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What Linux distro is best for Web and FTP and can play nicely with Windows?

I currently have a single MS Small Business Server 2000, but it works too hard (has 40 clients). I am considering using a Linux box to split off WWW and FTP service and file storage, freeing my SBS machine for Exchange and SQL tasks.
  1. What software/distro is recommended for file server and Web server functions?
  2. Will the Linux box play nicely with the SBS box and be transparent to my technophobic Windows users?

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  1. There are so many choices for running a Web server and FTP server that I can't begin to list them all. I would say that Mandrake is probably towards the top of the list for ease of use.

    Mandrakesoft Corporate Server is their small business solution for a wide variety server applications including Web and FTP.

    For free community sponsored alternatives you may want to consider looking at Fedora and Debian.

    Both of these distributions can be used with no licensing costs. Fedora will likely be a little easier to install, but Debian tends to have a reputation as an easier system to apply updates through their apt package update mechanism.

  2. From the standpoint of Web and FTP servers, your Windows clients should not be able to tell the difference from one another. As for the SBS and Linux box playing nicely together there should be no issue with the services you are running. Especially if you are doing simple Web and FTP and don't want (or at least need) to incorporate a unified logon across Windows and Linux servers.

This was first published in December 2004

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