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Server Distro Suggestions?
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Thread: Server Distro Suggestions?

  1. #1

    Server Distro Suggestions?

    I've got an opportunity to set up a server for a half dozen Windows XP Pro workstations and I'd like to try and do something with Linux. All we need at the moment is a primary domain controller, a print server, and a file hole. We're not planning on hosting anything on the web, our email is already handled externally, etc.

    Do I need to aim towards a server specific distro like MEPIS SoHoServer or can I just do something stupid like install Damn Small Linux and add some applications to make it a server?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004


    Ubuntu has a "Server Install" I am not sure what/how good it is because the one time I used that intall option it turned out to be all command line.

    Maybe some of the 'sysadmin' types can help. After 2200 Eastern time the Bossf00 will be on IRC oftc.net/# linuxfoo

    PLEASE let us know what happens.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Kennesaw, GA
    I would keep away from ubuntu just based on what I know about it and security.

    Any of the mepis distros would be ok, though Fedora Core4 wouldn't be a bad option either. The admin tools they have are awesome for those coming from a windows BG.

  4. #4
    I use Ubuntu w/o gui and vhcs2 for server management. Security updates come out very soon after being found and I haven't had any problems. really easy to setup, I just did the server install then used a script I found on the vhcs website that installed all the server software then played with the apache conf and it was up and going with a web interface.

    @mcangeli - My server ip is . if you can find a security hole I'll take back my pimp for Ubuntu and change my server distro. also I'll turn off my firewall for the next couple days to make it easier.

  5. #5
    OK, in the past I've fiddled with Ubuntu live CDs and I just burned the MEPIS SoHoServer disc. I've been (very lightly) playing with Knoppix for a year or so now so am kinda familiar with KDE - anybody know if Kubuntu is any good or is it safer to stick with the original?

    I read the FAQ for Fedora Core 3 and it, well, scared me. :-)

    I actually have a VERY old set of real Red Hat install disks I got from somebody a few years ago and the manual that comes with them doesn't make it sound too bad so I'll give FC4 a shot too.

    I don't have enough desk space for that many PCs so I guess it's a good thing I picked up that removable drive bay recently!

    I'm not afraid of command line stuff, but don't really have time to learn it all - that's why I'm looking for something with a bit of a GUI (that, and I can get other less technical people to help me out with the server).

    Thanks for the responses!


  6. #6
    If a gui and ease of use are your 2 big factors I'd try suse pro or the new opensuse. With its package management system Yast all you need to do is install apache/mysql/php and it will take care of the dependencies and all the major system options have a gui so you don't have to learn much on the command line side. Check this out.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004

    Slakmeister speaks

    mcangeli said
    I would keep away from ubuntu just based on what I know about it and security.
    Please explain? Where do you get this info?

  8. #8
    Advisor beezlebubsbum's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    fedora is pretty good when it comes to the things you mentioned Jon. It also has a couple of GUI's to help you with things too. I setup Fedora as a file server, and I have written a tutorial for it here:


    This doesn't touch on security, but it does show you a couple of basics.
    My Website: http://ttgale.com
    My Website Uptime: http://img.uptimeprj.com/holastickbo...dee9bae2e2.png
    My Server Specs: AMD Athlon X2 3800+, 2gb DDR2 RAM, 1.5TB HDD, Ubuntu 9.10
    My Gaming PC: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.93ghz, 4gb DDR2 RAM, 9800GTX+

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Missing Mile
    I dont do much server work, my one fileserver, broke so that was short lived. Anywho to answer your question depends what your looking for, you said you came from windows. So it breaks down into two categories.
    Command Line

    My top suggestion for graphical is fedora, the default kernel is good, however if the server is going to do a lot of work, you can get more power by switching to something like fluxbox. Truly redhat does a wonder with those admin tools.

    Command, i would recommend debian very easy to manage, and it doesnt have to be true command line you could look at webmin, allowing you to access settings from anywhere.

    I would heavily look at fedora or debian, and i would agree on ubuntu, its geared more towards desktop usage. If your wlling to pay a bit for your distro you can look at libranet, and good luck.

    One last thing your going to need a firewall, someone posted a good tutorial on iptables, however if you dont want to create a custom config you could look at firestarter.

  10. #10
    Hmm...lots of good stuff to look at here. I suppose now is a good time to mention I don't have lots of time for playing so if it seems to take me a while to actually try these distros out it's not 'cause I'm ignoring any - I'm just slow. :-D

    I'm not too worried about internet security as we have no interest in hosting anything on the web. We're sitting behind a DSL router w/NAT & integrated firewall. It's not great but for what we're doing it's plenty. We have nightly backups & our data isn't worth anything to anybody so even if somebody got in & wiped everything it would just be a pain and not the end of the company. I've done a little work with IPTables at another client - just maintaining existing stuff so I'm not too scared of that if it becomes necessary.

    I've not seen any of the webadmin stuff before so I'll try to dig into that a little. I don't really need admin from anywhere 'cause I have OpenSSH running on a desktop right now. Hmmm...there's a point, I guess we are hosting something on the internet. Nuts.

    Thanks for the link, beezlebubsbum - I skimmed the tutorial and it looks easy enough (famous last works). I may give it a try for practice!


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