Linux Distributions (was Re: [thelist] Getting Started With Linux)

Daniel J. Cody djc at
Sun Jan 14 16:06:31 CST 2001

Personally, I tend to use redhat on my web and DB servers, because most 
application servers(like CF) and DB's(like Oracle) tend to be written 
for redhat first, caldera, suse, etc second..

Compiling out all the crap that you don't need and bringing the GNU 
packages up to date for security issues is about as far as I'll go with 
the production boxes..

For development machines, and our company file servers I *love* using 
the modifyied redhat kernels from SGI that have XFS. XFS is a super high 
performance journaling filesystem that used to be used in Irix(SGI's 
proprietary Unix flavor). Its a 2.4 kernel with the XFS code compiled 
in, on top of a somewhat normal redhat stucture.

XFS rules because it is much much faster than the ext2 FS, it also 
allows sub second filesystem recoveries after a crash or power 
failure(no waiting 5 minutes for FSCK on a 40GB disk), its a 64 bit FS 
which millions of files per directory and no 2Gb file size limit, and 
its really really fast :) get back on track..

I usually use freeBSD for my firewalls, proxy servers, NAT, etc.. 
ALthough I'll be checking out the re-written TCP/IP stack in the 2.4 
linux kernel to see if its comparable to freebsd

turbolinux is nice for high performance machines, and has good tools for 
clustering and supercomputers(i haven't used it but i suspect the 'high 
performance kernels' that they talk about is nothing more than a 
recompiled kernel and apps..)

Mandrake is really smurfy for linux newbies..

debian for the DNS servers typcially, or a totally hacked redhat system.

for high traffic ftp servers, the XFS stufff(or your favorite journaling 
filesystem) is good on any distro.

typically redhat or debian for mail servers too..

personally, I just think that the more you get into linux and the more 
you modify it yourself, the more you can see the differences between all 
the major distro's aren't that big.


David Wagner wrote:

> I'm starting to get the feeling that different Linux distributions often
> have very different but equally useful applications -- RedHat as an
> all-around well-supported system, Corel for desktops, Debian for security
> (though FreeBSD or OpenBSD fill this niche much better), Caldera for
> performance, etc.
> I'd be curious to hear the opinions of others on various Linux
> distributions, especially in web environments (including desktop systems,
> name servers, mail servers, etc.). What do people use, and how do you use
> what you've got?

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