Which Distro for PPC64 Server?

We (work) have two IBM p505 Express Servers.

Right now one machine is running an old way out of support RHEL4 installation and the other is on Fedora 12, which is no longer supported by the Fedora Project. Paid support/subscription is not a consideration yet for this project, but I do want to run a modern Linux distribution for the associated modern application software and maintenance.

I basically need to move these servers to something free and supportable. I’m finding out that there aren’t a lot of options in PPC Linux as when I was last interested in this architecture. It’s pretty much just:

I realize there is RHEL and SuSE Enterprise for PPC64 but those are subscription products without free binaries available. I’m not prepared to build an RPM-based distro from source at this point so I need something with binaries or something where building from source is highly automated and integrated, such as Gentoo. Digression…

The question is which of these distros do I go with? To answer the question I suppose I need to define the roles.

These two pSeries servers a redundant pair running LDAP/Auth Service, NTP, DNS and DHCP. The load is low but I want a solid modern software platform on both these servers from now until they are replaced with in the future (which is likely to be integration into a centralized architecture).

With that said, and with my familiarity level of these distros, I would first lean towards Debian and then to Gentoo and finally to CRUX PPC.

Debian is a binary distribution, which is nice for maintaining a server. Debian is more familiar to me. What are the arguments for Gentoo or CRUX PPC?

Agree or Disagree?

2 thoughts on “Which Distro for PPC64 Server?

  1. Debian still has only 32bit userland and their packages aren’t optimized for your POWER5+ .

    I’d go for a source based distro like a great distro like Gentoo (even i dislike it) or a nice KISS distro like CRUX PPC 64bit.

    1. The 32-bit userland (ppc vs ppc64) was something that bothered me a bit but I’m not sure the benefits of a 64-bit userland are going to be important on a these servers. They don’t have a ton of RAM, they aren’t particularly fast and they are basically sitting idle all day.

      Maybe I should take a close look at CRUX PPC but there’s still something appealing about Debian.

      Thanks for the comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *