StartCom Delivers Free Enterprise Server
The most recent release of StartCom Enterprise Linux is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.0 and provides all the base functionality you'll find in that distribution. That begs the question "why bother?" Freely available might be one good reason to start with. Free updates is another. If you're looking for a way to stand up a test server running a distribution intended for heavy duty enterprise applications this might just be your ticket. You might find it will do everything you need in the end.
Installing StartCom from DVD is extremely simple. The process runs by itself after answering a few questions about where you want to install and what graphical interface you want. We did have a few issues with the GNOME installation on both an IBM x-series server and using VMware Workstation 6.0.
After installation the system booted up and presented a typical console login prompt. Using root credentials the system presented a terminal window with a prompt but no GUI.
Attempts to start the x-server resulted in a series of error messages. This allowed us to check out the StartCom support forum. A simple solution was found on the installation message board, and one command line instruction got everything working (see Figure 1). Browsing through the other message threads shows a fairly active community with prompt replies to most questions.