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New Recommendations of linux distros
We're moving towards linux and away from solaris at work. I'm about to put together a development and testing system running linux, and I'm wondering what the general feeling is about good linux distros to put on it. We've been using CentOS for the linux firewall stuff in production, but this is about setting up a development system as well as an application server. I'm hoping folks here can give some suggestions as to what would be a good distro to use in this role.

New Do you require 3rd party software?
Get their supported list. Then choose from that.
If not required, then use what you already know, ie: centos., unless you have a reason not to.
New crazy makes sense.
If you're looking for other general comments, I've been happy with Mint (v13 Maya). It stays updated without breaking things and is supported until 2017.

A nominally bad thing about Mint is that they don't have a supported upgrade path - i.e. wipe and reinstall is the way to do an upgrade - but proper partitioning should alleviate those issues.

Good luck.

New Concur
Outside that, I prefer vanilla Debian Stable without X for the servery stuff. Upgrading is entirely reasonable. Most of my boxes started on Lenny, now on Wheezy without losing a single one.
New depends on mnagement
do they want a "feel good" supported version? Suse or redhat. Don't care? then centos is fine or debian as noted below
Any opinions expressed by me are mine alone, posted from my home computer, on my own time as a free American and do not reflect the opinions of any person or company that I have had professional relations with in the past 58 years. meep
New Third option:
Is there a deployed application, the support contract for which mandates a particular version of a particular distribution?

Cuz that sort of shit answers questions fast.
New exactly, get the app you need then ask what it runs on
Any opinions expressed by me are mine alone, posted from my home computer, on my own time as a free American and do not reflect the opinions of any person or company that I have had professional relations with in the past 58 years. meep
New You know where I typically stand, but...
RedHat Enterprise Linux or CentOS, is a good starting point. But... the more you run it, the more you'll end up not liking it. Believe it or not EoL comes really fast for a Peg In ever moving wall kind of distro. RHEL if you want official support. Spendy though.

Unbreakable is Oracle's schtick. Also Spendy... but they probably have a migration assistant from Solaris. If you are moving away from Solaris because of Oracle and its shenanigans, then stay away from it.

SuSE Enterprise is very nice... it is typically is more up to date and doesn't have huge amounts of legacy and community problems the RedHat/Fedpra does due to the huge community. Support is spendy also.

Ubuntu... IMO, not fit for servers, not because of Debian, but because of the current disregard for many of the "standards and things" long standing issues imo. Mint is in a similar boat, but because of Cling to old ways and workarounds to make it happen. Official supprt is sometimes splotchy or inconsistent. It is also moderately Spendy.

I'd stay away from Arch, Gentoo... period. To much of "tuner" distros. There are others like them. To much in variances to make them Commercially supportable, easily enough.

Debian... always gets a thumbs up from me. Most Commercial Software works with it, once you thump it.

In general, VAR support is important.

RHEL/CentOS/Unbreakable are effectively the SAME distro. Huge lists of VAR and Commercial Program support.

Ubuntu/Mint also have large lists... though I'd go with Ubuntu Server before Mint.

SuSE, just a well rounded and very well supported product and distro.

Gentoo and the like (Arch, LFS, etc...) there a few and far between VAR/Commercial entities that appreciate them and support them. Far worse support than Debian, but again you can usually get everything to run on them. With any "bug" or Feature problem... replication of problem on a "supported" platform is typically required.

Debian... you know how I feel about Debian. It is my go to for everything if I'm allowed. VAR support typically isn't quite as large as the others, but funnily, I can get most things for CentOS and Ubuntu to run on Debian without much effort. Even programs and add-ons that specifically say they *CAN'T* work on Debian... usually it is a way to minimize support issues. Though, if you have a Bug, you have to replicate it on a Supported distro. So, you might be stuck.

There is my opinion... take what you want and throw out the rest.
"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible." --Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
New Yeah
I'd like to go with debian, but my boss hates those guys, so it's going to be a hard sell.
New I use all AWS these days
So I just start with an Ubuntu LTS AMI and call it a day. I've never observed issues with the standards.

I also can build my servers from scratch in 5 minutes so the distro doesn't matter so much; 30 minutes from a bare AWS account to a functioning load-balanced autoscaled website, DNS/db/centralized logging/caching included.
Welcome to Rivendell, Mr. Anderson.
New Yeah, we're going to use that
but we want to have a host that we own and control completely. The AWS stuff is going to be used for capacity flux as we go forward.

I actually developed a couple of custom images for AWS for us a couple of years ago, but the dev team never got around to doing more than basic setup for the other parts of that application. The ability to boot up new hosts and add them to the cluster/distributed network in minutes is quite awesome.
New If that's the case...
Use the same OS your AWS images will use. And since the main choices there are Amazon or Ubuntu, that might inform your decision.
Welcome to Rivendell, Mr. Anderson.
New Okay, thanks for all the input guys
We have had issues with the cooling fans being controlled properly by CentOS; they always run full blast no matter what, which is annoying given that there are people in the same room as the rack. I guess we'll try a few and see how it goes.

Thanks again all!
New Sounds like my laptop
Power management has gotten worse with the last two Ubuntu major releases.

That's just annoying. The painful thing is how Evolution has absolutely gone to shit.

New Good god
It's impossible to do a decent linux install using a serial interface. That's just broken.
New Do we dare ask?
New Even Debian's text install?
If so, I'll have to test that.
"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible." --Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
New Didn't try Debian.
As in vanilla Debian. From the docs, it looks like it's probably the best of the lot, but compared to say the Solaris install, it's all badly broken.

The problem isn't the actual text part of the install; it's that you end up having to blind-type the serial parameters at the right part of the boot. You do it by adding it to the end of the boot prompt: "text console=ttyS0,9600n8" in the case of the machines we're using here. You have to just know when to do it (because when it switches to the boot splash screen, it flips into graphic mode but will still accept input from the serial port but not echo it back to the serial port). If you typo it, well, basically you need to drop back to the machine's PS computer (ILOM in the case of Sun PC hardware) and reboot and do it again.

Company policy has been that install media's always left in the CD drives of production machines. This is because if one of them gets rooted, we can still go in out of band via its serial interface and initiate a new install on the machine, without having to drive the three hours from our offices in Kingston to the data centre. This matters because we're working in the telecom industry and being able to save that time matters. It doesn't look like it's going to be possible with the linux boxen.

I would think that if the install program detects an active serial port (could check the DCD or DTR line to see if they're connected) then it could start a process to handle the i/o for each one it detects and if one of them gets used to start things up, could just connect the text installer to it so you could get it going on that way.

New Is PXEBoot an option?
I don't know enough about this stuff, but it sounds like a potentially better solution.


HTH a little. Good luck!

     Recommendations of linux distros - (jake123) - (18)
         Do you require 3rd party software? - (crazy)
         crazy makes sense. - (Another Scott) - (1)
             Concur - (scoenye)
         depends on mnagement - (boxley) - (2)
             Third option: - (pwhysall) - (1)
                 exactly, get the app you need then ask what it runs on -NT - (boxley)
         You know where I typically stand, but... - (folkert) - (1)
             Yeah - (jake123)
         I use all AWS these days - (malraux) - (2)
             Yeah, we're going to use that - (jake123) - (1)
                 If that's the case... - (malraux)
         Okay, thanks for all the input guys - (jake123) - (1)
             Sounds like my laptop - (drook)
         Good god - (jake123) - (4)
             Do we dare ask? -NT - (Another Scott)
             Even Debian's text install? - (folkert) - (2)
                 Didn't try Debian. - (jake123) - (1)
                     Is PXEBoot an option? - (Another Scott)

Add a Klixon 'snap' relay for overtemp control.
64 ms