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We are going to move from Slicehost to Linode (the 1024MB ram) to host our website. Now we have to take a distribution.

After discussing, the remaining candidates are:

  • Arch Linux 2010.05
  • Debian 5.0
  • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

The needs are simple: once set-up, we would like to forget about it, except for the needed updates, and dedicate to the website maintenance. Could seem too simplistic, but the end result is running the website.

We would like to know what is the worst distro of these three. The less worst will be taken. ;-D

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closed as not constructive by Bill Weiss, John Gardeniers, sysadmin1138, EEAA, Mark Henderson Dec 9 '10 at 4:27

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Note: Previously we used Gentoo, but its future is unclear now. –  UVL Sep 28 '10 at 12:59
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Has it ever been anything else? –  Tom O'Connor Sep 28 '10 at 19:55
    
This is a terrible question –  Drew Khoury Sep 7 '13 at 10:14

5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

You need to take a look at a mirror and think about what you see there.

  • If you need a rock-solid distribution and do not care about the latest version number of package foo, go with Debian.

  • If you need a rock-solid(ish) distribution and you do care about the latest version number of package foo, go with Ubuntu Server.

  • If you like to tinker around with your system and you do care about the latest version number of package foo, go with Arch Linux.

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Janne I agree with 100% but i'll go with fedora for the same :D –  Rajat Sep 28 '10 at 13:50

I'd go instantly with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. It has the most recent packages, Long-term support, and a fantastic community around it. Debian is rockhard, but packages tend to be older.

Arch.. Hmm. I wasn't aware anyone still used that. I'd file it in a box along with Gentoo and some other uglies.

Use whatever you've used before, and are most comfortable with. That's the best way to choose a distro.

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I recently was turned on to linode and rushed to install the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (64 bit). Big mistake (I love linode, but ubuntu blows). My purpose for this server is strictly delivering web content. After about 1 day I was bombarded w/ I/O and swap memory alerts. After 3 days up, I have to reboot cause the cpu usage sky rockets and web pages slow to crawl, if they loaded at all. I spent about 2 weeks trying to optimize (fail2ban, swappiness settings, etc) but to no avail. After endless frustrations, I gave up and tried Arch - LOVE IT!!! Been up about a week now and have no complaints. Page loads dropped to around 2-3 seconds (5-8 under ubuntu). Best web hosting os I've ever experienced!! I used nginx, fast cgi php w/ apc under both distros. Before my ubuntu experience, i was using fedore 8 on a godaddy dedicated LAMP.

Here's a good link: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Arch_Compared_to_Other_Distributions#Ubuntu

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Thanks, I was afraid of something like this about using Ubuntu –  UVL Dec 10 '10 at 14:54

You asked for the worst of the 3 so here's my ranking (I've had some experience with all 3).

  • worst: Arch
  • next: Debian
  • next: Ubuntu

(Be aware that asking this question is like striking a match in a tinder box.)

In any case this is coming from someone who runs both Ubuntu and Slackware at home. I've never had much luck with Arch linux personally, despite really wanting to like it. I ran Debian on my laptop for at least 2 years before switching it back to slackware (I know, weird). On our desktop (I force my wife to use linux) I went with Ubuntu and as my life responsibilities have increased I find I expend very little effort to maintain it. I feel with the LTS release, you have some guarantee of how long updates and patches will be pushed out.

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I've asked about "the worst" because I'm most interested to the possible drawbacks of those distros, that could be missed if I asked about "the best". Had no intention to troll or flame anyway. –  UVL Sep 28 '10 at 14:50
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It seemed most people were only giving you what they would go with, which seemed opposite to the question you were asking. I didn't see it as flame-bait, but I could see how others would shy away from criticizing another distribution versus voting for their favorite. I think you're approaching it from a good perspective, why should I NOT use something versus why you should. That way you can side-step the show stoppers rather than just getting "nice-to-haves". good luck! –  It's a glitch Sep 28 '10 at 15:04

My ranking would be:

If you want stability:

  • Best: Ubuntu LTS (5 year stable support)
  • Next: Debian (approx 3 year stable support)
  • Worst: Arch (not stable)

If you like to tinker with new stuff as it's released and don't mind upgrading packages and updating configuration frequently:

  • Best: Arch (rolling release)
  • Next: Ubuntu (6 monthly releases available)
  • Worst: Debian (approx 2 year releases, though a rolling "testing" is available)

If you are new to Linux and want something that's easy enough for a Linux newbie to use:

  • Best: Ubuntu
  • Next: Debian
  • Worst: Arch

From the above you can conclude that Arch is overall the worst in each, except if you want to tinker with new stuff as it's released, which it does a good job of satisfying. It has a rolling release, which means you get the latest packages as they come out but that means if something changes and your config stops working due to an update, you'll need to fix it yourself.

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