" threads about servers. The other thread is for desktops. Should someone start a single thread about "Which distro for my server and desktop?" the coin of truth will decide which thread they end up in.

Ok?
 
Old 08-25-2006, 04:18 PM   #8
acid_kewpie
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Ray, bloody stop it... i keep unsubscribing from these threads then you merge one and i'm back on it again! stop it!
 
Old 08-25-2006, 04:50 PM   #9
d-train3054
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Hence the reason for my apologies in the first place.
 
Old 08-25-2006, 05:23 PM   #10
XavierP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acid_kewpie
Ray, bloody stop it... i keep unsubscribing from these threads then you merge one and i'm back on it again! stop it!
I'll run the next one by you first On the plus side, the place looks a lot tidier these days
 
Old 08-26-2006, 04:51 AM   #11
alred
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this child is the product of agamogenesis ... *nix heads are all die hard vegetarian ...


.
 
Old 08-26-2006, 09:32 PM   #12
KimVette
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Hey, that's a great idea. "which distro for embedded/appliances" might be another good idea next time one of those threads come up
 
Old 08-27-2006, 04:34 AM   #13
linuxbriel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d-train3054
Thank you both (kevinatkins and acid_kewpie) so much for your time in helping me to answer those questions. As a matter of fact, I had been playing around with Ubuntu LTS 6.06 Server this past week. I had troubling installing it on 4 older machines (freezing during file system creation) but finally got it installed on a 5th machine. Being that I'm a total Linux newbie I didn't know how to diagnose those freezing issues so I just tried different computers and hard drives.

I was able to install Ubuntu, added serveral different packages (SSH, Apache, PHP, MySQL) from some instructions I found on howtoforge (sorry, I cannot post links) only to realize that I really have no idea what I'm doing from the command line. If I had some sort of GUI to visually see the status of services, etc., I would at least have a better idea of what I'm doing.

However, since my first post asking these questions, I went ahead and attempted to install the desktop version of Ubuntu (to give me the GUI). The livecd boots up just fine but when I choose to install to the hard drive, it locks up again when I attempt to partition and create the file systems.

Now granted this if off-topic but I downloaded and installed Ubuntu Desktop LTS 6.xx (can't remember which minor version) a couple of months ago to evaluate as a Windows desktop replacement and had no trouble whatsoever installing it from the live cd on the very same computers.

Anyway, thanks again for your advice. I guess I need to post these issues to another forum.

Thanks,
Darrell
it helps if you shut down every app still running before you install ubuntu to your hard drive. also, if tou downloaded ubuntu a few months ago, there is a chance you still heve a version prior to 6.06 LTS. try to verify this.
if you want to use linux for a server, then i would recomment you not to use ubuntu since it is impossible to make a root account and everything has to be done with the "sudo" command.
if you want an explenation for the commands in the commandline, try
http://www.linuxcommand.org
http://www.linuxdevcenter.com/linux/cmd/

good luck
 
Old 08-27-2006, 02:39 PM   #14
kevinatkins
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Quote:
i would recomment you not to use ubuntu since it is impossible to make a root account
Bit of a misunderstanding here - it is not impossible to enable the root account in Ubuntu! By default, the root account is indeed disabled, and administrative tasks are undertaken using 'sudo'. However, there's nothing to stop you from enabling the root account by adding a root password - there are plenty of howto's in the Ubuntu forums and elsewhere - it's a 30-second job.
 
Old 09-03-2006, 12:49 PM   #15
linuxbriel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinatkins
Bit of a misunderstanding here - it is not impossible to enable the root account in Ubuntu! By default, the root account is indeed disabled, and administrative tasks are undertaken using 'sudo'. However, there's nothing to stop you from enabling the root account by adding a root password - there are plenty of howto's in the Ubuntu forums and elsewhere - it's a 30-second job.
correct, but it would have been nicer if it was enabled in the first place. I still don't understand why they did it.
 
  


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