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Love the site! I am getting ready to CoLo Dual Processor 3.0 Xeon server and was wondering what the best flavor of Linux is to install. If someone could point me in the right direction this would be great.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Oct 2 '09 at 9:29

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

    
Serverfault.com –  C. Ross Sep 30 '09 at 18:36
    
It'll get shutdown there too for being subjective and argumentative. You might want to rephrase it by asking for pro/cons of a few you have in mind. –  Ben S Sep 30 '09 at 18:38
    
Because of the subjective nature this should probably be a wiki article. –  John Gardeniers Oct 2 '09 at 11:43

4 Answers 4

really the answer here is to use the one you are most comfortable with in terms of package management -- cause that's the bottom line when it comes to distros.

Some popular ones are debian (ubuntu) and gentoo. I'd highly recommend any debian flavor as it's what you'll find instructions for everywhere.

Gentoo is good if you want (and are able to) specify everything you want -- system admins use this more often.

Redhat and Suse variants are appropriate if you are in an enterprise situation and you want a support contract.

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If you're using this on a web host, make sure to go with a distro and release with long-term support. Someone mentioned Ubuntu, and that's my distribution of choice, but make sure you pick one of the LTS releases so you're not forced to upgrade remotely more than you want to.

Since you really only need basic functionality (and not a lot of user apps) out of the OS, you will be better served by a server-based distribution. They have less in them, but they're also built on older, more stable versions of software. So if you like Fedora, go with Centos. If you like Ubuntu or SUSE, go with the server install of those.

Also:

  • Make sure to remove unneeded services for security.
  • Make sure ALL your log files properly rotate so you don't fill your disks up
  • Make sure you have all the obvious security features in place
  • Install a program that will monitor failed SSH logins and block IP addresses, like DenyHosts.
  • If you can, set up another machine to watchdog the main server. I run a program that hits my server every half hour and sends my phone a text message if it fails.
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Centos is a common choice for linux web servers.

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For web hosting, you need something stable, well-tested, and have long term support. Since you have only one server, I would advise debian or centos.

Also, security advisory is very important. For example, Arch, a popular OS, doesn't have formal security advisory. All security advisory mix in announcenment and news in their forum.

But if you have multiple servers or want full customization, gentoo is a nice choice. The problem with gentoo is that it's cutting-edge and its software distribution is source based. So you will have to put extra effort in compling software. Also, it's more likely in gentoo that after an update something break. Thus it's not suitable for one server. But if you have an array of servers. Then you can test the update in one testing server and adjust the configurations and customizations. After that, you just apply them to the rest of your array, which is very effecitve.

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