Best/Easiest Linux to Use

By Triathlete1981 ·
We have a new Dell 2900 that I'd like to use Linux on for cost reasons, but there are many to choose from. What we plan on doing with this server is hosting our websites as well as our email. I'm going to use Apache for websites and Postfix and Dovecot for email.

I'm going back and forth between CentOS, Fedora Core 8, Arch, Ubuntu, and SUSE Enterprise Server.

For ease of configuration and security, what is the best version to go with? I've looked on line almost everywhere trying to find comparisons of each and there's no site that will list what one can do that the other can't. What does one come with that the others don't?

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compare linux distributions

by NickNielsen In reply to Best/Easiest Linux to Use

These were the search terms I used in Google, which returned 257,000 hits. The sites listed below were all listed on the first page of results.

Distrowatch -
Wikipedia - -\ -
The Jem Report -

These will only get you started. You will really need to determine the features for the distros you are interested in and build your own grid to get the best results.

Edit: For security purposes, I think one of the BSD distros (Open or Free) might be your best option. They aren't as user-friendly as Ubuntu, for example, but their reputations for security are very high.

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Agreed, expand your search to include BSDs

by Absolutely In reply to compare linux distributio ...

Because you mentioned "security" specifically I have to agree that BSD is worth considering. I will say that Debian gets the job done for me, but that has a lot to do with the apt sources. 18000 packages, installable in < 1 minute each, is really hard to beat for a n00b! But since you only want your server to run the few programs you're using to offer services remotely, that probably isn't a big deal for you. Keep the installation as minimal as possible is the right idea for a server.

Also, you said something about going back and forth or alternating among several distributions. If you're installing & re-installing until you find the right one, I suggest adding a separate physical drive, and in the Linux installation step that asks whether to add GRUB/LILO to the MBR, choose no. You'll be prompted to create a bootable floppy disk, which is more convenient while you're deciding which one is best overall, and not that much of a hassle later, since you'll be measuring uptime in months or years, anyway.

Finally, spend $40 on one of these distros accompanied by a manual in a local bookstore. The Debian 3.1 Bible saved me a lot of hassle Googling, and other than exim4 is quite useful for Debian 4.0, also. Without a thorough (not complete, but thorough) reference, the "Linux is too complicated" people almost have a point.

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Well because of what this is I would suggest

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Best/Easiest Linux to Use

SUSE Enterprise Server.

It's not the cheapest option but they do have excellent support.

You could also try to join a Linux Users Group in your Area so that you have Real Time answers to any Questions that may arise. You can find a list of Linux User Groups here

However if you have no previous experience with any form of Linux this isn't the easiest to use but it is the right one for the job that you need to do here. You should try starting off with PC Linux so that you have some idea how the Linux Kernel actually works as it's not Windows.


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SUSE Enterprise Server 10

by Triathlete1981 In reply to Best/Easiest Linux to Use

IT looks like Novell sells SUSE 10 with either 1 year or 3 years of support. But, under the downloads page, it is available for free. Smeg, you metnioend that there's a charge, but it also looks like it's avaailable for free download (which I did) but just without support. Do you know if that's correct?

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SUSE Enterprise Server 10

by The Scummy One In reply to SUSE Enterprise Server 10

looks to be an eval for the free download. Not something to throw on a production system.
But unlike many evals, the only downfall is that after 60 days, you cannot update it (patch it)through Novell.

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The available download is a Trail for Testing Purposes

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to SUSE Enterprise Server 10

And while better than the available M$ Time Bombs which quit working after either 60 or 120 days the SUSE offering is unable to be patched directly from Novel.

With all SUSE offerings you are paying for the support which is quite good and while not as good as the support that IBM offers for SUSE on their servers it's still much better than anything that you will ever get from M$. But it's not in the category of a 48 Hour Fix offered by IBM. Though this isn't likely to be much of an issue for your use here as the problems that I'm referring to are all Kernel Related that require Code to fix.

For a Production Environment I avoid any Trial Software as it's not suitable if something goes wrong and the money lost through Downtime is way to great to chance a Trial Version in a Production Environment. Though the Trial Version of SUSE Server is great for Testing but I wouldn't consider it for anything else where money can be lost.


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by Absolutely In reply to The available download is ...

Did you mean "trial" instead of "trail," Lucy?

For a Production Environment I avoid any Trial Software as it's not suitable if something goes wrong and the money lost through Downtime is way to great to chance a Trial Version in a Production Environment.

If you're hard drive lost some datums, ask Col. Otherwise, do not ask the guy whom does not no his "to" from his "too" from him's "two." Seriously. I mean, WTF, Col, were is you're splel chekcer?

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Come on Abs be reasonable. B-)

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Australopithecus!

I'm a IT Tech not a English Teacher. The statement is correct otherwise

As for the Spool Chocker TR is yet to provide one so that I'm sure that the US Spooling is used right.


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Ah, my mistake.

by Absolutely In reply to Come on Abs be reasonable ...

"Spool Chucker" sounds good to me.

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What I would use.

by normhaga In reply to Best/Easiest Linux to Use

I went through that problem. After testing several distro's, I chose SuSE.

The University of Utah chooses CentOS in the CS labs and Sun OS on the main servers.

For ease of use though, unless you have to go through some difficult hardware issues where you have to delve into the OS or the script files, SuSE comes out on top.

While the Xserver and the layout of the desktop is different from the normal Gnome or KDE desktop, it is close enough to Windows that the learning curve is shortend; then again a server probably should not be running X.

During installation, it is kind of a toss up between RedHat and SuSE as to which has the best hardware detection. For this I use other versions of Linux.

My overall choice, as demonstrated by what I use on my laptops, despite my bellyaching, is SuSE.

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