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First thanks to everyone who responded with suggested reading in the complainer's thread. I appreciate the suggestions and hope to begin learning soon.
As I said there I'm a complete newbie to the Linux world. I have a great deal of experience with Windows and related applications, so I'm no newbie to the computer world nor do I feel like Linux is beyond my grasp.
As a way to learn Linux I've given myself the task of setting up a dedicated vBulletin server using Linux in order to provide an online community for my company's customers (We are violinsetc.com).
So I guess my first question is what distribution should I use? Mandrake was recommended to me a while back. I downloaded the 9.2 release and have installed it on my server... thats about as far as I have gotten. Initially I went for a minimalist install. I installed the options I thought were necessary thinking I'd just download and install the latest versions of Perl, PHP, Apache, and MySQL. The whole installing of downloaded applications is pretty foreign to me. As a Windows Dummy I generally just run an installer and everything is fine. But I think I understood the instructions well enough but was told by the Perl installer that I needed a compiler. So I downloaded the latest GCC... but it needed a compiler to be installed too (chicken and the egg?)! Anyway... I decided to wipe and reinstall with all of the options for a server and the docs and developer packages (this time I made sure GCC was installed from the CD).
Is Mandrake a good server distribution? Should I worry about installing updated versions of Perl, Apache, MySQL, or PHP? I'm going to start reading some of the online documentation others have suggested but I'd appreciate any advice anyone could give in general or specific to my goals.