Best Distro for File Server/Backup Server?

I bought a cheap compaq (SR1710NX) for less then $200 recently, and I plan on upgrading it with RAM and a couple of HD's in a RAID 5 array... I was planning on using WinXP or Win2003 but I'd like to give Linux a whirl...

I have only poked around in Linux with a few Live Distros, but now I am looking for a solid solution to turn my Sub-$200 PC into a solid File Server, that I will mostly be using to backup other PC's onto.

Whats the Best Distro to accomplish this?
Is there a specific Linux App I will need to use to backup networked Windows machines?

Thanks for the help,
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          Experts-exchange was alsmost flooded recently with the similar questions  ( what's the best distro for xyz  task?) and you can be sure you will not see unison answers  since it all depends  on experience different people have with different Linux distributions  rather than having exact   comparable data ( benchmarks, side-by-side comparisons etc.)
        From my own experience  it would be most trusted distribution , thorougly tested and proved to be really "industrial strenght" standard  even though  just about any FTP server installed on any Linux distro will do the job for you. In other words you can run FTP  server  on SuSE, Ununtu,
( sorry I accidentally submited only partial answer)
...In other words you can run FTP  server  on any version Xandros, SuSE, Ubuntu, Mandrake , Slackware etc in their  either GUI or text mode. You can choose from commercial or from free versions too.
  My choice would be CentOS - Read Hat Enterprise server  clone . With CentOS you get most recent and most stable, well documented standard compliant free  Linux distribution.
  You can also try Fedora Core 5 , community version Red Hat Linux, still in testing stage of development and not always suitable for production environment and mission critical operations ( system backups etc.)  and

good luck


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any distro will perfectly serve this task. If you have tested ubuntu as liveCD, use ubuntu, if that was Knoppix, use knoppix. Use the distro you were most comfortable with. If you don't want to use ftp like nedvis suggests, just add samba to your distro (most include samba anyway). The main difference you might gete is that some distro's use their own management tools to configure things. Some of these tools will probably make you prefer one distro over the other...
Personally I'd go for a RHEL clone as well - Redhat go to a lot of trouble to confirm stability, and compatability of the various modules within their distribution. Centr)S, WhiteBox, LEL are all excellent distros. Have a look here for details:

You can even register for a temporary account with Redhat:

and download the RHEL isos to use. You will not get support from Redhat if you do not 'buy' support for the product, but you are allowed to use RHEL without purchasing a support contract. Personally, I'd go for CentrOS or LEL due to the fact that the upgrade process is already set up for yum, whereas if you decided  to go down the RHEL route, you'd have to mess around a little to set that up instead of the Redhat 'up2date' service which you'd have to buy a subscription for.

Another thought - RHEL 4 is a bit close to the cutting edge...particularly the SEL (security enhanced linux) functionality which I recommend that you either disable, or perhaps try the RHEL 3 clones. The majority of my servers run on WhiteBox Linux and their performance is rock solid!

Centr0S, LEL both have a RHEL 3 clone if you wish to go with that. Bear in mind that RHEL 3 has a 5 year support life, so there is another 3 years on it yet with patches etc. Also with RHEL 4.0 for some strange reason, Redhat dropped a number of the drivers from the kernel, including the MegaRAID one - Don't know why, but they did. If your RAID card requires one of these then you will not get it to work without a kernel rebuild. Therefore, I recommend that your best bet is going to be the RHEL 3.0 clones.

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Linux Distributions

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