Forum OpenACS Q&A: Which RH distro to use for new production server?

Hi gang,

We are ordering a new production server and are wondering which RH distro to use.  Initially, we were considering RH 9, but some people have voiced reservations about it.  Should we instead go with RH 7 or 8?  Would anyone care to share their experiences?

Thanks for any advice...

Posted by Matthew Geddert on
i've used all 3, and if installed correctly by a linux guru (i.e. not only do you need to know what you are doing but you should take the time to do it right and lock it down security wise), they all work fine. If this truly is a "production server" you won't care about graphical anything and all that will matter is ssh, an email program (i like qmail myself), aolserver and postgresql... all four of these programs run fine on any of them, since the only drivers you should care about are network card drivers and possibly scsi drivers any of the new USB/etc. support will be pretty irrlevant... The advantage of RH9 is if you buy into this auto update stuff from RH it will be supported longer than the other two since RH has given its "personal desktop" line of software a very short support life. If you are compliling your own packages of the 4 important services available to the public then you really don't need to worry about many other updates (i.e. who cares if a new version of emacs is available if what you are using works fine)... and binary distribution won't matter. Once OpenSSH comes out with a necessary secuirty fix you'll just have to recompile.

oh yeah, and as a secondary thing, if you run an email server your speed will increase significantly if you install a DNS cache only accessible to local host (i.e. you won't open it up to security issues).

Posted by Janine Ohmer on
I have heard that there are problems installing Oracle 8.1.7 on RH 9;  haven't confirmed for myself, but it doesn't seem unlikely given all the glibc compatability issues we've been having for some time.

Also, if you are installing Oracle you unfortunately do have to care about graphical issues, because the installer requires an X server.  As of a few years ago when I last tried it, the first thing the installer did was check for the presence of X even if you had used the magic flag to tell it to install from a shell script, which was especially lame since there is no output at all in that case.

Posted by Bryan Che on
If you are running a production server, you should probably consider the Red Hat Enterprise Linux line. Edge Server ( or Workstation ( should probably meet your needs.

Both of these distributions are certified to run Oracle--meaning you can get support--and also have long end-of-life cycles. So, you can be assured of getting updates and patches for a number of years.

Posted by Jun Yamog on
Hi Rob,

Nice to see that infiniteinfo is finally getting a new server. RH 9 is ok.  It does present some more problems for Oracle 9i than RH 8.

But if the setup is like before, no Oracle.  You will be fine with RH 9. One thing that you should test if aol2 can still run on RH 9.  Also the fact that these sites run on pg 7.1.  Hence there was 2 pg version running 7.2 and 7.1 at the same time.

RHEL seems to be a real solid choice, if you have enough cash to spare.  I am not doing the sys admin stuff lately, but I am using a RHEL AS prod server.  Really nice.  One thing that I don't like though is that the dev environment is not the same as the prod server.  I would not like to run an aging desktop :).

Good luck, hope the new server serves infiniteinfo well.

Posted by Andrew Piskorski on
Yeah, my personal advice: Use Debian.

If you really want Red Hat, I'm not sure which version to pick, but I would strongly consider the latest "Enterprise Edition" version, either an official blessed (and expensive) copy from Red Hat, or one of the copies built from the source rpm's and with the RH logos removed. (Other than the cost, I don't really have any idea what the differnces are between the Red Hat Enterprise AS/ES/WS flavors.)