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What would be the best Linux build to run perl on?

by SilverB1rd (Scribe)
on Mar 21, 2001 at 04:01 UTC ( #65900=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

SilverB1rd has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

I'm looking to install linux on a system I'm using to test my perl scripts. Is there any linux build you would use over another? are there any for free? I have no clue about linux.

The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance
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Re (tilly) 1: What would be the best Linux build to run perl on?
by tilly (Archbishop) on Mar 21, 2001 at 04:19 UTC
    I will buck the trend and not recommend Red Hat. At least not Red Hat 7.0.

    Aside from that I recommend finding a friend who runs Linux and asking them what they run, make noises that you are interested. Do this a couple of times and you are likely to find someone willing to help you get going.

    At that point install whatever they run because they just volunteered to be your support (whether or not they realized that they did) and whatever they use is what they can best help you with...

    After you have some experience, then switch to something else. (I use Debian. No, I know this support line trick and I won't be your support line... :-)

      Red Hat 7.0 really doesn't deserve the bad reputation it has been given. Once updated with the appropriate RPMs, it is a stable distribution.

      For those new to Linux, Red Hat is a great choice. So many developers make RPM packages. (Although I don't like their recent change to a fee-based system for the automatic updater. Just find a local FTP mirror and get the RPMs there.)

      But, as you say, there are stronger distributions for those with a bit more experience.

      I hope this doesn't start a flame war, as I am already dangerously offtopic. :-)

      Update: Forgot "of" in the title. I need more sleep....


Re: What would be the best Linux build to run perl on?
by arturo (Vicar) on Mar 21, 2001 at 04:14 UTC

    Oh boy, you wanna start a flamewar? =)

    Perl runs equally well on any flavour of Linux. And when it comes to choosing a Linux distribution, in the end, it comes down to personal choice. Distributions differ from each other MOSTLY in terms of where they put various files; different versions of the same distribution will have different libraries (which can cause problems with prepackaged binaries that expect different versions of those libraries) but for the most part, there's no one deal-breaker. Every version of Linux that I'm familiar with uses Perl a lot, so you'll have no problems finding Perl for whatever you end up using.

    If you're new to Linux, I like to recommend (as a ladder you can kick away later) Redhat, if only because it's the one with the most info out there. Alternately, use Mandrake (highly RH-compatible in most respects, quite 'user friendly'). Note I make these recommendations only for while you're learning.

    Once you get comfortable with whatever you start out with, you can explore other options (I use Debian a lot, and I like SuSE as well). Most Linux distributions are available for the cost of a download, or you can try various sites that will sell you a set of CDs for $2 or less (better yet: many of them offer multi-distribution packs that let you try out a number of distributions).

    cheapbytes, LSL, and LinuxMall are all good places to start if you want to buy some CDs.


    Philosophy can be made out of anything. Or less -- Jerry A. Fodor

      It runs fine on UN*X in general; most flavors even have it as part of their default installation... Solaris is one of the exceptions, I think.

      ... Quidquid perl dictum sit, altum viditur.

        My "UNIX in a Nutshell" book lists perl among the Solaris command-line utilities. They'd be nuts not to have it =)

        Philosophy can be made out of anything. Or less -- Jerry A. Fodor

Re: What would be the best Linux build to run perl on?
by PsychoSpunk (Hermit) on Mar 21, 2001 at 04:25 UTC
    SilverB1rd it depends on what the system is (i386 I'm guessing), how much you want to be done for you during install (no-brainer to super sysadmin already level), your internet connection (high speed bracket allows you to burn any of the majors for free, i.e. - RedHat, Debian, Slackware, Mandrake, etc.)

    That said, this site should be able to give you a good breakdown of each distribution and its target market. Most people will say RH or Debian because they both appear to be the favorite distros and stay mostly true to whatever philosophy they hold. But bear in mind that after install, you'll end up making the machine unique as you decide to compile a new kernel or update perl from the distro's base install (RH 6.X series comes with 5.005, while the new 7.X series comes with 5.6. I'm not sure about debian.) Debian and Slackware tend to get bad reviews from people who want the latest and greatest software in the base install. RedHat tends to get bad reviews from people who consider GPL the holiest of holies. Slackware tends to get bad reviews by people who love System V style unices. (Update: Not that Slack is bad, it just leaves a BSD taste in my mouth, so why not use one of the BSDs if you're after the BSD taste and you don't have wacky hardware?)

    My suggestion is to write down what you want in a machine. Will it be a development server, a web server, etc.? Do you want to be dual booting between Linux and Windows? (If you can avoid dual boot, do. It's not that it's too difficult to setup, in fact that's easy, but that the temptation of the other more familiar OS being just a reboot away is often too much to give you adequate time in just sitting and struggling through the small stuff that helps you become adept with Linux.) Is this machine going to be exposed to the world (internet)? What sort of hardware requirements should it meet? What distros support your hardware? (Yes, this is still an issue.)

    There's a nifty HOWTO that actually asks a lot of these same questions that I don't have the patience to go find. I think it's the Install HOWTO or something like that. At any rate, go visit this other site for the best online library of documentation.

    Don't expect to be a pro overnight. This isn't your mother's point and click world. Don't expect to learn everything you can possibly do. There's an uncountable number of ways to use Linux (RedHat provides about a dozen or so shells alone, but most everyone uses bash if they don't have a preference.) In fact the only thing I can tell you to expect is that while you're learning, 'man', the aforementioned sites, and this special Google site will become indispensable when it comes to answering the ever important "What the hell is wrong with this stupid machine?"


Re: What would be the best Linux build to run perl on?
by tinman (Curate) on Mar 21, 2001 at 04:15 UTC

    I'm not sure if this is the place you should be asking this.. but anyway...

    If you have no clue about Linux, its probably easiest for you to start with either
    Mandrake or
    Red Hat or even

    I've tried a few of the other distributions, and although other opinions may differ, I think these are currently the easiest to install...

    You might want to check out LinuxNewbie with attention to their NHF (newbie-ized help files, I think they're called) as a good place to start on your discovery of Linux... a good book or two on Linux might also not be amiss ;o)

    If you want the distributions in an easy to download format, go to LinuxISO and get ISO (CD images).. burn the CD images onto CD-R, and you're good to go..

    I started using Linux not so long ago, and I currently run Red Hat 7.0.. relatively painless install..

    oh, btw, all the distros contain Perl 5.6, so testing Perl scripts is possible with all of them...

Re: What would be the best Linux build to run perl on?
by Masem (Monsignor) on Mar 21, 2001 at 04:13 UTC
    If you have no clue about Linux, you're best starting point is to get a RedHat distribution, as they tend to be the most end-user friendly for those unfamiliar with Linux. You can easily download the install pieces (a whole CD, or enough on floopies to do net install) from, or you can usually purchase the whole thing in the store for around $30.

    As to what distro is better, there really isn't that much of a difference in terms of running perl. Most of them have perl officially supported up to 5.6.0, you just might need to grab the latest packages for that.

    Dr. Michael K. Neylon - || "You've left the lens cap of your mind on again, Pinky" - The Brain
Re: What would be the best Linux build to run perl on?
by dws (Chancellor) on Mar 21, 2001 at 04:19 UTC
    If you're new to Linux, a good strategy would be to find a local Linux user who can give you some help when you need it, then install the same distro they're using. Perl should run equally well on alsmost all modern distros.

Re: What would be the best Linux build to run perl on?
by scottstef (Curate) on Mar 21, 2001 at 08:14 UTC
    If you are completely new to linux, red hat may be a best bet, however there are 2 problems with red hat:
    1. Red HAt 7.NO- red hat releases notoriously terrible distributions with its x.0 releases.
    2. They also throw almost everything + the kitchen sink in the distribution. This can make for a lot of security holes if you are going to have it on the net.
    Debian is known to be a hackers distribution- I personally haven't tried it, but most of the guy's i know that are into linux are running it.

    If you are going to have something that will be on the internet 24/7 I personally reccommend OpenBSD. Supposedly it is a bear to install. (If you have flaky hardware) It took me about 20 minutes to download it and install. The first time I tried to install it. The thing I like the most about it is the fact that you get a bare bones secure system. This way, you get to install what you need, and learn about the system. (Plus you can help try out deprecated's package manager.)

      While I'm not sure about 7.0, Fisher (the 7.1 beta not intended for anyone but the purely insane) doesn't open any of the inet (xinetd is the super server) services until you explicitly tell it to do so. I even installed the OpenSSH server package from the beta distro and I still couldn't get in until I turned on the service. This is a nice break from the previous open windows until you locked them approach.

      ALL HAIL BRAK!!!

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