Ubuntu has been getting a lot of press and generating a lot of buzz in the desktop space recently. The Ubuntu installer also allows for a server-oriented installation. That begs the question: how cool is that!?
I really like running a Debian-based server because I can keep in touch with security and program updates with a quck
apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade. Right now stable is a bit mummified for my taste, but testing (Sarge) will become stable any month now, and has been quite solid for awhile. Sarge will be a great server platform for about the first year (year and a half?) after it is released. After that it will suffer from ancient packages and the inability to run the “cool new stuff” while at the same time it will be a tried and true and solid as can be server platform.
I think that running an Ubuntu-based server may actually be the best of all possible worlds. Here’s why:
- Ubuntu is based on Debian Unstable with additional packages
- There is a new Ubuntu release every six months based on these packages
- Each Ubuntu release is supported for 18 months after release (or 3 release iterations past the release).
This means that an Ubuntu release is running the latest packages, but because of the intense six month release cycle, these packages are scrutinized a lot and fixes made for an Ubuntu release head upstream and are usually patched in Debian proper. When the bleeding edge is a bit too harsh, you can often choose between versions. Enabling Universe and/or Multiverse opens up easy installation of thousands of packages that do just about everything you can think of. I don’t think I’ve come across a desktop app that I really needed that wasn’t in one of these repositories.
Security updates are also availble for a reasonable amount of time after release so that a major upgrade only need be executed every year and a half if you would rather not track the latest release. If you prefer the bleeding edge, apt makes it fairly painless to upgrade between releases and any known peculiarities will be addressed in the release notes.