How an IT department should choose a Linux distribution: Technical reasons

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http://serverfault.com – There is a lot of community feeling about what Linux distributions are appropriate for production server environments and what aren't. Some of this is based on the availability of commercial support. If that is a prime criterion, your choices are (as of now) already quite narrow. However, a lot of this feeling seems religiously based, and seldom presented with supporting evidence. Assuming that availability of commercial support is not of concern, what criteria are important when choosing a Linux distribution, and how do you make determinations about how well different distributions meet t (HowTos)