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Unix flavor for new server being researched

By DanLM ·
We are currently looking to purchase a new server which has the following requirements.
1). Host some web/java applications which have MYsql back end data base's.
2). Be a backup server for Crystal reports which were are currently deployed on a Microsoft Server.
* Research is occurring to change these over to native database drivers so they can function on different Os's.
3). Most likely, the CVS repositories I put in place will end up here.
4). There are some future java development occurring that will most likely find it's home on this server.
5). This server will be on an internal LAN, and not open to the world.

What they are trying to decide on is what flavor OS to run. The person that is doing this in charge of the purchase does not want to go with Microsoft. This is not because he is a Microsoft bash er, his requirements is to find an OS that does not have support and upgrade costs. He feels that a UNIX flavor can provide this and also be more reliable then MS.
Also, he is looking for an Unix OS that has a good GUI with low overhead because of the various daemons that he wishes to run on this server. I seriously doubt I'm going to be here forever, so there will be nobody with command line experience like I do(And I'm not even that bloody good). He is looking for the GUI that is straight forward in helping him maintain the OS and installed daemons(Apache, ssh, ssl, java, MySQL, ...).
Now, my personal preference is to use FreeBSD, but I can not in all honesty present an argument for using this as the OS. I have never dealt with FreeBSD in a production environment that maintained the types of applications that he wants to support. Truthfully, I think it could do it with out issue but I am unsure that his simplicity factor would be met. I've only ever done command line with this OS, and truthfull thats all I want to do.
I have used AIX before, but I believe the cost factor rules this out based on this person's specifications. He has looked at Suse, and was happy with everything but the support costs. Do you have to purchase Suse? I didn't think you did now that I think about it. Do you need a license for various patch's and upgrades to your port/rpm/??? packages? I didn't think it was a requirement for this either, unless you wanted technical support hot line assistance.
Any suggestions here? What ever is suggested I'm going to use to go do some followup research on.

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Unix with a GUI for FREE

by rmaillet In reply to Unix flavor for new serve ...

Try Sun's Open source Solaris 10

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Excellent Suggestion

by hbates In reply to Unix with a GUI for FREE

I was going to also recommend Solaris, or what about Ubuntu? Sure, the server version lacks a GUI, but a quick "apt-get kdesktop" should solve that for you :) Also, you can make excellent servers from Fedora Core :)

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Fedora Core is NOT a good idea!

by Justin James Contributor In reply to Excellent Suggestion

"Also, you can make excellent servers from Fedora Core"

first of all, Fedora Core is no longer being produced by Red Hat. More disturbingly, Fedora Core *is not production quality*! Yes, most of the code in FC is of a very high quality, but FC is quite clearly a development-quality release, and always has been. Anyone considering using FC on a producing server is someone considering losing their job...


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Fedora Core 5 DO NOT WANT!

by jmgarvin In reply to Excellent Suggestion

Fedora is a great test platform, but I wouldn't put it in production. I also have some issues with the development of the various crap they put in.

If you want a Linux server check out Red Hat Enterprise, Novell SuSe, or IBM

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FreeBSD is great, but if they want a GUI on a server...

FreeBSD is an excellent choice for a server. BSD has a longer history of being used in production server environments than Linux and even Solaris.

That being said, if they want or "need" a GUI for their *Nix server, THEY HAVE NO BUSINESS HAVING A *NIX SERVER. If their level of comptence in *Nix is so low that they want/need a GUI and/or can't handle the CLI, they will end up spending a ton of money on *Nix support contracts. And that amount of money is high enough (compare a year of RHEL support to the purchase price of Windows 2003, if you do not beleive me), that if they do not need a support contract with Windows, and all other costs are equal (in other words, if they are using the same hardware, not hiring any people either way, etc.), the *Nix route is actually more expensive.

So yes, either they get real comfy with *Nix, learn the CLI, and leave Windows, or they go with Windows and no support contract. Anyone who puts a GUI on their *Nix server is just begging for problems.


* Minor edit for clarity, 9/28/2006

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chuckle, I agree

by DanLM In reply to FreeBSD is great, but if ...

I just don't like it, I think one of the strengths of a Nix server is that it only runs what is required. And all that processing power is used for the applications/daemons that you use the server for. Which is what you want, which is why you bought the server.

Going with a GUI just waist's valuable resources in my opinion. Also, I don't like not knowing what is going on. Doing command line makes me feel much more comfortable with regards to doing stuff. I know I am not that best Nix person, and I don't pretend to be. But I do know where I feel most comfortable, and a Nix gui isn't one of those places.

And there are others in this shop that don't want the Nix box, they want to go with Windows because that is what their Crystal reports are currently running from. And they have a say in things like this. I guess it is going to come down to who ever can justify their the position the best, which is the way it should be anyway.


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I'm not an expert, but...

by GSG In reply to Unix flavor for new serve ...

We have a couple of Unix machines that we've found are more expensive to maintain than our others. It could be because we have a lower level of competence with these than we do the others, but since the hardware is significantly higher, I don't think that's the whole issue, just a contributing factor. The plus side is that we have longer uptimes with them.

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Suggested Solutions

by cmelebeck In reply to Unix flavor for new serve ...

You could look into these two possible solutions:

Ubuntu (Linux) at and also the free version of Solaris 10 at

I found Ubunto very easy to install and they plann on supporting the current version for up to 5 years. The web site has quite a bit of information.

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by Beve In reply to Unix flavor for new serve ...

If you want to have binary compatibility and all the "goodies" of a full Red Hat Enterprise Linux install you might want to check out CentOS

This way if you need outside support from a vender, you can just look to one who knows RHEL.

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I second this

by Ibanezoo In reply to CentOS

There are no support or upgrade costs other than perhaps consulting from a third party. I havn't found anything it won't do, yet. We use it as a core for our email systems, database servers (mysql), webservers, monitoring servers, and a few other things.

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