I want to reset my server soon and I’m toying with the idea of using a different operating system. I am currently using Ubuntu Server LTS. However, I have been toying with the idea of using Fedora Server (I use Fedora on my laptop and made good experiences with it) or even Fedora CoreOS. I also recently installed NixOS on my desktop computer and find the declarativeness pretty cool (but I’m still a complete beginner) and could imagine that it would fit well into a server setup.

I have quite a few services running on my server, such as Nextcloud, Conduit (Matrix), Jellyfin, etc. and all in containers. I would also rather not install programs without containers, because 1. compose is super easy to maintain and set up, 2. it remains very clear with containers (and compose) and 3. I believe that containers are more secure. But since I also want to make the services inside the containers available, I currently have Nginx installed as a reverse proxy (not in the container, but on the system) and always create certificates with certbot so that I can use HTTPS encryption.

In the paragraph above I actually described exactly the use-case of Fedora CoreOS, but I have no experience with the system and how it works. That’s why I’m still a bit hesitant at considering the OS at the moment. I can imagine that NixOS with its declarative nature seems well suited, since, as I have heard, you can configure containers as well as Nginx and with Nginx also https certificates declaratively. But I could also use a base system like before (Fedora Server or Ubuntu Server) and simply install podman, nginx and certbot and manage everything that way.

Have you had any experience with Fedora Server, Fedora CoreOS, NixOS or a completely different operating system for servers and what are/were your impressions with this setup? Or do you just want to share your knowledge here? I would be delighted.

  • @vegetaaaaaaa
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    882 months ago

    See you back on Debian in a few months

        • @aodhsishaj
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          11 month ago

          Kind of, yeah. That’s why I replied with it.

      • @TCB13
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        2 months ago

        Or, better yet, LXD/Incus.

    • JustEnoughDucks
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      82 months ago

      Can’t be hit by new backdoors when your packages haven’t had updates for years 😉

      In all seriousness Debian makes solid choices that makes everything as low maintenance as it can get for self hosting.

      For someone who recently lost a bunch of their free time, that is amazing to not have to mess with stuff.

  • @TCB13
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    392 months ago

    You next OS will be… Debian. Because you care about your time and you want stuff to be stable.

  • @[email protected]
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    262 months ago

    I always think about using nixos. But considering I dockerise everything, I always end up using Debian.
    Good old stable Debian

    • MoritzOP
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      32 months ago

      You can also use container within NixOS and AFAICT even declare the containers which should be running. Also NixOS is sad to be stable, or am I missing something?

      • @[email protected]
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        32 months ago

        Yeh, but I already have compose files and ansible things to set up a server.
        And I’d have to figure out how health checks and depends-on works for that.

        I’m sure it would give me an amazing experience, but I have all the tools and I can run them in isolation (ie I can install docker on any os I can SSH into)

      • lemmyvore
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        12 months ago

        Just that compiling packages on a server is not ideal.

        • @corgi
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          52 months ago

          Nixos will use/download cached binaries that are available in its repo. It has one of the biggest repositories of any Linux distro. It’s on par with Arch with around 90 thousand packages.

          Unless you are doing something custom or niche, your nixos won’t have to compile anything.

          • lemmyvore
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            -42 months ago

            Are all those packages available in binary format? Not familiar with Nix but that’s certainly not the case for Arch. Arch has 85k packages in the AUR as source recipes but not as binaries.

            I still think Debian makes a better use case for a server since it provides everything as binaries.

            If you’re going to use binaries what’s the point of using Nix anyway? The declarative aspect is nice in an abstract sort of way but you can achieve a system deploy or restore just as fast by installing a vanilla system and a few config files.

            • @corgi
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              72 months ago

              Yes, all packages in nixos are available as binaries to download.

              The comparison with Arch was just in terms of number of packages. Not the binary availability.

              At the bottom of this page, they say that binary cache is currently at 120TB. https://nixos.org/community/index.html

              If packages being available as binaries is the main criteria, nix has you covered there.

              The biggest issue for most people with Nixos is the learning curve just because it’s so different.

  • @[email protected]
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    122 months ago

    My $0.02:

    NixOS is excellent, and actually pretty easy if you’re not trying to do anything fancy (running all services under a single user, etc.). Personally this is my pick because I primarily host services for myself, so down time in exchange for learning a new thing is acceptable.

    As I mentioned elsewhere, Debian + Incus is a great minimal and rock solid solution for longer standing services. Although, it’s not composeable :(

    More directly to your preferences, I would also recommend considering Rocky. Being in the RHEL ecosystem has its perks (especially with rootless support for podman and podman-compose). I’m also generally a fan of SELinux. Rocky is a little less bleeding edge than Fedora with many of the same conveniences and recent packages. In my mind, for my purposes, that makes it a better choice than Fedora for a server OS.

  • @[email protected]
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    102 months ago

    Proxmox.

    Each service becomes an LXC. Docker containers can be migrated to LXC, or be contained within an LXC dedicated to docker.

    Running out of processing power? Add another server, add to a cluster, and migrate services (LXC or VM) over.

    Having run Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, RHEL, slack, even Oracle Linux - Proxmox is what I run for myself (and some clients).

    • MoritzOP
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      22 months ago

      I don’t know if the use-case you describes fit into my problem. I only have one server and its a physical server. I’m also not really able to extend the number of servers, as I don’t really have the budget.

      • @[email protected]
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        32 months ago

        Proxmox is a server OS based on Debian which is oriented on running virtual machines and Linux containers.

        The physical server runs proxmox. The services can all be individual containers (LXC’s).

        Adding to the number of servers (and migrating containers later) is a benefit of Proxmox, since you can buy another PC to be a server later, and easily expand as you go.

        • @[email protected]
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          2 months ago

          I tend to not use the webui, so I prefer the similarly useful combination of Debian + Incus (spawned from the LXC project).

          Sure, HA isn’t baked into Incus (to my knowledge) but similar to OP I only have one physical box and don’t necessarily care to manage multiple.

          That being said, Proxmox is a good solution in the scheme of things and generally a good recommendation.

          • @[email protected]
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            32 months ago

            I’ve got a small fleet of tmm’s, so HA is just practical for me, but yeah that works to with a single machine. Especially if you were sharing desktop use on it.

  • poVoq
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    2 months ago

    Fedora Server works well, and the Podman integration is great.

    I guess it is the boring option, but probably the best when coming from Ubuntu.

    • Deebster
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      42 months ago

      I went with Fedora on my VPS because I was also planning to use rootless Podman. Quadlets and running everything through systemd with SELinux enabled is working pretty well for me.

  • @[email protected]
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    82 months ago

    I’m using FreeBSD now and I have been blown away at how well it just works and gets out of your way. I am using appjail templates to script containerisation of my services

    • slabber
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      52 months ago

      Yes yes yes. It’s great to see other FreeBSD fans here with the same opinion.

      I was using Debian as a server OS for more than twenty years with short escapades to other distros but then I discovered FreeBSD and there was no way back. ;)

    • @MigratingtoLemmy
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      52 months ago

      Could you explain more about how you found FreeBSD to be superior to Debian for a server OS?

        • @MigratingtoLemmy
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          11 month ago

          Semantically superior OS components, performance, QoL improvements in networking and storage stacks please

    • @[email protected]
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      32 months ago

      What services do you run on FreeBSD? Does using FreeBSD limit you in the number of apps you can have, as most of them target Linux?

      • MoritzOP
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        32 months ago

        I am also curious. FreeBSD is, in my opinion, is such an unorthodox choice.

        • lemmyreader
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          32 months ago

          If I remember correctly when Microsoft bought Hotmail years ago, it was run on FreeBSD and SUN Solaris (And it took Microsoft a really long time to migrate it to Windows servers, but that’s another thing).

      • @[email protected]
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        2 months ago

        No, I haven’t found anything that I haven’t been able to host.

        I have Jellyfin, silverbullet, nginx web server with certbot etc, java game servers, samba and nfs shares, syncthing, qbittorrent, etc.

  • @[email protected]
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    82 months ago

    Not sure what works best in your case. I’m a Debian cat myself but I have been considering openbsd as a future option.

    • slabber
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      2 months ago

      I’m a long time user of Debian myself too. No cutting edge fuzz, just a working, stable OS all of the time. What else do you need for a server? It always did the job.

      But then I stumbled on FreeBSD, and man, that’s a server OS. Simple design and blazing fast. No Docker but I never liked it anyway. My Docker is called Jails and in my opinion is they’re superior. Service isolation on the next level.

      On my laptop? Debian due to hardware and software support. And I’ll stick to that for now. I feel home on that distro.

      I can’t say anything about OpenBSD as I never tried it but it sure is a perfect fit for a server as well depending on your needs and preferences. BSD just rocks!

      • @MigratingtoLemmy
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        12 months ago

        I love Debian too. Could you tell me what you mean FreeBSD being a faster and better server OS? Is there such a difference in speed in operations?

        TBH I’d run alpine VMs on Bhyve to get K8S running and that’s it.

        • slabber
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          21 month ago

          My feeling is that there is. I think it all started with the speed I can login over ssh. Debian always seems to have a short delay but FreeBSD feels instant. When it comes to rating FreeBSD as a better OS for servers I may be biased as Debian has served me so well over the years. I was never a Docker fan but instantly liked Jails for isolating services. Then we have native ZFS support which simplifies my backup needs. A simple zfs send | zfs receive and you have an exact copy of your service instance on a remote node. Everything feels integrated and not stacked. Again, just a personal opinion.

    • @MigratingtoLemmy
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      12 months ago

      OpenBSD has native limitations on hypervisors. Disabling default measures will lessen security, unfortunately.

  • @refreeze
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    62 months ago

    I have used all three! I started with Server then went to CoreOS running Kubernetes and settled on NixOS which I have been very happy with for about a year now. I run about 25-30 services all using built in modules.

    Regarding security, if you are using well crafted modules on NixOS, there should be good systemd hardening in place. That being said there is no reason you can’t just use containers on NixOS.

    I also find deploying NixOS far superior to butane/ignition used by CoreOS/Fedora. I use nixos-anywhere and can deploy my entire server in a few minutes without manual intervention.

    • @[email protected]
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      42 months ago

      I’m a NixOS convert too. I actually still run everything in docker but the idea of not having to remeber or document how I set everything up was too appealing…a year later and my desktop and laptop are now on nix too

      • MoritzOP
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        12 months ago

        I am also thinking about installing nix on my laptop, but I need a proprietary library for work, which is kinda hard to install/ not working on NixOS. But we might be able to just use docker for development. Well, that is currently preventing me from installing nix on my laptop, I am still looking for a way to fix that issue.

  • Daniel Quinn
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    52 months ago

    You might want to consider just Dockerising everything. That way, the underlying OS really doesn’t matter to the applications running.

    I’ve got a few Raspberry Pi’s running Debian, and on top of that, they’re running a kubernetes cluster with K3s. I host a bunch of different services, all in their own containers (effectively their own OS) and I don’t have to care. If I want to change the underlying OS, the containers don’t know either. It’s pretty great.

  • Strit
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    52 months ago

    I’m probably the odd one out, but my home server is running Arch Linux. And it’s been really smooth. I do weekly maintenance in the form of updates and cleanup and it’s been reliable since I set it up a couple of years ago.

    • @t3chskel
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      41 month ago

      I’ve been running Arch on my servers for over a decade now and never had issues. I think people have a perception that it’s not stable or it randomly breaks but that’s not been the case for me.

    • MoritzOP
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      42 months ago

      I’m probably the odd one out, but my home server is running Arch Linux. And it’s been really smooth. I do weekly maintenance in the form of updates and cleanup and it’s been reliable since I set it up a couple of years ago.

      I am basically doing the same right now, all by hand. It’s just that I am not doing the system and container updates regularly. I also often forget which services I have running and some of the Services I am not even using anymore. I just wanted to give them a try and now they are sitting there, wasting (barely any, but it’s nagging me) resources.

    • @Nibodhika
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      31 month ago

      My home server also runs arch, mostly because it’s a computer I was using for myself before and I’m lazy and just left what was already there.

    • @pete_the_cat
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      125 days ago

      I’ve been swapping between Arch with OpenZFS and FreeNAS/TrueNAS for probably 5-7 years now. In fact, I’m doing that right now! I think SCALE is finally stable enough to my liking…but we’ll see.

      ZFS becomes a pain to manage via the CLI when you have more than a few disks, a nice web GUI takes the pain away.

  • Baut [she/her] auf.
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    2 months ago

    I really don’t see any advantages in your post for choices other than NixOS. I’m sure you’ll improve quickly by necessity! :D