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Linux General discussion of programming the various flavors of Linux operating systems.
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old July 2nd, 2003, 06:37 AM
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Default Linux Servers

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone knows of good Linux Servers that I can turn into Web Servers or App Servers. I looked at Debian and Mandrake but didn't know which was better or which version of both products was actually a server product.

I guess you can tell I don't much about Linux, but hey, there is no time like the present to start finding out.

Thanks for the help.

Cheers
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Old July 2nd, 2003, 10:43 AM
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Well, you're asking about Debian and Mandrake, et cetera, which are simply distributors. Distributors package existing Linux/GNU software (usually on easy-to-install CD-ROMs you can buy in the shops) and justify their ability to charge for this software on the basis of such things as their own (largely proprietary) installation management and update software suites, (e.g. SuSE's YaST2 software), and the level of after sales support they offer - in addition to such intangibles as "nice logo, percieved brand value" (Red Hat), "not being American" (SuSE), "ideological purity and actually being free, as in beer" (Debian), or "being able to stay in business" (anyone but Mandrake).

So you choice of distributor is largely determined by those factors.

The actual Web server you will be using will almost invariably be Apache, anyway. Apache is actually a separate piece of software from Linux, and will run on many operating systems (including Windows). In fact "Linux" is only a UNIX operating system Kernel: most of the rest of the stuff people actually look at and interact with on a "Linux" system - and which forms the majority of a commercial distribution, - is a mixture of proprietary software (e.g. Star Office), GNU programs (e.g. the GCC C compiler program) or conforms to some other open source model of software development and ownership (e.g. the Apache webserver).

If you are a beginner, and are planning on installing on a machine of your own, I'd recommend SuSE Linux Professional, or one of the equvalent Red Hat packages. Both have excellent installation systems which will guide you through the process of building a working Liunx system, with the ability to add or delete such additonal software as a webserver, with its various modules either at installation time or at some point subsequently.

Choice? I can vouch for SuSE, on any regular desktop system. For laptops and any other system which employs less-obvious hardware - such as a PCMCIA cardbus card, or one of the more specialist SCSI interfaces - Red hat may be a better option, since the drivers are more likely to be written for Red Hat. Even if they can be modified to work with other distributions fairly easily, that isn't sometyhing you'd want to be doing as a beginner.

Dan
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Old July 2nd, 2003, 10:56 AM
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Hi,

Thanks for the advice. I was actually thinking of installing apache and tomcat on top of the linux installation. I was just wondering if there was a server flavour from the vendors below as opposed to a linux system like for example the equivalent of Ms XP home (which I might need later, but not currently) and how to differentiate between the 2 flavours.

If you have a web link that you could help me out with ,to check out the SuSE vendor flavour, that would be great.

Thanks again.

Abdel
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Old July 3rd, 2003, 05:45 AM
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Well, herein lies the difference. The question of which Linux system can do what is a non-question. Linux kernels are built to run to the best of their abilities on the hardware they are built for. Since the sourcce code is openly available, there is nothing to be gained from deliberately restricting the abilities of a Linux kernel.

To use your analogy: yes, Windows XP Home runs a Windows NT 5 kernel - essentially the same software as a Windows 2000 Advanced Server kernel. The fact that it cannot do what Advanced Server does (and consumes twice the CPU cycles and three times the memory doing what little it does do, compared to Advanced Server) is "by design", as these proprietary vendors like to say.

If you have access to a 2.4.x kernel built for the Intel/AMD family of CPUs, you could probably (with enough knowledge) build yourself a system to run on, say, my old Toshiba Pentium II 233MHz laptop, or an IBM xSeries mainframe running multiple arrays of Xeons.

The caveat here, is "enough knowledge". The real reason you buy a distribution is that, a lot of the time, there's more value in paying for someone else to build a working system that you can install, than in duplicating that effort. The overall costs are still far lower than proprietary solutions, and in the fulness of time, you canm learn what goes into building a Linux/GNU system for yourself. Also, there are no restrictions on how many times you install the software, of course :).

So the real question, I think (if I understand you correctly), is "what will be the most painless way of getting an enterprise-quality Linux system built and running, for a beginner?" To which the answer, is probably SuSE Professional, as I say. It will provide you with:
  • an enterpirise quality webserver, as well as the packages necessary to build a desktop system at some later date
  • free upgrades and security patches in a timely fashion
  • easy installation
  • lots of manuals and documetaton
The SuSE website (English language version) is located at: http://www.suse.com/index_us.html.
You can buy SuSE Pro from Amazon.com on: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...tware&n=507846
Or from Amazon.de on: http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASI...634685-2205610
Or from Amazon.co.uk on: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/...587969-7981233

All the best,
Dan

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by asaleh
 Hi,

Thanks for the advice. I was actually thinking of installing apache and tomcat on top of the linux installation. I was just wondering if there was a server flavour from the vendors below as opposed to a linux system like for example the equivalent of Ms XP home (which I might need later, but not currently) and how to differentiate between the 2 flavours.

If you have a web link that you could help me out with ,to check out the SuSE vendor flavour, that would be great.

Thanks again.

Abdel
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Old July 3rd, 2003, 07:09 PM
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I use SuSE too! Although I believe RedHat is a close second.

Best Regards,
Dan Jallits
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Old July 4th, 2003, 03:15 AM
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Hi Dan,

Thanks for all your help, your replies have helped unlock all i needed to know to start with Linux. Its a shame I didn't know what I know now a while ago. Oh, I was in Blackwells yesterday and they had a copy of SuSe on CD. I might just go get today.

:)

Cheers,

Abdel

ps: Thanks for the links.

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Daniel Walker
 Well, herein lies the difference. The question of which Linux system can do what is a non-question. Linux kernels are built to run to the best of their abilities on the hardware they are built for. Since the sourcce code is openly available, there is nothing to be gained from deliberately restricting the abilities of a Linux kernel.

To use your analogy: yes, Windows XP Home runs a Windows NT 5 kernel - essentially the same software as a Windows 2000 Advanced Server kernel. The fact that it cannot do what Advanced Server does (and consumes twice the CPU cycles and three times the memory doing what little it does do, compared to Advanced Server) is "by design", as these proprietary vendors like to say.

If you have access to a 2.4.x kernel built for the Intel/AMD family of CPUs, you could probably (with enough knowledge) build yourself a system to run on, say, my old Toshiba Pentium II 233MHz laptop, or an IBM xSeries mainframe running multiple arrays of Xeons.

The caveat here, is "enough knowledge". The real reason you buy a distribution is that, a lot of the time, there's more value in paying for someone else to build a working system that you can install, than in duplicating that effort. The overall costs are still far lower than proprietary solutions, and in the fulness of time, you canm learn what goes into building a Linux/GNU system for yourself. Also, there are no restrictions on how many times you install the software, of course :).

So the real question, I think (if I understand you correctly), is "what will be the most painless way of getting an enterprise-quality Linux system built and running, for a beginner?" To which the answer, is probably SuSE Professional, as I say. It will provide you with:
  • an enterpirise quality webserver, as well as the packages necessary to build a desktop system at some later date
  • free upgrades and security patches in a timely fashion
  • easy installation
  • lots of manuals and documetaton
The SuSE website (English language version) is located at: http://www.suse.com/index_us.html.
You can buy SuSE Pro from Amazon.com on: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...tware&n=507846
Or from Amazon.de on: http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASI...634685-2205610
Or from Amazon.co.uk on: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/...587969-7981233

All the best,
Dan

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by asaleh
 Hi,

Thanks for the advice. I was actually thinking of installing apache and tomcat on top of the linux installation. I was just wondering if there was a server flavour from the vendors below as opposed to a linux system like for example the equivalent of Ms XP home (which I might need later, but not currently) and how to differentiate between the 2 flavours.

If you have a web link that you could help me out with ,to check out the SuSE vendor flavour, that would be great.

Thanks again.

Abdel
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Old July 4th, 2003, 04:17 AM
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Well, if you do need any more help, you know where to find me :). Don't hestitate to give us a shout.

Dan
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Old July 9th, 2003, 02:07 PM
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red hat pride's itself on being the most user-friendly.

also, red hat 9 server set up normal installation installs both apache 2.0 and a version of tomcat.

i chose to also install php (version 4.2 is what's bundled in there) and mysql (11.18 dist build 3.23.56 is what's in there)

that means the install also secured them. something that's not easy (at least with mysql. i have a friend who went nuts for a few months trying to get it both secured and running properly....he's also worked with linux for the last 5 years at least.)

linux, like gnu, has a gpl. techinically no one can charge you anything for either one. what they can charge you for, and how linux flavors get the money, is service. the gnome front end and possibly kde front end as well, are also under gplone thing to understand, you're installing an operating ENVIRONMENT with a linux flavor, nto an os. linux alone is the os. but what makes take up room is all the goodies. the install i did took about 1.5 gigs.

internships are for the inexpereinced, yet corproations award them only to those with experience. then corporations complain about the lack of experience in the emerging workforce.

corporations need to get logical.
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Old July 10th, 2003, 03:35 AM
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If you're interested in serving, you may be interested in taking a look at BSD or more BSD-like flavors of Linux. Linux is most definitely NOT UNIX. It is, in fact, based upon MINIX. Since the advent of GNU, many Linux distributions have drifted more from the UNIX standards to the GNU standards.

If you know you want Linux and don't want to deal with BSD, take a look at Slackware or Gentoo Linux. These two are probably the most difficult Linux distributions to set up, but both have a tight security model and are designed for the power user (they're not for beginners, that's for sure, but you really should do a lot of research before running a server).

BSD, on the other hand, is more closely related to UNIX. There are several BSD packages available, most notably FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and Darwin (which is, contrary to popular belief, also available for i386 platforms -- just without the Aqua GUI :)). Darwin is strange with how it handles user accounts, and the userland isn't fully POSIX compliant, so I'd suggest FreeBSD to the starter.

FreeBSD is a robust BSD platform that has been around for a very long time, is well supported, well developed, and well established as a server platform.

OpenBSD prides itself on it's security model... personally, Theo de Raadt isn't a cryptologist, so I'm not impressed. My experiance and usage of OpenBSD proves that it's just as easy to "de-securify" it -- for lack of a better word -- as is with any server platform/OS. My experience has been that, no matter what server platform you use, you'll need to do some configuration. And you should never install a lot of default packages anyway. While I'm thinking about it, build from source whenever you can.

NetBSD prides itself on being portable. It's ported to a gazillion platforms, from i386 to Solaris to PPC to Dreamcast to 68k to more. I've never used NetBSD, but it seems to me that one would only use it if running on obscure hardware.

Darwin is, of course, Apple's BSD equivalent. It's fun if you've got a Mac, but I don't think I'd reccommend it for PC users.

FreeBSD is my server platform of choice of the BSD systems. Gentoo for Linux (it highly mimics BSD, and I like that) -- though I'd say that it's probably tied with Slackware.

Distributions such as SuSE, RedHat, Mandrake and others are more desktop systems. Sure, you can use them for servers, but they install a lot more than you need by default and would require lots of extra configuration.

Regarding this quote:

Quote:
quote:
... or "being able to stay in business" (anyone but Mandrake).
Mandrake's still in business... I believe you are mistaking Mandrake for Corel... or am *I* missing something? :).



Kind regards,


Devon H. O'Dell
sitetronics.com
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Old July 19th, 2003, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by dodell
 Linux is most definitely NOT UNIX


Perhaps spomeone should tell SCO that then, and they can be sueing you FreeBSD boys, can't they? :)

Although, saying that, didn't SCO themselves at one time have a "scourellous unix copy" - which is to say "otally new product" - of their own, called "Xenix"...? Not that they co-developed that product alongside anyone who might now have a vested interest in making Linux look like proprietary code and a wherewithall and the malice nessesary to put them up to it ;).

Maybe someone should be funding that Dutch professor who invented Minix to be a-sueing the Linux distributors?

Quote:
quote:
Mandrake's still in business... I believe you are mistaking Mandrake for Corel... or am *I* missing something? :).
I was, of course, speaking in jest ;). Mandrake have actually managed to pull tehmselves arond in recent months, which is good to see (although I can't like their software any more than I did, I must confess).


Sales brochure for MS Office that just came through my door:
"Not just an upgrade. A whole new revenue opportunity."
Ha ha ha!

"Assume the position: it's time to realy start generating some revenue!"
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