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Linux Business IT

Canonical Chases Deal to Ship Ubuntu Server OS 151

Kurtz'sKompund writes "Canonical, the company that supports Ubuntu Linux, is trying to work out a deal with hardware vendors such as Dell to make Ubuntu available pre-installed on servers. 'Canonical, despite obviously supporting such a deal, had little to do with Dell's decision. Dell said it was merited by customer demand. Likewise, the decision of whether Ubuntu Server will ship pre-installed will be determined the same way.'"
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Canonical Chases Deal to Ship Ubuntu Server OS

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  • Pre-installed OS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by totallygeek ( 263191 ) <sellis@totallygeek.com> on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @05:35PM (#20932799) Homepage
    I wonder how many of you want pre-installed operating systems - any operating system. It seems to me that most installations have a central installation service (kickstart, jumpstart, etc) and would like boxes to be configured with certain parameters and niceties, such as partition and block sizing, configuration files, kernel versions, cfEngine keys, local accounts, etc... I really am curious, as I have never used the factory-installed operating system. Even if it came with one, the first item on the 'to do' list was to wipe the drive and start over.

    • If it comes with an install CD with all of the necessary drivers included ... awesome!

      Even with imaging WinXP, you'll need the drivers. You'll have to find the drivers. Somewhere. And build your image with them.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by totallygeek ( 263191 )

        If it comes with an install CD with all of the necessary drivers included ... awesome!

        Actually something I liked from the Compaq SmartStart. You would start your installation with the Compaq CD, tell it which OS, it would create a small drivers partition and manage the installation process setting up the hardware drivers.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by ragefan ( 267937 )

          If it comes with an install CD with all of the necessary drivers included ... awesome!

          Actually something I liked from the Compaq SmartStart. You would start your installation with the Compaq CD, tell it which OS, it would create a small drivers partition and manage the installation process setting up the hardware drivers.

          If you order a Dell PowerEdge Server (X950 series) without an OS, the server comes pre-loaded with this functionality. Or you can wipe the RAID setup and re-configure it boot off the CD and perform this. It supports Windows, and several favors of Linux (RHEL, SuSE), and possibly some Unix (IIRC). In fact, the pre-install program actually uses Linux to do this.

      • by Zonk (troll) ( 1026140 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @06:55PM (#20933727)

        Even with imaging WinXP, you'll need the drivers. You'll have to find the drivers. Somewhere. And build your image with them.
        They're all right here [driverpacks.net].
      • by Sillygates ( 967271 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @09:39PM (#20935107) Homepage Journal

        f it comes with an install CD with all of the necessary drivers included ... awesome!
        Even with imaging WinXP, you'll need the drivers. You'll have to find the drivers. Somewhere. And build your image with them.

        This isn't WinXP here. The type of hardware that ends up in server boxes usually has complete support in any recent kernel release.
        And, companies like RedHat make sure all the kernel modules for HBA cards are compiled too.
    • I completely agree. I have absolutely no idea why you'd want some OS smacked on your hdds when you get the box. If anything, have Ubuntu server installed on a new server is *harder*. First you have to figure out how they set everything up etc...why would you even try. Its much simpler to just wipe and use a setup you know and have loaded on your other servers.

      To OEMs:
      Give us the hardware, thats IT. Nothing more please, its just more work for us erasing it.

      Why they even bother doing this...it really am
      • I disagree... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Belial6 ( 794905 )
        I want a live CD that has drivers for all of the hardware, and applications to test with. This way if the machine acts up, I can put the install CD in, and know immediately whether the problem is hardware or software related. Preferably the disk would have recovery applications, and the ability to connect to the manufacturer for screen sharing initiated by the user.

        Of course, for installing on a hard disk, I want to make my own choices in hardware.
        • Re:I disagree... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @02:33AM (#20936777)
          I'm kind of surprised Dell hasn't caught on to that idea yet. If they sell Dell hardware and make sure Ubuntu has all the drives they could load up a custom live CD with all sorts of troubleshooting goodies. Then rather then asking a zillion stupid questions they could point you to the CD if you have to call with broken hardware.. no matter what OS you chose to use! Live CD can read the hard drive, connect to the internet, have 3D desktops, etc.... they're far from tech only "recovery" discs they used to be. Moves like that would go a long way to making regular users see Linux as Legit.
          • For what it's worth, Dell usually includes a hardware test partition on the consumer/business systems they sell. A few months ago I bought one of the Dells with Ubuntu pre-installed and, in addition to a Ubuntu recovery partition, they had the hardware test partition. If a piece of hardware goes screwy, you can just give the tech support rep whatever error message/code you get when you run the test and it's pretty hard for them to argue when you're using their diagnostic tool.
          • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
            That is exactly what I want. Heck, have cd burning on there and a web browser that has DistroWatch bookmarked, and it will make sure that even a system where the drive is totally corrupted, can get the latests and greatest version of whatever distro the user wants. It would also silence any complaints over which distro they chose, as it would be assumed that you would pick your favorite, or if you don't have a favorite, you would pick the one with the highest download numbers on DistroWatch.
    • Pre-installed is great for end home user desktops. Not everyone are techies like us who would rather do it themselves.

      But for servers it does seem kinda pointless. Servers should only be setup by just such techies. I'll take an UP TO DATE driver and OS cd, but I'll do the install myself.
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )
        Actually selling Linux/Ubuntu pre-installed on servers makes a whole lot of sense. The OS is free and you are not selling the software you are selling service and support. For Dell it means making a slight shift and adding further depth to their service and support by adding administration, either remote or local.

        So would Dell sell Linux/Ubuntu pre-installed on servers, in a heart beat, once they have established the service/support/administration teams globally and they have developed market acceptance a

      • If you want Linux taken seriously it should come pre-installed in such a manner. With packages set up for the most common configurations and documentation how they work. That's what Windows Home Server is doing and that whole market of low CPU data tanks is Ubuntu's to lose.

        My opinion is that a distro like Ubuntu server or CentOS should come with a minimal set up but have "what do you want to do?" menu. As you determine you need more features you would add them from a menu.. tied right back to the normal
        • But isn't that a completely different market? Home servers are intended for domestic unskilled users, so do need a hand holding user friendly set-up. The idea of a home server is pretty new outside serious geek households, so the Microsoft version is designed as a plug and play system for those who already have a network, and want to add a server as easily as they would a router. And use it for a very reduced subset of tasks.

          Business servers, which unless I misread the article, are the market that Canonical
          • what about small buisness servers? that is servers for buisnesses that are too small to have any proper IT staff but still want somewhere central to keep thier documents. For a very small place you can use a client version of windows but duplication of user accounts (for things to work smoothly you really need the user to have an account with the same username and password on both the machine sharing and the machine they are using) and the 10 client limit (which isn't very high, especially if some people ha
          • The versions of Windows 2000 server that I've played with do something very similar to the GP's post. On first boot you get a screen that more or less ays "How do you want to set up your server?" and you pick a number of options for things such as Web Server, DNS, Domain Controller, etc.
    • Larger orders for pre-installed server can get you asked you for the kickstart file, it can really save you a lot of time.
    • Re:Pre-installed OS (Score:5, Informative)

      by Hercynium ( 237328 ) <Hercynium@NOSpam.gmail.com> on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @06:33PM (#20933505) Homepage Journal
      Well, while I tend to go thru the same exact process on every server I deal with, I can see *one* big advantage - Reputation.

      The typical PHB has by now recognized RHEL as *the* Linux for servers. Thru good marketing, development, support, and business, RedHat has become the de-facto standard for Linux in the enterprise server market.

      Case in point - Not ONE of the enterprise apps I work with is supported on anything BUT RHEL, (or in one case SuSE) HOWEVER, I've tested many of them in the lab with Debian and Ubuntu and found that all work very well... but there's a snowball's chance in hell that management would let me use Debian or Ubuntu. RedHat's reputation as Linux for serious business is entrenched in their minds, and entrenched in the market.

      I have a lot of respect and appreciation for RedHat's offerings. I prefer Debian, and in the corporate world, Ubuntu is the only Debian derivitave that has a chance of becoming a contender.

      Being a default offering on Dell servers is a golden opportunity to start building the reputation they need. PHBs will see the Ubuntu option on Dell's web-site and after about a thousand times they may begin to wonder if it's something worth investigating. :)

      If Canonical produces a systems-management/data-center platform that can compete with offerings available for RedHat, I believe that sysadmins, enterprise software vendors, and even managers will start to take notice. If Ubuntu can garner reputation as an alternative to RHEL, we may start seeing not just hardware support but also software support.

      Granted, this is all just a wild dream for me, but let me tell you - if someday Oracle announces support for Ubuntu, it could be a dream come true!
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jhol13 ( 1087781 )
        And there goes the "Linux" ...

        After what you explained we'd have two, different and incompatible Linuxes, RH and Ubuntu.

        Unlike for you, the software I use does not run in both RH-3 and (not so old) Ubuntu, the libraries are too different and so are the kernels.

        Linux really needs to get "binary compatibility", and so does Linux distros (LSB among others).
        • by ajs318 ( 655362 )
          Linux will never have binary compatibility -- in fact, that runs counter to the goal of the Linux project. It's always had, and always will have, source compatibility; that is, you can get any application to run on a new kernel and libs just by recompiling it. Now stop being a pussy and learn to spell "make".
          • generally the trick to getting binary compatibility with linux is to build on the oldest distro you want to support.

            • by ajs318 ( 655362 )
              Maybe, but it'll still break if/when something fundamental changes in the kernel or C library -- which theoretically could happen anytime. That's the reason why distributions build their own binary packages and most project homepages only carry source tarballs (with perhaps binary packages for the developers' own systems).
              • sure but sonames are supposed to be versioned such that you can have both the old and new versions of the library installed at once if there is a change that breaks backwards compatibility. Sure library vendors fuck up sometimes but with major libraries it is pretty damn rare.
      • by guruevi ( 827432 )
        Hah, you're wrong. The PHB's will hear about Ubuntu's offering from their Dell sales rep and even though your app might not be supported on Ubuntu, they WILL buy it because Dell promoted it.

        Remember, PHB's don't consider anything nor do they investigate. They just listen to whatever salesmen story sounds best and accept that. If Dell said that their servers that come with a turd (or a 6-ft tall Ewok) perform better than the ones without, they would also believe that even though the turd (or the Ewok) doesn'
        • Well, the managers here are dense, but not stupid. They remember being burned in the past, and avoid the unknown until they have 101 reasons to change (and not 1 less)

          And, yes, Oracle *does* run on all sorts of different distros... but good luck getting support.

          We have an in-house Oracle support team and *still* we choose RHEL simply because that is all Oracle will support.
    • I recently had the displeasure of attempting to install Red Hat Enterprise Server 4 on an HP ML115. Apparantly it's supported but naturally the Red Hat you get from them doesn't have all the necessary drivers. There is a driver page on the HP website, though exactly which driver(s) you may need to make your particular hardware see the disks seems to be left up to guess work. So you try them all one by one and it still won't work.

      A lot of wasted time and frustration and for the people paying me by the hou
      • by dwater ( 72834 )
        > I recently had the displeasure of attempting to install Red Hat Enterprise Server 4 on an HP ML115.

        I installed SME server on a similar computer (one of the older Compaq ones) and had no issues at all. It's a little known distro, but based on my experiences, I would recommend it :

        http://www.smeserver.org/ [smeserver.org]
      • by molo ( 94384 )
        We had a similar problem. The issue with RHEL is that release 0 is OLD (but stable). Newer chipsets aren't recognized. And when you buy the boxed CDs, you get release 0 even if updates have been available for a long time. To get the driver support needed, we had to download RHEL4 update 5 from the Redhat Network. Then things sailed along quite smoothly. Hope this helps.

        • Thanks for the suggestion. We're actually going to download RHEL5 from RHN and give that a go. Still a bit of a waste of my time :)
    • by dwater ( 72834 )
      > I wonder how many of you want pre-installed operating systems - any operating system.

      I would. It tells me that the OS works on that h/w (ie there are drivers).

      These days, I buy h/w in the hope that it will all work. I try a live cd if I can, but sometimes that isn't possible and I resort to searching for comment/reports online.

      Really though, why do you wipe the hard disk? Can't you just install over the top of it? Ignoring the previous contents of the hard drive is usually just a click in the installat
    • what it comes down to is that a good number of people do want pre-installed... else they take their offerings to a Microsoft pre-installed server instead. I'll take a pre-install offering any day over only being given the option of pre-installing a Microsoft offering. Of course many people also desire the all in one warranty satisfaction also to ensure their dollars won't be spent in vain.

      I say take them on their own turf and watch MS scramble in an attempt to keep from losing their ground in the server b
    • I'm one of the many that want a pre-installed operating system..............for other people. I don't want to setup operating systems for friends of friends, friends of relatives, relatives of friends, and so on. If they are not a computer geek, I would like to point them towards a pre-assembled system.

      Car Analogy
      How many of you have built your own car from a pile of parts so you could drive? What!!! You bought a pre-built car! You disgust me.
  • But is it supported? (Score:2, Informative)

    by dedazo ( 737510 )
    As in *actually* supported? Otherwise I'd just get plain Debian stable or CentOS [centos.org], which is a downstream version of RHEL that works great.

    I don't know if Ubuntu might ever match RHEL, but it's possible that Canonical might end up being RedHat's main competitor. Right now AFAIK that would be Novell and their server business is not doing amazingly well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by radeex ( 1126305 )
      I already mentioned this in response to another post, but yes, it's really really supported. http://canonical.com/support [canonical.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Kennon ( 683628 )

      Right now AFAIK that would be Novell and their server business is not doing amazingly well.

      Actually if it weren't for the massive boat anchor known as Netware pulling their numbers down Novell would be having a pretty amazing year. Their Linux business is doing very well.

  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @05:37PM (#20932827) Homepage
    Dell said it was merited by customer demand.

    In other words, "No, Microsoft, we haven't been talking to other OS vendors. It was the customers' fault. honest. Put down that chair."
    • by caluml ( 551744 )

      It was the customers' fault. honest. Put down that chair."
      Is it me, or are the chair jokes wearing a little thin by now? (No offence to the poster.)
  • Servers...WTF? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by j35ter ( 895427 )
    AFAIK Ubuntu was developed for the *desktop& market...did I miss sth?
    • by radeex ( 1126305 )
      Yes, you missed something. From ubuntu.com: "Ubuntu is a community developed, linux-based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers."
    • AFAIK Ubuntu was developed for the *desktop& market...did I miss sth?

      I always wondered about that about the different distros: is one better than the other for a particular use? Isn't the base system/kernel/window manager the same?

      I'm pretty much a Fedora type of guy, but that's out of habit more than anything. I do, however, prefer the distros that are incorporated with the "Unleashed", "Bible", etc... books because I like having a volume that I can pick up if I have a question that has the correct d

    • by ls -la ( 937805 )
      This, perhaps

      http://www.ubuntu.com/products/WhatIsUbuntu/serveredition [ubuntu.com]

      Haven't tried it myself, anyone know how it compares?
  • by SpiritGod21 ( 884402 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @05:42PM (#20932885) Homepage
    It's fantastic to see such purported demand for Ubuntu, but I have trouble envisioning the conversion of our servers to their distro. The article itself reports that the server product is in its early days and that there are gaps in its functionality, and the biggest gap seems to be in support. I seriously doubt that Dell is going to pick up the bill for enterprise-level 24x7 support, and the offerings from Canonical seem to be local individuals who put their name on Ubuntu's website, so there's little guarantee regarding their expertise or availability.

    I just can't help but worry that Canonical is overextending themselves (even if it is in reaction to Dell asking them to do so), and that the distro will eventually cave once bad PR builds up from a few high-profile failures at the enterprise/corporation level. Those in the FOSS community might not care about bad corporate PR, but it would certainly set Linux back quite a bit adoption-wise to have its golden front-runner made to look extremely foolish.
    • by radeex ( 1126305 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @05:57PM (#20933063)
      1. Actually, Canonical offers professional support services for servers and desktops. http://canonical.com/support [canonical.com]

      2. My impression is that the "gaps" referred to in the article are mostly about certification from third parties like Oracle.
      • Hugely important. I like Canonical's desktop offering a lot but I'm incredibly weary of knocking anything into the racks that doesn't have a hell of a track record and a lead in the enterprise game. This offering might be great in time or for smaller non-mission critical deployments, but nothing else for now.
    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @06:01PM (#20933107)
      Let's look at the possible scenarios that lead to "failure".

      #1. Hardware dies. Only an idiot would blame this on Canonical/Ubuntu. If it's under warranty, Dell should be able to replace it.

      #2. Software corruption. This would be Canonical's/Ubuntu's fault. But I've run their stuff for years without any problems. Why would there be problems now?

      #3. Driver problem. Well, this is why you have these "partnerships" so the software vendor can work with the hardware vendor to solve these problems BEFORE you purchase their products.

      #4. Stupid admin problem. Yeah, like there's anything Canonical or Dell can do to prevent that.

      So, the only real potential problem looks like the exact thing that such a partnership would be designed to resolve. I'm not seeing the problem here.
      • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @06:28PM (#20933449) Journal
        #4. Stupid admin problem. Yeah, like there's anything Canonical or Dell can do to prevent that.

        That seems to be what the GP is talking about in terms of support. On the desktop you'll get questions like "I bought this computer with this newfangled leenooks thingy, how do I play my card game?"

        On the server, you get questions that have nothing at all to do with the stupidity of the admin. Like "When the database has written 1 GB of data to the drive, the system stops responding and has to be powercycled causing a lot of data corruption, what's going on?" (true story, the answer is "plug in a PS/2 mouse []") Multiply that by however many Dell sells, and the grandparent has a point: can they handle it?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ericrost ( 1049312 )
          Good straw man, I actually read the link and that still has nothing to do with Canonical vs RedHat. That would be AMD's fault for sending stupid APIC messages.
          • by dwater ( 72834 )
            > That would be AMD's fault for sending stupid APIC messages.

            So it would be the same for any OS? ...or have other OSes worked around the problem?
            • I would kind of doubt that.. its sending information on a masked interrupt at a hardware level. Either way any workaround is just that, and is dirty since its specific to a chipset.
              • by dwater ( 72834 )
                > I would kind of doubt that.. ..that it is the same for all OSes, or that other OSes have worked around it?

                I think you meant the latter, right? Silly me for asking a question containing two opposite options.
                • I was indicating that I didn't know, but I doubt that they worked around it, since it would be a workaround specific to one piece of hardware, I thought that was quite clear given the question and response. Silly me for using language that indicated which option I was addressing (both really)
    • by grommit ( 97148 )
      Report to Re-education camp mister! Everybody knows that Canonical can do no wrong. So, obviously, this is the correct thing for them to be doing. Besides, there's nothing to worry about because Ubuntu will never break because it's the best operating system ever made. Well, at least that's what I'm beaten over the head with every time I mention another distribution..
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by suv4x4 ( 956391 )
      I just can't help but worry that Canonical is overextending themselves (even if it is in reaction to Dell asking them to do so), and that the distro will eventually cave once bad PR builds up from a few high-profile failures at the enterprise/corporation level. Those in the FOSS community might not care about bad corporate PR, but it would certainly set Linux back quite a bit adoption-wise to have its golden front-runner made to look extremely foolish.

      The big money is with support for servers, not desktops.
    • This thread [ubuntu.com] is from the ubuntu developers discussion list. The topic is the pros and cons of disabling fdisk checks on ext3 partitions at boot because they take too long.

      One frequently repeated argument is "people don't have to wait on windows, why should they on linux?"

      Millions of XP machines are running just fine without this check. Do
      you think any desktop user will try to understand why this check is
      needed? Would you accept your car needing a 20min self-check before
      you can drive, especially if you're la

  • Why Ubuntu? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rduke15 ( 721841 ) <rduke15&gmail,com> on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @05:45PM (#20932929)
    I'm currently running Debian stable on all my servers. Why would I want to get the next with Ubuntu? Would it be just as stable?

    The install with netinst is very fast. What takes a long time is all the configuration of the needed services, and customization (backup scripts, various checks and email alerts, etc. In short everything one adds to /etc/cron*). So I wouldn't really gain any time.

    Am I not seeing some advantage that a pre-installed Ubuntu would bring? Maybe compatibility with newer hardware. I had to use backports a few times, and that was a hassle. Any other advantage I'm overlooking?
    • Re:Why Ubuntu? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @05:56PM (#20933057) Journal

      Am I not seeing some advantage that a pre-installed Ubuntu would bring? Maybe compatibility with newer hardware.
      I think you answered your own question. How many hours are spent researching Linux compatibility before purchasing new computers? Buying a system with Ubuntu pre-installed gives one a guarantee that the hardware as a basic level of support in that distro.

      Also, perhaps the PHBs who are used to buying computers with Windows pre-installed will feel more comfortable about buying (or rather, approving the purchase of) a server if the OS is pre-installed.
    • I'm much the same. I really prefer plain Debian compared to Ubuntu so far, and also use netinst. I've recently tried Ubuntu Desktop (7.04) on my laptops, and it seems to be good for them (due to having restricted drivers). For a server though, what would be the benefit? Does it have utilities that work better than other distro's in the way that Ubuntu Desktop tends to have Xorg configurators that are different and sometimes better than other distro's?

      I haven't got a clue what I'm doing wrong, but every t
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aladrin ( 926209 )
      I'm gonna get modded down to hell, but I'm going to say this anyhow:

      Ubuntu Server is for novice system admins that just have to have all the newest bells and whistles. I'm in the group as far as my personal projects go. I would not consider installing it at work, though, even an LTS. (We -are- thinking about Gentoo, but that's headed by someone who uses it a lot already. We currently have RedHat.)

      I can't count the number of times at work I've said 'Man, if we had Ubuntu server, upgrading that would be S
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        If you're investigating server software, don't forget to check out the BSDs.
      • Re:Why Ubuntu? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shados ( 741919 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @06:17PM (#20933311)
        I don't disagree with you, but one has to realise that servers are not all the big mission critical machines in datacenters we tend to picture them as. There are probably as many "non-mission-critical" servers as there are the others, and for those, a "Server for Dummy" install probably is cost effective in the long run.

        Case in point: the company I work for offers a relatively advanced web solution. The software doesn't actually deal with mission critical data, it is used for projections and on the fly analytic operations, on a user per user basis. So each user has a copy of the data and basically mess with it the way they bloody want until they get an acceptable result, print a report, then go to their primary system (which isn't by us, and is totally independant in every ways, shape and form) and perform mission critical operations THERE.

        For our servers, we can toss the app on anything, passwords can be in plain text (well, could if users didn't reuse passwords all over, which isn't the case so I guess they can't!), the machine can be tossed and kicked around, it doesn't really matter if the system's down for a day, or a week, as long as it comes back and it "works".

        This is actually an incredibly common scenario, and more and more as a lot of software is moved to simple web apps (because of the Web 2.0 overhype) and other such things, especially since hardware is so cheap (I've seen servers running cache engines made with less than 300 lines of code, including comments, in a farm... hardly mission critical either), so there's IS a pretty high demand for "dumb-friendly" servers that don't even require the sysadmin intervention when they screw up.

        In such cases, something like Ubuntu Server probably fits the bill amazingly nicely. If the machine screws up BAD, you call the sysadmin...but the rest of the time, let said professional handle the important stuff, and have the junior manage the non-critical, novice friendly environments. Saves time and money for everyone.
      • any major version upgrade carries some risk.

        one option is to use vm's, that way you can isolate troublesome apps in thier own vms running whatever old OS they are happiest on without worrying about hardware compatibility or other stuff on the system.

      • Well, Gentoo is your golden child for believing that updates need to break the system. That's why I left it. When not running beta (ie 5 out of the 6 months of their release cycle) I've had NOTHING break on a DESKTOP system.

        On the server side, I generally update my 6.06 boxen once a month or so, and the worst of it has been rebooting due to a small kernel rev. No muss, no fuss.

        Gentoo OTOH, was a nightmare with system dependencies breaking inside the package manager. So I don't see the piming of Gentoo as so
        • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
          As I've never run Gentoo, I can't argue for or against it.

          But Kubuntu... I've run the beta on Dapper, Edgy, Feisty and now Gutsy. There have always been little things wrong with anything new but they were always fixed on release. For example, my current problem: All video that gets run through Xine is slanted. Like WTF. VLC works fine. KMPlayer (using Xine) doesn't. Kaffeine (Xine again!) doesn't.

          It's particularly exasperating since I moved from a perfectly working Feisty 64-bit to a broken Gusty 32
          • Gutsy == Beta, which I specifically mentioned not in Beta in my comment. You really can't complain about packaging stuff when you're the one testing it to make sure its packaged right. That's why they have betas. File the bug.
            • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
              My fault, I misread it. Yeah, then I've had no issues with Kubuntu on the releases. It's been rock solid.
              • And I've honestly had only a handful of problems on the betas. That's why I'm willing to put my main personal laptop in the line of fire for Beta testing. I know a thing or two will break, but I also know that I'm helping to keep the release versions trouble free for those that want to use them. Especially given how often I install custom compiled unstable versions of stuff that's also in the repos, I feel like my little amd_64 laptop is making a bit of a contribution in making sure that the newer package s
    • If you forget your password of get locked out somehow or another just check milw0rm and they'll have an exploit^H^H^H^H^H^H^H solution. Seriously though. I have seen several hosting companies use Ubuntu as a server, and I have yet to see a single one that didn't have some glaringly obvious hole it in. Ubuntu is probably the least secure of all the major distro's.
      • Re:Why Ubuntu? (Score:4, Informative)

        by oatworm ( 969674 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @10:21PM (#20935431) Homepage
        Just installed Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Server on a box. Let's see what's running...

        Netstat -an shows no open ports.
        The root account is disabled.
        Ps -ef shows some kernel modules, some gtty instances, and that's it.
        Oh, did I mention I don't have an X console or anything?

        Am I missing something? Last I tried CentOS (an older version, mind you), root was not only enabled, it was what you logged in as initially. When I installed Debian Sarge a few years ago for a class I was taking, the first thing we had to do after the initial install was shut down a couple of services so only SSH was running (FTP was one of them, if I remember correctly) - with Ubuntu Server, I'm going to have to turn SSH on, along with anything else I want on. That said, Ubuntu Server does make some interesting choices - for example, single user mode has network support. That's a little strange. Other than that, though, no complaints. Granted, SELinux isn't on, but that's fine by me - I didn't turn it on, and maybe I'd like to use something else. At least Ubuntu isn't trying to make that decision for me. Seeing as there's no way for anyone to access my box remotely at the moment anyways, I can make that decision on my own time.

        Anybody care to elaborate on this?
    • What takes a long time is all the configuration of the needed services, and customization

      One word: puppet ... It's working wonders for us, though we're not exactly a mega sophisticated operation.

      Also, I don't see Dell offering pre-installed Debian systems. If you're running Debian, that means you're wiping and installing anyway. There would have to be a bit of satisfaction in knowing you didn't pay the MS tax on a server, if you're just going to wipe it for Debian. Although now that I think of it, don't they have a "No OS" option for servers?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by STFS ( 671004 )
      One potential advantage would be the ability to purchase support [ubuntu.com] from the company that "makes" the distribution like you can with RedHat. I'm sure there are companies that provide similar services for Debian but maybe someone would be more at ease to deal directly with the people who actually make the distro.

      I don't know what the "Server Support package" includes but it sounds fancy.

    • At least Ubuntu 7.04 (perhaps also 6.10, but not 6.06 LTS) is compiled with fstack-protector; Debian is not. However, both Debian and Ubuntu make it very hard, if not impossible, to find any information about proactive security features, contrary to e.g. Fedora, where you can fetch all the information from a single web page (http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Security/Features [fedoraproject.org]). I'm only sure about fstack-protector in 7.04 because I've tested some exploits...
    • by Synn ( 6288 )
      Compatibility with new hardware is a big reason. The other reason is that the stable Ubuntus have much more recent software than the stable Debians. It's sort of a blessing and a curse though.

      I run Debian on my personal server and love that it never changes, but at work I need to use Ubuntu for some of the more recent packages it comes with.
    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )
      I'm currently running Debian stable on all my servers. Why would I want to get the next with Ubuntu? Would it be just as stable?

      There's a great opportunity here. Ubuntu could be the Windows Server 2003 of Linux! Don't you see that?
  • If Microsoft charged Dell $300 for Windows, I'm sure we'd see fewer Dell systems with Windows on them.
    • by Shados ( 741919 )
      The cost would be passed to the customer. If the customers kept paying, then you wouldn't see any decrease in dell sales of Windows. So yes, its all customer demand (-especially- on servers).
      • the important thing being the customer should a/ know how much the operating system costs and b/ be able to get the computer without windows. if these two things aren't possible, then of course sales of windows aren't going to decrease. it does not however mean that the customer wants windows.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @06:03PM (#20933143)
    The wiki article on Canonical says that it has 90+ employees. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canonical_Ltd [wikipedia.org] Mark Shuttleworth himself is rich but not remarkably so. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Shuttleworth [wikipedia.org]

    Given that other Linux distros have more employees backing them, it is pretty impressive that Ubuntu has made the progress it has. Given all of the above, I am led to the conclusion that Mark Shuttleworth is indeed a very smart guy. In that light, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the servers ship and sell well.
    • Shuttleworth founded Thawte in 1995, which specialised in digital certificates and Internet security and then sold it to VeriSign in December 1999, earning R 3.5 billion (about 575 million US dollars at the time).

      Myself, I consider 575 million US dollars to be remarkable riches.
      Dropping 20 million bills on a space holiday - that's a remarkable amount of disposable personal cash.
      Bootstrapping Ubuntu with $10 million out of your own pocket - remarkable.
      HBDVC - remarkable.

  • by outZider ( 165286 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @06:11PM (#20933239) Homepage
    As a user of Ubuntu Server on a 60+ machine deployment for $work, Canonical is seriously going to have to take the server distro up a notch before this could possibly work. The server distro, in stark contrast to Desktop, is a horribly hacked together mess that gives off the impression that it isn't really studied much at all. While Desktop shows the best and brightest of Linux integration, the server distro is just as barebones as the alternative distro, and manages to screw things up in terms of out of box experience.

    Am I looking for a UI? No. I want a few basic things.

    1: A proper, usable deployment system. debian-installer is good for the basics, but it's a pain in the behind to set up, and doesn't support scripting a RAID/mdadm install, or LVM. This "sucks". Take a look at Redhat or CentOS for a little inspiration.
    2: A boot screen that doesn't look like vomited output. Why does the login prompt appear before services have finished loading? I support being able to use the machine before services have stopped. I do not need "Starting PostgreSQL" appearing as I'm entering my login credentials locally.
    3: A server kernel that always installs. Why does the installer give me the generic kernel when I'm installing the server distro? Why do I have to manually install the server kernel on boot up, and then remove the generic kernel?
    4: Easily add services. You get 'LAMP server' or 'DNS server' or nothing. I had to create a custom installer just to have openssh-server install by default on first load, without apache or MySQL, or other crap floating around in there as well.

    It sounds whiny, I know, but we really like the debian-style package management system with the modern services Ubuntu provides. It's great for that purpose. As a real server distro, though, long way to go yet.

    I hope this lights that fire under Canonical to pay some attention to Server.
    • Every time I install a Red Hat box I have to spend a lot of time turning off useless services. I like Ubuntu Server because it comes with nothing. Much easier to set up and maintain only the few services you really need.
    • I'm running Ubuntu on a couple servers, from my observations it was a step up and down from the CentOS 4 Servers I was running before (Red Hat EL 3 before that)

      The good:

      Lots of more packages available than RH and more support than CentOS.

      The installation was great had LAMP on the CD - PHP5, MySQL5, Apache 2.

      Adding packages is a breeze much better the the RPM tool of CentOS.

      PhpMyadmin from the installer was a nice thing as that was missing from CentOS.

      Updates are pretty painless too.

      The not as good:

      I miss th
  • I'd definitely consider getting certified but Canonical's certification program doesn't seem well developed. Unless there's another one I don't know about, your only options are Toronto and Seattle.

    I'm definitely up for supporting Dell Ubuntu servers.

  • !ElLobo? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2007 @07:34PM (#20934139) Journal
    Sorry for asking this here, I hope I do not get modded offtopic as, it in fact is related to this story (see tags).

    I have seen in some slashdot stories this !Ellobo , but I have absolutely no idea of what does it mean. Does anyone knows the reference?

    Thank you in advance
    • by Trogre ( 513942 )
      and while we're at it can someone explain the linuxnotlinuzzzshithead tag? Who ever used the term linuzzz?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Look out for a user named 'ellobo'. He likes trolling Linux related stories, he calls Linux 'Linuzzz'. Do an in-page search for 'linuzzz' and you'll see him. :)

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie