SJVN found a great story for the week, a guy who had his GNU/Linux server fail.
What was the problem? An update to GNOME failed. Apparently he was using a GUI to manage the server. That’s not wrong especially if users are going to visit the server with a GUI and he wanted to have their experience. There’s more than one way to do that of course, and there’s no need at all to have the GUI on the server. It can be on your client machine. You see, a GUI is much more complex than a server needs to be and a server is automatically more reliable if less software runs on it. It’s statistics. No matter how good your programmer there is a good probability of having X bugs per thousand lines of code. A server without a gui is millions of lines of code. A server with a gui is probably many times more buggy. The GUI failed when he updated it and he could not get the GUI to start… If he were running SSH on the server he could get in just fine.
The guy also complained that the GNU/Linux server was more work to maintain to which SJVN replied he spends about an hour a year maintaining his GNU/Linux server. I would agree with that. I did have a bit of a problem with the server that runs this blog but it was our own stupid fault, not GNU/Linux. It ran for months after our little tweak and eventually was swapped for failing hardware so I have not had to look at it for a long time. It’s just there. Where I worked last year there was no running server in the building and I set up several with no GUI, not to make work for myself but to make my life easier…
GNU/Linux servers are so reliable that I recommend every user should have one. If there is no server hardware on your LAN, you can run a service on your client. There’s nothing like connecting to a web application with no network lag. I had to warn students lest they fall of their chairs. Just install Apache2 or Boa or Nginx and you can serve static files instantly. Add PHP or perl and you can do server-side scripts. A database is real fun. You can make servers very complex or have hundreds of them but one server should never be a chore but a blessing.
see SJVN Linux servers work just fine