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Old 02-18-2003, 08:22 AM   #1
Nick
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Question *NIX gurus... question for you...

I am looking at the possibility of finding a more robust OS for the servers. Right now we are using RedHat 7.2. And I'll be honest I don't know much about the other flavors of linux/unix out there.

What I need though is the leanest meanest fastest most stable version out there. I was surfing at the vBulletin forums and it seems that RedHat and FreeBSD are the two most popular.

Keep in mind that pretty or nice features are useless to me. I just want a stripped down server that only need support the functions I need to run apache, mysql, sendmail, php, ssh and ftp. The kernal will also need to support SMP (multiprocessor) as our main box is a quad P3.

The server is a Dell 6350 Quad P3 550 XEON /w 2MB cache on each CPU (or 500, forget), 4GB EDO Memory, Hardware RAID Array on 10K RPM SCSI drives. So it's no slouch... just trying to make sure we're getting all we can out of it. We have other web servers, but I'm more concerned about straightening out the database server right now.

Any help would be much appreciated.

-Nick
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Old 02-18-2003, 08:46 AM   #2
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BSD offers stability; but has lackluster SMP support. Linux tends to not be quite as stable; but for either you should be more worried about hardware failures. I'd recommend Debian, if nothing else they at least offer timely security patches, and sweet package fetching/managing through apt. To get your applications running a little faster you should be compiling them from scratch; just install the bare minimum from the distribution of your choice (skip the pre-packaged web/database servers).
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Old 02-18-2003, 08:47 AM   #3
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Default Slackware

You should check out slackware, I think it fits exactly what you want. The learning curve is a lil steeper, but its worth it. You can choose not to install what ever you like (No X is probably the biggie, along with a couple other apps you dont need).

Head over to Slackware.org and check it out. I dont think You will be dissapointed.
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Old 02-18-2003, 09:16 AM   #4
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Well, if you are looking for a BSD OS look into NetBSD. It will pretty much run on anything, and i'm about 99.9% positive it has SMP support.

http://www.netbsd.org

List of platforms NetBSD runs on:
acorn26 acorn32 algor alpha amiga amigappc arc arm32 atari bebox cats cesfic cobalt dreamcast evbarm evbmips evbppc evbsh3 evbsh5 hp300 hp700 hpcarm hpcmips hpcsh i386 luna68k mac68k macppc mipsco mmeye mvme68k mvmeppc netwinder news68k newsmips next68k ofppc pc532 playstation2 pmax pmppc prep sandpoint sbmips sgimips shark sparc sparc64 sun2 sun3 vax x68k x86_64
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Old 02-18-2003, 09:26 AM   #5
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Good info so far... I do like the idea of slackware... only because it's based on a platform we're somewhat familiar with.

Just not sure if we need something with bigger teeth.

Unfortunatly it seems that peoples *nix preference is like asking them their favorite flavor of ice cream, it all comes down to personal preference.

-Nick
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Old 02-18-2003, 10:18 AM   #6
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Slack and Redhat both use (almost) the same kernel, and IP stack dont they? I mean, they are both a LINUX distro. So, am I correct in assuming that Redhat and Slack would be close to the same in performance when it comes to being used as a server?
Remember, linux is just a kernel. BSD is an actual OS.

BSD is different. Its older, and has a better IP stack.

"The world's number one and number two computing hardware companies, IBM and Fujitsu have made far-reaching committments to Linux. A smaller number of companies with specific needs or staff with BSD experience have used BSD to great effect, including Microsoft Hotmail and Yahoo."
------
Altho M$ dosent use FreeBSD for their Hotmail servers anymore, they used to, untill word got out that they were not using their own product


Info:
http://shearer.org/en/writing/whatarelinuxbsd.html
http://sites.inka.de/mips/unix/bsdlinux.html <-- Great info!

Last edited by Impreza2.5RSTi; 02-18-2003 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 02-18-2003, 10:19 AM   #7
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I'm a Slackware user.. have been since I got into Linux years and years ago. I even managed to talk a friend into getting me a slackware hostname.... but alas it is dead since I changed ISPs and have no one to update it (cowwoween.slackware.org, if you care to do an nslookup ). Slackware sounds like what you want... something trimmed down with none of the extra crap. I have Slackware running on my P2 450 with 160 megs of RAM... and it's smooth as can be. I tried Mandrake, and all the extra crap it loads choked my system like you wouldn't believe.

On the other hand, I've heard MANY good things about Gentoo Linux. It's supposed to be the best of both worlds between your Linux knowledge, and the wonderful goodness of the FreeBSD style ports system. http://www.gentoo.org
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Old 02-18-2003, 10:21 AM   #8
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Or you could run with the big boys and use AIX 5L... it's Linux transparent! All your Linux belong to 5L.... or something.

But that may be a little more than you need, unless you're planning on upping the number of simultaneous users to 26,000+....

j/k man good luck with your hunt
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Old 02-18-2003, 10:23 AM   #9
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Don't listen to the IBM troll It's called "Aches" for a reason

Hey Porter, maybe you wanna suggest a VAX next
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Old 02-18-2003, 10:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by chkltcow
Don't listen to the IBM troll It's called "Aches" for a reason

Hey Porter, maybe you wanna suggest a VAX next
Dude, they need a big DEC running VMS! I think you can get those for like $20 now.. they were $1.2mil new! Or maybe call up Unisys!
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Old 02-18-2003, 10:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by chkltcow
I'm a Slackware user.. have been since I got into Linux years and years ago. I even managed to talk a friend into getting me a slackware hostname.... but alas it is dead since I changed ISPs and have no one to update it (cowwoween.slackware.org, if you care to do an nslookup ). Slackware sounds like what you want... something trimmed down with none of the extra crap. I have Slackware running on my P2 450 with 160 megs of RAM... and it's smooth as can be. I tried Mandrake, and all the extra crap it loads choked my system like you wouldn't believe.

On the other hand, I've heard MANY good things about Gentoo Linux. It's supposed to be the best of both worlds between your Linux knowledge, and the wonderful goodness of the FreeBSD style ports system. http://www.gentoo.org
I think you are missing the point here. Linux itself, no matter WHAT distro, bases itself off of the linux kernel at www.kernel.org Redhat and Slack both pretty much have the same kernel, therefor will be nearly the same in performance. Of course the commands and other things will be different between Slack and Redhat, but the basic kernel of the OS will pretty much be the same between the 2. BSD is completly different. Altho the code between FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD is similar, its not the same.

"In the end though, Linux is just a kernel with device drivers for exotic hardware. From user-space, Linux looks like any other flavor of Unix. The benefits of Linux are largely related to peripherals: USB, PCMCIA, IEEE-1394, PCI devices, ISA PNP devices, etc. There are also projects that are common kernel add-ons, such as the PCMCIA-CS project, ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture), OpenSound commercial, iBCS/2, reiserfs, jfs, etc. The kernel defines what hardware a distribution can run on."
Taken from http://www.geek.com/features/opengeek/

"xBSD (FreeBSD in perticular) gets the nod from me for serving. It is infinately more stable and secure then any flavor of Linux I've tried, out of the box, without any tuning. My Linux boxes are just fine for creating content, and mild serving. But, past experience has taught me not to trust them for serving huge mission critical projects."
Taken from http://www.de.daemonnews.org/199908/d-advocate.html

In short, what i'm trying to say is that if you change from Redhat to Slack, you arent going to be gaining a lot of performance.

----
Here is the SMP project for FreeBSD
http://people.freebsd.org/~fsmp/SMP/SMP.html

FreeBSD supports Symmetric MultiProcessor kernels in the following releases:

3.0-RELEASE/STABLE
4.0-RELEASE/STABLE
5.0-CURRENT
----

Last edited by Impreza2.5RSTi; 02-18-2003 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 02-18-2003, 10:42 AM   #12
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You're putting far too much emphasis on the kernel; most of the performance increase can be had by recompiling software to have only the options you need; instead of a crapload of options you'll never use.
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Old 02-18-2003, 10:45 AM   #13
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Forget about NetBSD, as I suggested before. I see that FreeBSD has SMP support. Go with that. Trust me


Test equipment
Tyan Titan Pro ATX (S1668ATX)
2 x 200 MHz Pentium Pro CPU's
64 MB RAM, 60ns, PS/2 (2x32)
AHA 2940, IBM DORS 32160

Taken from: http://people.freebsd.org/~fsmp/SMP/...-a/graph1.html

The graph is kind of a "Duh!" thing... but it at least shows that FreeBSD SMP actually works pretty well.

-Sorry i'm stubborn.

Last edited by Impreza2.5RSTi; 02-18-2003 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:07 AM   #14
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How about we state it this way. If you want the absolute best performance you can possibly get, and want to experiment with an unfamiliar OS... get FreeBSD. It's what powers cdrom.com, HotMail, etc.

If you want to stick with what you already know and get the best performance available, do a fresh install of Slackware with just the minimal options you need, then recompile the kernel to make it fast and lean.
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:16 AM   #15
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Lightbulb Silly rabbits.....

LINUX is for kids, just kidding, LINUX is better suited for workstations in my experience (playing with Slackware back in the days when loading the distro from say a dozen or more floppies was a necessity

*BSD = better suited for servers (if not just for the out of the box security) -- you can make almost any box more secure with proper safeguards and good configs.

I'd vote for FreeBSD (not that I'm biased or anything hehehe), but in terms of what you're familiar with you may want to go with a newer rev of RedSplat.

lateRZ

FreeBSD 4.5
Slackware 8.1
Redhat 6.0, 7.2, 7.3
Solaris 2.5, 2.8
[oops most people list their cars in their sigs hahahah]
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:18 AM   #16
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Actually, Linux and BSD commands are quite similar. There isnt a huge learning curve. Going from Redhat to Slack would be nearly the same as going from Redhat to FreeBSD. I've used FreeBSD and Redhat for quite a while, and found the migration from one to another pretty easy.

----
I'm not knocking Slack in any way. Its an excellent OS. Many of my friends swear by it... but then again they arent serving thousands of users.

After all, BSD was where TCP-IP was invented.
You cant argue with that.
Proof: http://www.cs.uu.nl/wais/html/na-dir...aq/part10.html

Last edited by Impreza2.5RSTi; 02-18-2003 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:22 AM   #17
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I keep telling you, Debian
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:25 AM   #18
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Debian - Still a linux distro.... but a good one!
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:28 AM   #19
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I dislike Debian based on the fact that they are SO anal retentive about what licenses certain products use.... and choose to provide/not provide some packages based on that.
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:31 AM   #20
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OKay. Quiz time. We need to calm this thread a little.

Name these 2 people, and what machine they are working on.


YES, the name of the people in the picture, is also the the name OF the picture... but dont be cheap.
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:33 AM   #21
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Or... there's always the OTHER alternative. It's based on the BSD kernel... yet different:

http://www.apple.com/xserve/
http://www.apple.com/xserve/raid/
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:36 AM   #22
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Last edited by Impreza2.5RSTi; 02-18-2003 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:44 AM   #23
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Lightbulb Picture time? how bout Trivia time?

Ahhh but what was Ken's middle name? And you've got this pic with them on their "big" box... what about the ole PDP-7? Which one ported the kernel to C? eh eh eh do ya know?

What is the GECOS field and W-T-F is it doing in the passwd file? heheheh

lateRZ

[edit: we're not all bleeding heart Disney approved here, why can't we say What Tha Fsck, even if it's in the form of an acronym??? heheh]
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:53 AM   #24
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Finger me, and you will get my GECOS.

Dennis M. Ritchie ported it.
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Old 02-18-2003, 11:54 AM   #25
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Also from http://www.de.daemonnews.org ( http://www.de.daemonnews.org/199908/d-advocate.html )

Linux
-NFS server: not so good (is there any work being done on this?)
-SMB client: good
-SMP: good (could be better)
-Portability: good
-Ease of configuration: good (I love System V and kernel modules)
-RAID: never tried
-TCP/IP: good (I add this just because the older Linux kernel didn't do TCP/IP near as well as FreeBSD)

FreeBSD
-NFS server: good
-SMB client: not so good (I don't think kernel level support exists - ie smbmount. does it?)
-SMP: not so good
-Portability: not so good (use NetBSD - whole other topic)
-Ease of configuration: Ok (but I really wish they would move to System V - is it possible to make a disto that is System V?)
-RAID: good (I love vinum)
-TCP/IP: good

Edit: Just wanted the bsd folks admission on lackluster smp performance.
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