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Canonical Chases Deal to Ship Ubuntu Server OS

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the customer-feedback-at-work dept.

Linux Business 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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Pre-installed OS (5, Interesting)

totallygeek (263191) | more than 6 years ago | (#20932799)

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.

Pre-installed SHOULD mean "working drivers". (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20932875)

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:Pre-installed SHOULD mean "working drivers". (2, Interesting)

totallygeek (263191) | more than 6 years ago | (#20932945)

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:Pre-installed SHOULD mean "working drivers". (2, Informative)

ragefan (267937) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935423)

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.

Re:Pre-installed SHOULD mean "working drivers". (3, Informative)

Zonk (troll) (1026140) | more than 6 years ago | (#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] .

Re:Pre-installed SHOULD mean "working drivers". (3, Insightful)

Sillygates (967271) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935107)

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.

Re:Pre-installed SHOULD mean "working drivers". (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935227)

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

I think thats anyone really asks for on the server end. I understand why pre-installation is nessecary from major OEM's on desktops but servers are not exactly a "one size fits all" scenario.

All they should be required to do is ship a media kit and any drivers for devices that dont work out of the box.

Re:Pre-installed OS (1)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#20932907)

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 amazes me.

Re:Pre-installed OS (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933745)

Nothing more please, its just more work for us erasing it.
Unless you are extremely paranoid and need to do some serious disk erasage, what on earth are you spending time erasing? Just install whatever OS you planned on installing as if there was nothing on the hard drive. Wait, if you were that paranoid, you would do the same with a brand new HDD anyway. So seriously, what are you erasing?

Re:Pre-installed OS (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934065)

I think you took the word "erasing" too literally.

Re:Pre-installed OS (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934157)

What other way could I take it? The poster said it was more work to erase the pre-installed OS. It's no more work to "erase" a pre-installed OS and install another, then it is to just install an OS, unless you really mean to wipe the hard drive first.

Re:Pre-installed OS (2, Insightful)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935101)

Well, there *are* more commands that have to be run in fdisk. Its more work in that regard, so it *is* still more work :P

Re:Pre-installed OS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20933913)

you sir are a visionary. the way you were able to see all the variables and come up with the perfect answer for everyone.

you're so good at paring down an argument, gutting logic so that it's an empty bag, flitting across the lawn....

you should run for president.

now for reality. your comment is beyond useless. if your comment was a person, it would be squarely placing the business end of the barrel, under the chin, big toe stretching for the trigger.

if you're going to come up with any more nuggets of wisdom, i suggest you do the same.

have a good day.

I disagree... (2, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934287)

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... (1)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934873)

Look up sysrescue CD. Its got all the standard recovery tools, and X11 for gparted. Small ISO size too.

Re:I disagree... (2, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935519)

Sorry, I should have said that I want this supported by the hardware manufacturer. If I call them saying that hardware has failed, I don't want to have to argue about it, and I definitely don't want to have to format my drive to prove it isn't a software problem. I want to put in a CD that the manufacturer agrees will load the hardware into a usable state. If the computer fails to function, then there would be no argument about whether it is hardware or software.

Re:Pre-installed OS (2)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933103)

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.

Re:Pre-installed OS (1)

blitziod (591194) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935757)

sure pre installed os my suck for you if you have dedicated IT dept. Small companies that have 1 or maybe 2 servers often do not have this.

Re:Pre-installed OS (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933249)

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 (1)

HardWoodWorker (1032490) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933463)

I always thought the pre-installed OS was handy for testing the hardware. However, you're right. Once I've confirmed everything is working correctly, I reformat.

Re:Pre-installed OS (5, Informative)

Hercynium (237328) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933505)

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:Pre-installed OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20935187)

if someday Oracle announces support for Ubuntu, it could be a dream come true!
Sounds like a nightmare.

Instead of hoping Oracle will support Ubuntu, why don't you spend your fantasy dollars on replacing your ERP/Financial System/Whatever with a better free alternative that doesn't require Oracle? I'm an Oracle admin. It's a fine database and all, but I also know free alternatives (PostgreSQL) which would be just excellent for 99% of the applications people use Oracle for.

I use Oracle for the same reason I use Microsoft: because sometimes I have to. The second the need evaporates, that boat will be sailing over the horizon.

Ubuntu's "security model" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20933555)

Ubuntu? I'll take a pass. Especially having seen recent demonstrations of Ubuntu's security model [eweek.com] .

Lunix may be free... but they can't PAY me enough to use that stuff.

Re:Pre-installed OS (1)

jbsouthe (448785) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933761)

Well, if you had to order a dozen servers and you knew you were going to be running anything but windows, why would you pay the windows tax, and if they have a working linux kernel it may ensure drivers and configurations for linux, it may keep them from choosing hardware that is not compatible.

Time is money (2)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933809)

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 hour wasted money. Not to mention uncertainty over how external drivers will work with future OS updates.

They are now looking at getting machines that are pre-installed so compatibility won't be an issue going forwards.

If Ubuntu had pre-installed servers her in Aus I'd be on them lickety-split.

Re:Time is money (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934001)

> 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]

Re:Pre-installed OS (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933903)

> 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 installation process.

Are you worrying that it'll increase the cost of the computer for them to preinstall an OS (even if the OS itself is free)? I guess that's an valid argument...

Re:Pre-installed OS (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934797)

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 biz.

Re:Pre-installed OS (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935607)

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? (1, Informative)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#20932811)

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:But is it supported? (3, Informative)

radeex (1126305) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933127)

I already mentioned this in response to another post, but yes, it's really really supported. http://canonical.com/support [canonical.com]

Makes sense (0, Troll)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20932821)

Offering a Linuz distro (even Ubuntu) as a server makes more sense than offerig it as a desktop, IMO. I purchased 2 Dell servers running Linuzzz (years ago, when they offered Redhat) and they were a great deal, still running together with our 2 Dells running Windows 2003 server. No problems at all.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20933029)

How the hell is THAT supposed to be a troll? Moderators on crack again

Back on topic, yes, I purchased a Dell when they used to pre-install redhat server on it back in 2002 (I think). They worked great out of the box. A little overconfigurated, but nothing that couldn't be fixed in 2-3 hours.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20933213)

It's so fucking stupid that it can be nothing but a troll. That's why, bitch.

the ballmer effect (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20932827)

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."

Technical hurdles... (0, Troll)

heauxmeaux (869966) | more than 6 years ago | (#20932829)

I have had a large, and very painful erection for the last 12 hours...medical advice?

Re:Technical hurdles... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20933991)

Use a different package manager.

Re:Technical hurdles... (1)

popeye44 (929152) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935513)

Read your sig?

Servers...WTF? (1, Insightful)

j35ter (895427) | more than 6 years ago | (#20932837)

AFAIK Ubuntu was developed for the *desktop& market...did I miss sth?

Re:Servers...WTF? (1)

radeex (1126305) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933009)

Yes, you missed something. From ubuntu.com: "Ubuntu is a community developed, linux-based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers."

Does it really matter? (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933053)

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 directory structures for that install and, so far, the installs from those things go perfectly. I just really hate trying to find stuff on a new release when I tried a couple of times downloading a distro from the web.

Re:Servers...WTF? (0, Offtopic)

inzy (1095415) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933457)

> AFAIK Ubuntu was developed for the *desktop& market...did I miss sth?

Yes, looks like you missed the '8' key (that's the one with the asterisk), not the & (on the '7')

--

sigs are for losers

Re:Servers...WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934155)

Apparently you missed the existence of Ubuntu Server Edition [ubuntu.com] . After all, Ubuntu is "just" a heavily modified Debian, and Debian is used for servers, so Ubuntu should work for that purpose too. Debian Stable is probably still much better choise for a long term solution, but Ubuntu Server is not bad either.

Smart (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20932853)

Just ship the damn things with Debian, you won't have to pay^H^H^Hchase anybody.

Re:Smart (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934607)

Ubuntu server is going to start using eBox [ebox-platform.com] "Really Soon Now"^tm. This will be great for new admins and small businesses. It's really easy to set up LDAP / Samba / Mail / Jabber and pretty much anything else SMBs need with a nice clicky interface.

Know any other easy way to do LDAP on Linux, short of spending large cash? Doing it myself (especially with OpenLDAP) caused lesions in my brain last time. Think of the children!

Seriously, though, eBox (and by extension, Ubuntu Server 8.10) looks slick for the market it was designed for.

Worst-case-scenario for Linux as a whole (3, Insightful)

SpiritGod21 (884402) | more than 6 years ago | (#20932885)

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.

Re:Worst-case-scenario for Linux as a whole (4, Informative)

radeex (1126305) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Thank you.. (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935563)

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.

Why would there be failures? (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why would there be failures? (3, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933449)

#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 [64.233.169.104] ") Multiply that by however many Dell sells, and the grandparent has a point: can they handle it?

Re:Why would there be failures? (2, Insightful)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933705)

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.

Re:Why would there be failures? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934071)

> 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?

Re:Why would there be failures? (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934793)

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.

Re:Why would there be failures? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934875)

> 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.

Re:Worst-case-scenario for Linux as a whole (1)

grommit (97148) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933217)

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:Worst-case-scenario for Linux as a whole (2, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933579)

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. And there-in lies the problem. Canonical are just looking for the gold.

It's a shame since Ubuntu is the opposite of most other distros out there, and hence makes poor server and good desktop. Greed may ruin the distro on both server and desktop markets, and with it, all recent hopes of take-up of Linux installs on the desktop.

Why I will never let Ubuntu near a server (2, Informative)

gambolt (1146363) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935577)

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 late? Would you even care why this
check is needed if you see that some other car doesn't do this check
or has a more efficient checking method?

Seriously, the solution that Ubuntu has chosen is just an ugly hack
because nobody wanted to implement automatic checks in the background,
but there are quite a few people (as you can also see in the bug
reports) who don't like this situation. In any serious company that
cares about its users and the user experience the solution would be
very simple: Either it's implemented correctly or not at all.

I still am convinced that fsck is _not_ the right tool for the purpose.
Ext3 already has a journal that should (hopefully) avoid file system
corruption due power failures. What is the point in running fsck
periodically? If it's to check for disk errors, then badblocks is the
right tool and it can run read-only on a mounted filesystem. Moreover,
if the point is to check periodically, then we could check a small
amount of blocks at a time,using low disk priority like search daemons
(should) do, or even check random blocks.

Finally, I want to point out to those that say fsck defends your data: I
have a desktop machine which hosts an internal service, so it's
continuously up. I once rebooted, disk was damaged, and I couldn't no
longer boot or recover data (I had a backup, in any case, but it's not
so typical with desktop users). However, it had an uptime of months. If
I had an online check (e.g. read-only fsck, or smart, or badblocks) I
would have discovered the problem before, and would have been able to
recover some data. I know this by long experience, so don't tell me it's
not likely.


The degree of ignorance shown about basic things is staggering.

Why Ubuntu? (3, Interesting)

rduke15 (721841) | more than 6 years ago | (#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? (3, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933057)

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.

Re:Why Ubuntu? (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933065)

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 time I attempt configuring SAMBA with SWAT or system-config-samba on Fedora, or using Webmin, none of them seem capable of writing the smb.conf file correctly and I end up just editing it by hand (stupid things like make an option say yes, but commented out). Does the Ubuntu Server have utilities that actually write the crap correctly? Even on Ubuntu Desktop, the smb folder sharing widget seems to do it incorrectly...

Re:Why Ubuntu? (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933119)

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 SO easy.' But then I stop and think 'Yeah, and what would the frequent updates break?' We've had -planned- updates to critical components go horribly wrong before, and are even using a very old version of 1 library because we had issues with a newer version, and the sysadmin (at the time) was afraid to mess with it any more. When we upgrade next, it'll be tons of fun finding out what works and what doesn't, I'm sure.

Re:Why Ubuntu? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20933277)

If you're investigating server software, don't forget to check out the BSDs.

Re:Why Ubuntu? (4, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why Ubuntu? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933341)

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.

Re:Why Ubuntu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20933771)

Ubuntu is Debian unstable with 6 months of bug fixes. Debian stable is extremely stable and releases approximately every 5 years. This is great if it does what you want but if you need something newer then using the 6 month version is a better option (although really I can't see using anything besides the LTS releases for servers).

Re:Why Ubuntu? (1)

Lesrahpem (687242) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934165)

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? (3, Informative)

oatworm (969674) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935431)

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?

Re:Why Ubuntu? (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934431)

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:Why Ubuntu? (2, Insightful)

STFS (671004) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934961)

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.

Not all customer demand (1)

jessiej (1019654) | more than 6 years ago | (#20932943)

If Microsoft charged Dell $300 for Windows, I'm sure we'd see fewer Dell systems with Windows on them.

Re:Not all customer demand (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933175)

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).

Customers... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20933017)

Wonder what strange customers that must be that they want Ubuntu. It's probably all Microsoft convertites.

ubuntu is a joke (1)

R00BYtheN00BY (1118945) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933083)

linux is for FAGGOTS vista 4 life

Re:ubuntu is a joke (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933255)

I doubt it. Vista will be pretty long in the tooth 20 years from now. And the version that they release at the time (if they exist...monopolies can't last forever) will almost definitely cost money.

Canonical is hitting above its weight (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Why Ubuntu? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20933223)

Should we not look at other Alternatives other than Ubuntu for a server? C'mon what about about CentOS?

Then again who wants a Dell server.

You guys will have to seriously take it up a notch (5, Informative)

outZider (165286) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933239)

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.

Re:You guys will have to seriously take it up a no (1)

flakron (1146337) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933593)

Depends. To me that I've got used to Ubuntu Server, it'd come pretty hard to go to another server OS be it Windows Server or other Linux Server OS. I've built a few Asterisk boxes with Ubuntu Server 7.04 and got friendly with the system, and it's my personal opinion but I think it's very easy to work with. Till now the Asterisk Server that my company has, has never crashed. I'm very satisfied with Ubuntu Server, I'm not changing to another one, not without giving me great headache that I had with a Windows Server (had problems with the domain).

Re:You guys will have to seriously take it up a no (1)

outZider (165286) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933725)

It is easy to work with, and it doesn't stop me from using it. As I said, we have a few tens of servers, and they're all running Ubuntu Server Edgy or Feisty. But, if you compare what Ubuntu Server provides, compared to FreeBSD, CentOS, or Windows Server, it comes up very short. If you're using it on 2-3 machines, it's no big deal.

Re:You guys will have to seriously take it up a no (1)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933923)

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.

My biggest beef (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934199)

I don't know about Ubuntu, but another big issue I have w/ Debian (and I use it a lot) is that they make all runlevels the same. That sucks a lot. There should be a single user boot, a no-network bare-bones multi-user boot, a network boot, and a full network boot w/ NFS. Debian really needs to establish a sane runlevel scheme (or adopt a BSD-style boot), and then demand that all packaged applications respect it.

Me Too (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934841)

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 the nice 'just works' system-config-users, samba, etc. tools of RH/CentOS, I installed gsambad but it is still lacking and munges the config file comments.

There are bugs, like the DAV lock permission problem, may be an apache issue but it hasn't been patched in Ubuntu officially AFAIK.

Part of the installer puts in a MySQL account to provide automatic MySQL updates, restoring my MySQL data from the backup tar from CentOS, I overwrote the account, took a little research to get it back. Both those solutions were easily Googleable BTW.

Nothing too bad though.

Otherwise seems to work fine and am pretty happy to be away from the RH shadow and the lack of CentOS RPM support.

This situation has already kind of happened . (0, Troll)

Stu101 (1031686) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933273)

We finally bought a custom php/mysql app (Bespoke @ $6K, cheapest package with support we ever bought)

I asked what distro they wanted, suggesting Ubuntu 6.06 server LTS (I use it on desktop therefore more comfortable with it, as I used to be windows only)

I had to get a basic server with ssh ready.

I was told (in a round about way) DONT... EVER..., use Centos, or Debian stable. Just dont whatever you do use Ubuntu on a public facing IP. These people arent amatuers either, they develop PHP/MySQL/Linux solutions for a living. Left me wondering about the viability of it as a server.

Re:This situation has already kind of happened . (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933497)

Why? I use Ubuntu 6.06 for public facing home servers. Haven't had any troubles. Is this just FUD, or do you have a valid reason?

Re:This situation has already kind of happened . (2)

Markspark (969445) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934187)

baha, they develop in paint.net ? come on, this is just trolling, there are no open services installed by default, so the box should be reasonably safe, as long as you aren't a complete moron. But yeah, i also use debian stable for work, but for the stability, not for security.. it's not windows 98 you know. So yeah, i'd say that they are amateurs speaking out of their asses.

Re:This situation has already kind of happened . (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934371)

These people arent amatuers either, they develop PHP/MySQL/Linux solutions for a living.
As someone who has worked in PHP/MySQL/Linux solution companies all I can say is these people know nothing about Linux.

Linux is the thing they ftp into to upload the php files. Most development is done on their local windows box running apache.

I really don't understand why you think people who can do a bit of web scripting are somehow Linux professionals..

Just to be pedantic... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20933501)

It's called "Ubuntu", not "Ubuntu Linux".

I like Linux and all... (-1, Troll)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933737)

... but does it come with IIS?

Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20933763)

I hope some of Dell's magnanimousness makes its way to the original Debian distribution to which both they and Ubuntu ultimately owe fealty. They certainly don't legally owe Debian anything; nor has the Debian project done what it has for these many years with the expectation of some future payout. However, if billionaires like Michael Dell aren't able to even say "thank you" to the folks who's hard work and perseverance help make their fortune, well, that's just sad.

Certification? (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933867)

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? (2, Interesting)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934139)

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

Re:!ElLobo? (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934345)

and while we're at it can someone explain the linuxnotlinuzzzshithead tag? Who ever used the term linuzzz?

Re:!ElLobo? (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934927)

It's a new troll making its way around. Calling Linux Linuzzz while bashing it is the new "17MB file" troll.

Re:!ElLobo? (1)

halfloaded (932071) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934405)

Well, "el lobo" means wolf. So !ellobo means it is not a wolf. Perhaps, not a wolf in sheeps clothing. See the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wolf_in_Sheep's_Clothing [wikipedia.org] . From that article:

In English, "a wolf in sheep's clothing" has become a common metaphor for any hidden danger, or for any enemy putting on a false display of friendship.
Not sure what the fuck this has to do with anything.

Re:!ElLobo? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934433)

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. :)

Re:!ElLobo? (1)

wanderingknight (1103573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935487)

More like El Lobo. He's already trolling on this article.

i hear there is demand (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934755)

among gay porn site.
 
you stupid dick suckers.

Seems Bulletproof So Far (1)

justinchudgar (922219) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935291)

I have 14 boxes running Ubuntu Server 7.04 and none of them have had any issues in the past 6 or so months. They have been vastly more stable than the 3 Windows Server 2003 boxes.
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