Which Linux distribution?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Ralph Mason, Nov 18, 2003.

  1. Ralph Mason

    Ralph Mason Guest

    I am about to start with PostgreSQL and am taking this opportunity to try
    out Linux as a possible replacement for a few Win2k / SQL Server servers.

    But the question is - which Linux distribution?

    I am planning on running

    PostgreSQL / Postgis
    Apache
    Mono
    Misc other Linux tools.

    I need SMP support (2 processors) and to support as much memory as I can
    pulg in (generally we have 2gb but that will probably go up to 4gb)

    We also need to support hardware raid.

    I don't really understand the difference between the distributions other
    than installers, and perhaps packages / default kernel build options. But
    if one builds their own kernal and installs their own packages I cant tell
    what the difference could be then.

    I am not planning on doing actual development on the Linux machines b/c I am
    happy with visual studio and can only take so much new at once.

    Thanks for any pointers
    Ralph

    P.S - Any good programmers looking for work? We need a Senior person and a
    Junior (graduate) person. You need to understand SQL, C# (or perhaps Java
    then C# should be no problem). C++ would also be useful, must be self
    starter, hard worker, innovative and love the job. We work in Windows at
    the moment, but are making a move to targeting Linux, we currently have no
    Linux advocate so perhaps that is you. Remuneration is excellent, and
    working conditions are flexible. The jobs are Christchurch based. The work
    is interesting, we make and sell software and embedded hardware, and have
    grown by 300% every year since we started in 2000. If this sounds
    interesting, please drop me a line.
     
    Ralph Mason, Nov 18, 2003
    #1
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  2. Ralph Mason

    steve Guest

    Ralph Mason allegedly said:

    > I am about to start with PostgreSQL and am taking this opportunity to try
    > out Linux as a possible replacement for a few Win2k / SQL Server servers.
    >
    > But the question is - which Linux distribution?
    >
    > I am planning on running
    >
    > PostgreSQL / Postgis
    > Apache
    > Mono
    > Misc other Linux tools.
    >
    > I need SMP support (2 processors) and to support as much memory as I can
    > pulg in (generally we have 2gb but that will probably go up to 4gb)
    >
    > We also need to support hardware raid.
    >
    > I don't really understand the difference between the distributions other
    > than installers, and perhaps packages / default kernel build options. But
    > if one builds their own kernal and installs their own packages I cant tell
    > what the difference could be then.


    If you are relatively new to Linux, go with Red Hat 9....for free...or maybe
    consider Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0 (fully supported going forward) for
    about NZ$280 / annum. Extensive documentation support for Red Hat and a
    huge user base are a big help.

    SuSE v9.0 is also fully supported and commercially available. The user base
    tends to be European....which is a positive advantage at 2am if you have
    problems. :)

    Debian is also popular and you will have no trouble getting lots of local
    support....though I'm not a fan of the install - especially if you use
    nForce2 mobos and video cards. Debian has three rolling versions:

    Stable (Woody)
    Testing (Sarge - the next 'stable' when it is ready)
    Unstable (no name....active development be here)

    Debian is also extensively documented...and it has a highly-skilled and
    passionate user-base. The package management ('.deb) is a positive
    advantage.

    Whatever you do, join the NZLUG mailing list at www.linux.net.nz (if you
    haven't already).

    --
    Best Regards,
    Steve Withers
    defenestrate: The act of throwing Windows out the window and replacing it on
    your PC with some other operating system.
     
    steve, Nov 18, 2003
    #2
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  3. Ralph Mason

    Jackson Guest

    "Ralph Mason" <> wrote
    in message news:e8fub.1481$...
    > I am about to start with PostgreSQL and am taking this opportunity to try
    > out Linux as a possible replacement for a few Win2k / SQL Server servers.
    >
    > But the question is - which Linux distribution?
    >


    Answer = None. Just continue to use windows, Linux is for nerds with nothing
    else to do apart from recompile their kernals to get their jollies off.
     
    Jackson, Nov 18, 2003
    #3
  4. Ralph Mason

    steve Guest

    Jackson allegedly said:

    >
    > "Ralph Mason" <>
    > wrote in message news:e8fub.1481$...
    >> I am about to start with PostgreSQL and am taking this opportunity to try
    >> out Linux as a possible replacement for a few Win2k / SQL Server
    >> servers.
    >>
    >> But the question is - which Linux distribution?

    >
    > Answer = None. Just continue to use windows, Linux is for nerds with
    > nothing else to do apart from recompile their kernals to get their jollies
    > off.


    But Linux is better for what wants to do.

    --
    Best Regards,
    Steve Withers
    defenestrate: The act of throwing Windows out the window and replacing it on
    your PC with some other operating system.
     
    steve, Nov 18, 2003
    #4
  5. Ralph Mason

    AD. Guest

    On Tue, 18 Nov 2003 15:06:24 +1300, Ralph Mason wrote:

    > I am about to start with PostgreSQL and am taking this opportunity to try
    > out Linux as a possible replacement for a few Win2k / SQL Server servers.
    >
    > But the question is - which Linux distribution?
    >
    > I am planning on running
    >
    > PostgreSQL / Postgis
    > Apache
    > Mono
    > Misc other Linux tools.


    I'm a Debian fan myself, but I suspect you would be better off with Redhat
    initially. If you want free, go for Redhat 9.

    I don't know much about Mono or Postgis, so I can't really help you with
    that.

    >
    > I need SMP support (2 processors) and to support as much memory as I can
    > pulg in (generally we have 2gb but that will probably go up to 4gb)
    >
    > We also need to support hardware raid.


    SMP is no problem, neither is 4GB or most hardware RAID drivers (SCSI I
    assume?). Those options may not be enabled in the vanilla kernels that
    come with most distros though. Redhat supply optional large mem and SMP
    kernels, but your best bet would probably be to compile your own kernel
    with all those requirements. Don't worry, it isn't very difficult if you
    have all the kernel dev packages installed.

    >
    > I don't really understand the difference between the distributions other
    > than installers, and perhaps packages / default kernel build options. But
    > if one builds their own kernal and installs their own packages I cant tell
    > what the difference could be then.


    That's pretty much it. But installing all your own packages is a pain for
    maintenance compared to apt-get (Debian) or up2date (Redhat).

    Is this machine going to be connected to the net at all?

    >
    > I am not planning on doing actual development on the Linux machines b/c I
    > am happy with visual studio and can only take so much new at once.


    Would it be worthwhile setting up a smaller simpler test machine (ie
    without the RAID/SMP etc stuff) first to see how Mono does with your VS
    generated code? That could be a potential showstopper.

    It might pay to do a few sacrificial installs while you get used to
    installing and configuring each component. Don't try to do it all at
    once. After all, I wouldn't want to put into production my first ever
    experiment with any new system :)

    Good luck
    Cheers
    Anton
     
    AD., Nov 18, 2003
    #5
  6. In article <e8fub.1481$>,
    "Ralph Mason" <>
    wrote:

    >I don't really understand the difference between the distributions other
    >than installers, and perhaps packages / default kernel build options. But
    >if one builds their own kernal and installs their own packages I cant tell
    >what the difference could be then.


    There are differences in the ways some things are set up. For instance,
    SuSE has its own GUI-based installation tool called YaST2, which
    provides an outline view of available packages and keeps you notified
    about dependencies between them as you choose which ones to install.

    Another distribution I have some experience with is Gentoo. This one
    automatically pulls down all necessary packages from a convenient mirror
    site and installs them, also including all necessary dependencies, using
    just one command. It also has its own alternative to the rc.d daemon
    startup/shutdown system that takes automatic account of dependencies.
    For instance, it can automatically figure out that it needs to enable
    your Ethernet interface _before_ starting up network services like
    Apache and Postfix.
     
    Lawrence D¹Oliveiro, Nov 18, 2003
    #6
  7. Ralph Mason

    Peter Guest

    Ralph Mason wrote:
    > I am about to start with PostgreSQL and am taking this opportunity to try
    > out Linux as a possible replacement for a few Win2k / SQL Server servers.
    > But the question is - which Linux distribution?
    > I am planning on running
    > PostgreSQL / Postgis
    > Apache
    > Mono
    > Misc other Linux tools.


    Any of the main distros will run these ok.

    > I need SMP support (2 processors) and to support as much memory as I can
    > pulg in (generally we have 2gb but that will probably go up to 4gb)
    >
    > We also need to support hardware raid.


    Ditto, the main distros have lots of code in common.

    > I don't really understand the difference between the distributions other
    > than installers, and perhaps packages / default kernel build options. But
    > if one builds their own kernal and installs their own packages I cant tell
    > what the difference could be then.


    You probably don't need to compile your own kernel unless you have
    particular need (or like tuning the kernel for fun).

    I use Mandrake and find it is great for desktop use. Looks like you are
    after more server work, and seems folks find Debian and Gentoo is preferred
    for that although Mandrake is widely used for serious server work, too.
    (Of course, the classic Linux answer to your question is that you should
    install several different distros, and pick the one you like best.)
    Another option is to get along to your local LUG, you might like to pick
    whatever distro is popular there, so folks can help you easier.

    > I am not planning on doing actual development on the Linux machines b/c I
    > am happy with visual studio and can only take so much new at once.


    Yes, Linux is different - expect a steep learning curve. Read heaps and use
    groups.google and mailing lists (like nzlug). The open source community is
    different, lots of very generous and gifted people out there.


    good luck

    Peter
     
    Peter, Nov 18, 2003
    #7
  8. Ralph Mason

    Ralph Mason Guest

    "Jackson" <> wrote in message
    news:vFgub.1565$...
    >
    > "Ralph Mason" <>

    wrote
    > in message news:e8fub.1481$...
    > > I am about to start with PostgreSQL and am taking this opportunity to

    try
    > > out Linux as a possible replacement for a few Win2k / SQL Server

    servers.
    > >
    > > But the question is - which Linux distribution?
    > >

    >
    > Answer = None. Just continue to use windows, Linux is for nerds with

    nothing
    > else to do apart from recompile their kernals to get their jollies off.


    Thanks for the useful advise. I have made my living for the past 14 years
    programing windows at all levels. And yet - here I am considering linux as
    an alternative. This has to mean something.

    And when we will deploy another 5 servers at $20k to MS per server in 2004
    then there is just a little more than getting ones jollies off. Or perhaps
    that's just me.

    Ralph
     
    Ralph Mason, Nov 18, 2003
    #8
  9. Ralph Mason

    Howard Guest

    steve wrote:

    > Unstable (no name....active development be here)


    It's not often that I can correct steve on Linux matters, but this is
    one.:)

    The unstable branch of debian, like all the others, is named after the the
    Pixar 'Toy story' characters. Unstable is called 'Sid', cause he's the boy
    next door that "breaks toys".
     
    Howard, Nov 18, 2003
    #9
  10. Ralph Mason

    Ron McNulty Guest

    The poster is obviously wanting to run a web server with a SQL database
    back-end. Apache and Postgresql fill this need in a very scalable fashion at
    extremely low cost.

    What Windows OS, web server and database do you recommend, and what will it
    cost?

    Don't put me in the Linux only camp. I prefer to develop under Windows, but
    there is a ever growing niche market for Linux servers.

    Regards

    Ron

    "Jackson" <> wrote in message
    news:vFgub.1565$...
    >
    > "Ralph Mason" <>

    wrote
    > in message news:e8fub.1481$...
    > > I am about to start with PostgreSQL and am taking this opportunity to

    try
    > > out Linux as a possible replacement for a few Win2k / SQL Server

    servers.
    > >
    > > But the question is - which Linux distribution?
    > >

    >
    > Answer = None. Just continue to use windows, Linux is for nerds with

    nothing
    > else to do apart from recompile their kernals to get their jollies off.
    >
    >
     
    Ron McNulty, Nov 19, 2003
    #10
  11. Ralph Mason

    Steven H Guest

    In article <7tFub.2808$>,
    says...
    > The poster is obviously wanting to run a web server with a SQL database
    > back-end. Apache and Postgresql fill this need in a very scalable fashion at
    > extremely low cost.
    >
    > What Windows OS, web server and database do you recommend, and what will it
    > cost?


    NT Server Operating System (Windows 2K Server)
    IIS or Apache (one comes with windows the other is open source anyway)
    MySQL or MSSQL - one is open source the other is quite expensive

    you need to balance the expence of the technologies you wish to use
    against how much you are wanting to spend.


    --
    ===================================================
    Steven H
     
    Steven H, Nov 20, 2003
    #11
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