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There is really no best distro for a DNS server. Linux is bsically linux meaning that even though there are differences between the distros. Under the hood they all basically function the same.
So you need to decide what type of distro that you want.
Are you insterested in an apt-get or rpm system?
Are you going to use a GUI?
Which GUI do you prefer if using one.
What type of machine are you installing this on.
Does the distros that you prefer meet the requirements for your machine. (Bascially you do not want a slow DNS server because the whole notion of possessing client behind a DNS server is for speed. Considering browsing, mail, websites, firewall, file servers, ect.)
Ubuntu, Debain, Fedora, Suse, Mandrake (whatever they call it now), slackware, and any of the BSDs will serve you fine referencing a DNS server.
Last edited by brianthegreat; 04-14-2006 at 02:53 PM.
We've run BIND 9.x successfully on RedHat Version 7.3 and RedHat AS 3.0.
I doubt distro is the main consideration for which to use for DNS. It depends a lot on the size and activity for the zones you're running. We've run an entire multi-million dollar corporation on fairly simple servers for DNS (as evidenced by the fact that it works on 7.3).
He has to look at his hardware before making a choice. Running the lastest and greatest distro on an old box that barely meets requirements might leave him pondering his choice. Now, here is where you need to check system requirements of the distros that you might prefer because different distros possess different system requirements. Running an older distro such as a Redhat 7.3 might present many security issues. Since the distro is no longer maintained by Redhat.
There are many distros out there can will run on older hardware. Debian, Slack, and the BSDs will run on older hardware without issues. Now, the latest distros from Ubuntu, Fedora, and Suse will possess higher system requirements regarding the operating system.
This is where the issue of installing a GUI or not presents itself. The system requirements for an OS regarding the installation without a GUI will lower requirements. Choosing between different GUIs/desktops will also low requirements. Gnome and KDE are quite intensive considering the system resources needed while other GUIs will present someone will less of a system intensive GUI.
I'm not going to argue with you Electro but some people do prefer a GUI. Most home systems really do not have to worry about a GUI causing security problems. Now if the guy was setting up a DNS server for a corporation or other organization. Then possessing a GUI or not possessing a GUI could be an issue.
I'm with Electro. No, nope, never, for any reason should a GUI exist on a "real" server. "Real" can have several meanings, but if this server is going to be a publicly accessable DNS server, you shouldn't waste the resources on having a GUI running. Personally I love Debian for servers, but the linux core is still linux. You won't see better performance out of gentoo, slack, debian, or the windowsish Fedora, but you should be careful how you configure it.
I strongly suggest getting BIND 9.3.2, which is the current version, and making sure the rndc utility works. Rndc allows you to reload the configs for zones individually, so you don't need to take the entire DNS function down because 1 of 10,000 domains wants to add a new backup mail address. At present I think 9.3.2 can only be installed from source, but the .deb and .rpm packages are probably close to being ready or are already out.
Of course, if this is just going to cache DNS and not serve authoritative answers, then the rndc isn't important. If you only have a small number of domains or "zones" (say less than 100), then rndc isn't as important again, but a large public server with many zones needs the ability to make changes on the fly, without losing the resolution of all the other domains in the process.
If this isn't going to be a true "server", but more just a box that is doing DNS for your home or small office, then don't worry about the GUI.
What distro is the best for setting up a DNS server?
I'd argue that's the wrong question (twice).
given my set of circumstances, which you'd need to define, which DNS serving package is correct for me (the answer is often not the one that you might think of first)
where do I get information specific to that package
If you don't know the package, would it make sense to recommend a distro that didn't supply it? Probably not. If the package did turn out to be something fairly complex, such as Bind, then you'd probably best start off with reading DNS and Bind in order to configure it (...except if your networking knowledge wasn't really good enough yet, in which case you might be well advised to read something on networking first, although the introductory section to that particular book is good, too). In some other cases, the cookbook might be all that you need.
For most people who ask this kind of question, Bind just complicates their life unnecessarily, which is fine if they just want to get it on their CV, and sub-optimal in other cases.