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New Fedora Chair plans to remove obstacles for volunteers

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on February 28, 2008 03:03 PM
I hope he succeeds. I started with Red Hat 5.2, and continued with Fedora Core 1 and 3. Around this time an upstream ISP asked me if I would go CentOS, which I did for a dedicated server. Then I noticed that Fedora's yum channels were slow, and FC6 was terrible, just terrible -- the yum deps would break, and it was hard to find a package. I felt like a hamster on a treadmill with all the upgrades.

CentOS has essentially taken over the non-paying RH server segment. I tried to install Fedora 8 on my new laptop, it was a big disappointment. The screen was not detected, the sound did not work, and the kernel would freeze when I loaded a win32 wireless driver with ndiswrapper. Ubuntu (Gutsy 7.10) worked much better -- I was able to get my screen going. The sound didn't work until I did something with apt and backports-something. ndiswrapper ran beautifully.

I still use CentOS for my servers as I have been using a RH environment for 9 years. One customer even insisted on buying a real RH5 license for the box in his photocopier room (I found RH5's updating mechanism slower than the CentOS yum channels, but otherwise it was fine).

A few weeks ago I tried to install from source all of the packages, ie apache 2.2, mysql 5, php 5, suphp 0.62, etc) that I use in shared hosting servers as a web hosting ISP (ISPs don't generally use pre-built binary packages because they are not optimized for performance on the target platform, and custom security patches cannot be applied). I had to find the equivalent libraries (ie 'apt-get install libbz2-dev' instead of 'yum install bzip2-devel' but otherwise the environment compiled the apps perfectly (a similar experience on SUSE would not have been nearly as smooth, I think).

There is no advantage for me to switch my servers to Ubuntu. After all, most of the world's production Linux servers still run RH servers and the sysadmin docs reflect that. However, Ubuntu is unquestionably a better desktop distro, as it combines recent tech with stability and full feature set. And it does the server mission fine. RH is a good server but a weak desktop. This make me wonder if Ubuntu will move from the desktop to the server and displace RH completely.

I visited a university campus recently where I saw 2 Linux laptops in use (granted, I was in the CS dept.). They were running Ubuntu. My guess is that in 5 years they'll use the RH server at work while rolling their eyes. In 10 years they'll be senior enough to enforce their preference and force Ubuntu.

I would prefer that RH won the war. However, it seems clear that the way to do that is to improve the desktop experience to prevent the competition from using it as a backdoor to eventual server dominance.


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