[nycbug-talk] OT: Favorite Linux Distro (based on FreeBSD experience?)

Pete Wright pete at nomadlogic.org
Wed Aug 25 16:19:16 EDT 2010

On Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 04:03:11PM -0400, Matt Juszczak wrote:
> Hi folks,
> I need to choose a standard Linux distribution for a project I'm working 
> on.  Most of my experience is FreeBSD, but Linux is required here.
> The available options are:
>     * Debian
>     * Ubuntu
>     * Centos
>     * Arch
>     * Gentoo
>     * Fedora
> While I like CentOS, I don't like the lack of packages native to the OS. 
> For instance, MongoDB and PHP and other packages are super old versions 
> (if they exist at all).
yea that is one thing that tends to bother people with RHEL/CentOS.
Although redhat does this for a good reason IMHO.  They make a good
effort to maintain ABI and KBI compatibility from w/in their major
releaases (5.x.x for example).  This helps with third party software and
hardware vendors getting a non-moving target to develop products
against.  In my industry (vfx, animation and video) this is super
helpful since we tend to rely on 3rd parties for not only software
(autodesk maya for example) but also for hardware drivers (graphics
drivers, along with not-to-common IB and other network adapters).

having said that...check out these two resources for more up to date
packages for RHEL/CentOS distrobutions:


> Ubuntu is good, because it has all the latest software packages, but I 
> don't like how much automation it tries to do.  For instance - install a 
> package, and shockingly, the package will start automatically at the end 
> of the install!  Too much automation, and too heavy.  Perhaps I'm letting 
> this bother me too much?

i worked at a shop that was heavilly using ubuntu for our server
systems.  some people seemed to like it, imho your assesment is correct
- it tries to do too much automagically making it hard to manage.

granted i came from a large rhel install and had grown accustomed to
redhat kickstarts and building rpm and stuff like that - so i was most
likely being grumpy :)
> Fedora... I know nothing about, other than it's EOL pretty quickly.

fedora is now basically like FreeBSD-CURRENT.  this is were cutting edge
development happens and they do not provide any long-term support for
releases w/in it.  the idea is to flesh out new emerging tech before
including it into RHEL/CentOS releases.

the EPEL link above is a good bridge b/w those two worlds though.

> Any suggestions?  Anyone have any recommendations?

personally speaking - use centos.  it has good hardware support from
most vendors, they are quite involved in getting KVM working and usefull
if you are into virt. stuff.  and the cobbler/koan provisioning system
is kick-ass and just works on redhat platforms.


Pete Wright
pete at nomadlogic.org

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