As a Windows user, I used to wonder what working with Linux would be like in terms of both server applications and other general use. Partitioning my hard disk to install a Linux distro was also something I didn't have experience with and along with a lack of free time I never got around to learning Linux.. until I found
I've been the happy owner of a Linode 64 (the cheapest plan) for almost two months now. For $20/month I was certainly not expecting the world. Although I haven't ever owned a dedicated server before, I can't imagine how it'd be far different to owning a Linode (even on the cheapest package).
By far the best aspect of the system is the ability to wipe your hard disk and start with a completely fresh distribution within about 5 minutes (for free of course). All the main distros are there - I spent a day just installing each of them and finding out a little about how they differ. Of course, this was handy when I made some inevitable newbie mistakes and rendered my installation unbootable
So far (fingers crossed) I've had no downtime whatsoever and no issues with speed. CPU availability is always great, and is actually miles higher than the figures quoted on the info page. I'm able to reach speeds of about 700k/sec when downloading files - it's easy to fill up the hard disk if you aren't careful at that speed! The only real negative issue I can think of is related to disk I/O queues. The hard disk of a Linode is by far the weakest link and this is known to cause slight slowdowns when many people are reading/writing large numbers of files from/to disk. Apparently the new kernel version 2.6 (all kernels are modified specifically for linode use) includes a method of queuing requests fairly, which will be welcomed.
For a new user like myself it was important that I could get support where needed. The linode.com packages page states that all the plans are "considered unmanaged", but this can be taken with a pinch of salt. An emphasis is placed on getting the user to learn how to manage Linux without hand-feeding answers. As a completely new user I was able to get along reasonably well just using Google and various forums. A Linode support forum (
Overall, I'm very impressed with the service I've received. The owner, Chris, is a cheerful guy who always seems to be improving things for us somewhere (check out the forums) and is amazingly down-to-earth. The Linode idea is certainly an original and well-implemented idea that I can't see meeting with anything other than continued success
Thanks for your hard work Chris!