[opensource] New Distro

Daniel McEnnis dmcenn at po-box.mcgill.ca
Wed Sep 27 00:52:46 EDT 2006


It is very hard to answer your questions without additional 
information.  In particular, what functionality is the most important 
for you?  What problems are you having with the older Mandrake that make 
it unsuitable? Some of the issues I ran into when I last had to make a 
decision about what Linux server to install...

Any custom packages that are only available for a particular 
distribution?  If you need software that only installs on Fedora/RH, you 
need Fedora/RH.  (This occurs with Stanford's computer music software 

How important are guis for handling day to day tasks? Some people 
disdain them, but they can really be a time saver especially when 
switching from one distribution to another where some conf files change 
locations and syntax.

Paying for automated updates?  Some systems (ie. Mandriva) require you 
to pay a fee before you can automate the update process.  Others require 
you to write your own scripts.  Others build this into the administrator 
interface (I think...).  Especially if you have more than one server and 
not much time - this can make or break a distro.

Ease of Installation?  Not as much an issue now as it used to be, but 
some systems still give more hand-holding than others.

Memory Usage?  Some distros are difficult to pare down to a bare bones 
system capable of running on older equipment and the culprit is usually 
memory hogging base packages.  For instance, Ubuntu requires at least 
128MB before it can even install (256MB in graphical mode).  Check 
installation requirements.

Ultimately, the distro you want depends greatly on what you intend to do 
with it.  That being said, if you can tolerate Debian and the software 
you want is available on it, it is always a good choice.  Ubuntu is a 
packaged Debian, so if it meets your needs it will be more 
user-friendly.  Red Hat is the standard enterprise distribution in the 
US.  Suse is the same in Europe.  I'm out of date on much of the 
details, so you'll need to do a bit of research yourself, but any of 
these distros would be a decent choice.  I used to use Mandrake (now 
Mandriva) but the inconvenience of a lack of available packages, lack of 
free automated updates, and its desktop focus makes it difficult to 
recommend as a server anymore.


a.lathrop wrote:

> I need to migrate some systems running (an old version of) Mandrake 
> Linux to something else (anything else!).
> I've been considering CentOS, and possibly Ubuntu, but I'm wondering 
> what other people in other University departments are running, and 
> whether or not they're satisfied.
> -Andy
> PS. I'm not going to administer something crazy like Gentoo or 
> Slackware on 5 or 6 different machines because I simply don't care 
> enough to devote that kind of time.
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