Ubuntu Logo I originally commented on Isabel Wang’s blog post on Ubuntu Linux and dedicated server providers, but somehow the comment disappeared. Hopefully it is not censorship in place 🙂 So I am gathering my thoughts again, and will put them here.

I am a long time Gentoo Linux man, which is not hard to figure out from reading my posts here. However, recently I am thinking about giving Ubuntu a try. Source-based Linux distributions like Gentoo is great if you like to tinker, and have lots of time on your hands. However when you have multiple servers and VPS to administer, and what you are supposed to do is to focus on software development — managing all those Gentoo boxes can just be too time consuming.

So I was thinking, maybe I should pick up a binary distribution. Debian? Fedora? CentOS? Well, definitely Ubuntu, which is apparently so hot even Mac OS X nerds are migrating.

And I saw earlier this week that Ubuntu is one of two Linux distributions certified to run on SunFire T1000/T2000 servers. Yup. Those cool thread 8 core UltraSparcs, so now we know which Linux distribution is Sun adoring. Let along the rumoured partnership between Oracle and Ubuntu. Feels like RedHat in the late 90′s.

So back to Isabel’s question –

Oracle’s backing would certainly enhance Ubuntu’s exposure, but it’s getting plenty of attention on its own. So my question is, why hasn’t there been more Ubuntu uptake among dedicated server providers?

From her list of dedicated server providers, CentOS seems to be the most commonly supported distribution. I guess CentOS providers a stable platform, well supported by control panel vendors, long term continuous updates — these make them great OS to install on production boxes, run regular yum update and never need to be touched it again.

However it won’t excite a developer with its list of old packages. Python 2.3? PHP 4.3? Apache 2.0.52? Anyone still develops for these things? But they are part of CentOS 4.4 released 2 months ago. I’ve seen many cases where an in-house developed software failed to run after uploaded to the shared hosting environment, because ISP is running one of those rock-solid enterprise Linux distribution that is just way too old. Feeling familiar?

Ubuntu, on the other hand, seems to be always on the cutting edge, providing the latest tools needed by your bleeding edge Web 2.0 applications. 6.10 edgy has just been released, and Python 2.5 is there!

Ubuntu is picking up momentum. The big boys want to flirt with her. Developers love her. Zealots dumped Mac OS X for her. Time for dedicated server providers to offer her more support.