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I will be building a new server for a small network of Windows XP and Windows 7 machines. The server will provide the following services:

  • Samba primary domain controller
  • ssh
  • mailserver
  • subversion server
  • intranet webserver
  • web proxy
  • dns for internal adresses

Also, I would like to continue using a browser based frontend for administration (currently we use Webmin and I like it)

Our current server, is running Ubuntu Server 10.04.2 LTS. It is showing its age, that's why it will be replaced by the new one. But the overall stability and performance over the last 5 years was very good, so I want to stick with Ubuntu.

I consider using the 12.04.1 LTS version and probably the 64 bit version of that.

Is there any reason to prefer either the 32 bit version or the latest (non LTS) version?

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If you are on a 32-bit processor I would use 32 bit. Otherwise no there isn't. – Lucas Kauffman Nov 29 '12 at 9:15
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Although I've been running 64bit versions of 12.04 since it's release date I've not had samba installed on it - the pair of them (have 2) run web services - so DNS, web server, mail relays etc and all been stable. Only problem we had with them was when the UPS died .. oops .. learnt a valuable lesson that day .. redundant PSU's

Summary: Ignore Lucas Kauffmans post! For one, a 32bit processor can't run 64bit OS any way, but given the option 64bit OS will be able to map more memory and process more per cycle, giving better performance.

And probably best to stick to LTS versions of Ubuntu.

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why was this downvoted?! – Aceth Nov 29 '12 at 14:03

I've been running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64-bit on several servers just fine, even with Samba.

There is no reason to prefer the 32-bit version. Canonical even recommends the 64-bit version when downloading Ubuntu Server.

I would not recommend downloading 12.10. The non-LTS versions often include more unstable software. For instance, in the first month after 12.10 came out, PHP-FPM would segfault at boot. The LTS is usually the way to go for a server, as it has been thoroughly tested.

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According to me, Ubuntu server 12.04.1 64bit will be smart choice, more stable, having latest security updates. You should use 32bit in case no hardware supported 64bit.

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I currently have 104 servers all running Ubuntu 12.04 Server 64-bit without issue. They consist of web servers (mostly), MySQL database servers (combination of stand-alone, master/slave, and master/master), mail, DNS, development, and various other needs. Haven't had any problems at all.

32-bit should only be considered if you are running older hardware and the CPU isn't 64-bit capable. Once you get above 3.5GB of RAM a 32-bit kernel will need the PAE extensions in order to access the remainder of the memory, which just adds overhead. If your hardware is 5 years or newer you shouldn't question putting a 64-bit OS on it.

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I upvoted Aceth's answer but for what it's worth, I upgraded from 10.04.4 LTS to 12.04.1 LTS and have regretted it ever since. My server is unstable, and I have to reboot every Sunday and Wednesday. It's just a home server doing DNS, DHCP and Squid, but I never had any problems with 10.04.4 before like this. It's slowly gotten better with the updates that Ubuntu has put out, but it is still not as stable for me as 10.04 was.

If I were you, I would consider a clean install over an upgrade, or at least test it thoroughly before making the jump.

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Unfortunate to hear! When I upgraded from 10.04, I performed a clean install. – Aceth Nov 29 '12 at 16:06

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