[opensource] Selecting a Linux server distro?

Shaun Brady brady.1345 at osu.edu
Sun Jan 18 22:23:23 EST 2009


I'd definitely recommend Debian.  Ubuntu has done wonders for desktop 
distros, but it has to tip it's hat Debian.  Debian created the god-send 
that is apt.  Debian net install defaults to bare bones no X.  I think 
running Ubuntu "Server" just seems like Debian to me.  I can't speak for 
the kernel internals (don't know 'em off hand) but you could always 
custom compile, which there are Debian packages to make your own, AND 
keep dpkg aware of them.   Let me know if you have any questions in this 
regard, but that's my $.02

SB

Timothy Normand Miller wrote:
> Hey, all.
> 
> I have a question about Linux server distros.  I have a quad core box 
> here at my house that I use to do heavy computing, file serving, and a 
> few other things that are best to run on a stationary system.  Right 
> now, I'm running Gentoo, but while it's good for customizing a 
> stripped-down system, keeping it up to date is turning out to be more of 
> a pain than I had anticipated.  So I'm looking for a new OS to install.  
> Aaron suggested that I might get some good advice by asking on the list.
> 
> I'm looking at Ubuntu Server to start with.  Interesting differences 
> from the desktop are that (I think) it doesn't start X11 by default, so 
> you don't have that resource consumption when you don't need it, the 
> userspace preemption timer is 100Hz instead of 250 or 1000, the use the 
> deadline I/O scheduler instead of CFQ, and in-kernel preemption is 
> turned off.  I can see how these things may be useful for maintaining 
> higher throughput under some circumstances.
> 
> Interestingly, RHEL doesn't do all the same.  For instance, they use CFQ 
> instead of deadline.  Most of my workloads are not disk bound, but one 
> of them has a data set that is 11 gigs.  I have 8 gigs of RAM.  I mmap 
> the file into memory, so as I'm processing, pages that are not in memory 
> get faulted in as needed, evicting others.  Maintaining a small memory 
> footprint of system services and low I/O latency are important for this 
> job.  I also want to minimize CPU overhead of system services.
> 
> I like using Ubuntu on the desktop.  I especially like apt-get and how 
> it automatically manages dependencies, and downloads packages from the 
> net.  While I'm pretty sure that Fedora and CentOS do something 
> equivalent with yum, I've found that RHEL appears to be crippled in this 
> regard.
> 
> I know nothing about SuSE, Mandriva, or anything else, but I'm not 
> entirely opposed.  I'm also not entirely opposed to running a BSD, 
> although I'm even more unfamiliar with those.
> 
> Can anyone help me with this decision?  I'd like to be able to basically 
> just install and go, configure things like SAMBA with a minimal amount 
> of effort, install packages with apt-get, and upgrade rarely but 
> effortlessly.  I almost never sit at the console, although a graphical 
> console (1280x1024 on the monitor gives me 160x64 text) is nice when I 
> have to.  I want to have to start X11 on only the most rare occasions.  
> Mostly, I just login with ssh and use gnu screen for multiple virtual 
> terminals.  Sometimes, I'll run an X11 app on the server, with the X 
> protocol directed over the ssh link to wherever I'm working from.
> 
> Thanks!
> 
> 
> Timothy Normand Miller
> millerti at cse.ohio-state.edu
> http://www.cse.ohio-state.edu/~millerti
> 
> 
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