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#1 blank_program   User is offline

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Linux server distro choices

Posted 08 November 2011 - 07:19 PM

I have 2 desktops and a laptop I am going to repurpose into servers but I am going to make them Linux machines. I want to do this to avoid Microsoft licensing costs, I can access server OSs from MSDNAA but after that not so much, and the machines are very old and low spec. I am curious as to which distro or distros might be the best to go with and suggestions for what combinations of servers I should put on each maching. This is mainly for home use and to expand my knowledge.

Distros I have used and am debating choosing from, in no particular order: Arch Linux, Fedora 16, Ubuntu Server, and I recently decided to test CentOS.

I plan to do an internal web server, DHCP server (reasoning: currently I don't have a wired connection but some people may be using desktops for LANs so this will be an easy way to give out IPs and learn some subnetting), file server, and possibly a subversion repository.

Problem is that two machines will NOT have an active internet connection so I will need to copy packages from other machines, which isn't a huge deal but a consideration. However the laptop I am going to repurpose has a crappy Intel ProWireless 2100 which tends to have issues with CLI installs. I could perhaps find a way to use that machine as a bridge to get an outside connection, but no idea where to start.

What distros would you guys choose from my list above? I do not mind learning others but some, Red Hat and SLES, have costs associated with them. I do not need a GUI but if I were to go with one it would most likely be LXDE. GNOME2 is acceptable for CentOS but more than likely I would be connecting via SSH anyways and I don't need all the overhead of the GUI on the weaker machines.

The biggest considerations are lack of an internet connection on the machines and the low specs. The machines are years old and not worth upgrading at this point but will be decent enough to server the few clients that will be connecting to them.

Thanks for the input.

This post has been edited by blank_program: 08 November 2011 - 07:50 PM


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Replies To: Linux server distro choices

#2 no2pencil   User is offline

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Re: Linux server distro choices

Posted 08 November 2011 - 07:59 PM

When going with Linux for a server, I choose CentOS. Not really any rhyme or reason, & there really doesn't need to be. The main difference between one & the next is that you'll be getting the same Samba/Nagios/Apache/Whatever software, just pre-packaged with that distributions package manager.

Best of luck! Let us know which one you go with!
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#3 blank_program   User is offline

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Re: Linux server distro choices

Posted 22 November 2011 - 08:34 AM

I ended up using CentOS 6 for my DHCP/DNS server. Was a huge headache dealing with SELinux and iptables but good learning experience. Not sure if I will stick with it though for my other two or look at an alternative.
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#4 Lemur   User is offline

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Re: Linux server distro choices

Posted 22 November 2011 - 08:22 PM

Don't limit yourself to Linux. Look into BSD. OpenBSD is definitely worth a look, as is FreeBSD.

I'm from the OpenBSD camp. OpenBSD is based on being the most secure OS in existence with the most reliability and stability. So far they're done one heck of a job with only 2 remote exploits in its entire existence, something no one else can boast.

One of the most interesting of all its features is the PF (present in FBSD as well.) It comes prepackaged with Apache, 1.3 that's been heavily repurposed to address all possible security holes. Some of hte strongest built in crypto using derivitives from blowfish and implementations of Kerberos.

While it's wiki, it's still a good general overview: http://en.wikipedia....curity_features

Take a look. Fair warning: It is complete CLI unless you chose to install your own GUI (but then again almost all servers are.)
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#5 no2pencil   User is offline

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Re: Linux server distro choices

Posted 22 November 2011 - 08:24 PM

If you found iptables difficult, you might find that ipfw under BSD is much more forward, & easier to setup & maintain.
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#6 johncuson   User is offline

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Re: Linux server distro choices

Posted 09 December 2011 - 07:36 AM

Your comment about low-end hardware really suggests that you should take a look at Debian ... Has the capability to set a local repository for package updates. In my former life at a state agency I made substantial use of surplus machines to do real work in this manner, had an old p75 parsing text files that had lab equipment results and storing records in a postgresql database running on a p2 that was accessed with an apache front-end. Geez, starting to sound like an old guy.
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