[SASAG] Linux Server Distro Recommendations

Lamont Granquist lamont at scriptkiddie.org
Thu Aug 13 13:57:27 PDT 2009

If your problem is that "some vendors software requires linux", then your 
choice is basically made for you in that the Enterprise Sever Linux world 
in the US decided to go with RHEL.  You will find the most third-party 
support for that, so that is the distro which actually solves your problem 
the best.  You also have the ability to use either RHEL or CentOS in order 
to dial up or dial down the amount of licensing that you pay to a vendor 
in order to keep your managers happy, and RHEL, CentOS and OEL are all 
managed nearly exactly the same.

And I'd advise giving up on "bloatware" objections to anything these days. 
Conmpared to mid-90s Unix all distros these days are nothing but 

It is just bits on the disk.  Concentrate on having a secure build process 
that has post-install scripts which only allow certain services to be 
started and only allow certain binaries to be setuid.

And the bigger problem that I have working in the binary/linux world is 
that it is made more difficult to take an up-to-date piece of software and 
run it on an older operating system, since the dependencies are hard 
coded.  You wind up having to recompile the newer SRPMs for the older O/S 
while twiddling with the configure lines and the Provides/Requires stuff 
in the package in order to turn off stuff that isn't supported.  I'm not 
aware of any distro which solves that issue, though (and FreeBSD doesn't 
even really solve it -- if packages require upgraded libs and which 
require upgraded libs which require upgraded libs, then you wind up 
rebuilding the whole world just to upgrade firefox).

On Wed, 5 Aug 2009, 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?
> -- 
> Perfection is just a word I use occasionally with mustard.
> --Atom Powers--
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