openSUSE suitability as a server?

Not sure this is the right forum for this question but neither of the others seemed suitable either, there isn’t a General Technical forum.

I am being advised on some other forums that openSUSE is not really suitable as a Server and that I should stick to Debian or CentOS for that purpose. I have to admit there doesn’t seem to be a specific ‘Server’ version or install of openSUSE available.

Thing is I have found YaST to be amazing, it saves so much time over having to edit text files and diagnose various associated errors. It just seems to work.

So the question remains is openSUSE suitable for use as a Server OS or is it primarily designed as a Desktop OS?

Thanks,
Nick

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What makes a Server OS suitable to you? We can probably answer those
questions better than arbitrary rebuttals of FUD from those who prefer
alternate distributions. If you want the Enterprise version of OpenSuSE
you have SLES (or SLED, for the enterprise desktop) and the difference
there is the focus on packages known to be stable vs. packages available
with the latest features (see forums.suse.com for related forums).

Good luck.
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Nick C wrote:
> I am being advised on some other forums that openSUSE is not really
> suitable as a Server and that I should stick to Debian or CentOS for
> that purpose.

I’d be interested to links to those comments, if you have them.

> Thing is I have found YaST to be amazing, it saves so much time over
> having to edit text files and diagnose various associated errors. It
> just seems to work.
>
> So the question remains is openSUSE suitable for use as a Server OS or
> is it primarily designed as a Desktop OS?

http://news.opensuse.org/2011/04/20/opensuse-servers-with-one-click/

On 2012-06-13 16:06, Nick C wrote:

> So the question remains is openSUSE suitable for use as a Server OS or
> is it primarily designed as a Desktop OS?

IMO, it is perfectly suited to use as server. The only problem is that
support is for only 18 months, it is not an LTS.


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 11.4 x86_64 “Celadon” at Telcontar)

Carlos E. R. wrote:
> On 2012-06-13 16:06, Nick C wrote:
>
>> So the question remains is openSUSE suitable for use as a Server OS or
>> is it primarily designed as a Desktop OS?
>
> IMO, it is perfectly suited to use as server. The only problem is that
> support is for only 18 months, it is not an LTS.

Unless you count Evergreen.

YaST vs Webmin

Am 13.06.2012 17:56, schrieb Nick C:
>
> djh-novell;2469122 Wrote:
>> Nick C wrote:
>> I’d be interested to links to those comments, if you have them.
>>
>
> ‘YaST vs Webmin’ (http://tinyurl.com/cd5r4d4)
>
>
This whole thread comes down to two arguments:
Long term support and avoiding “desktop bloat”

While long term support is not officially given for openSUSE, it was
already pointed out here that there is Evergreen (which by the way is
especially with focus for openSUSE used as server). 11.4 will be
Evergreen supported (I read their mailing list).

Desktop bloat in both openSUSE and Debian (I refer here to the last
entry in your linked thread) is avoided in both systems by not choosing
to install a desktop environment (in both systems this is not mor than
two mouse clicks in the installer to tell the installer that you are
going to have a server without DE or even without X).
So esp. the last comment in the given thread is from someone who
obviously never installed Debian (or openSUSE).

For administration you may also be interested in webyast on openSUSE.


PC: oS 12.1 x86_64 | i7-2600@3.40GHz | 16GB | KDE 4.8.3 | GeForce GT 420
ThinkPad E320: oS 12.1 x86_64 | i3@2.30GHz | 8GB | KDE 4.8.3 | HD 3000
eCAFE 800: oS 12.1 i586 | AMD Geode LX 800@500MHz | 512MB | KDE 3.5.10

On 2012-06-13 16:44, Dave Howorth wrote:

> Unless you count Evergreen.

Ah, yes, of course, mea culpa. My subconscient (is that the English word?)
betrays me, because I think it is still a bit green, and it is not official
support. But indeed, it is a very interesting project.


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 11.4 x86_64 “Celadon” at Telcontar)

On 06/13/2012 05:56 PM, Nick C wrote:
> ‘YaST vs Webmin’ (http://tinyurl.com/cd5r4d4)

i think the info you got there is pretty fair, and pretty accurate…

as others have said it comes down to what YOU want and need…

yes, openSUSE has a shorter support life, but 11.4 with evergreen it
goes and goes…and, it has YaST! (which you noticed! but it also can
have webmin too, if you wish)

and, if you need the GUI (as i guess you know best) you can have that
and your cake too…just install the DE of your choice and in YaST
Software Management just click on the “Patterns” tab, scroll down to and
install the “Server Functions” of your choice…set it all up and test
it with YaST in a full up GUI and then just go to a terminal and as root
send it to runlevel 3…and the X windows and Desktop Environment will
die off and all those “desktop bloat” worries just go away…

none of that says anything bad about CentOS…i have lots of friends
running CentOS…but, they don’t have YaST…


dd

I’ve used opensuse on a home server for 4 years+ with only ssh, mail and web services accessible from the outside world (also let a gamer friend run teamspeak on it for a while but he does it himself now)

I do occasionally use a domain logon from a laptop with samba but that function’s only available when I want it, I use ssh to login and enable samba to run as a domain controller as and when needed

It’s fair to say that when upgrading from one opensuse release to the next on the server I’ve rarely had to make major changes to or redo very much at all unless newer versions of software packages have changes that require it, but that would be true of any distro, the last time that happened was when postfix got upgraded and some parameters in main.cf needed changing but it was a five minute job, no biggie

Two things though with upgrading, I never do it as soon as the next release is out but wait until it’s been out a few months and things ‘settle down’, and of course, back up the entire root partition before an upgrade

So for me, at home, opensuse has definitely proved itself suitable as a server, though if I were using the server for a business I would most likely give SLES (Suse Linux Enterprise Server) serious consideration

Just when I had concluded that openSUSE is a serious Server-side contender… I noticed a kernel update, this was labeled as a ‘Desktop Optimized’ kernel.

That’s because you’re running kernel-desktop, which indeed is optimized for desktop use. Switching to kernel-default would be an option if you don’t want to see this, but I wouldn’t even consider it. Unless you find proof of instablility or such, your server should be as happy with kernel-desktop as with kernel-default.

On 06/23/2012 12:36 PM, Nick C wrote:
>
> Just when I had concluded that openSUSE is a serious Server-side
> contender… I noticed a kernel update, this was labeled as a ‘Desktop
> Optimized’ kernel.

serious “Server-side contenders” don’t have a desktop, nor X…so why
would you elect to install a desktop environment, and its supporting kernel?

and, then complain about it?


dd

On 06/23/2012 09:34 AM, dd@home.dk wrote:
> On 06/23/2012 12:36 PM, Nick C wrote:
>>
>> Just when I had concluded that openSUSE is a serious Server-side
>> contender… I noticed a kernel update, this was labeled as a ‘Desktop
>> Optimized’ kernel.
>
> serious “Server-side contenders” don’t have a desktop, nor X…so why would you
> elect to install a desktop environment, and its supporting kernel?
>
> and, then complain about it?

Of course, one does not install a desktop environment on a serious server, but
having a kernel optimized for the desktop is quite a different manner. Rather
than arm wave, let’s look at the differences in the configuration. In the
following, lines preceded by a minus are unique to the desktop version and those
with a plus are for the default version. My comments are interleaved.

A standard kernel does not have this parameter. I have no idea how openSUSE uses it.

-CONFIG_KERNEL_DESKTOP=y
+# CONFIG_KERNEL_DESKTOP is not set

The following change parameters on the RCU locking to make the desktop be more
responsive to keyboard and mouse events:

-CONFIG_TREE_PREEMPT_RCU=y
-CONFIG_PREEMPT_RCU=y
+CONFIG_TREE_RCU=y
+# CONFIG_PREEMPT_RCU is not set
-CONFIG_RCU_BOOST=y
-CONFIG_RCU_BOOST_PRIO=1
-CONFIG_RCU_BOOST_DELAY=500
-CONFIG_SCHED_AUTOGROUP=y
+# CONFIG_SCHED_AUTOGROUP is not set
+CONFIG_OPTPROBES=y

These set the default kernel to handle the locking with “inline” code. The
resulting kernel is a little bigger, but more efficient.

-CONFIG_UNINLINE_SPIN_UNLOCK=y
-# CONFIG_INLINE_SPIN_UNLOCK_IRQ is not set
+CONFIG_INLINE_SPIN_UNLOCK_IRQ=y
-# CONFIG_INLINE_READ_UNLOCK is not set
+CONFIG_INLINE_READ_UNLOCK=y
-# CONFIG_INLINE_READ_UNLOCK_IRQ is not set
+CONFIG_INLINE_READ_UNLOCK_IRQ=y
-# CONFIG_INLINE_WRITE_UNLOCK is not set
+CONFIG_INLINE_WRITE_UNLOCK=y
-# CONFIG_INLINE_WRITE_UNLOCK_IRQ is not set
+CONFIG_INLINE_WRITE_UNLOCK_IRQ=y

The next batch changes the preemption parameters so that the default kernel will
allow the active process to use its time, whereas the desktop will give quicker
response to events.

-# CONFIG_PREEMPT_NONE is not set
+CONFIG_PREEMPT_NONE=y
-CONFIG_PREEMPT=y
-CONFIG_PREEMPT_COUNT=y
+# CONFIG_PREEMPT is not set

The realtime clock runs at 1000 Hertz for the desktop, and 250 Hertz for the
default. The default kernel wastes less time in the scheduler, but its response
time is longer.

-# CONFIG_HZ_250 is not set
+CONFIG_HZ_250=y
-CONFIG_HZ_1000=y
-CONFIG_HZ=1000
+# CONFIG_HZ_1000 is not set
+CONFIG_HZ=250
-# CONFIG_X86_PCC_CPUFREQ is not set
+CONFIG_X86_PCC_CPUFREQ=m

A default kernel allows more serial connections.

-CONFIG_SERIAL_8250_NR_UARTS=16
-CONFIG_SERIAL_8250_RUNTIME_UARTS=8
+CONFIG_SERIAL_8250_NR_UARTS=32
+CONFIG_SERIAL_8250_RUNTIME_UARTS=32

The I810 DRM video driver is only used for the default kernel.

+CONFIG_DRM_I810=m

The desktop has HID (Human Interaction Devices) and USB hub drivers built in.
The default kernel has them as modules; however, the set of devices are the same.

-CONFIG_USB_HID=y
+CONFIG_USB_HID=m
-CONFIG_HID_A4TECH=y
+CONFIG_HID_A4TECH=m
-CONFIG_HID_APPLE=y
-CONFIG_HID_BELKIN=y
-CONFIG_HID_CHERRY=y
-CONFIG_HID_CHICONY=y
+CONFIG_HID_APPLE=m
+CONFIG_HID_BELKIN=m
+CONFIG_HID_CHERRY=m
+CONFIG_HID_CHICONY=m
-CONFIG_HID_CYPRESS=y
-CONFIG_HID_DRAGONRISE=y
+CONFIG_HID_CYPRESS=m
+CONFIG_HID_DRAGONRISE=m
-CONFIG_HID_EZKEY=y
+CONFIG_HID_EZKEY=m
-CONFIG_HID_KYE=y
+CONFIG_HID_KYE=m
-CONFIG_HID_GYRATION=y
-CONFIG_HID_TWINHAN=y
-CONFIG_HID_KENSINGTON=y
+CONFIG_HID_GYRATION=m
+CONFIG_HID_TWINHAN=m
+CONFIG_HID_KENSINGTON=m
-CONFIG_HID_LOGITECH=y
+CONFIG_HID_LOGITECH=m
-CONFIG_HID_MICROSOFT=y
-CONFIG_HID_MONTEREY=y
+CONFIG_HID_MICROSOFT=m
+CONFIG_HID_MONTEREY=m
-CONFIG_HID_NTRIG=y
-CONFIG_HID_ORTEK=y
-CONFIG_HID_PANTHERLORD=y
+CONFIG_HID_NTRIG=m
+CONFIG_HID_ORTEK=m
+CONFIG_HID_PANTHERLORD=m
-CONFIG_HID_PETALYNX=y
+CONFIG_HID_PETALYNX=m
-CONFIG_HID_SAMSUNG=y
-CONFIG_HID_SONY=y
+CONFIG_HID_SAMSUNG=m
+CONFIG_HID_SONY=m
-CONFIG_HID_SUNPLUS=y
-CONFIG_HID_GREENASIA=y
+CONFIG_HID_SUNPLUS=m
+CONFIG_HID_GREENASIA=m
-CONFIG_HID_SMARTJOYPLUS=y
+CONFIG_HID_SMARTJOYPLUS=m
-CONFIG_HID_TOPSEED=y
-CONFIG_HID_THRUSTMASTER=y
+CONFIG_HID_TOPSEED=m
+CONFIG_HID_THRUSTMASTER=m
-CONFIG_HID_ZEROPLUS=y
+CONFIG_HID_ZEROPLUS=m
-CONFIG_USB_COMMON=y
+CONFIG_USB_COMMON=m
-CONFIG_USB=y
+CONFIG_USB=m
-CONFIG_USB_EHCI_HCD=y
+CONFIG_USB_EHCI_HCD=m
-CONFIG_USB_OHCI_HCD=y
+CONFIG_USB_OHCI_HCD=m
+CONFIG_USB_OHCI_HCD_SSB=y
CONFIG_USB_OHCI_LITTLE_ENDIAN=y
-CONFIG_USB_UHCI_HCD=y
+CONFIG_USB_UHCI_HCD=m

If you followed the discussion, the desktop is tailored to give a better
response to an interactive user, while the default kernel will be slightly more
efficient when running non-interactive jobs. Otherwise, they are the same.

But this hasn’t got a full desktop environment install, just the most basic Xfce gui. Is it the installation of Xfce that has changed the kernel to a desktop one? All I have been trying to get is a basic Server with gui but no additional bloatware or additions, much like we have had on windows since NT4 Server.

There does seem to be a big objection in the Linux world to having a gui installed on a server. Personally I can’t see the problem, most of the time it will not be running, when it is needed ‘startx’ to run the gui, when it is finished with logoff to return to runlevel 3. Having it available makes maintenance so much easier. CentOS for example is designed as a Server OS and by default that comes with a basic gui.

On 06/24/2012 06:36 PM, Nick C wrote:
> Is it the installation of Xfce that has changed the
> kernel to a desktop one?

most probably…you can use YaST to change it…read Larry’s fine post
on the differences…and decide what you want…

if i understand correctly: with the default kernel you will have
slightly better server response, and slightly less desktop response…

since you plan to not use the desktop so much, i’d say it is dead easy
to decide: install the default…


dd

On 06/24/2012 12:35 PM, dd@home.dk wrote:
> On 06/24/2012 06:36 PM, Nick C wrote:
>> Is it the installation of Xfce that has changed the
>> kernel to a desktop one?
>
> most probably…you can use YaST to change it…read Larry’s fine post on the
> differences…and decide what you want…
>
> if i understand correctly: with the default kernel you will have slightly better
> server response, and slightly less desktop response…
>
> since you plan to not use the desktop so much, i’d say it is dead easy to
> decide: install the default…

I agree.

The fact that you have a GUI on the server does increase the risk. Perhaps it is
minimal as long as the system is usually running at level 3, but there is still
the potential for harm. I only administer my server via the command line.

On 2012-06-24 18:36, Nick C wrote:
>
> dd@home.dk;2470895 Wrote:

>> serious “Server-side contenders” don’t have a desktop, nor X…so why
>> would you elect to install a desktop environment, and its supporting
>> kernel?
>>
>> and, then complain about it?
>
> But this hasn’t got a full desktop environment install, just the most
> basic Xfce gui. Is it the installation of Xfce that has changed the
> kernel to a desktop one? All I have been trying to get is a basic
> Server with gui but no additional bloatware or additions, much like we
> have had on windows since NT4 Server.
>
> There does seem to be a big objection in the Linux world to having a
> gui installed on a server. Personally I can’t see the problem, most of
> the time it will not be running, when it is needed ‘startx’ to run the
> gui, when it is finished with logoff to return to runlevel 3. Having it
> available makes maintenance so much easier. CentOS for example is
> designed as a Server OS and by default that comes with a basic gui.

I agree with you here.

I very much like a good desktop where I can run several xterms and work
there in comfort. I’m more productive working that way than in a plain text
environment - and it is a must currently, as the text console is not fully
UTF-8 capable. And administering a server one way or another is just a
question of how the admin is more productive.

And there are some very good graphical tools…

True, there are servers that do not even posses a display or keyboard. But
if they have, I don’t see any reason not to use them to the full - unless
you are using scarcely powered machines.

The problem is that the installation doesn’t ask you right away if you are
installing a desktop or a laptop, a server or a desktop. It makes some
assumptions and these may be wrong - as assuming that X means desktop.

Part of the problem is that some (few, many I do not know) of the openSUSE
devs want you to be a desktop user, they do not like the idea of you using
openSUSE for a server because they would prefer you to use SUSE SLES or
SLED, where they get the money from. And they fight against ideas to
improve openSUSE as a server distribution (like having a longer life).

I have had several such discussions with SUSE/Novell devs, over the years.
Do not ask me for links, I do not keep them handy.


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 11.4 x86_64 “Celadon” at Telcontar)

Hammer, nail…head. Thanks Carlos, that explains many things that I could not quite understand the reasons for.

Rather a shame as I get the feeling that openSUSE could be a good server distro but in reality that is not likely to happen while it’s use as a server does not have the backing of the whole openSUSE community.

Cheers,
Nick

On 06/25/2012 12:26 PM, Nick C wrote:
> I get the feeling that openSUSE could be a good
> server distro but in reality that is not likely to happen while it’s use
> as a server does not have the backing of the whole openSUSE community.

wait…who said it is not a good server distro??

what it is not is: it is not easy install and set up…

well that is not true! actually it IS easy, just not as easy as to
install a desktop, see here:

https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Adoc.opensuse.org+server

https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aen.opensuse.org+SDB+server

http://forums.opensuse.org/english/get-technical-help-here/how-faq-forums/unreviewed-how-faq/399477-how-setup-opensuse-server.html

and others . . .


dd