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packages we wish to use are out of date (postfix, dovecot, amavisd-new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

Eero Volotinen-2

> 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 packages we wish to use are out of date (postfix, dovecot, amavisd-new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 5.x is my selection. You can also use packages from epel and
dag's rpm repositories.

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

Eero Volotinen-2
Eero Volotinen wrote:
>
>> 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 5.x is my selection. You can also use packages from epel and
> dag's rpm repositories.

On my system I recompiled dovecot from rpms, since I also wanted to use
sieve on mailserver. (this requires a bit hacks, but works fine)

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

Thomas Harold-3
In reply to this post by John Allen
On 12/1/2009 9:09 AM, John wrote:
> 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.

FC supposedly changes too much.  I might use it on a test box, but never
as anything close to a production server.  But hell, our first Linux
servers were Gentoo based and we ran with them for the first two years
of testing the waters.  (Prior to that we were a Novell NetWare /
Windows Server / Solaris shop.  Now we're down to just Linux & Windows.)

> 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).

There are two ways to use CentOS/RHEL.  One is to stick only with the
binary-compatible RPMs (i.e. the [base] & [updates] repositories).  In
which case you're only going to get security fixes that Red Hat has
backported into the versions that were there at release.  Since RHEL 5
is getting a bit long in the tooth, that often means older versions of
packages that are missing newer features.

However, you can also choose to pull selective packages from other
repositories like ATRPMs or RPMForge.  At that point, you're no longer
binary compatible with RHEL 5, but for the most part it doesn't matter.
  This is what most shops end up doing, they use as much as possible
from the base/update repositories and only pull in specific packages
from the 3rd party repo's.

Personally, we chose CentOS for a bunch of reasons:

- it closely tracks RHEL
- books/training on RHEL 5 generally apply to CentOS 5
- migrating from CentOS 5 to RHEL 5 is a logical progression
- if I have to bring in a consultant, it's easy to find those who are
familiar with RHEL
- I consider RHEL to be the gold standard of server-side Linux

We're currently running CentOS 5 w/ postfix, dovecot, clamav-milter,
amavisd-new, spf policy daemon, spamassassin and squirrelmail.

I'm not overly concerned with the infighting that took place over the
summer.  It was worrying at the time, but seems to have been properly
resolved in the following months.  And even if CentOS did go belly-up,
we'd simply take our knowledge and migrate fully to RHEL.  Which, in
terms of worst-case scenarios is not all that bad.

> 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.

Ubuntu LTS would probably be my 2nd choice, tied with openSUSE.  I
strongly considered SUSE back when I was debating what to replace Gentoo
with.  There's also Debian and a handful of others.

> openSUSE - not tied, but some concerns over the Novel /Microsoft deal.

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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

John Peach-2
In reply to this post by Eero Volotinen-2
On Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:30:36 +0200
Eero Volotinen <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> > 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 5.x is my selection. You can also use packages from epel and
> dag's rpm repositories.

It suffers from Red Hat's liking for sendmail. The postfix package is
aeons old. I would go with Ubuntu (probably 9.04 which is a long-term
support version).


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

Brian Mathis-2
On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 9:39 AM, John Peach <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:30:36 +0200
> Eero Volotinen <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> > 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 5.x is my selection. You can also use packages from epel and
>> dag's rpm repositories.
>
> It suffers from Red Hat's liking for sendmail. The postfix package is
> aeons old. I would go with Ubuntu (probably 9.04 which is a long-term
> support version).
>
> --
> John
>

The age of a package only matters if you absolutely need a feature
that's included in the newer version.  All of the security fix are
backported.  If you do really need the newer versions, you can get
RPMs from third party repositories.
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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Brian Evans - Postfix List
In reply to this post by John Allen
On 12/1/2009 9:09 AM, 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.
>  

<soapbox>
I personally use Gentoo for all my Linux needs.
There are several reasons for this.
1. It forces you to learn Linux.  The handbook gives a great
walk-through of how to set it up.
2. It is multi-platform; x86(_64), sparc(64), ppc(64), alpha, etc.
3. It is a build from source distro, but you don't need to know how.
    The Portage system takes care of individual packages and dependencies.
    You can tune and rebuild the entire system, if desired.
4. The base install is minimal; compile tools, python, perl and common
commands.
    You get what you need, nothing more.
5. There is a security team in place to monitor vulnerabilities.
6. There is no "OS upgrade".  Only package updates.
    It will happily work forever updating single packages when *you* want.
    There is still an easy way to update everything as well.
7. There are stable, testing and experimental types of packages.  All of
which are easily accessible.
8. Tracking down dependencies is a non-issue.
</soapbox>

I know other alternatives, such as FreeBSD, would also work well.
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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Charles Marcus
On 12/1/2009 10:08 AM, Brian Evans - Postfix List wrote:
> <soapbox>
> I personally use Gentoo for all my Linux needs.

I wasn't going to say anything, but I'll add a 'me too' here.

I've been using Gentoo only for our in house servers since 2005. They've
all been through 2 major GCC version updates, and I've honestly never
had a serious problem.

A rolling release distro like Gentoo is really easy to keep completely
up to date, and I never have to worry about being forced to use
old/outdated software.

> There are several reasons for this.
> 1. It forces you to learn Linux.  The handbook gives a great
> walk-through of how to set it up.
> 2. It is multi-platform; x86(_64), sparc(64), ppc(64), alpha, etc.
> 3. It is a build from source distro, but you don't need to know how.
>     The Portage system takes care of individual packages and dependencies.
>     You can tune and rebuild the entire system, if desired.
> 4. The base install is minimal; compile tools, python, perl and common
> commands.
>     You get what you need, nothing more.
> 5. There is a security team in place to monitor vulnerabilities.
> 6. There is no "OS upgrade".  Only package updates.
>     It will happily work forever updating single packages when *you* want.
>     There is still an easy way to update everything as well.
> 7. There are stable, testing and experimental types of packages.  All of
> which are easily accessible.
> 8. Tracking down dependencies is a non-issue.
> </soapbox>
>
> I know other alternatives, such as FreeBSD, would also work well.
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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Eero Volotinen-2
Charles Marcus wrote:
> On 12/1/2009 10:08 AM, Brian Evans - Postfix List wrote:
>> <soapbox>
>> I personally use Gentoo for all my Linux needs.
>
> I wasn't going to say anything, but I'll add a 'me too' here.

Are you really using lot of servers (like 100 pieces) with gentoo on
production environment?

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

Charles Marcus
On 12/1/2009, Eero Volotinen ([hidden email]) wrote:
> Are you really using lot of servers (like 100 pieces) with gentoo on
> production environment?

No, only 3 - what made you think 'our in-house servers' meant hundreds?

I do know a few people who manage them in the hundreds with some custom
scripting. But with the right skill set, someone could do the same with
pretty much any distro they wanted to use - Gentoo just makes lots of
things a whole lot easier... ;)
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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Mark Blackman-4
In reply to this post by John Allen
On 01/12/2009 14:09, 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.

Try FreeBSD. http://www.freebsd.org/where.html

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

Joe-274
In reply to this post by John Peach-2
John Peach wrote:

> On Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:30:36 +0200
> Eero Volotinen <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>  
>>> 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 5.x is my selection. You can also use packages from epel and
>> dag's rpm repositories.
>>    
>
> It suffers from Red Hat's liking for sendmail. The postfix package is
> aeons old. I would go with Ubuntu (probably 9.04 which is a long-term
> support version).
>  

Since we're talking linux distros

I've used redhat, fedora, suse/sles, slackware and others and while they
all have their strong points I prefer debian or ubuntu LTS for server
deployments if at all possible. Package management is a snap, everything
just works.

BTW ubuntu 8.04 is the most recent LTS release, 10.04 next spring will
be the next.

Joe

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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Scott Kitterman-4
In reply to this post by John Peach-2
On Tue, 01 Dec 2009 09:39:06 -0500 John Peach <[hidden email]> wrote:

>On Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:30:36 +0200
>Eero Volotinen <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>>
>> > 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 5.x is my selection. You can also use packages from epel and
>> dag's rpm repositories.
>
>It suffers from Red Hat's liking for sendmail. The postfix package is
>aeons old. I would go with Ubuntu (probably 9.04 which is a long-term
>support version).

It's actually 8.04 that's LTS.  The next release (10.04) will be also LTS
(5 years).

I am in favor of Ubuntu Server for Postfix related uses. Postfix is the
standard MTA, so it's use is well documented, pretty much everything you
might want to add on to Postfix is packaged so there's no need to hunt down
external repositories, and it benifits both from Debian's strong package
management system and well maintained Postfix package.

Scott K
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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Stan Hoeppner
Scott Kitterman put forth on 12/1/2009 12:22 PM:

> I am in favor of Ubuntu Server for Postfix related uses. Postfix is the
> standard MTA, so it's use is well documented, pretty much everything you
> might want to add on to Postfix is packaged so there's no need to hunt down
> external repositories, and it benifits both from Debian's strong package
> management system and well maintained Postfix package.

Half your argument is based on Debian features.  Why not just use Debian
then, instead of Ubuntu?  Especially for a headless server?  I've been a
Debian (non-GUI) user for almost 10 years.  I've never touched Ubuntu,
or any other distro.  Debian has always come through for my server
needs, so I've never considered anything else.  Convince me why I should
switch my Postfix server environment from Debian to Ubuntu.  I'm curious
to see how compelling your argument is.

--
Stan

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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Joe-274
Stan Hoeppner wrote:
> Half your argument is based on Debian features.  
Which are also, therefore, ubuntu features.

> Why not just use Debian
> then, instead of Ubuntu?  
Because enterprise support is available for ubuntu, and also, if someone
is familiar with ubuntu desktop already it makes sense for them to
deploy ubuntu server if servers are needed.

> Especially for a headless server?  

What difference does it make if the server is headless? How would that
be an advantage for debian?

> I've been a
> Debian (non-GUI) user for almost 10 years.  I've never touched Ubuntu,
> or any other distro.  Debian has always come through for my server
> needs, so I've never considered anything else.  Convince me why I should
> switch my Postfix server environment from Debian to Ubuntu.  I'm curious
> to see how compelling your argument is.
>  

If you're happy with debian then there's no point - but let's turn the
question around: Convince me why I should switch from ubuntu to debian.
Let's see what arguments you have.

Joe
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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Brian Mathis-2
On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 4:15 PM, Joe <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Stan Hoeppner wrote:
>> I've been a
>> Debian (non-GUI) user for almost 10 years.  I've never touched Ubuntu,
>> or any other distro.  Debian has always come through for my server
>> needs, so I've never considered anything else.  Convince me why I should
>> switch my Postfix server environment from Debian to Ubuntu.  I'm curious
>> to see how compelling your argument is.
>>
>
> If you're happy with debian then there's no point - but let's turn the
> question around: Convince me why I should switch from ubuntu to debian.
> Let's see what arguments you have.
>
> Joe

How about you both realize that neither of you has enough information
to make an objective decision, and that any kind of "arguments" you
can come up with has more to do with what you're familiar with than
anything else, and continuing the discussion along these lines only
amounts to a holy war and nothing else.

As for the original question, it all comes down to what you are
comfortable with.  The 2 main runners here are CentOS and Ubuntu.
I've heard good things about Ubuntu but haven't tried it much.

I use CentOS for all of my servers, and the main reason is that it's
based on Redhat, and Redhat is the main Linux distro that all the big
companies support.  I'm not saying that they don't also support other
distros, just that Redhat is usually first on the list.  The yum
package manager works quite well, and the days are long gone when
there were dependency issues with rpms.

I have very strong feelings against installing things from source,
unless they are first built into a package.  You want to be spending
your time running the server and doing other things, not patting
yourself on the back because you compiled all of your own packages.
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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Udo Rader
Brian Mathis wrote:

> On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 4:15 PM, Joe <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Stan Hoeppner wrote:
>>> I've been a
>>> Debian (non-GUI) user for almost 10 years.  I've never touched Ubuntu,
>>> or any other distro.  Debian has always come through for my server
>>> needs, so I've never considered anything else.  Convince me why I should
>>> switch my Postfix server environment from Debian to Ubuntu.  I'm curious
>>> to see how compelling your argument is.
>>>
>> If you're happy with debian then there's no point - but let's turn the
>> question around: Convince me why I should switch from ubuntu to debian.
>> Let's see what arguments you have.
>>
>> Joe
>
> How about you both realize that neither of you has enough information
> to make an objective decision, and that any kind of "arguments" you
> can come up with has more to do with what you're familiar with than
> anything else, and continuing the discussion along these lines only
> amounts to a holy war and nothing else.
>
> As for the original question, it all comes down to what you are
> comfortable with.  The 2 main runners here are CentOS and Ubuntu.
> I've heard good things about Ubuntu but haven't tried it much.

with all due respect - would you please keep this very off topic noise
from this usually very informative and helpful mailing list?

If you don't fulfill my plea, I promise that I will claim that postfix
runs best under cygwin ...

--
Udo Rader, CTO
http://www.bestsolution.at
http://riaschissl.blogspot.com
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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Joe-274
Udo Rader wrote:

> Brian Mathis wrote:
>> On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 4:15 PM, Joe <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> Stan Hoeppner wrote:
>>>> I've been a
>>>> Debian (non-GUI) user for almost 10 years.  I've never touched Ubuntu,
>>>> or any other distro.  Debian has always come through for my server
>>>> needs, so I've never considered anything else.  Convince me why I
>>>> should
>>>> switch my Postfix server environment from Debian to Ubuntu.  I'm
>>>> curious
>>>> to see how compelling your argument is.
>>>>
>>> If you're happy with debian then there's no point - but let's turn the
>>> question around: Convince me why I should switch from ubuntu to debian.
>>> Let's see what arguments you have.
>>>
>>> Joe
>>
>> How about you both realize that neither of you has enough information
>> to make an objective decision, and that any kind of "arguments" you
>> can come up with has more to do with what you're familiar with than
>> anything else, and continuing the discussion along these lines only
>> amounts to a holy war and nothing else.
>>
>> As for the original question, it all comes down to what you are
>> comfortable with.  The 2 main runners here are CentOS and Ubuntu.
>> I've heard good things about Ubuntu but haven't tried it much.
>
> with all due respect - would you please keep this very off topic noise
> from this usually very informative and helpful mailing list?

Agreed, it wandered too far OT... end of thread, follow-ups to PM.

Joe
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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

John Allen
In reply to this post by John Allen
Thank you all for your input, having looked at the responses and
discussed amongst ourselves and as I am the grunt doing the work, we
will probably go with Centos.
Some of our reasoning was, it close to Fedora so we have some
experience, there are several third party repositories that carry the
"latest" packages and its fairly well documented.
That said, I think I will setup an Ubuntu server as an experiment just
to see how difficult/different it is in setup and operate.
Once again thank you all
John A

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Re: OT: need some advice as to distro

Bryan Irvine
On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 2:20 PM, John <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Thank you all for your input, having looked at the responses and
> discussed amongst ourselves and as I am the grunt doing the work, we
> will probably go with Centos.
> Some of our reasoning was, it close to Fedora so we have some
> experience, there are several third party repositories that carry the
> "latest" packages and its fairly well documented.
> That said, I think I will setup an Ubuntu server as an experiment just
> to see how difficult/different it is in setup and operate.
> Once again thank you all
> John A


In the end it doesn't matter.  Just as long as you edit your configs
with vi, wait no EMACS!!!!  oh damn.

-B
12