Linux Server How-To

melon

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I'm looking to take my web sites to the next level, and so I found a VPS host that appears to have a good reputation and appears to be newbie/developer friendly. With that, though, now I need to know how to run a Linux server. The tutorials present on the host itself are certainly there to help me get everything running, and I'm not scared of the thought of a command-line at all. What I'd like, however, is to be able to understand what I'm entering, so I can do more than just regurgitate someone else's LAMP configuration.

With that, are there any books/resources/advice that anyone would suggest? I should point out that I've never used Linux before, but, above all, I am very receptive and eager to learn it, so I can master it! In terms of a specific Linux distribution, the VPS host gives me the choice of Ubuntu 7.10/6.06 LTS, Debian 4.0, CentOS 5.0, Fedora 8, Gentoo 2007.0, and Arch 2007.08. My first impulse is to go with Ubuntu 7.10, because the host's tutorials are mostly written to this distribution, and I also know that Ubuntu is fairly popular, but if you think I'd be better served by one of the others, feel free to recommend.
 

Dark Atheist

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out of that list i would say gentoo - but you should go with what you feel comfortable
 

j79zlr

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I don't think Gentoo is the distribution to jump in head first with. If their tutorials are written for Ubuntu I would use that.
 

j79zlr

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Yes it does, I run Gentoo here, but if you haven't used Linux at all before it can be daunting.
 

LordOfLA

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Gentoo's ebuild system is very confusing even for people that are well versed in the ways of linux and bsd :)
 

melon

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Specific distribution aside ( ;) ), how would one go about learning and understanding all of the stuff involved here? Do Linux books usually go into this kind of detail?
 

Dark Atheist

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jump head first into ubuntu - i find the best way to learn something is to use it - break it - and then try not to do the same thing next time :)

trial and error :D
 

j79zlr

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Gentoo's ebuild system is very confusing even for people that are well versed in the ways of linux and bsd :)

Have you used Gentoo?? It is not very confusing. But for a first time user, setting the proper make flags, using the right profile etc can be a bit much. If you are coming from FreeBSD, you can easily understand it. That is what I did.

Then again I've been using Gentoo for 5 years now I think, so I guess I am used to it.
 
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LordOfLA

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Have you used Gentoo?? It is not very confusing. But for a first time user, setting the proper make flags, using the right profile etc can be a bit much. If you are coming from FreeBSD, you can easily understand it. That is what I did.

Then again I've been using Gentoo for 5 years now I think, so I guess I am used to it.

I used it back when it was 2006.* It wa a touch overwhelming. Maybe I should give it another stab...
 

vern

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I'd get with Ubuntu 6.06LTS or Debian 4.0. My two cents ... it'll be the easiest path to start out with and you aren't using a "less powerful" distribution. Harder and longer to get to what you need does not equal more powerful.
 

X-Istence

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out of that list i would say gentoo - but you should go with what you feel comfortable

No. Gentoo is a bad idea for someone new to Linux.

I don't think Gentoo is the distribution to jump in head first with. If their tutorials are written for Ubuntu I would use that.

Gentoo should never be used. Simple as that.

true but gentoo does have a very good wiki

Yeah, and sometimes when I accidently stumble upon one of them, I read the instructions and I am like "WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?" The "tutorials" on the wiki seem to be half-assed, and most of them are missing key instructions, causing many of my clients machines to end up dead and them having to pay me to fix it.

Gentoo's ebuild system is very confusing even for people that are well versed in the ways of linux and bsd :)

Amen.

Have you used Gentoo?? It is not very confusing. But for a first time user, setting the proper make flags, using the right profile etc can be a bit much. If you are coming from FreeBSD, you can easily understand it. That is what I did.

Then again I've been using Gentoo for 5 years now I think, so I guess I am used to it.

I use FreeBSD almost exclusively, and I have tried Gentoo, I work on Gentoo machines all the time in my freelance work, and while I can understand most of it, I still can't fathom some of the decisions they have made, or why certain stuff is in a certain location. Gentoo's portage is a mess, contains WAY too many patches for software that does not require patches, and in general Gentoo has been a constant source of income for me as people read the Wiki, **** up and need the server back online yesterday.

I used it back when it was 2006.* It wa a touch overwhelming. Maybe I should give it another stab...

Don't, save yourself, and your brain!
 

X-Istence

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@melon: I would suggest Debian myself. Ubuntu was made for the desktop, and sure it could be run as a server there have been design decisions, and whatnot based on the fact that it will be run on a desktop.

Debian is what Ubuntu came out of, and is a very capable OS. With sane defaults, an awesome apt-get system, and it is very stable.
 

LordOfLA

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take a look at vitualmin.com It's come a long way since I last used it and comes in a GPL and a Paid version.

The paid version had gui options to do more, however if you know how to configure things manually there is nothing stopping you getting most of the extra paid functionallity in the gpl version.

Edit: I have the paid version running nicely on debian 4.
 

Dark Atheist

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Yeah, and sometimes when I accidently stumble upon one of them, I read the instructions and I am like "WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?" The "tutorials" on the wiki seem to be half-assed, and most of them are missing key instructions, causing many of my clients machines to end up dead and them having to pay me to fix it.

least you get paid ;)
 

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