Which Free Linux For My New Server?

Hello everyone,

Here is the deal:

We are currently running Madriva Linux 10 on a Dell Power Edge server(Dual Xeon 2GHZ, 2GB RAM, RAID 5, etc.).  There is only 1 application we run from this box, and that is a proprietary system built in DBC.  All my users access this application via  SSH.  We also use SAMBA for the occasional file transfer, and there is an ODBC server running to access the flat file database the DBC system uses.

Question.  We are going to purchase some new server hardware, not because of bad performance of current, but because we need another server in the mix here in general, so this one is getting upgraded because I want to.  What is the best Linux Distro to look at for this type of application?  I am looking for the free ones now.  Should I stick with Mandriva, try Fedora again, Free BSD?  The new server will be a Dell Power Edge with dual Quad cores, 4GB RAM, RAID5, etc.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.  Please no Linux wars for your die hard Linux distro guys.

Thanks!

Rob
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PC_RobAsked:
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rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
All distro's I know are suitable. The main difference is in the look and feel and the config tools. So it ends up with what you are most comfortable with. It is best to try...

At the moment I prefer debian based distro's, because of the many apps that have been built for debian. Ubuntu, Knoppix, Debian itself comes to mind (my current favorite being ubuntu).

http://www.ubuntu.com/

CentOS is another good one, being a clone of the redhat Enterprise versions they are supported by many software vendors.

http://centos.org

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mjutrasConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I had bad experience with FreeBSD so now I run my servers on Debian (with the latest Linux kernel installed)

For my desktop use I got a debian machine at work and Kubuntu at home!

Debian based distro are surely the ones with less troubles!
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abisenConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I second that opinion, I stick to debian/CentOS for servers and Ubuntu for desktop. At times you need to have RHEL/SuSE at an enterprise level when Debian is not supported. If that were not the case the answer would be Debian/Ubuntu.

 
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nedvisConnect With a Mentor Commented:
StartCom Enterprise Linux, which is based on the Red Hat Advanced Server source code, is the ultimate solution for middle-size servers to large data centers. The current version supports the largest commodity-architecture servers with up to 16 CPUs and 64GB (on x86 systems) of main memory, Global File System - for highly scalable, high performance data sharing in multi-system configurations. Included in this distribution is a comprehensive collection of open source server applications like mail, file (SMB/NFS), DNS, web, FTP, and a complete desktop environment.
http://linux.startcom.org/
I agree CentOS would be fine server OS  too.
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PC_RobAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone.  I appreciate your responses.  No comments on Mandriva or Fedora huh?  Wierd.

I will leave the post open for the day for some additional opinions, and then I will split the points with everyone who answered.

Thanks,

Rob
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rindiCommented:
I don't like mandriva too much. As far as I know you more or less have to buy it, and the package manager isn't as good as what debian offers. Also I haven't really used it since the name change from mandrake to mandriva.

Fedora and Redhat (CentOS) is more or less the same, except that there can be some not yet thoroughly tested elements in it, but because they are more or less the same I didn't think it necessary to go into details there.
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PC_RobAuthor Commented:
Mandriva is Free.  We have been using it since the name change, and it has been very stable for us.

Just to pass along the information...

Thanks,

Rob
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rindiCommented:
OK, am downloading it now to take a look...
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Cyclops3590Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Mandriva is "Free".  There are different levels of Mandriva.  There is the free version that is somewhat limited (read: no proprietary stuff or mass extras).  There is the PowerPack as well as the PowerPack+ that you pay for.  I have been using Mandrake/Mandriva since version 8 and am still using it with 2007.  I like it.  However I dislike the package manager.  I installed CentOS the other day and couldn't believe the ease of use of the package manager via the command line.

Overall I still like Mandriva and know it would fit your needs.  However I would setup a test server with CentOS.   I really don't like what they did to the gui package manager and don't see the command line version to robust as of yet. (maybe it is and I just don't know it, but the urpmi isn't as good as others like yum or apt-get from what I've seen so far)

I need to do a little more testing, but so far I believe I will be dumping Mandriva for CentOS on my next servers.
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PC_RobAuthor Commented:
Thanks Cyclops, that is good information since you have tried both.

Rob
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Cyclops3590Commented:
keep in mind for everything else, IMHO Mandriva is just as good as any other free ones out there. One trade off to research too (which I haven't gotten to yet with CentOS) is how uptodate the distro keeps its rpm/deb files.  Mandriva was usually pretty good about getting the latest out in a decent time frame.  Can't think of any particular off hand, but know I've run into some that put extra emphasis on stability so take quite a bit longer to release updates.
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rindiCommented:
Debian is usually slow in releasing updates, but you get different flavors of it, stable (conservative), unstable and testing, and also the ubuntu etc versions use uptodate versions. So it is up to you to decide...
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