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Re:What CentOS does and doesn't add

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 21, 2007 01:22 AM
That's BS. RHN does more than delivering packaging. It has provising, monitoring etc which CentOS LACKS.


The problem with RHN is the per-system licensing requirements. While you could argue that this is a "we want something for nothing" situation, the truth is that a key GNU/Linux feature has been deployment flexibility and freedom from licensing constraints. RHN singlehandedly destroys a large part of the user's value proposition. There's the additional annoying problem of vast amounts of otherwise useful information (bugtracking, discussions, and of course binary RPMs) disappearing behing RHN registered-user-only firewalls. These are complaints coming directly from experience at various corporate settings, ranging from tech startups to Fortune 500 firms. It's a wonderful way to alienate your technical evangelists and make supporting your product more difficult. RH have succeeded beyond all expectations on this last front.



As for monitoring and provisioning, our heterogenous (10,000+ systems comrising RH, Suse, commercial Unixes) environment requires use of cross-platform tools for provisioning (Opsware) and monitoring (Ganglia, Nagios, in-house tools). RHN is not an appropriate global solution.



[WRT RH support] Incorrect. Red Hat has been number one on support for n number of years.


You and I apparently inhabit different universes. Can you tell me more about yours? My physicist friends would be fascinated.



In mine, three tiers of RH customer reps came on site (F-500 tech customer) recently to make Alberto Gonzales's current Congressional hearings look like a love-in. I've never such a contrite performance from a vendor in my life. RH are well aware that their support execution has been sorely lacking (and if this still puts it at "number one" on unspecified criteria this damns the entire field) and may actually be turning things around. I'm just reporting my own experience.



[WRT Novell/Suse] That would be getting wedded to Microsoft all over again.


Which was pretty much exactly my point.



[WRT Debian/Ubuntu] That would really be "unproven. Pretty much no ISV's.


Yes and no.



Most third-party apps I've encountered run just fine on Debian, whether or not they're officially supported. Truth is, they're likely not supported on anything other than RH or Suse, which puts all alternatives on largely equal footing (and as I pointed out originally, this is among the last remaining true advantages of either of these two distros).



A great many Linux deployments don't run any significant third-party, proprietary apps, but are used instead for deploying in-house development, as build systems (basic GCC toolchain), or can be fully provisioned from within the ~20,000+ packages available within the Debian archives. That's over three times the offerings of RH (roughly 6-7k packages last I checked), and among the reasons my own deployments tend to be Debian (or Ubuntu): I've very rarely got any call to go outside the available packaged software (current exception list: Google Earth. MM Flash. That last I'll lose when Gnash is sufficiently developed).



Finally: Ubuntu, being a well-capitalized (Mark Shuttleworth took in over $1b from sale of Thawte), clueful company is well positioned to establish ISV partnerships and is in the process of doing so. This is an advantage of corporate-based distros over community ones, in that they've got the infrastructure to do this sort of thing. Ubuntu has to date played pretty closely to Debian in other aspects which gives it a win in my book over other Debian-based distros (several of which have also inked ISV partnerships) including Linspire, Xandros, and others. RH are on shifting sands here as well.



It's interesting to note that the one notable ISV which is most often mentioned as a reason for deploying RH (often with the phrase "we might want to run Oracle so we must run RH") is, oh, I gave myself away, Oracle. Who last I heard wouldn't even think, no sir! of, say, rolling out their own distro to free themselves of some pesky little complaints about RH such as, oh, just stabbing in the dark, insufficient support levels.



I'm not saying RH are dead. I'm saying they should be gravely concerned about their position and execution.



Karsten M. Self

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