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Linux Distro
I have tried searching for the difference between distros but nothing really came up. I'm looking for the most basic distro possible so that my servers could run the most efficient. I'm guessing it would need FTP capabilities and some other things. This would be my first time hosting with linux but I have heard it is a lot better for hosting any help/comments would be appreciated.
Most people prefer Debian or CentOS...
Both have their pros or cons.
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debian!!!! ftw.
Debian Debian Debian
centos seems to have a lower "performance" for game server, though I did not test this. i would suggest debian, unless you are a linux-pro. in that case you wouldn't ask and use gentoo or so :-) (Linux Kernel HOWTO!)
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I think it really matters on your level of comfort with each distro, asking which one is better is kind of like asking if you should use asp or php. If you dont have a preference, just start out with whichever, CentOS or Debian seems to be the most preferred amongst linux users for server solutions. Personally I like CentOS more, but thats just becuase I have more experience with it (:
Actually this is an easy question.

Ubuntu > Debian > CentOS

For a person who is an experienced Linux user, s/he would already have a preferred distro, and would know enough to twist things around to suit his or her needs.

Thus the answer to which distro to use, would be any distro.

SRCDS Linux is portable, that you can use the same copy of SRCS Linux on a different machine, by simply copying the files.

Thus continue from my point #1, for experienced Linux user, it would be better to find out the results by running the SRCDS Linux on different distros.

For a new (or average) Linux user, who doesn't know enough about Linux, it would take a while before s/he would have learnt enough to twist things around. The important thing for his or her, is the "out-of-box" experience, because s/he is already paying for the dedicated box, and need to be able to use it now.

So for this member (I assume s/he is a new Linux user), my answer would be:

Ubuntu > Debian > CentOS

I am still learning to use Linux. For my web server, I use CentOS, because that seems to be the preferred distro. For my home box, I use Ubuntu, and I have been using it to host my testing SRCDS Linux for about a year.

Yet occasionally after a SRCDS update, I would get issues like segmentation fault, unable to shut down the SRCDS by using "exit" or "quit" and had to use "ctrl+c" instead.

Therefore, after I got my dedicated box, I tried CentOS, as I assumed it would be a better choice for a server. I tried CentOS 5.3, 5.4, i386, x86_64, and the "out-of-box" performances were horrible. Of course for those CentOS guru, they know enough to twist it for a decent performance, but I don't know how to do that.

Also, I wasn't able to compile a custom kernel, even by following the official wiki (link).

(By the way, I like the official CentOS wiki more than the Ubuntu's one, because it seems to be more accurate, up-to-date, and easier to follow)

I checked many CentOS/RHEL forums and mailists, and most questions regarding how to solve the custom kernel issues, only lead to a dead end. Most of the time I see people saying that they have solved the issues, by switching back to the default kernel...

I have then tried Debian, and was able to compile the custom kernel, yet having been an Ubuntu user, I missed those little twists that Ubuntu offers by default, so I then switched back to Ubuntu.

So far with Ubuntu 9.04 x86_64 server, I haven't experienced any issues.

From my readings, kernel from 2.6.30 and up, yield some good increase in general server performance, which also seems to work for a SRCDS server as well.

I still use CentOS for my stats hosting, forum, fast download, CMS, just that for SRCDS Linux, at the moment, Ubuntu/Debian is the better choice for me.

Last to mention, be sure to follow BehaartesEtwas's Linux Kernel HOWTO!, and use his FPS Meter. They helped me to optimize my server performance (Thank you BehaartesEtwas Smile).
I thought I'd bump this with a startling discovery found in some research I've been doing on this very topic (will make a more formal post with the full extent of said research somewhat soon)

In short, by default, there ARE significant performance differences running SRCDS from distro to distro. By default, I mean the out of the box settings. I know very well one can compile a custom Linux kernel and get differing results...but I'm going from the standpoint of the average Joe Server owner who:

A) Is probably is a beginner to intermediate Linux user
B) Is renting a remote box and may find impracticality in customizing their distro regardless of how advanced of a user they are

That being said...the best I have come across, by far, is Arch Linux (v2009.08 x86_64)! It blows others out of the water completely (including CentOS, Fedora, SUSE, Ubuntu, even the OS the thing was originally coded for...Windows). It easily has an on-par CPU usage with Windows, about half of what every other Linux distro I've tried takes up on the same hardware, and of course the highest and most stable FPS. I don't know if it's the fact that it's one of the more basic distros (less bloat slowing it down) or what, but I was very surprised to see one stand way above the rest regarding running a Source Dedicated Server. I still have a few more distros to run analysis on, but I was just so wowed by this one that I had to post Big Grin!
Good information to know, what was your servers specs?
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(01-02-2010, 01:14 PM)loopyman Wrote:  Good information to know, what was your servers specs?
Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5400 Wolfdale 2.7GHz, 800MHz FSB
Intel G41 chipset mobo
4GB DDR2 800 memory

Depending on the OS, runs the process anywhere from about 25%-70% for a TF2 server full of bots (percentages are of a single core fixed at 66 tick).

should be all the important stuff regarding this Smile
(01-02-2010, 04:14 PM)Narwhal Wrote:  Depending on the OS, runs the process anywhere from about 25%-70% for a TF2 server full of bots (percentages are of a single core fixed at 66 tick).

cpu usage? forget that, it's not reliable. linux cannot measure reliable the cpu usage of processes that sleep 1000 times per second (every srcds/hlds does that, even if running at lower fps). (Linux Kernel HOWTO!)
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Hrm...interesting. Well, is there any reliable way to measure CPU usage of SRCDS with Linux then? Like using top or mpstat? I'd imagine there has to be something. I've just been using what gets spit out when I spam "stats" in the server console. Regardless of whether it's accurate or not, the CPU usage as reported by the game engine appears to have some form of correlation with how stable the FPS is. For whatever that's worth...
"stats" does not produce anything reliable regarding cpu usage. I have seen servers having constant 100% there but running perfectly. also the opposite, always 0%... my statement was already meant for what top etc. gives. top relies on the kernel to measure the cpu load, but the kernel doesn't measure the load often enough.
what is sort of reliable is the "load" as given e.g. by the uptime command. that is the average number of processes in the "runnable" state (meaning not sleeping, waiting for user input etc.). but that is not a percentage value... a value equal to the number of cpu-cores is kind of 100%, but greater values are possible (meaning an actual overload).
but it's very hard to derive from this information any usefull conclusion for the server optimization. also the cpu usage wouldn't help you there... (Linux Kernel HOWTO!)
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