OT: need some advice as to distro

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OT: need some advice as to distro

John Allen
Sorry to bring this here, but we are having trouble setting up a
Postfix/dovecot mail system.

Background:
We are a bunch of retirees, so cost is a factor in any decision. We all
have IT experience, some of going back decades, however the world of
Linux and its software is new to us all. We used the cook book approach
to setting up our first mail system. It uses Postfix/Dovecot on top of
Fedora 8 and so far it works like a charm. While the cook-book approach
got up and running fairly easily I think we missed out on the learning
side of things.

However, there is a growing concern about the basic OS slipping too far
behind on important changes, the same goes for some of the packages we
are planning on using, so we have started looking at alternatives.

Fedora - a little too dynamic for use as a server. This is to be
expected as it is a development system which I don't think is aimed at a
production like environment, plus the latest release seems very desktop
oriented.
Centos 5.4 - while it looks like a good choice, there has been some
political infighting going on recently which makes us a little nervous
about its future. In addition we have found that a number of the core
packages we wish to use are out of date (postfix, dovecot, amavisd-new
among them).
Ubuntu 9.10 Server edition - I am not sure what to say here. While at
first glance it seems to be an ideal solution a, free server
distribution with a Canonical backing it up. However, the setup of some
packages seems to us "odd", overly complicated and arbitrary.
openSUSE - not tied, but some concerns over the Novel /Microsoft deal.

Thanks in advance
John A

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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Terry Carmen
> Centos 5.4 - while it looks like a good choice, there has been some
> political infighting going on recently which makes us a little nervous
> about its future. In addition we have found that a number of the core
> packages we wish to use are out of date (postfix, dovecot, amavisd-new
> among them).

Centos is not likely to vanish, since it's just a re-branded version of Redhat
Enterprise Linux.

Since you already know Fedora, I'd suggest doing a base Centos install (no
apps), then using the "cheat sheet" here:
http://wiki.centos.org/HowTos/Amavisd.

It sets up an additional repository that uses much more up-to-date apps than
are in the Centos repository.

Another option would be to install from source, which is actually not
difficult at all, and is very similar to what you probably did 20 years ago,
only easier. (the build scripts are much more polished than in years past).

Terry


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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Terry Inzauro
In reply to this post by John Allen
John wrote:

> Sorry to bring this here, but we are having trouble setting up a
> Postfix/dovecot mail system.
>
> Background:
> We are a bunch of retirees, so cost is a factor in any decision. We all
> have IT experience, some of going back decades, however the world of
> Linux and its software is new to us all. We used the cook book approach
> to setting up our first mail system. It uses Postfix/Dovecot on top of
> Fedora 8 and so far it works like a charm. While the cook-book approach
> got up and running fairly easily I think we missed out on the learning
> side of things.
>
> However, there is a growing concern about the basic OS slipping too far
> behind on important changes, the same goes for some of the packages we
> are planning on using, so we have started looking at alternatives.
>
> Fedora - a little too dynamic for use as a server. This is to be
> expected as it is a development system which I don't think is aimed at a
> production like environment, plus the latest release seems very desktop
> oriented.
> Centos 5.4 - while it looks like a good choice, there has been some
> political infighting going on recently which makes us a little nervous
> about its future. In addition we have found that a number of the core
> packages we wish to use are out of date (postfix, dovecot, amavisd-new
> among them).
> Ubuntu 9.10 Server edition - I am not sure what to say here. While at
> first glance it seems to be an ideal solution a, free server
> distribution with a Canonical backing it up. However, the setup of some
> packages seems to us "odd", overly complicated and arbitrary.
> openSUSE - not tied, but some concerns over the Novel /Microsoft deal.
>
> Thanks in advance
> John A
>



Personally, Debian Stable (currently Lenny) is my Linux of choice for production system. Package management via apt is second
to none and everything is very well documented with a willing and able community for support.


Why restate whats already written:
http://www.debian.org/intro/why_debian


When it comes down to it, the best distro is the one "you" know how to use.  I would start with a distro that you are most
comfortable with and know how to use the best.


Good luck and kind regards,


_Terry








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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

John Allen
Terry L. Inzauro wrote:

> John wrote:
>  
>> Sorry to bring this here, but we are having trouble setting up a
>> Postfix/dovecot mail system.
>>
>> Background:
>> We are a bunch of retirees, so cost is a factor in any decision. We all
>> have IT experience, some of going back decades, however the world of
>> Linux and its software is new to us all. We used the cook book approach
>> to setting up our first mail system. It uses Postfix/Dovecot on top of
>> Fedora 8 and so far it works like a charm. While the cook-book approach
>> got up and running fairly easily I think we missed out on the learning
>> side of things.
>>
>> However, there is a growing concern about the basic OS slipping too far
>> behind on important changes, the same goes for some of the packages we
>> are planning on using, so we have started looking at alternatives.
>>
>> Fedora - a little too dynamic for use as a server. This is to be
>> expected as it is a development system which I don't think is aimed at a
>> production like environment, plus the latest release seems very desktop
>> oriented.
>> Centos 5.4 - while it looks like a good choice, there has been some
>> political infighting going on recently which makes us a little nervous
>> about its future. In addition we have found that a number of the core
>> packages we wish to use are out of date (postfix, dovecot, amavisd-new
>> among them).
>> Ubuntu 9.10 Server edition - I am not sure what to say here. While at
>> first glance it seems to be an ideal solution a, free server
>> distribution with a Canonical backing it up. However, the setup of some
>> packages seems to us "odd", overly complicated and arbitrary.
>> openSUSE - not tied, but some concerns over the Novel /Microsoft deal.
>>
>> Thanks in advance
>> John A
>>
>>    
>
>
>
> Personally, Debian Stable (currently Lenny) is my Linux of choice for production system. Package management via apt is second
> to none and everything is very well documented with a willing and able community for support.
>
>
> Why restate whats already written:
> http://www.debian.org/intro/why_debian
>
>
> When it comes down to it, the best distro is the one "you" know how to use.  I would start with a distro that you are most
> comfortable with and know how to use the best.
>
>
> Good luck and kind regards,
>
>
> _Terry
>
>
>
>
>  
I took a quick look at Debian, but as it was very similar to Ubuntu
(which I know is based on Debian) it looked to have the same problems
from our perspective. An example, from the Postfix setup was the
replacement of the LMTP process binary with a symlink to the SMTP
binary. This may not be a real problem, perhaps the two binaries are the
same, and Debian/Ubuntu are being smart, but as I could not find a
rational for the change I have to wonder if this may be a problem in the
future.  Other examples are the strange reconfiguration of the Amavisd
config files, changes to SASL setup, all make us a little nervous.

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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

/dev/rob0
On Tue, Dec 01, 2009 at 10:51:31AM -0500, John wrote:
> Terry L. Inzauro wrote:
> > When it comes down to it, the best distro is the one "you" know
> > how to use.  I would start with a distro that you are most
> > comfortable with and know how to use the best.

+1 ... I started on Slackware and have not yet seen a need to change.
I build Postfix from source, and regularly "make upgrade" to see what
Wietse has been up to. He never disappoints me, it always works.

> I took a quick look at Debian, but as it was very similar to Ubuntu
> (which I know is based on Debian) it looked to have the same problems
> from our perspective. An example, from the Postfix setup was the
> replacement of the LMTP process binary with a symlink to the SMTP
> binary. This may not be a real problem, perhaps the two binaries are the

Postfix rolled lmtp(8) into smtp(8) some years ago, but mine is a
hard link, not a symlink. I don't think there's any reason a symlink
would not work, but I don't see the benefit. Wastes an inode?

> same, and Debian/Ubuntu are being smart, but as I could not find a
> rational for the change I have to wonder if this may be a problem in the
> future.  Other examples are the strange reconfiguration of the Amavisd
> config files, changes to SASL setup, all make us a little nervous.

I agree, IMO Debian introduces too many bugs with their packaging
decisions. I won't elaborate here because the whole thing was off
topic to begin with, and Debian fans would try to counter. Let's say
that I have lost much of the respect I had for Debian, and leave it
at that. The bottom line is what Terry said, above.
--
    Offlist mail to this address is discarded unless
    "/dev/rob0" or "not-spam" is in Subject: header
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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Stan Hoeppner
In reply to this post by John Allen
John put forth on 12/1/2009 9:51 AM:

> I took a quick look at Debian, but as it was very similar to Ubuntu
> (which I know is based on Debian) it looked to have the same problems
> from our perspective. An example, from the Postfix setup was the
> replacement of the LMTP process binary with a symlink to the SMTP
> binary. This may not be a real problem, perhaps the two binaries are the
> same, and Debian/Ubuntu are being smart, but as I could not find a
> rational for the change I have to wonder if this may be a problem in the
> future.  Other examples are the strange reconfiguration of the Amavisd
> config files, changes to SASL setup, all make us a little nervous.

Did you bother to read the docs, which would likely explain those
changes?  Debian has some fantastic online documentation--a distro kinda
has to, when it fully supports 11 production CPU architectures, with 5
more archs being readied in the wings:

http://www.debian.org/ports/

Oh, not to mention two production ports of Debian userland atop two *BSD
kernels.

I've been using Debian as a headless server OS since 2000--every install
done via boot floppies and net install from the web mirrors, never a CD
or DVD.  I used/supported SLED10 and SLES9/10 (SLES only as VMware ESX
guests) for a year.  For a plethora of reasons, I still prefer Debian
over any Linux distro when it comes to server use.  Apt/aptitude is the
most robust, flexible, and easiest to use package management tool ever
developed.  There are a gazillion pre-compiled stable packages
available.  They lag the bleeding edge package revisions, but they're
rock solid.

If you need/want a newer kernel than shipped with stable, you can easily
download the source from kernel.org, compile and install it, the Debian
way, very easily.  In fact, I've always compiled my own Debian kernels,
either from Deb source or kernel.org source.  I'm currently running
kernel.org 2.6.31.1 under Lenny/Debian 5.0.3, Debian stable uses 2.6.26.
 You can also get some newer stable packages via backports if need be.

--
Stan
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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

David Koski
In reply to this post by Terry Inzauro
On Tuesday 01 December 2009, Terry L. Inzauro wrote:

<snip>

> Personally, Debian Stable (currently Lenny) is my Linux of choice for
> production system. Package management via apt is second to none and
> everything is very well documented with a willing and able community for
> support.
>
>
> Why restate whats already written:
> http://www.debian.org/intro/why_debian
>
>
> When it comes down to it, the best distro is the one "you" know how to use.
>  I would start with a distro that you are most comfortable with and know
> how to use the best.

After using RPM based distros for years I didn't know it could get better.  
That is until I tried Debian.  I have installed and still maintain tens of
servers and now I cringe when I have to work with RPM based distros.  It just
takes too much time.  I thought Ubuntu LTS would be better but I have had
more problems with it then Debian.  For example, doing a distribution upgrade
has rendered a system unbootable and made me boot from CD to fix it.  I have
never had a problem upgrading Debian.  I have even upgraded several remotely
without a problem.  Try upgrading RH 3 to 4 to 5 remotely or otherwise.  I
don't know anyone who has worked with both Debian and RPM based distros
enough to get good at them and chose to run RH or Centos.

The worst thing about Debian is it comes default with Exim so I have to always
do this:

# apt-get --purge install postfix

And that's it!

Regards,
David Koski
[hidden email]
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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Stan Hoeppner
David Koski put forth on 12/1/2009 10:45 PM:

> For example, doing a distribution upgrade
> has rendered a system unbootable and made me boot from CD to fix it.  I have
> never had a problem upgrading Debian.  I have even upgraded several remotely
> without a problem.  Try upgrading RH 3 to 4 to 5 remotely or otherwise.  I
> don't know anyone who has worked with both Debian and RPM based distros
> enough to get good at them and chose to run RH or Centos.

I've in-place upgraded a couple of systems over the years from Woody all
the way to Lenny (3 distribution upgrades) without any serious issues,
including compiling and installing new custom kernels along the way (I
do _only_ custom kernels).  Sticking with LILO instead of trying to
replace it with grub probably avoided many potential problems.  Sticking
with non initrd custom kernels allows me to keep using LILO.  I hope I
can use LILO forever.  Probably wishful thinking. :)

BTW, don't you really mean?

# apt-get purge exim
# apt-get install postfix

;)

--
Stan

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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

David Koski
On Tuesday 01 December 2009, Stan Hoeppner wrote:
> BTW, don't you really mean?
>
> # apt-get purge exim
> # apt-get install postfix

Last I tried I couldn't remove the MTA without replacement.  The
onliner "apt-get --purge install postfix" installs postfix and purges exim
without complaining about not having an MTA.

Regards,
David

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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Eero Volotinen-2
Quoting David Koski <[hidden email]>:

> On Tuesday 01 December 2009, Stan Hoeppner wrote:
>> BTW, don't you really mean?
>>
>> # apt-get purge exim
>> # apt-get install postfix
>
> Last I tried I couldn't remove the MTA without replacement.  The
> onliner "apt-get --purge install postfix" installs postfix and purges exim
> without complaining about not having an MTA.

Maybe it's now time to stop this offtopic message thread.

--
Eero

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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Seth Mattinen
In reply to this post by David Koski
David Koski wrote:

> On Tuesday 01 December 2009, Stan Hoeppner wrote:
>> BTW, don't you really mean?
>>
>> # apt-get purge exim
>> # apt-get install postfix
>
> Last I tried I couldn't remove the MTA without replacement.  The
> onliner "apt-get --purge install postfix" installs postfix and purges exim
> without complaining about not having an MTA.
>

Correct. You have to let apt remove exim during the process of
installing postfix or it'll fail because some kind of MTA is mandatory.
First thing I do with any Debian install as well.

~Seth
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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

d.hill
In reply to this post by Eero Volotinen-2
Quoting Eero Volotinen <[hidden email]>:

> Quoting David Koski <[hidden email]>:
>
>> On Tuesday 01 December 2009, Stan Hoeppner wrote:
>>> BTW, don't you really mean?
>>>
>>> # apt-get purge exim
>>> # apt-get install postfix
>>
>> Last I tried I couldn't remove the MTA without replacement. The
>> onliner "apt-get --purge install postfix" installs postfix and purges exim
>> without complaining about not having an MTA.
>
> Maybe it's now time to stop this offtopic message thread.

True. This thread now sees /dev/null.