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Ubuntu Server 10.10 vs. Fedora Server 14

I want to create a web-server running Mono, MySQL 5.5 and OpenLDAP running as a VM (on VMWare Workstation).

Searching “Ubuntu Server vs. Fedora Server” mostly yields flame wars and noise. There are a few good articles available but they are either out-of-date or don’t offer very convincing arguments.

I know the answer is most likely to be “it depends” but I wanted to harness the collective wisdom on ServerFault and get opinions, experiences and factual information to the extent possible.

My selection criteria would be (other than what is mentioned above):

  1. Ease of use
  2. Ease of development
  3. Reliability
  4. Security
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

The distributions you list are not server focused. They're general-purpose enough that they'll work, but, crucially, you will need to plan to upgrade them on a shorter timeframe than is usually ideal for a server (13 months for Fedora, 18 for Ubuntu), and update churn within a releas may be higher than ideal.

Unless you can reasonably plan for that, you should look at either an Ubuntu LTS release (like 10.04), which will be supported for five years for server use, or at Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, which is derived from Fedora and is supported for a decade or so. If cost or license-tracking is an issue, the CentOS rebuild (not yet out for RHEL 6) is a bit-for-bit compatible option as well, with the same support lifetime but an inevitable short delay in security updates.

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Thanks for the response. I have been reading about Ubuntu 10.4 LTS and it seems to be the answer. – Abbas Dec 26 '10 at 18:06

It makes no difference. Practically any mono package for Ubuntu is also available for Fedora, including MonoDevelop.

Keep in mind that Fedora is on a six month release cycle and each release gets end-of-life after two more new releases. So F14 will have no more updates after F16 comes out in about a year. Ubuntu, on the other hand, has a longer cycle.

If you want a Fedora-like distribution with a longer cycle, use CentOS.

Update: Ubuntu LTS is the variant with a longer release cycle. Read mattdm's comment.

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Note that Ubuntu's non-LTS lifecycle is only marginally longer. – mattdm Dec 26 '10 at 16:30

I can only tell you why I choose Ubuntu Server among other distribution:

  • Ubuntu is probably (one of) the most popular linux distribution with huge user base, therefore most of the problems which you can run into are (probably) solved
  • big portion of mono users/developers/deployers choose Ubuntu because of it's popularity and upper fact, therefore there is a big chance of a possible mono related problems being solved on this distribution
  • MonoDevelop have package for Ubuntu
  • IMHO reliability and security issues should be resolved faster because of big user base pressure (this is of course subjective and depends on situation)
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