Looking for minimal linux server distro (with LAMP+mail+dns+ssh), any suggestions

Looking for minimal linux distribution to setup development server on VMWare.
Must include LAMP mail dns ssh.
Don’t need any fancy GUI stuff(don’t want to spend GBs of hdd space), only barebones terminal

I’m sure there’re lot of such distributions, so asking for your experience.)

Thanks for all suggestions.

I’m not at home right now, but I have a book that’s dedicated to Linux distributions. I’ll check it for you when I get home.

I just browsed, at the bookstore, Sitepoint/s book on setting up a LAMP install and it looks pretty good.

However, based on your criteria of a small distro, look at FreeBSD or openBSD, or even NetBSD. All can run LAMP under 1GB, I believe.

Hmm… the book I have doesn’t say much. But it does provide links to some sites you might be interested in:


Sorry I can’t help you anymore than that.

Ubuntu does a reasonably small server install (seperate download to the normal livecd / installer), easy to update and maintain using apt-get.

Equally theres CentOS which has a server install CD (CentOS is based on Redhat’s source, so is as similar as you can get) plenty of packages for it and its easy to update and maintain using Yum.

Thanks a lot for links and suggestions, dudes. Got enough links to explore.
Wish me luck trying to setup 4 servers and cluster 'em.

Actually I’m used to debian-style apt package juggling, doesn’t matter that much nowadays tho.)

DEBIAN! DEBIAN! DEBIAN! A wonderful distro for a lamp server in my opinion, and does’nt use much resources. Get the web install cd. Takes a while to download some stuff sometimes (averages about 300 kb/s for me from oregan.edu’s mirror) so it will take you about 15 minutes to install. I have a copy running on a server class machine from '98. 200 MHZ and 256 MB RAM, 256 might even be overkill until you hit some decent sized SQL tables. Just make sure you steer clear of the GUI. You’ll get used to it :slight_smile:

PS. Check out www.webmin.com once you get debian up! I would install Debian, then apache with php4. Install webmin and then install all your extra features from webmin automatically, so much easier.

You could also get a ready-to-go LAMP virtual appliance image from the vmware website:




We run Debian Sarge w/ DotDeb packages on our Web LAMP XenVMs (10 so far, will have about 50 in the next few months). The image is about 120MB. :slight_smile: I built the basic image from debootstrap.

If you want something newer to play with that has a longer support time, try Ubuntu Dapper Server LTS (supported until 2011).

I found something geek-ier than VMWare – Cooperative Linux.
It’s free and open source, and runs Linux on Microsoft Windows natively (yea, its really fast). Here’s my Cooperative Linux experience

Interesting. I’ll have to check it out. (by the way, you might want to put that in your signature for improved visibility)

Thanks for idea