[SASAG] Linux Server Distro Recommendations

Ski Kacoroski kacoroski at gmail.com
Wed Aug 5 10:29:52 PDT 2009

On Wed, 2009-08-05 at 10:07 -0700, Atom Powers wrote:
> I'm a BSD guy but I have come to realize that the rest of the world is
> mostly Linux. Not really a problem, except that some vendors' software
> required Linux. (Linux compatibility mode doesn't always work.)
> My question to y'all is: Which Linux distro currently provides the
> most functionality with the smallest footprint. Specifically I'm
> looking for something that resembles FreeBSD; something with a small
> "base" install and good package management that doesn't install
> packages too deeply into the OS. Most of the distros I've looked at
> are either too strict with packages (RedHat/CentOS) or install
> packages into the system directories and allow them to auto-start
> without any security configuration (Ubuntu).
> What do you use, and why?

Ah, the great distro wars :).  I really feel that the distro a person
ends up using and liking is based on their past experiences.  In my
case, I am a Debian person for all servers and Ubuntu on desktops.  For
me, Debian's processes regarding package management and package
selection make it much more stable than all other distributions I have
used (Redhat, Centos, Suse, Ubuntu).  I can easily install a very
barebones system that is extremely small and then add in just the
packages I need.

On the downside, it does tend to lag behind other distros in terms of
newer software so sometimes I have to compile my own software packages
or, more often, figure out the correctly Debian perl packages to install
to support a vendor's or open source package that I want to use.  A
recent example is the OpenLdap servers I just built up.  The Debian
packaged version was far enough behind that I decided to compile form
source and it took a few hours to get all the correct Debian pieces in
place to support the compile (e.g. TLS libraries, etc.).  I find it
better to use the Debian pieces where possible rather than compiling
everything from scratch because then I get security updates.



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