Wednesday, January 30, 2008

search for a server distribution

I never have had to think about Linux distributions and comparing those in order to get a system (desktop or server) installed and running. I almost accidentally stumbled upon Ubuntu for my personal laptop and cannot be more glad that I did.

However, here is the challenge: I am currently researching in the background. The charitable bug in me helps out (volunteers) a non-profit with their website needs. They want to move to hosting their own Web server instead of paying a hosting company. So, I am tasked with finding the right hardware (still under research) and getting the server up.

Of course it has to be a LAMP installation (which I recently found out is the right term to use for a Linux running Apache, MySQL and PHP...clever). The question is, which Linux distribution do I go with?

I would have thought running a Google search with the words "comparing Linux distribution for web server" should have brought something up......apparently not. Or resources such as DistroWatch would have yielded an article or two on the topic. Found a few comparison charts, but nothing in particular for Web servers.

So, here is the thought process so far. I have always thought of RHEL as the "first instinct" server installation. Probably is the most popular one. Fedora should not be too far behind/very different than RHEL, and I have used each of those over the last 3 or 4 years, but I don't find either of those charming/clever. Not that I am going to need my web sever to have either of those qualities, but hey, I get to decide here! Also, I never have been able to spend too much time on Debian, Mandrake, Slackware or SUSE. So unless I find out _very_ convincing arguments in favor of either of those, I might not be willing to spend any time of my own installing and analyzing.

Now, that leaves me with Ubuntu Server Edition. I am already happy with my Desktop version. Have spend enough time with the distribution, playing with the system tools, etc in case I need to use those. Here is what I am expecting:
- simple and quick thin client server installation.
- reliable performance.
- simple security (SELinux-kind, only simpler) = no useless open ports. I don't want to be running and analyzing too many things with nmap.
- some level of smart power management. That could save a few $$

Will post my experiences when I get around to it.

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