Lori and I run a lot of servers out of the house, and we're replacing one that has served us well but is nearing the end of its useful life. Since this particular server is publicly exposed, it gets Linux by default. That's our policy, and it works for us.

Last night I finally had the server completely working, and went to install the OS. We have licensed copies of most Linux distros, but they're all getting a little aged. It's been years since I researched and installed a free Linux distro, so I had gone surfing and settled on giving Fedora a try. It's close to RedHat, which I have used a lot in my career.

I've never been one to bash OSS just because people are giving their time, and I'm getting it for free. I'm willing to do a little extra work in that regard rather than just bad-mouth it when things go wrong. I hit my limit last night.

The first install failed because Fedora assumes it will be doing the RAIDing of your disks. So even though we had a RAID card in and configured, it RAIDed over top of the logical volume. Needless to say, at boot time it was rather confused. No big deal, I don't mind letting software do the RAID, even though it's less efficient. So I turned off RAID in the hardware and reinstalled.

Upon reboot after the reinstall, the system was spewing error messages that effectively locked me out of the console on the machine. Every local console was receiving messages at the rate of several a second, interfering with typing any commands.

I managed to get in via SSH from another machine, and then when I was certain I could do something, I went out and searched the web for my message. Now I downloaded this distro last week, and I discovered that this particular bug has been patched since May. So why is the official Fedora site still distributing it with the error?

Anyway, I updated the system, a process that takes about three times as long as the install, and rebooted. At this point, it was early morning and I had to work today. When the reboot came up, the routing tables were wiped. I tried to update them, but route wouldn't accept the commands.

At this point, I gave up in disgust and went to bed. I'm done with Fedora, the days that I was willing to invest weeks in making a distro run are gone. I have other things to do.

So, here's the deal. I need a new server-quality distro. I figure we've built a community 20,000 strong out here, you all can help me pick one.

My requirements are

(1) easy to install - Assume I'm capable of tweaking my kernel and building from sources (I have), and that I have more important things to do with my time (I do).

(2) Server quality - When all is said and done, this will be an app server. It needs to support LAMP and more - including SAMBA. It will sit behind a BIG-IP, but that shouldn't matter at all. Even if the X stuff is in the distro, I won't install it - this is a server.

Remember, no Windows suggestions - I'm all about "right tool for the job". For this job, Windows isn't it (though we do use it for some things).

So drop a comment - what do you think I should be using? I've installed about all of them but Ubuntu, and I've helped my daughter install Ubuntu, so I've toyed with all of them at least a little bit. If no one drops a suggestion, I'll find one myself, just thought this would be a fun discussion to have.

Until you comment,

Don.

Reading: Nothing, see above.

Imbibing: Coffee, Vault, and RedBull (see above)