Ubuntu Server is a fast, free, no-frills Linux distribution that fills a niche between utilitarian Debian and the GUI-driven and, some would argue, over-featured Novell SUSE and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Ubuntu Server: what we didn't like

Out of habit, we use strong passwords, but Ubuntu doesn't by default enforce them. We found it ironic that we could encrypt user 'home' directories, but their passwords could be junk.

Ubuntu Server does support the trend of not allowing a superuser/root to be run by default - meaning that root user tasks must be run by the sudo ('superuser do') root privilege command or a shell launched from it.

Ubuntu Server also features ufw, (the uncomplicated firewall) which can be controlled by the debianconf tool (not included but easily downloaded), and an OEM configuration can be 'pre-seeded' with allowed and rejected ports if desired.

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However, more complicated rules (example: acceptance from specific IP ranges or host table sourcing for access rules) don't work until after installation. The upside is that ufw can use Linux iptables for its iptables reject (turn network traffic off to start), but this isn't the default.

Additional authentication methods are available, but Ubuntu doesn't really give much information about how to enable them; it's up to the skills of the installer to make biometric, or proxy authentication methods work. If you want a certificate authority and something like AES encryption with temporal keys, you have to install it yourself, unlike Ubuntu's larger cousins.

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Ubuntu Server 9.0.4: Specs

  • Any Intel or AMD x86, AMD_64, EM_64T processor
  • 192MB RAM
  • 1GB hard disk space