Testing the Enterprise Linux Load

By Tom Henderson, Network World |  Operating Systems

TurboLinux Server documentation is strong and oriented toward use as an enterprise server. Installation and configuration options/implications are often discussed in detail. TurboLinux offers 60 days of e-mail-only support in this edition. The Turbolinux.com Web site also offers newsgroup, mailto and downloads, but lacks the strengths of Red Hat's support information and its Bugzilla, and Caldera eServer's ease of use.

Storm Linux 2000 Deluxe

Storm Linux is the new kid on the block. The Storm Linux 2000 Deluxe version isn't specifically tied to enterprise server use, but it includes a great deal of server-savvy. Storm Linux 2000 Deluxe contrasts with the Storm Linux 2000 Standard edition, which contains fewer features and fewer applications. A firewall edition of Storm Linux is also offered separately. Storm Linux is based on the Debian/GNU distribution, and adds "over 4,000 applications" to Debian/GNU.

We judged Storm Linux 2000 Deluxe as being the friendliest toward Windows-savvy installers, as its Installation Guide details installation and nomenclature in a clear and nonthreatening way toward that audience. Storm Linux recognized and installed on all of the hardware we used, but we often had to use a floppy-disk booted kernel as the boot CD was occasionally troublesome. Two GUIs are offered, KDE and Helix GNOME.

Storm Linux comes with an application called Storm Administration System (SAS), which is similar to LinuxConf (a "standard" administration application in Linux) in many ways. The SAS GUI's strength in our context was that it facilitates user/group management, network settings, printers, Network File System and Samba settings. SAS-administered security settings that we'd like to see were missing. Less germane SAS administrative components are settings for sound cards and X display settings. This approach to combining what are usually offered as separate applications into a single interface is convenient, although not especially compelling.

The Storm Linux installation guide was great, and the Storm Linux user guide was also well written. These would be great resources for Linux newbies. Stormix has a policy of 90 days of e-mail support and 60 days of telephone support. Two calls and an e-mail were ansswered quickly and correctly, and the customer service representative also offered advice on additional related configuration concerns. The support is very good but not over-the-top. The Stormix Web site isn't highly developed yet.

SuSE Linux 6.4

SuSE (pronounced "suzah") has its roots in Europe. Like Red Hat, it comes with an enormous amount of software -- some of it useful, and there are seven CDs crammed full.

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