I’ve been assessing the possibility of switching GNU/Linux Matters‘ servers (which are all powered by Debian) to Ubuntu, and I have finally decided to go for it.
They were running Debian for three reasons:
- Stability, something Debian is well-known for.
- A large user base, which brings two big advantages: A huge amount of packaged applications and a good community support.
- I’m only familiar with Debian-based distros
And they weren’t running Ubuntu because, to be honest, I didn’t find Ubuntu reliable enough to power a server, mainly because of the cutting-edge applications it includes by default; it was just great for my personal computer. I guess this is mostly due to I’ve been using Kubuntu since Breeze, and it was a highly unreliable system in the early versions – IMHO things begun to take shape in Feisty and now Hardy just rocks.
I’ve started to switch our servers to Ubuntu because I think it’s the best choice, at least for us, because we still have the three advantages of using Debian (it’s based on it after all), plus:
- Packaged applications are up-to-date, so I don’t have to compile and maintain software which have a old version in Debian repositories (we often need the latest stable version). Yes, I can use Debian Testing, but this is not the only drawback.
- Uncomplicated Firewall. An extremely easy-to-setup, basic firewall. It’s just a front-end to iptables-restore, so you can still add/adjust any rule according to your needs.
- Many other tiny (and not so tiny) benefits that together make a big difference.
The migration should take some months because it’s not a top-priority at present. There are many more things that should be done first.
Put simply, it’s not that Ubuntu is much better than Debian on the server, it just happens to make your job easier if you’re the administrator.