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Newb-Friendly Linux Flavor For LAMP Server? 382

First time accepted submitter bhcompy writes "I need to setup a system to serve 2500 users and I've been looking at a LAMP setup. This is not commercial, more of a personal side project for some friends. I've no experience configuring or administering a Linux server having worked with MS and PICK based solutions my whole life, so I'm looking for something that will be relatively straightforward to implement and not a chore to manage and preferably not completely CLI. I will be serving a forum(phpBB 3 suits my needs and seems adequate) and a variety of PHP driven content with a MySQL backend. Requirements are PHP 5.3.0+ and MySQL 5+. Suggestions?"
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Newb-Friendly Linux Flavor For LAMP Server?

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  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @10:50AM (#37507928)
    For a completely unknown platform I'd suggest mucking about with a very small project with just yourself as a user or maybe a couple of others that don't care if it's down or broken. Once you know your way around you can then move on to something else.
    Making stupid mistakes in front of an audience of 2500 users would be embarrassing no matter how trivial the subject matter of the site is. You are better off making the stupid newbie mistakes where only you can see them. Having test and production environments only go so far if there is nobody in the project that really knows what you are testing for - if you don't know what you are doing your stupid stuff will go live.
  • Learn the CLI (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pcjunky ( 517872 ) <> on Sunday September 25, 2011 @11:04AM (#37508030) Homepage

    A simple Ubuntu or Debian 5 installation will fill the bill nicely. Webmin will take some of the sting out of having to learn the CLI. However any true IT professional should learn and use the CLI (Even newer MS servers can not be installed sans GUI). Once learned, it is quicker, simpler, more powerful way to do things than any other method I know.

    Don't let the unfriendly reputation of NIX scare you away. I did 16 years ago when I started our ISP. Went entirely Windows NT servers. What a mistake! These things were constantly failing for various reasons. I began learning Linux and slowly replacing the failed servers with Linux systems and they just didn't fail unless some hardware failed (not nearly as frequent).

    Life is much easer now and I spend very little time on server maintenance.

  • Conflicting goals? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @11:11AM (#37508074)

    not a chore to manage and preferably not completely CLI.

    Aren't these inherently directly conflicting goals?

    Easy to manage, is you change one little thing in your puppet config and puppet magically makes it happen, instead of having to babysit everything.

    Easy to manage is someone tells you "make /etc/apache2/apache2.conf look exactly like this" instead of "click on the 2nd icon from the right that looks like two mating centipedes, then look randomly about the screen until you find the icon that looks like a discarded kleenex, oh you're seeing an icon that looks like a black hole, well, then click two pages back" etc for about ten minutes.

    An analogy is "teach me physics, without any of that tedious math stuff".

  • Why not WAMP? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @11:17AM (#37508106)
    Have you even thought about a WAMP setup? A poorly admined Linux box is worse than a well managed Windows one. - from a *nix sysadmin
  • by TheSunborn ( 68004 ) <tiller@daimi.[ ]dk ['au.' in gap]> on Sunday September 25, 2011 @11:20AM (#37508130)
    How about just buying a webhotel instead of setting up a server?  I mean if you just need to run php5.3 and mysql there is really no need to setup your own server.
  • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @11:21AM (#37508142)

    If you don't understand Linux and won't/can't want to take the time to learn it properly, then it would make more sense to get a hosting account from a reputable web hoster. Or if you insist on running the machine yourself, hire someone to do the initial setup for you.

    In todays environment, you need to understand a great deal about many OS level things, most of which revolve around security. Firewalls, mail configurations, etc. Not setting these things up correctly can have bad consequences. For example, your server IP address is blacklisted by RBLs because you left your SMTP port open and spammers started using it.

  • Re:Easy. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smpoole7 ( 1467717 ) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @11:55AM (#37508314) Homepage

    I'm surprised that no one here has suggested Suse/OpenSUSE yet. It's extremely easy to install and set up, with a LAMP stack, ready to go off the disk. I realize that there are some philosophical reasons amongst the free software community against Suse, but I've never cared about those, just to be frank. And once you do get familiar with the CLI, Suse has an advantage that I haven't found in any other major distro: I can go in remotely with SSH and use the CLI Yast program. which uses an NCurses interface that duplicates the GUI version of Yast. Everything's in the same place. This is absolutely wonderful. :)

    I've used Ubuntu, and the last thing I want to do is start a flame war. Ubuntu LTS is extremely stable and yes, the online support is excellent. However ... it is almost entirely CLI for administration (unless you install Webmin/Virtualmin, as someone else here suggested), and if you go into the Ubuntu forums with a problem, the help provided will almost certainly be CLI. Also, speaking from experience, if it's a really puzzling problem, you'll get two or three conflicting suggestions. (Again, speaking from experience.)

    Remember, the original poster's experience is entirely with Microsoft-style stuff. That's where I was a decade ago, I can still remember how difficult it was to transition to Linux. Mandrake (now Mandriva) made my switch a breeze, even though others were screaming at me to use Red Hat or Debian (both of which I tried, and both of which almost soured me to Linux entirely). When you recommend something to the OP, keep that in mind. What's easy for YOU (going into /etc and editing a file, for example) might completely baffle him or her. Now add in the fact that most error reporting under Linux is via the log files, instead of pop-up screens.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @01:14PM (#37508736)

    Also, if you are uneasy with a CLI, you need to ask yourself whether you can actually do this. Unease with CLI is typically due to lack of understanding how things actually work. In that case you should stay in the MS world, where people are (mostly) protected from making severe mistakes but are seriously limited in what they can actually do.

    If you are trying to break out of the MS-world corset, then do not fear the CLI, learn to use it instead. It is the only way to be free of those restrictions, as GUIs are not and cannot be powerful interfaces due to fundamental limitations. Remember, the CLI gives you the power to command (and shoot yourself in the foot), while the GUI just interfaces you, allowing you to do just what the GUI designer chose to allow you to do. Both terms are surprisingly self-explanatory.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.