Hi I am looking for a Linux distribution that conforms to my following requirements. This machine will be basically a server box for my software development. I need to install Mercurial and Subversion so I can host my own repositories.

Linux Requirements (in order that I need)

  1. Easy Package installation
  2. Support for my hardware. (See below)
  3. Good support for installation and configuration with Mercurial & Subversion.
  4. Basic GUI (such as XFCE, ie preferably not Gnome or KDE)
  5. Fast Installation

Server Hardware

  • AMD Athlon 1.8GHz
  • 1.5 GB RAM
  • 320GB HD
  • Basic graphics card
  • Ethernet (No Wifi)
  • Just FYI, the fact that you'll host Mercurial and Subversion repositories is not really relevant here — the programs run on all distributions. Dec 18, 2011 at 10:59

5 Answers 5


Since it sounds like you want it to be easy to install and maintain, I would honestly suggest CentOS in large part because there's a good sized active install base (so not that hard to find docs on it) and the long support cycle (supported until March 2014) means you won't really have to worry about the machine once it's set up until long after it's likely to still be useful.

For subversion, if you're planning on serving it via httpd then it is ridiculously easy to setup simply by installing the mod_dav_svn package and editting the /etc/httpd/conf.d/subversion.conf file to point it to your repository.


My personal preference is Debian or Ubuntu (in your case Xubuntu, although GNOME is only slightly heavier then XFCE).

Also do you really need a GUI on it? Dropping that is an easy way to save a bit more power/CPU/RAM.

  • Yes I do need a GUI on it. It saves me having to remember some linux commands and time. Otherwise I'd be constantly on the net looking up 'x' commands to do 'y' when I can just click a button in the UI. Having said that I will be SSHing in the box. Jul 16, 2009 at 12:27

Pretty much all linux distros, except for some esoteric play ones, will do what you want.

If you are even a little bit familiar with any one, use that. If you don't know any, but your best friend / someone you can ask if things go wrong is a Debian/Ubuntu/Red Hat/CentOS/etc fan, then use that.

  • Xubuntu
  • Debian
  • Slackware
  • Gentoo
  • any other Distribution (they can all be tweaked to meet your requirements)
  • I should have said easy installation too.... forget Gentoo. Jul 16, 2009 at 12:25

Slackware or CentOS is what you want on a machine that just sits in the background and works. I've used personally Slackware for about 11 years and my first install is up and running without hiccup.

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