October 10th, 2008

So it was not a bad idea to switch to Ubuntu

I remember that when I announced that GLM’s servers were being switched to Ubuntu, I got comments on that post and some emails asking me to reconsider this for reasons I didn’t agree with.

Some months later, I read that Wikimedia is switching their ~400 servers to Ubuntu. Beyond this being a surprise to me, I applaud this wise move, with which they already feel happy.

Having Ubuntu on the server has been a pleasant experience, so I’d encourage those sysadmins who (want to) have an offline life to switch to Ubuntu!


  1. libervisco on 15 Oct 2008 at 10:30 am #

    Interesting. My server is on Debian Etch currently, but this is making me curious. What exactly are the benefits? Since Ubuntu is basically Debian I would think similarities would be biggest in the server version since that’s where all the GUI improvements and integration don’t count. So what is so different about Ubuntu to make it a significant positive change compared to Debian?


  2. Gustavo on 15 Oct 2008 at 11:35 am #

    Hi, Libervisco!

    The great thing about Ubuntu on the server is that you basically have Debian, but you get plenty of HOWTOs and if you need help you’ll get it quickly – the Debian community itself is huge, now add to that the community of the world’s most used distro. Since I’m using Ubuntu I’ve never used a forum or mailing list to get help; all I’ve ever needed I have found it by googling.

    Also, Ubuntu is easier to setup than Debian:

    1. If you need recent versions of some applications, you normally don’t have to compile it yourself, upgrade to the testing version or purchase a server with a testing version of Debian (which are not easy to find; you normally have to upgrade it yourself). It’s very likely that the Ubuntu version you already have has a recent version of the applications you want.
    2. Ubuntu’s Uncomplicated Firewall rocks. If you’ve prevously used IPTables directly, you’ll love ufw.

    You may also want to check the article “Ubuntu Server: Cheap ‘n’ Cheerful, and Easy to Use“, at LinuxPlanet.com.

    However, I would not recommend switching to Ubuntu if you’ve already setup the server and feel comfortable with it. “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”, some people say. You would enjoy the advantages of Ubuntu if you’re deploying a new server, otherwise I think you wouldn’t find a big difference.


  3. libervisco on 15 Oct 2008 at 1:27 pm #

    Good points, sounds great. :)

    Hmm I’ll have to seriously consider it if and when I buy/switch to a new VPS.


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    You're visiting the technical blog of Gustavo Narea, a Software Developer based in Oxford.