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I'm planning to rent a virtual server which besides some other Linux distributions only provides Fedora 8. (I know Fedora and I don't want to go with openSUSE or Debian unless I have to)

Fedora 8 is not that old, but I still have my doubts about running my Rails application there. I fear that half-way through I notice that Fedora 8 is a bad fit and I'm stuck with a 24 months agreement.

But from a strict technical point of view: Is it wise to use Fedora 8 on a server? Are current versions of packages available or do I have to choose between compiling everything myself or using outdated packages (like Firefox 2.0 or Rails 1.0)

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Fedora 8 is already end-of-life (this includes security updates as far as I can tell from the wiki). That alone would be enough to say don't use it.

As an aside, there are plenty of virtual private server providers who let you choose from a wide variety of distributions, but more importantly let you re-image your server whenever you want. Obviously you have to handle backup and restore of the data, but you don't have to be locked into one distro for 2 years.

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The only time I'd consider running an old distribution with no security updates like Fedora 8 is behind a heavy firewall. Running it facing the internet is a huge risk, and a virtual server provider is insane to only be offering it - they're inviting their users to get owned. Are the available versions of Debian and openSUSE also outdated?

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godaddy does just that :( (I think you can only get 8 and 9 right now). The next choice would be CentOS 4 or 5 and then RHEL... – Server Horror Jul 19 '09 at 21:01
There are others, but I'm not familiar with them, so I first planned to go with Fedora. But I'll use CentOS 5.2 (also available) – Daniel Rikowski Jul 20 '09 at 11:23

As James said, since fedora 8 is end of life* it's definitely to be avoided.

Personally, i wouldn't fun fedora on a server at all, but if you really want to it could be possible depending on the setup to get the fedora8 server and just upgrade it to a newer version yourself.

If there's an option for CentOS or RHEL though then you should go with that. RHEL5 was roughly based on fedora core 6, so it'll be fairly similar to what's offered with fedora 8, but you'll won't have to worry about running out of support any time soon.

* Fedora releases are generally supported for just thirteen months (support for version n stops 1 month after the release of n+2). Once a release is EOL there is no new packages built, security problems are not patched at all by the fedora team. There was a project to provide support for older releases, but this has not been active for some time.

So, while fedora8 is only a little older than Ubuntu hardy heron, no one has fixed any holes in it for over 6 months.

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+1 for "don't run fedora on a server" – Daniel Lawson Jul 20 '09 at 7:17

I would not use Fedora 8. I would take a look at Rackspace's Cloud Servers. They have Fedora 10 and provide good service for a decent price (much cheaper than their dedicated offerings).

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I asked question - What is problem with using Fedora for servers few days back. You might want to read users responses. Personally I am now convinced Fedora is not good choice for servers if we are not going to re-install it from scratch every 8-9 months or so.

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Fedora 8 is no longer receiving security updates, making it a bad choice for a current server. (One of my servers is running Fedora 9 but It wont be for much longer)

I would recommend looking into an Ubuntu Server LTS release for your server OS. LTS stands for long time support, meaning that there will be updates and fixes for a long time to come. Often 5 years. In addition Ubuntu server is much more light (as in requiring less space) as it is a more bare bones than a default Fedora install.

My first few servers all ran fedora because I liked that idea that they shared some code with Redhat. However over the years I am not leaning toward Ubuntu server. It is an easy switch and the Ubuntu forums will help you with almost anything.

If you host does not offer any Ubuntu LTS versions then I would look into Rackspace. I have not used rackspace but from what I hear it is very nice.

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