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SoL Server optimized Linux 17.00
Reviews Views Date of last review
2 21711 04-16-2004
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
No recommendations None indicated 3.0

Description: SoL was developed by antitachyon and is completely independent of other Linux distributions. SoL was designed and optimized to run on servers with modern CPU-architectures. The new XML configuration- and boot-technology and its clear and straightforward design makes configuration and setup work fast and easy.
Keywords: SoL is Linux-distribution, which designed optimized especially for servers.

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Old 03-21-2004, 02:07 PM   #1
Registered: Dec 1969
Posts: 0

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Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 5

Pros: fast install, nice xml-based bootsystem, quick respons from developers
Cons: incomplete (f.i. no NTP), updatesystem not up-to-date, updatesystem doesn't deliver working deamons

I liked the concept of a linux-distro being optimized for serversolutions out-of-the-box, so I downloaded SoL from and gave it a try.

Installing SoL did not give me any hassle, you can have your server setup in about 15 minutes!
After installation you have a system that feels very fast! But after examination it becomes clear why: nothing works, no deamons are working whatsoever, it's a real barebone system!

Very nice is the bootprocess, which is XML based and makes it very easy to have extra services started at boottime.

The developers of this distro have made some odd choices when it comes to servers-software: they choose the commercial SSH as their ssh-deamon and client, which you're not allowed to use if you use the distro commercially and the only MTA onboard is Sendmail, which I don't like at all!
If you visit the fotrum at and ask why these choices have been made, the answer is fairly simple: "because we think it's better"....I tend to believe people whom think high of, but before doing so, I'd like to know WHY they think it's better, so I can decide for myself if I think so to :)

SoL's update system is SoLrus, which I found to be rather rambling! It downloads updates from their own mirrors and compiles it on the system, after asking you which options you'd like the package to be compiled with. The idea is great, but if you have a closer look, you'll find most of the update-packages to be outdated already and what's worse: some packages won't compile to be working correctly! I couldn't get Apache2 (2.0.47) to work from SoLrus with the default options, which is the least it should do IMHO! I had to manually compile 2.0.48, which I downloaded myself, to get SSL working.
And although I had selected PHP 4.3.3 within SoLrus along with the Apache2 update, mod_php could not be loaded after which I gave up :(

After 3 days of struggle I had the system booting, updated most of the software to the latest versions (bypassing SoLrus, otherwise versions would be newe, but not the latest) and some services were working correctly, but it would take me about 2 more days to get the system working the way I would want it to work. For me, it would be faster to setup my box with LFS or Lunar, since I'm rather picky :)

SoL is a distro what we call in Dutch "nor meat, nor fish". It's probably supposed to be a out-of-the-box LFS-ish Linux, with an automated update-system and some ease of install. But it's to barebone for lesser gods and too automated and without enough choices for guru's.

What was very nice, was the fact that when I put on the forum that the MySQL4 (4.0.15) update within SoLrus didn't work anymore, this problem was fixed within a few hours and this was on a sundays! After this MySQL 4.0.18 was included and could be downloaded and compiled flawlessly.

So, Lesser gods (and other newbies): choose a distro like Mandrake and grow into Linux.
Guru's and geeks: you'll be better of with Gentoo, Lunar or LFS or any other distro of choice.

On the forum is a lot of talk about SoL18 and that looks very promising. But I do think that SoL is developed by too few people to really become a player on the linux4servers-market. As far as I can tell the development is done by a few people, all employed by ... we'll see...
Old 04-16-2004, 03:21 PM   #2
Registered: Dec 1969
Posts: 0

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Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: D/L | Rating: 1

Pros: ummm, it has xml?
Cons: no headless/network builds, no native package management, no upgrade path, cannot customize install

upon first glance, this distro sounds 'cool', but do not expect anything server-like or optimized from it.

first - it requires that you have a monitor and install from cd, which when trying to deploy more than one box at a time, will not scale (how many data centers have monitors and keyboards for all of their linux servers???)

second - solrus is inadequate for package management. it cannot be used (to my understanding) for stuff that isn't available on their updates site (which seems to lag a month or so behind)

third - there is no clear upgrade path for system files short of manually recompiling everything by hand (linux from scratch anyone), which negates the semi-quick install

fourth - you are stuck with what the developers think belong on a server (this includes several versions of apache, mysql, irc servers, printing servers, xfree86, and others). the only 'fix' is to manually remove the directories (the 'just don't run it' argument flies in the face of most security guidelines of 'don't install what you don't need')

for a 'server' optimized system, i have yet to find any of my fellow unix admins who have heard of sol, or who are using it (or would use it) as their server platform. this product may cater to the home server market for people newish to linux.
it also isn't as quick to get running (unless you don't bother to patch or update your systems - 30 minutes for base install/box + time to manually recompile what is availabe in solrus or on your own (hours or days, depending on whether you rebuild gcc, glic, & xfree86)


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