Linux OS


#1

I’m building a Linux VM inside of my Windows box so I can experiment
with
setting up different ruby/rails situations, configuring apache, trying
out
nginx, etc.

I know this is usually a heated debate, but does anyone have any good
suggestions on which release of Linux I should be using?

I’ve used Ubuntu before, but just as a desktop, not in a server-type
environment.

Other than that, I really don’t have much experience with any Linux
flavors.

Thanks.


#2

On 2/6/07, Luke I. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Other than that, I really don’t have much experience with any Linux
flavors.

Thanks.

When I first started out, I got my feet wet on RedHat (back when it was
open
source, now it would be Fedora). The gui installers have gotten a lot
better with time. Actually, now that I give it some more thought,
another
good distro that doesn’t take up a whole lot of memory or space is
Zenwalk
Linux. It’s a Slackware based distribution that has a lot of dev tools
prepackaged. I have a second machine that’s a P3 500Mhz w/ 768MB of RAM
and
I’ve got Zenwalk installed on it. It runs really nice and is a good
sandbox
environment.

Another place you can also check out is DistroWatch.
http://distrowatch.com- it shows each distro and what the popularity
of said distro is. After you
get more comfortable in Linux and around the command line, if you want
to
learn a lot more, I strongly suggest going either to Slackware or
Gentoo.
I’ve not personally used Slackware, but it’s a real good distro from
what I
understand. I use Gentoo, which has taught me more about Linux in the
six
months I’ve been using it, than I had learned in the several years of
using
Linux on other distros.

Good luck. I <3 Linux.


Samantha

http://www.babygeek.org/

“Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all
things are at risk.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson


#3

One further consideration - if you are using Windows Virtual server you
should be aware that the MS Linux VM additions assume a particular
location
for X windows which means that Debian based distros such as ubuntu can’t
take advantage of the faster, higher res, virtual graphics card. Its
crazy
and a colossal pain in the a$$.

If I had a Linux physical desktop (which I don’t) I’d be very interested
to
try out a user mode linux VM, which is esentially just a process that
runs
ontop of Linux. I’m using RHEL for practical reasons but I would rather
be
using Debian or Ubuntu.

On 2/6/07 11:22 AM, “M. Edward (Ed) Borasky” removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

environment.

Unless you have strong feelings to the contrary, you’ll probably be
better off with a stable Fedora – I think the latest is Fedora Core 6,
but Fedora Core 5 might be in better shape. I don’t personally run any
of the above regularly – I run Gentoo (mostly workstations) with
occasional shots at CentOS for testing as close to RHEL as I can get
without buying something, or Fedora for things like Planet CCRMA, which
is Fedora Core 5 based. I haven’t touched Debian since the Sarge release
– I loaded it on an ancient laptop and gave the machine away to a
friend of mine for a church project. :slight_smile:


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#4

On Wed, 2007-02-07 at 01:22 +0900, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky wrote:

It depends on what sort of server you’re looking at. As you state,
Ubuntu is a desktop OS, as is Gentoo. That really leaves you with two
practical options, depending mainly on which package management system
you prefer, RPM/Yum or apt.

UBUNTU, as well as several of the other desktop LINUX’s, offers a server
installation CD in addition to the ‘desktop’ installation CD.


#5

Luke I. wrote:

Other than that, I really don’t have much experience with any Linux
flavors.

Thanks.

It depends on what sort of server you’re looking at. As you state,
Ubuntu is a desktop OS, as is Gentoo. That really leaves you with two
practical options, depending mainly on which package management system
you prefer, RPM/Yum or apt.

  1. RPM/Yum. There are two sub-options here, Fedora and an RHEL clone
    like CentOS 4.4. Fedora is more bleeding edge, but joined at the hip to
    Red Hat. CentOS 4.4 is more stable, but is a pure community effort,
    getting only source RPMs from Red Hat. If it matters, a lot more
    “professional” servers run with Fedora than with CentOS.

  2. Apt. There are a number of Debian-based distros, but I’d recommend
    either Sarge (Debian stable) or Etch (Debian testing but in pretty good
    shape for servers and “close to stable”).

Unless you have strong feelings to the contrary, you’ll probably be
better off with a stable Fedora – I think the latest is Fedora Core 6,
but Fedora Core 5 might be in better shape. I don’t personally run any
of the above regularly – I run Gentoo (mostly workstations) with
occasional shots at CentOS for testing as close to RHEL as I can get
without buying something, or Fedora for things like Planet CCRMA, which
is Fedora Core 5 based. I haven’t touched Debian since the Sarge release
– I loaded it on an ancient laptop and gave the machine away to a
friend of mine for a church project. :slight_smile:


M. Edward (Ed) Borasky, FBG, AB, PTA, PGS, MS, MNLP, NST, ACMC§
http://borasky-research.blogspot.com/

If God had meant for carrots to be eaten cooked, He would have given
rabbits fire.


#6

To add specificity: I’m using VMware’s Virtual Server.


#7

Since I’m already familiar with how Ubuntu works, I think I may go ahead
and
do a server installation of it.
I do a lot with the command line already on the desktop versions of
Ubuntu I
have/have had.


#8

On 2/6/07, Luke I. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Other than that, I really don’t have much experience with any Linux flavors.

This is a tough question. Personally I think the best bet is go
install a few distros, and see which ones are easiest for the things
you need to do. The distributions mainly differ in their style of
administration more so than anything else.

All distros have their idiosyncrasies, and depending on your tastes,
you may consider them features or bugs.

I tend to favor fast, simple distributions with package repositories
on the bleeding edge. For me, ArchLinux fits the bill. I think for
doing something like setting up apache + ruby/rails, pretty much any
distro will do for experimentation, though the debian based ones will
annoy you if you try to install ruby via apt.


#9

Luke I. wrote:

Other than that, I really don’t have much experience with any Linux
flavors.

Thanks.

I’ve tried a few different distros inside vmware and have settled with
gentoo - seems to perform a lot better (average RAM use is around 140MB
of the allocated 256MB, with postgresql/myslq/litespeed/mongrel/vim in
process); it’s also very stable - no doubt due to the fact it’s been
built from source against the ‘hardware’ provided by vmware. Building
from source is very fast if you aren’t building KDE etc :slight_smile:


#10

It depends on what sort of server you’re looking at. As you state,
Ubuntu is a desktop OS, as is Gentoo. That really leaves you with two
practical options, depending mainly on which package
management system
you prefer, RPM/Yum or apt.

Gentoo is not a desktop OS - it’s not really geared that way at all -
sure the fact that you can compile everything optimised for your
processor makes for a potentially faster desktop experience, but there’s
no real attempt to create a unified desktop experience like you’ll find
in ubuntu and most of the commercial offerings.

I personally use gentoo on my server - I like the flexibility that
portage gives to the build process - especially for the transparency of
the update process.

Dan.


#11

On 2/6/07, Daniel S. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Gentoo is not a desktop OS

Depends on your definition of “desktop OS”. Everything is relative, I
mean there are .net programmers who think windoze is a good server OS,
and it just might be from their perspective. Gross generalizations
like the one you made above are good for nothing but flame wars.

it’s not really geared that way at all -

Nope but I have both a Gentoo and a Ubuntu box at my house and the KDE
configurations on both are identical. Just because something isn’t,
in your opinion, “geared” toward being a suitable candidate doesn’t
mean it can’t be used as one.


#12

Gentoo is not a desktop OS

Depends on your definition of “desktop OS”. Everything is relative, I
mean there are .net programmers who think windoze is a good server OS,
and it just might be from their perspective. Gross generalizations
like the one you made above are good for nothing but flame wars.

I meant it as a counter to the dismissal of gentoo as a valid choice for
a server OS. This thread was a discussion about which linux OS should be
selected for a server environment, and an earlier poster said ‘Ubuntu is
a desktop OS, as is Gentoo’, I was pointing out that that was not the
case at all.

The primary purpose of ubuntu is to be a desktop linux os (it is geared
towards desktop use). The primary purpose of gentoo is to provide an
optimised build using a special package management system (it’s not just
geared towards desktop use).

I was dismissing a generalisation not making one.

Dan.


#13

Daniel S. wrote:

I meant it as a counter to the dismissal of gentoo as a valid choice for
I was dismissing a generalisation not making one.

Dan.

I was the one who dismissed Gentoo as a server OS. Let me point out that
I have three workstations running Gentoo and it is my distro of choice
for workstations. If you want, I’ll hunt down the blog post on why
Gentoo is not practical as a server OS except under some extremely rare
circumstances. The main point is that it just takes too much wall clock
time to do routine security and stability updates relative to Debian and
Fedora/Red Hat/CentOS.

I’m a big Gentoo fan. However, in a business setting where time is money
and cost minimization is king, Gentoo is probably the wrong choice. As
an additional negative, Gentoo system administration, while easy and
well-thought out and designed, is just plain different from what most
people know – Red Hat. I’ve been using Gentoo for a number of years –
at least three. I can fix anything on my boxes and I can even break them
and fix them again. But I can’t bail out a stupid Red Hat user without
reading the manual. :slight_smile:

So I will stick with my recommendation: the vast majority of
non-professional servers are better off with Fedora than any other Linux
distro.


M. Edward (Ed) Borasky, FBG, AB, PTA, PGS, MS, MNLP, NST, ACMC§
http://borasky-research.blogspot.com/

If God had meant for carrots to be eaten cooked, He would have given
rabbits fire.


#14

Gregory B. wrote:

I think for
doing something like setting up apache + ruby/rails, pretty much any
distro will do for experimentation, though the debian based ones will
annoy you if you try to install ruby via apt.
That’s a big negative in my book. :slight_smile: How is Ruby installation difficult
on apt-based distros?


M. Edward (Ed) Borasky, FBG, AB, PTA, PGS, MS, MNLP, NST, ACMC§
http://borasky-research.blogspot.com/

If God had meant for carrots to be eaten cooked, He would have given
rabbits fire.


#15

Debian and
Fedora/Red Hat/CentOS.

But again, the OP was after a machine to play around with things, not a
good business production environment - “I’m building a Linux VM inside
of my Windows box so I can experiment with setting up different
ruby/rails situations, configuring apache, trying out nginx, etc.”

This isn’t a production box, it’s a play box… though I just noticed
that he said he’s doing this in a VM… Ok, if you’re going to be
running things inside a VM, probably spending all the time configuring,
compiling and tuning a gentoo box is not worth it. But if you’re after a
play environment, Gentoo is great.

I don’t think I’d want to run gentoo as my linux OS if my dollars or job
was on the line - probably less because I couldn’t keep it secure and
stable and more that since it’s not the ‘safe’ choice I’d be personally
responsible - but as my personal server and play machine, I wouldn’t
dream of using anything else.

Dan.


#16

www.h-e-r-e-t-i-x.org by Andrew Walrond (http://www.walrond.org/).

One to watch.

I’ve had a version running as a VM, late last year.

Looks like he’s had time to upgrade his server.

Markt


#17

M. Edward (Ed) Borasky wrote:

Gregory B. wrote:

I think for
doing something like setting up apache + ruby/rails, pretty much any
distro will do for experimentation, though the debian based ones will
annoy you if you try to install ruby via apt.
That’s a big negative in my book. :slight_smile: How is Ruby installation difficult
on apt-based distros?

It’s not the fact that it’s apt which makes it difficult - it’s the
historical packaging policies of Debian Ruby which splits the core into
separate packages for the interpreter, irb, rdoc, and so on, which is
confusing. If I remember correctly, there was talk a short while ago of
providing a meta-package which would pull all of these together in a
single ‘apt-get install ruby-full’ (or something) to minimise
irritation.

I tend to ignore that and use checkinstall, myself.


#18

On Wed, Feb 07, 2007 at 02:32:11PM +0900, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky wrote:

So I will stick with my recommendation: the vast majority of
non-professional servers are better off with Fedora than any other Linux
distro.

Just remember that if you are running Fedora, you are acting as an
unpaid
alpha-tester for a commercial product (Red Hat Enterprise Linux). Also,
there is little support for older releases, so you will find yourself
doing
full version upgrades quite often.

If you like the idea of running “stable” Red Hat code, or you work in an
organisation that also uses RHEL for servers, consider CentOS:
http://www.centos.org/
You’ll find yourself stuck with a 2.6.9 kernel though.

Otherwise, it’s hard not to recommend Ubuntu. Ubuntu 6.06 has long-term
support (until 2009 for desktop, and 2011 for server), and it’s a breeze
to
install and keep up to date. Sure, the default install is rather bloated
in
terms of the amount of stuff it installs, but disks are cheap these
days.

The ruby installation is broken into a zillion sub-packages, but
‘apt-cache
search ruby’ will generally find the bit you’re looking for.

Just my 2c.

Brian.


#19

Brian C. wrote:

full version upgrades quite often.

Ah, but aren’t we all unpaid alpha and beta testers in the open source
world? :slight_smile:

If you like the idea of running “stable” Red Hat code, or you work in an
organisation that also uses RHEL for servers, consider CentOS:
http://www.centos.org/
You’ll find yourself stuck with a 2.6.9 kernel though.

Yeah … CentOS and the other RHEL rebuilds are a really good deal. I
don’t know why so many businesses choose to run Fedora servers rather
than an RHEL rebuild, but they do. I guess they know what they’re doing.


M. Edward (Ed) Borasky, FBG, AB, PTA, PGS, MS, MNLP, NST, ACMC§
http://borasky-research.blogspot.com/

If God had meant for carrots to be eaten cooked, He would have given
rabbits fire.


#20

M. Edward (Ed) Borasky wrote:

It’s not the fact that it’s apt which makes it difficult - it’s the
is distributed? For example, if you install a Rails RPM it will pull in
only the packages it needs.
I wouldn’t know. What would yum install ruby pull in? Judging from
this recipe:

http://oe.openendstudios.com/2007/1/19/fedora-core-5-and-ruby-on-rails-server-recipe

(first on Google, no idea of the accuracy), it looks like that’s all you
need for ruby itself, but there will be others watching who can better
answer…