Preferred OS for Virtualmin?

Hey Joe,

What’s the preferred OS for virtualmin? If someone wanted the “least” trouble with compatibility, etc…

Fedora or Centos or something of this nature?

John P.

Joe mentioned to me just about a week ago that CentOS / Ubuntu are going to be the new best platforms, since that’s mainly what is used for development.

I’m on Debian, and I’ve run into some install issues, though in theory the Ubuntu work should benefit me 99.9% of the time.

Daniel is correct, though the reason is reversed. We’re developing more on CentOS and Ubuntu because those are now the best platforms for hosting. The qualities of the operating systems are the horse, and our devel platforms are the cart. :wink:

I happen to prefer Fedora to any other distro…but with an 18 month life cycle, it’s simply not a viable option for large-scale hosting. If you’ve got one server running it, you’ll probably be fine. But when you start talking about dozens of servers, you simply can’t plan to upgrade them every year.

Going forward we have to recommend CentOS and Ubuntu as the "best" platforms for Virtualmin. They both have a long life cycle, great package management, and reasonably recent versions of the hosting tools.

Debian would be a contender in this list if it didn’t have an ancient glibc that leads to a pretty serious limitation for Virtualmin’s default model (secondary groups are limited to 32 on Debian, while they’re unlimited on all modern distros, which means that if you want tight security you can only have 32 domain accounts).

SUSE could also become a contender if they fix their package management, and stop changing it in incompatible ways. RHEL is in the same boat as SUSE (crappy package management with no good way for us to support it).

And, finally the free version of Mandriva seems to be similar to Fedora…too short of a life cycle for server use. I’ll look into it a bit more, though, as I’ve actually been enjoying playing with Mandriva 2007 for the updates module stuff. And urpmi is a surprisingly good package management tool (it’s a bit chattery, but they all are these days–even my favorite, yum, talks way too damned much by default).

Anyway, if you’re installing today, use CentOS. If you’re installing next week, you can choose either Ubuntu or CentOS and both will work great. I’m knee deep in Ubuntu install issues right now…it will be behaving as well as all other platforms by the end of the week.

What does the future support look like for SuSE 10.2 x86_64? The GPL Virtualmin and Webmin "no-arch" rpms install just fine, and have worked for the most part, although I am working out a few odd issues with the setup and I am beginning to believe it might be because of the OS…

Is it worth doing a fresh install with Ubuntu or CentOS or should I stick with SuSE 10.2? I’ve used Ubuntu before - not CentOS, is CentOS version 5 ok to use with Virtualmin? Does it matter which version of Ubuntu (the latest? Edgy-eft?) and is x86_64 supported for CentOS and Ubuntu (both Intel and AMD)?

Thanks!

I asked a similar question a few days ago. The answer is basically that you should stick with Dapper (Ubuntu 6.06) because it is the one that has the long-term support from Cannonical and so is the best choice for providing a long-term solution via Virtualmin. I don’t think there is support for a 64-bit Ubuntu yet, but from what I read somewhere else it is planned.

Robin’s right about the preferred OS. Ubuntu 6.06LTS is a great choice.

It should work fine on x86_64, but if it doesn’t I’d like to hear about it.

Hey Jeremy,

What does the future support look like for SuSE 10.2 x86_64?

It’s in the plans. But nothing happening yet (this is true of 10.2 on any arch–only 10.0 is currently supported). SUSE is so much less popular than CentOS, Fedora, Ubuntu, and Debian, that it kind of gets the short straw. I’d like to be more supportive of SUSE and Mandriva but there’s only so many hours in the day. The tools I use to deal with OS support are getting better, but it’s also much easier to build for the Red Hat-based systems (mock makes building for all platforms very very easy, and SUSE doesn’t give me anything equivalent that I can run on my Fedora desktop or Ubuntu laptop machine).

Is it worth doing a fresh install with Ubuntu or CentOS or should I stick with SuSE 10.2?

If you’re comfortable with SUSE 10.2, stick with it. There’s a new feature in Virtualmin GPL that allows you to upgrade to the Professional modules. It doesn’t perform any of the configuration steps…but if you already have it working the way you like, you wouldn’t want that anyway.

I’ve used Ubuntu before - not CentOS, is CentOS version 5 ok to use with Virtualmin?

No, 5 was just released, and I haven’t finished building packages and testing it. It takes me a few days to add support for a new OS. I’m working on it as fast as possible.

Does it matter which version of Ubuntu (the latest? Edgy-eft?) and is x86_64 supported for CentOS and Ubuntu (both Intel and AMD)?

Again, Edgy just came out. It’s not supported yet, and probably never will be unless it gets LTS status. We’re trying to push people to use systems that have long life cycles. It’s just not appropriate to use a short-lived OS on a server. So 6.06 is the best Ubuntu version to use. And it should work fine on x86_64. Same with CentOS 4.

I’ve gotten approval from our church board to purchase the unlimited version of Virtualmin Pro - as we host several church websites internationally right now with vhcs2 and would like to migrate totally to Virtualmin Pro - when I went to purchase, the drop down options do not include SuSE 10.2 x86_64 or a “No-arch” version… so I’m stuck.

Is there a feasible workaround and/or will the 10.0 license work for a 10.2 x86_64 installation?

I am trying to avoid having to reinstall and reconfigure my OS (as that would take down several websites at this point…)

Thanks!

Howdy Jeremy,

We’ll be adding support for SuSE 10.2 to the automated installer the not too distant future (like in the next three to four weeks).

In the meantime, it is possible to install Virtualmin Professional without the automated install.sh–I’m not recommending it, but I’m dissuading you from it either and we will support you if you do. The only really tricky bit on SUSE (because it has almost all of the packages we need in the default OS repositories) is rebuilding Apache for suexec docroot in /home. This is absolutely necessary (OK, not absolutely necessary, but it’s way more trouble to workaround it than to rebuild it).

I’ve posted instructions for rebuilding the Apache RPM here in the past a couple of times, and I’m sure I can dig it up for you if you’d like to try the manual installation.

Manual installation does take a little time (about an hour, with us holding your hand a bit–which we’re happy to do) and isn’t as well documented as I’d like, but if you’ve managed to configure vhcs and install all of the bits and pieces needed for it, which I understand is less automated than even our manual process, you’ll be fine.

Joe,

If I use a rebuilt Apache RPM - will it take it out of yast2 totally? I have mod_evasive and mod_security installed as dynamically loaded modules - will I have to recompile them as well against the new apache?

Is this an example of what you mean by customizing suexec because of SuSE’s default apache rpm?
http://www.k4ml.com/wiki/server/apache/php-fastcgi

I’m not averse to manual installations. Send me a link or a place where I can get started on what I need to do.

However - if you can guarantee me that by EOM May we’ll see a SuSE 10.2 option and that the early adopter period won’t be over by then…maybe my best option is to wait?

Also - do I need to buy two licenses if I am going to use two servers for all the same sites (redundancy?) or will one unlimited cover both systems in the cluster?

Thanks!

Hey Jeremy,

If I use a rebuilt Apache RPM - will it take it out of yast2 totally?

Yes, for package management, until we add it to our software repository and then you can add our repo and let is handle your Apache updates.

I have mod_evasive and mod_security installed as dynamically loaded modules - will I have to recompile them as well against the new apache?

Most modules do not need to be recompiled, so they can continue to come from the SUSE repository (we pull mod_fcgid from the SUSE repo, for example). I can’t guarantee this for those particular modules, as I’m not deeply familiar with them.

Is this an example of what you mean by customizing suexec because of SuSE’s default apache rpm?
http://www.k4ml.com/wiki/server/apache/php-fastcgi

Yes, but I would strongly recommend against building from tarball…instead rebuild the apache RPM with the right options. Then it is identical to the OS supported binary, but has the right options for our needs. This seems like a subtle difference but with something as complex as Apache, it can be a huge source of problems (like with the afore-mentioned additional modules, which almost certainly would have to be rebuilt just to get them into the right locations for a from-source install).

However - if you can guarantee me that by EOM May we’ll see a SuSE 10.2 option and that the early adopter period won’t be over by then…maybe my best option is to wait?

I can never guarantee OS support, except when it’s already official (and even then, we often run into problems with new systems for the first few weeks). It’s the hardest part of our job, and sometimes it takes longer than anticipated (sometimes by a lot).

Also - do I need to buy two licenses if I am going to use two servers for all the same sites (redundancy?) or will one unlimited cover both systems in the cluster?

No. Backups are allowed under one license, and a hot spare is a backup. If the two diverge and serve different content, a license is required. (Some types of redundancy can also be achieved with just Webmin, or Virtualmin GPL, on the spare…DNS and mail redundancy can make use of our free products, for example.)

Joe

Sounds like my best bet is a manual install then - the lesser of two "evils" if you will (verses taking down a few sites and reformatting my system and installing a fresh OS).

Where and how can I get started?

Thanks!