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Old 10-13-2006, 08:05 AM   #1
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Baton Rouge
Distribution: Ubuntu 5.10
Posts: 74

Rep: Reputation: 15
Another which distro is best for me thread.....


Before you begin to make any assumptions, let me give you the following information:

I am not a newbie with linux, I know my way around. I run all of Gentoo, Fedora Core and Ubuntu on my Windows XP laptop under VMware, have compiled my own kernel in each case, am familiar with the package management system of all three (RPM, deb and emerge). I even regularly answer questions on the Ubuntu Forums and IRC.

However, here is my question now. I have 2 computers at home.

One of them has to do the following --
1. FTP server. This box houses my 300 GB hard disk that I would like to have shared with my laptop, and with my room mates's boxes.
2. SSH server. Remote login from my school.
3. SAMBA server. Pretty much for the same reason as 1.
4. Apache2 server. Hosts my website, and should have support for php5 and mysql5.
5. Any other server protocol that comes to my mind.

The second box has to do the following:
1. DHCP / DNS server. I am using UBuntu right now, and have tried both dnsmasq and a combination of dhcp3-server and BIND.
2. Firewall + Internet Sharing Host. I use iptables to share my single broadband connection with my boxes and my room mates' boxes. I also port forward 22 and 80 to my webserver box
3. Proxy server. I use squid-cache as a caching proxy server, and do transparent proxy (in other words my room mates don't know/don't care that their port 80 traffic is actually going through this proxy).

Finally, my last desktop, which I use for development work, kernel hacking (I am taking OS class right now too ), programming in python + other languages and so on.

Ok ... so now which distros are the best for the job? I didn't deliberately want to go with Ubuntu or Fedora for my first 2 boxes since they are so heavy .. I know I can strip down what I don't want, get a leaner kernel with reduced hardware drivers and modules and stuff.. but I wanted a linux that comes by default as lean and mean as you can get.

Soo.... for my router box, do you know of anything like the now defunct Linux Router Project? I can edit my iptables rules, so it is not a problem. Also, currently using Ubuntu, I have patched the kernel sources and the iptables source to use a programming language called ROPE that gives fine grain control of TCP IP packets.

And also, I want the latest and newest software (not much do I care about stability) for my server. I want the apache2 latest version, the latest php available in any repos and so on ..

And finally, for my laptop I need the latest development tools available out there.

I am willing (and most interested) in giving distros other than the 3 I run in Vmware a try .. what do you suggest? The abvoe are my requirements..
Old 10-13-2006, 08:19 AM   #2
LQ Guru
Registered: Oct 2005
Location: Northeast Ohio
Distribution: linuxdebian
Posts: 7,243
Blog Entries: 5

Rep: Reputation: 190Reputation: 190
My choice would be Debian..

Lean ? I can install a base system using the net-install.iso that will have no extras installed. I think I had to manually install SSHD last time I did this.. now THAT is lean.. then I just add what services I want.

Current ? Debian Testing branch is pretty current and pretty stable.. yes it has some occasional glitches so I wouldn't use it in a production environment, but for a home network / workstation why not ?

software and tools available ? sure.. have you looked at the Debian repositories lately ? HUGE !!

If apache and PHP being current, and I mean up to the minute latest versions, is a major concern I might even forgo what is in the distro repositories and use apachetoolbox to download, compile and install Apache2, PHP, and all their dependencies and requirements.. really a nice script..

But then again most of us are going to recommend what we prefer, and ultimately you need to decide what it is that YOU like..
Old 10-13-2006, 09:03 AM   #3
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Baton Rouge
Distribution: Ubuntu 5.10
Posts: 74

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Yes... I tend to agree with you .... perhaps Debian might be a good choice after all.

What about Slackware and Arch? Any ideas?
Old 10-13-2006, 09:57 AM   #4
LQ Newbie
Registered: Sep 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 2

Rep: Reputation: 0
linux- very cold to Windows user trying to move on.

First let me say this is only based on my opinion, and being that i'm as green as they come may not count for anything.

I'm a ex-Windows Admin. I have an A+, MCSE, CNA, and all types of certs and titles that don't mean sqwat in the Linux world (maybe the A+ helps a bit).

In any case, I am still in search of a good distro. How can you guys hate windows so much? Yes, there isn't to much to say about security, and the lic thing is very expensive, but I've tried Linux and it is very unfriendly in my opinion.

Dual drive / dual boot
xp pro / linux
amd xp 2800
1gb ram
40g master
160 slave
ati 9800 pro
ati tv wonder ve
WG311v.3 (these cards suck, but i make due)
yada, yada, yada.

Fist Distro - Kanotix, Good on finding drivers, wireless setup was easy using ndiswrapper, tv card worked fine. Serious permissions issue with anything I tried.

2nd Distro - Debian, Just didn't like the feel from the word go. Looks antiquated and nothing worked.

3rd Distro - Mandriva 7. This one is a winner, but not that stable yet. Kept having to reboot the machine to get it to load and eventually it just died. Didn't do much with it except install UT2004 that installed, but would not run. Maybe a driver issue.

4th Distro- Ubuntu, Fell in love with this one but tried endlessly to get my wireless to work and Tarballs are not easy and the forums and books have too many ways to approach install. Eventually got frustrated, and my conclusion on that note is installs on Windows are definitely superior. Oh, almost forgot. Annoying system freeze when trying to set screensaver. Fix was just to reboot for now.

Conclusion, Going to take my chances with Kanotix and try my hand at it again. It worked enough for me to work on other things when I got frustrated trying to install, tweak, etc.

I'm not saying that Windows is better than Linux (seems to be at the moment), but the learning curve in Linux is a lonely path.

I'm apologizing ahead of time to you linux gurus, that are at home like a penguin in water in this OS.

Just saying what I think is on your average newbies mind that doesn't have a linux guru pal in his pocket.

Old 10-13-2006, 12:27 PM   #5
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Debian -unstable
Posts: 700

Rep: Reputation: 31
I'd say Debian too, but -unstable rather than testing. With a bit of understanding, it's quite stable.
Old 10-13-2006, 12:43 PM   #6
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Baton Rouge
Distribution: Ubuntu 5.10
Posts: 74

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
It's all settled then. Debian it is.

Thanks guys !
Old 10-13-2006, 01:56 PM   #7
LQ Guru
Registered: Oct 2005
Location: Northeast Ohio
Distribution: linuxdebian
Posts: 7,243
Blog Entries: 5

Rep: Reputation: 190Reputation: 190
Since you mentioned lean earlier.. I thought I'd mention, I'm just wrapping up my Install of Debian testing on an old P166 MMX with 64 MB of RAM that I had laying around. Install ran without a Hitch in some sort of low resources mode. Try that with Windows XP/Vista

Install is now complete, xfce4 is running as the desktop. It's not a screamer by any means but IT browses the net just fine... Don't actually plan to run a GUI on it ultimately I was going to use it for VPN Endpoint.. But I just had to see how well it would work

Last edited by farslayer; 10-13-2006 at 06:14 PM.


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