My first distro was Slackware in '94, IIRC. Built a mail server. Learned a lot, among the lessons was appreciating 'it just works' updating for boxes that aren't just for playing around, which was a mixed experience in slack at the time. As an eventual outcome, I now use Ubuntu for my HTPC, file/print server, and desktop machines, with the only complaint being the setup for development as noted previously.
But, for cluster computing, where I just want the thing to boot with a set of libraries that support my own apps, I'm really enamoured with ttylinux...
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