Help with figuring out how to set up linux on 3 old servers for ftp

Hi There,

Need suggestions on what type of linux os to use for this.  I have never explored the linux world and am capable of doing the work to set everything up, but dont have any experience yet.

I have three decent Dell servers that need to be wiped, and I would like to be able to have point A,B,C to be able to upload and download files each other instead of using email.  

Please offer suggetions of which Linux os to use and any other applications that I would need to accomplish this.  Secure FTP is preffered.  If you can, please link to Step-by-step if anything like that exists.

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Why is secure ftp preferred?

My suggestion is that you try ssh/scp

scp is secure copy and is basically a secure version of rsync  but it uses the standard ssh protocols instead of an additional ftp server.

as far as distro goes, I really like centos for servers, they are very close to redhat enterprise, and I find the networking support/structure/layout to be fantastic.

Plus the centos minimal install really is minimal, very nice for a server.

Debian is a GREAT server, rock solid, and all, but I just dont happen to like some of the esoteric details of debian based distros on a server.

The best linux advice I can give you is make sure you have somebody you can bug for help, and then use what they use so the help they give makes sense.

Once you learn your way around linux then you can get into distro choice.
I would recommend gentoo. The installation is a bit of a steep learning curve, but it's totally worth it. You automatically learn quite alot of LInux commands and the basics about the system. Also it is a very fast OS so it's ideal for older hardware.

Step-by-step installation docs are located here:

Here are the steps for SFTP:

The wiki is top notch. Recommended !

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arnadawg is right about gentoo, especially about the steep learning curve.

If you really are new to linux, I wouldnt recommend it except as a learning tool, you sure will learn alot.

if the hardware is really old, you could try DSL  (damn small linux) guaranteed to work on older hardware and the learning curve is not so steep.

check out dsl at

centos is at

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Duncan RoeSoftware DeveloperCommented:
You can learn quite a lot installing Slackware, which also works well with old hardware. It's possible to tailor it to a very cut-down system - handy if disk space is limited (I got it down to 64MB for a work project which had only a flash drive)
datonceAuthor Commented:
Arndawg - Thank you for the great advice.  Competed 3/4 of the gentoo install.  This os seems very nice.  I appreciate the gentoo handbook at the site and things are moving along very well.  

Although it is alot of information, I have really learned about the Linux enviroment and I am enjoying the learning curve.  Expect to have the first box running sometime this morning and will move to the other two over the next two days.  

Thanks very much!  Have a good one!

datonceAuthor Commented:
Wonderful advice.  the gentoo install if working great!  Thanks very much
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