[clug] Commercial Debian support

Rasjid Wilcox rasjidw at openminddev.net
Thu Oct 30 00:12:30 EST 2003

My workplace currently runs a Mitel SME server, but we are looking to move to 
a slightly more flexible system.  (I'm also personally not very impressed 
with the direction that Mitel has taken SME.)

We are looking to move to a more standard setup using a mainstream 
distribution and (most likely) Webmin.  The services to be running are:
a) mail (most likely postfix)
b) samba
c) apache
d) sshd and csv
e) ntpd
f) dhcp server
h) internal nameserver
i) ftp server

We are considering RedHat and Suse, but I would also like to add Debian to the 
mix of options.  In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think that 
Debian is possibly the best choice, subject to the requirements below:

1.  Some kind of commercial support available.

Mainly in the case I leave or get hit by a bus, but also for when I come 
across a problem that I can't resolve.  We would prefer a company than a 
one-person-show, but if 5 individuals all said that they could do commercial 
Debian support, that would probably be enough to satisy my IT manager that we 
could find support if required.

2.  Webmin or equivalent works well with Debian.

I am the only employee with an in-depth Linux knowledge.  A 'gui' tool to add 
users and do basic maintanence is a must.  Webmin (for example) would be 
fine.  I know that Webmin runs on Debian, the real question is 'Are there any 
issues that I should be aware of?'  I mainly ask this because the webmin site 
says "The best supported systems at the moment are Solaris, Linux (Redhat in 
particular) and FreeBSD." - the implication being that Debian is less 
supported.  Does this just mean that some features aren't available on 
Debian, or does it mean that Webmin it is more likely to break things?

3.  We can get the Inoculate Anti-virus software to work okay on Debian.

I have some more general questions, that are not as critical but would be 
useful to get some feedback on none-the-less:

Are there any other packages like Webmin that I should be aware of, that would 
make a Debian box easier administer for those less happy at a command line?

Is it possible to run Samba 3 on what is otherwise a Stable box?  Is this 
okay, or a bad idea?  (We have had occasional file-locking issues with Samba 
2, which I'm hoping will go away with the new version of Samba.)

The mail servers that Webmin seems to support are Sendmail, Qmail and Postfix.  
I know qmail quite well (since it is part of SME), but it has some 
limitations that seem unlikely to go away anytime soon, so I'm considering 
Postfix.  Anyone think this is a bad idea?

That all for now.  :-)



Rasjid Wilcox
Canberra, Australia (UTC +10 hrs)

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