​Turnkey Linux 14: Small business server Linux made easy

The new Turnkey release enables small businesses to easily set up a wide-variety of Linux-based business servers on your local hardware, the Amazon Web Services cloud, and, soon, Docker containers.

Let's say you want inexpensive, open-source server applications that are under your control... but you don't have the tech chops to install Linux server programs from packages, never mind source code. If that's you, then you need Turnkey Linux.

Turnkey Linux makes setting up Linux server apps easy.

This Linux distribution, based on Debian 8.2 (Jessie), makes it easy for you to install complete, working Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP/Python (LAMP) servers on your own servers, the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, and soon Linux Docker containers. The key word is "easy." Turnkey makes it possible for anyone who's Linux savvy, as opposed to a system administrator, to get over a hundred different Linux server applications up and running.

With this release, there's a new lightweight database management tool, Adminer. This replaces PHPMyAdmin. After a quick look, I have to say I prefer Adminer, and I'd been using phpMyAdmin for years.

Turnkey has improved SSL/TLS security. The net result is that TurnKey appliance's overall administrator tools, Webmin and Webshell, are now hidden behind stunnel using TLS. In addition, the three supported web servers used across appliances (Apache, LigHTTPd and Nginx) are now configured to use consistent hardened TLS cipher suite and settings. The Tomcat JavaServer also has hardened TLS settings.

As before, Turnkey continues to offer a wide variety of both popular and niche server programs. These include commonly used programs such as WordPress blogging, the Node.js Javascript runtime environment, and Drupal content management system (CMS) It also offers more exotic servers including Ushahidi crisis crowd-sourcing server; Zurmo, a gamified customer-relationship management (CRM) application; and Sahana Eden, a humanitarian response management system.

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Turnkey Linux 14 is also offering for the first time: the Ansible devops program; the Laravel PHP framework; and SuiteCRM, a SugarCRM fork. Usually, Turnkey Linux doesn't touch beta software, but it's also offering Drupal8, which is both very popular and very mature for a beta.

Another great Turnkey feature is that all these programs are supported with the latest security patches. Turnkey also uses TKLBAM (TurnKey Linux Backup et Migration) for easy system-level backup.

So, if you need servers apps, but you're short on server staff, Turnkey Linux is the way to go.

Oh, and did I mention the cost? It's free. All the images, the base Linux platform, TurnKey Core, the whole she-bang won't cost you one red-penny.

Do you get support? No. If your business grows to the point you need serious support, you should hire a Linux-savvy system administrator and consider moving to an enterprise Linux such as Ubuntu Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), or Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). For many small, or even medium-sized businesses, Turnkey Linux will be all you need.

Try it and see.

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