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I'm taking over IT responsibilities at a small company. Most of the servers appear to be running various releases of Fedora (file servers, backup servers, oracle servers, etc).

I don't have much experience with Fedora, but I was under the impression its geared for end user desktops/workstations/laptops.

Is Fedora a bad choice for servers?

UPDATE: Thank you for confirming my suspicions.

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5 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Most of the servers appear to be running various releases of Fedora (file servers, backup servers, oracle servers, etc).

This is a problem; it sounds like whoever was in this position before wasn't keeping up with upgrades. Failing to do so can cause problems for you:

  • Bugs that were fixed ages ago.
  • incompatible versions of configuration files.
  • Unpatched security vulns
  • Really old software

The last point really highlights a tradeoff. For example, Mumble changed their network protocol and the newer clients don't support the old protocol. If you don't upgrade the server there's a chance your users will and become incompatible. In another example the Ubuntu Django packaging is dramatically out of date on 8.04. This is a feature not a bug, but I'm not particularly fond of it.

Fedora isn't a bad choice for servers, but you need to keep on the upgrade treadmill. CentOS / RHEL are options, but if you don't have an upgrade process it just delays the inevitable. Personally, I use Ubuntu, but we have a mix of Ubuntu, Debian and Redhat at work. I don't use Ubuntu LTS because at some point the package aging gets too much.

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Fedora has a really short release cycle and typically uses newer and less mature software.

Personally, I would be avoiding fedora and going for something more mature/stable with a longer release cycle. If you're a fan of RPM, try CentOS. Alternatively, debian is generally pretty awesome too.

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+1 for CentOS. Sort of like Fedora, but more likely to work in a year –  Matt Simmons Mar 13 '10 at 1:22
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Fedora has a 6 month release cycle and a 13 month maintenance period.

In general, Fedora has better hardware compatibility and software availability than RedHat or CentOS. That is because it is more cutting edge than the other two.

Sometimes, updates might break things.

As long as you test your updates before implementing on a production system, you should be fine. As an aside, I think that is what you should be doing with any other system. (RedHat, CentOS, Debian).

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Strictly speaking YES Fedora is not a good choice for servers, as others pointed release cycle is very short and so you notice servers get outdated pretty quickly and in my experience Fedora breaks too often (next day you may have the solution w/ another update/patch) but that's because Fedora is somehow a 'testing' project that been said it works well as a Desktop distro :)

My suggestion use Debian, CentOS, Red Hat or even Gentoo whatever is more easy for you to setup/administer.

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See the importance of data is paramount in the corporate world and the production base has to almost 99% up all the time as the business demand it.

So go for something stable and proven. I am not so fond of bledding edge thing in the servers..for other thing like laptop..desktop alright.

CentOS..RHEL..SLES... the way most of the corporate environment are.

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