By Harry Fuecks

User Mode Linux Day 0

By Harry Fuecks

OK – finally getting round to a hosted User Mode Linux (UML) account. Have picked a provider and the wheels are in motion…

Why UML vs. dedicated server? First the “economics” generally look better. Also, within a virtual server, I should truly be “god” – can install whatever I want – it’s virtual after all – good news when you’re a control freak. Also (in theory) it’s more stable – it should be possible to move a virtual server from one physical machine to another fairly easily in case of failure (of course the host needs to offer this though).

What’s interesting from the start, compared to your typical shared hosting account, is you’re confronted with more decisions than just “How much disk space / bandwidth is needed?”. You also need to think about how much ram (I’m going to start with 64Mb which should be enough for mucking around but I doubt will be enough for a site doing anthing intensive and taking significant traffic) and other questions like what Linux distro do you want.

Beyond that will be interesting to see if my moderate Linux skills are enough to be able to manage a User Mode Linux account. We shall see…

Distro-wise, will probably end up with Fedora Core but what would you pick (should be able to request other distros)?

Know my way around Suse pretty well, at least to run my own PC but both Suse and Fedora seem to be fairly conservative when it comes to making packages available for recent PHP versions (and I don’t want to compile my own this time) and of couse I need PHP5. Also cant see myself running X over the Internet so no need to think about Gnome / KDE so a more minimal disto might be better suited.

Perhaps Debian which I’ve had a little experience with? Jason also got me interested in Gentoo recently (should be setting up another PC with it at home shortly), which might be another option.

  • Merlin Unknown

    If your not going to be requiring a GUI, go with a more minimal distribution. Not sure where to point you in that direction as I have just begun my walk through the open source world. In the last few months, I have moved over to being 90+% dependent on Linux for everything I do (including programming, web site design, and graphic design), and let me just say that I’d never go back.

    For all you out there who want to get into Linux, are just starting out, etc., I have found that Mandrake Linux is an awesome distro. And, it has the capabilities to be as minimal or as powerful as you want it to be, concerning everything from a home family PC to a robust and secure server.

    Check it out…and, although I haven’t done it personally, I’m sure PHP5 can be set up with out a hitch.

  • I like Mandrake too (for the desktop). Like Red Hat it tends to be cutting edge package wise. Also Mandrake have gone to town making the packages “correct”. The whole package management thing has got a lot more reliable, esp. when used with Red Carpet on the desktop.

    Debian is super conservative (Martin Fowler has a recent blog on this). Package managment is straight forward, but I have personally been bitten by it. Once managed to uninstall an entire box when a package downgraded Perl from 5 to 4 :(.

    That’s the limit of my knowledge.

    yours, Marcus

  • Gentoo all the way. What other distributions already have a build available for php5? How about one that is tuned for your processor architecture and with only the extensions you need? The portage/ebuild system with gentoo is miles ahead of any binary package system from the other distros in terms of flexibilty.

  • cyngon

    +1 for Gentoo.

  • ausurt

    Yep, Gentoo is the way to go. They have a UML guide on their site I think.

  • willthiswork

    Gentoo or Slackware.

  • Dangermouse

    …. Yea, XML! hehe

  • +1 for Gentoo, although I’m a newbie in Linux and I had some trouble to set it up, it’s exactly what I was looking for.

  • Cam

    I like Gentoo as well, recently installed it on another machine here and I fell in love with SSH. Great fun.

  • Mike

    I’d take Debian, if you don’t want to spend too much time with setting up your server (read some days). But if it’s just for fun…

    However, I would surely not use one of those usually great for desktop systems.

  • *Bumps Gentoo*

    Go for the gold with Gentoo!!!

  • Will

    Personally, although Gentoo’s nice, the time spent compiling is a real pain. I moved back to Slackware after giving Gentoo a try for awhile.

    I’d suggest going with Slackware. It’s generally considered to be one of the most stable and one of the fastest distributions available.

    Oddly enough, even faster than Gentoo in many situations. Especially if you don’t get your compiler settings _just_ right for your particular hardware, Gentoo can actually be slower than most other distributions (here come the flames, I’m sure :-).

  • iansym

    Well… I’ll just add another vote for Gentoo, though I’ve been admining a FreeBSD server recently and have to say that it is also very nice.

    If you don’t mind me asking, what UML provider have you chosen to play with? I’ve been looking at a few of them myself, but haven’t quite decided on one.

  • Travis Swicegood

    I have to say, I’m partial to Redhat. I’ve been using Fedora Core (1 originally, 2 since it came out) and I’m loving it for my desktop needs. It was actually pretty painless to get wireless up and running with Fedora Core 2. I’ve thought about giving Gentoo a try – I like the approach of lean mean and fast, but I keep putting it off because I don’t want to go through the install hassle. It’s nice to start up a few ISO downloads when you go to bed, burn the CDs when you get up, and install the distro later that day without needing anything else.

    For my servers, I have to say I’m still a RH guy – RHEL 3 though. I have RHEL 3 + Cpanel for the server I host my clients on and I just setup another RHEL 3 bare installation for my play ground :)

  • Jensk

    You will love gentoo :)

  • Went for Fedora Core in the end, for the virtual server, basically on ground that most software I’m likely to want to run it ready to go.

    Meanwhile got Gentoo up on a new box at home.

    the time spent compiling is a real pain

    …and how much! But thankfully that’s now done. Found a nice tutorial on getting PHP5 up here (originally here thanks to Utah PHP UG)

  • linfan

    I used debian on my VPS at
    Its a small distro, which leaves me plenty of space. :} I used Redhat for years, but its getting a bit aged.

  • Cam

    I know this is old but someone else revived it ;)

    Just a FYI, you can use Gentoo for the simplicity of the portage system without adding compile time by adding a flag (-k I *think*) to your emerge call and it’ll download a prebuilt package which I’d imagine would be much faster :)

  • cyber_d

    Im an ex ms developer
    I moved over to Gentoo
    Webmin and SSH are simple to use so is emerge of anything you need for your server
    I installed a second version of apache :8080 with php5.01 + openssl and i dont know all that much about gentoo. ebuilds rock

    Thanks Gentoo

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