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Old 08-09-2004, 03:42 AM   #1
M.Brice
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Enterprise ready non-commercial Linux?


I know that the "Which distro is the best?" question has likely been asked some insane number of times. Obviously there is no answer to that question. However, would like to ask a question that is related... perhaps the long-lost distant cousin of that question....

In the search for a Linux distro that is ready for business use, mainly to run web-servers and web-services, where stability and security is important. Now I know that when you point out stability and security, BSD might come to mind for some... however at the same time, somewhat more hardware support than BSD, and significantly in the area of third party (IE: ATI, APC, etc) is also important.... which leads me to Linux. Personally I previously used FreeBSD, however because of a lack of hardware support for some hardware such as APC UPS monitoring and such is leading me to Linux instead.

While Red Hat has their Fedora project, that's not a viable option as it is a limited time offering and the details of Fedora's future state is moreso uncertain than with other distros.... Similarly, Suse's free ftp net install is not appealing b/c with Suse's selling their distro, it is uncertain what will be the state of their net offering in several years when they clearly have a conflict of interest. Therefore it seems to be in the best interest of at least my company to use software that is free in all senses of the word... including price.

I have in the past played with Mandrake and found it... ehh.
I have used Knoppix and while it was a fun toy/novelty, it's clearly not a permanent solution.

After some searching, I found that Debian seems to fit my desire for a stable and secure distro, but it's not quite as up to date as other distros (understandably though when conforming to their goals.

Gentoo seems to be a nice distro however reviews seem to give it a more bleeding edge vibe and not particularly suitable for applications where stability is imperative. Some report it as being buggy... true?

Whitebox linux I've heard about however I wonder about taking a commercial distro and just removing logos and whatnot. Why shave a poodle and call it a Mexican Chihuahua?

Slackware seems nice, but perhaps a bit too conservative and close to NetBSD in a lot of ways, although it's heritage is appealing.

I could obviously go through distro after distro... however ultimately my conclusion so far is that Debian is my best bet. What are the thoughts on this? Also, similarly, while I would like to run Debian on my servers, what are the thoughts on using it as a workstation OS as well? The point of that would mainly be to force me to use Debian day in and day out so that I get used to it quickly.

Anyways, if you've read thusfar and haven't passed out and drowned in a puddle of your own drool.... I commend you and appreciate your interest. Any input offered is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 
Old 08-09-2004, 04:46 AM   #2
amosf
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Deb is a good way to go for stability, but hey I trust mandrake for production boxes here, albeit in a very small farming business. Mind you my main mandrake 10 box does run a custom kernel, but the other main box is stock mandrake 9.0... You can do pretty much anything with any linux to make it better. Mandrake is often seen as unstable due to being a little more cutting edge. Deb gets stability by being behind, but often behind ion hardware support as well... It's a tough choice at times.
 
Old 08-09-2004, 06:29 AM   #3
wellmt
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Hi I would have thought that Slackware would fit the bill quite well. It's a very mature distro with stability being one of it's primary objectives.
 
Old 08-09-2004, 06:57 AM   #4
crashmeister
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When you are saying non-commercial Mandrake and Slack are out.Gentoo is at the moment way too buggy for production use and the main problem is that it can take a long time to fix things if they break because you'll have to compile from source.Ok - you can use prebuild packages but I had nothing but trouble with those.Leaves debian.I'd just fork out the $$ to RH or Suse and buy their commercial product if you work for a company - gives you somebody to blame when things break.
 
Old 08-09-2004, 06:59 AM   #5
chibi
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I couldnt help but reply. I think my first distrobution was Mandrake, because it was deemed the big starter one. It was alright, to be honest. Alot of people dont seem to like it. But either way it just did not feel like a distrobution that would be the best choice for me.

As a rule of thumb I have always stayed away from Redhat, now fedora. It is too bad alot of the tutorials and things online are based on redhat, but I find that redhat has a few ideals that dont seem very..intune with the linux community.

Someone had raved about slackware and how great it was. I did end up giving a try, but i must admit i hated it. It seems to have many followers who feel that they are superior...I guess it is because the distro is so barebone and picky. I suppose calling it mature would be true, but I wouldnt use it for home use. Maybe if I started a major corporation hosting servers I would give it a second thought.

But even so there is Debian. Which has been highly noted to be great for servers. I actually really liked Debian. It is probably one of the most stable, and one of the most actively involved distrobutions. It also has that apt-get feature everyone loves, which gives you access to 8000+ software packages in linux, which download and automatically install (including dependencies if needed) by simply typing in the command in the console. I loved it. But Debian does lack a bit in the cutting edge area. And although it is very easy to upgrade your entire system with one line of code - apt-get install upgrade - it still wouldnt be bleeding open with the latest and greatest.

So then I turned to Libranet and stuck with it. Libranet is made from Debian, and employs a few custom repositories (archives that debian uses with apt-get to install packages) to give you some more options. I also might add it did turn out later that you can install bleeding edge packages, but you have to specify them as being marked "unstable" (meaning they havent been reviewed and cleared as stable yet) by doing apt-get install -t unstable packagename. Libranet comes with a great community and has its own adminmenu which lets you maintain your system. If you purchase the cd, you get a lifetime of technical support. I readily paid for mine.

So I guess that comes down to that is what I would recommend you would use ^^

If I were to ever look at a non-debian based, I think it would be SuSe or Gentoo. Although I hear a bit of bad stuff about SuSe..but i understand they are trying to get Linux into the commercial world. Because of this, they also ensure their distro is more desktop reliable. Gentoo is an interesting one, that installs everything from source instead of packages, but I hear it takes days to compile things and that it is so barebone you want to die.

So I think I will stick with Libranet at the moment. The latest version, 2.8.1 is available freely for download. http://www.libranet.com

Good luck

-Chibi

Last edited by chibi; 08-09-2004 at 07:06 AM.
 
Old 08-09-2004, 07:21 AM   #6
amosf
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After 10 years with linux and using a variety of distros I'm yet to find any I would call especially unstable, esp when compared to windows. You will run into trouble doing things on the edge, like running win4lin on linux and finding the kernel patch give you lockups adn such, but generally all are linux at the core and all work fairly well.

When talking servers and production machines it's usually a matter of setting them up and forgetting them for a while, and not putting anything borderline on them. A home pc with a test linux where you are continually trying to install new software or try things or use wine is another matter to a production machine with basic linux and OOo on it, such as my wifes machine which still has a MDK 9.0 install on it where she does all the financial entry and database work with high reliability - ie very rare crashes (I can't actually think of any) and no data loss over the years.

You can make any distro as reliable or flakey as you want, to be honest. A generic kernel.org kernel is a good basis to make a stable OS in any distro IMO.
 
Old 08-11-2004, 09:36 PM   #7
M.Brice
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so is the general consensus that my opinion of Debian is off-the-mark perhaps?
 
Old 08-11-2004, 11:14 PM   #8
M.Brice
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I should ask this then.

I will be running a workstation on Linux. It's my primary workstation.. I want to start running linux on it solely for the sake of getting used to Linux. I've read plenty... I just haven't gotten my hands dirty yet in Linux. In the past I ran FreeBSD. The only linux I've run has been Mandrake and Knoppix...

Is there perhaps another distro I could use as a workstation OS that would have excellent stability, security (just so it doesn't get hacked on the network), and more recent software (Debian is outdated in some parts b/c of it's stability goal....or so that's why I think it is).

My only worry about running something other than Debian is confusing myself between distros. If Debian is in tune enough with workstation usage... I'll happily use it. I'm just wondering if that's the case. On other forums and on the web, the sentiment seems to be mainly that it is a server OS and not intended for a desktop/workstation.

Anyways, I apologize if I'm rambling. I'm probably making little sense... lol.... I haven't slept in 4 days and I just took an Ambien so that I sleep tonight garaunteed. I hope you all understand my post.
 
Old 08-11-2004, 11:23 PM   #9
amosf
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Nothing wrong with debian, server or workstation. May be a little harder to config for a newbie maybe. I did find it a little bit of a challenge to install when I tried it a little while back. I personally use mandrake for my production workstations as I like security and stability, but mdk10 can be flakey on some hardware. A safer bet might be mdk 9.2, tho I run mdk10 on my production machines here. One I had to compile the 2.6.7 kernel on to fix completely (but I had to get a couble of awkard apps running).
 
Old 08-12-2004, 12:18 AM   #10
Lleb_KCir
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dont forget WhiteBox. i know some of you have said you do not like RedHat for what ever reason, as there are as many to like as not to like, but Whitebox is basicaly RedHat Enterprise 3 FOR FREE. it is a fork of the RHE3 server and thus is identical without the redhat logo and price tag.
 
Old 08-12-2004, 10:35 AM   #11
M.Brice
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yeah, I think Whitebox is a great idea for some, but like I said, "Why shave a poodle and call it a Mexican Chihuahua?"

I think if somebody is specifically looking for RHEL for some reason (ie: RPM, etc), it would be a great choice if they want to avoid licensing fees.

On the other hand, I just would rather personally use something that is thoroughly free, logos or not.

However, it's a great idea nonetheless and I'm sure many people will use it and love it. Thanks for the rec.
 
  


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