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The Linux Server Tournament

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In the interest of full disclosure, I am one of the Business Edition Linux Project team members. My greater interest is Linux use in the business place in general and in small business use specifically.

As part of a situational review for seeing how the BEL servers work with other distro based Linux servers on a given LAN, I thought I would write a less biased, hopefully more general discussion of the process and results of how each distro in the review performs individually and collaboratively.

The four distros used in this current test (there may likely be future tests using other distros) are BEL Server Basic, OpenSuse 11, Ubuntu server 8.04 and CentOS 5.

This entry is the "preface" to the overall review. The computers used will all be x86 based machines on an ethernet connection.

The server roles will be basic, common roles used in a small business.

* File/Print server using both NFS and SAMBA as well as CUPS
* Mail Server PostFix/Dovecot
* LDAP/authentication ( kerberos )
* Web server

The objective is not to determine which distro is "better" or "worse" but to find the best ways of implementing various Linux distro servers in the most productive manner.

To find nuances and perhaps provide some tips/hints for both the BEL Project and now the Linux community at large in a multiple distro server collaboration/implementation.

One of the biggest "complaints" we see is about the abundance of distros that are available. I am one who believes that is not a problem but instead a plethora of options in which certain distros are optimized for a certain area or level of performance. In that light, if distro A is optimized as a web server and performs best in that situation, why not use it as such and use distro B which has been optimized as a top notch file server platform, or area in which the devs have "tweaked" it to perform best?

By bringing these various distros together in one LAN, we want to obtain as much information about collaborative implementation between Linux distros. How well do they play together? What steps are necessary, if any, to make it as least complicated as possible?

Tune in next time when we begin to install and assign roles to our chosen four.

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