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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

By Johannes Truschnigg on June 30, 2008 (9:00:00 PM)

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Apple's OS X, which has been an official certified Unix system for some time now, is often installed onto Internet-exposed or intranet-only Web servers for serving up dynamic content. I've worked with such configurations for a couple of years, and with GNU/Linux alternatives for even longer. There are at least three reasons why GNU/Linux systems do the job better.

Web servers are key corporate assets, and systems administrators are supposed to keep them humming along, but that's not always easy. Security is always an issue for sites, as shown by daily vulnerability reports and security advisories. Performance, in terms of load time and response time, is another key issue. Customers get frustrated if it takes longer to add something to their browser's shopping cart than it would take them to visit a nonvirtual shop to buy it there. Sysadmins also must focus on availability. If your site is down, you'll lose all the benefits an otherwise well-administrated Web site provides.

GNU/Linux and the BSDs generally have a fine track record as Web servers. In terms of software licenses, they make reliable hosting on the cheap possible, and they let you host dynamic sites that serves tens of thousands of visitors per day over hundreds of days without major hiccups.

Lately, Mac OS X is popping up on dedicated Web server machines more often than it used to, perhaps due to the ongoing success of OS X and Apple in the desktop market and the synergistic effects this has on buying decisions made by Apple users in relevant positions. I coadminister a number of Apple machines that serve a PHP- and MySQL-based Web app, and I'm not as happy with them as I am with sturdy GNU/Linux offerings like Debian. Here are three reasons why.

Managing software on OS X is inconvenient

OS X lacks proper package management. Sure, it's easy to install disk image files. The .dmg file format defines application packages and is understood by Apple's installer program. However, not all software that's important for your average Web server setup comes packaged as a .dmg file. Often, corporate policy forbids the installation of third-party software like Fink or Portage. You end up installing some programs the "proper" way, unrolling some tarballs to your filesystem by hand, and compiling and installing some other programs yourself.

Apple's Software Update doesn't necessarily know about all the little nuts and bolts that keep your system up and running. You'll often find yourself waiting for potentially crucial security fixes a lot longer than you would on well-maintained GNU/Linux distros, because Apple tends to provide fixes for individual software in batch volumes on a specific day.

It's much more convenient to have all your software managed by a central facility like APT or an RPM package, as you can under GNU/Linux. In most GNU/Linux distros, packaged software is maintained by a toolkit that can even pull in fixes for your applications automatically. It's also trivial to package third-party software that's not in your distribution's repositories yourself to have it consistently integrate with the other software on the system.

Default configurations of popular software seems awkward

Apple's strategy for selecting (or rather, configuring) server software is strange. The average Web app (that doesn't run under Internet Information Server) probably needs PHP at some point, but the version that ships with Apple's latest offering, OS X 10.5 (code-named Leopard), doesn't come with popular and much-needed PHP extensions out of the box. PHP Extension and Application Repository (PEAR), a vast software repository with reusable chunks of code, is not installed by default, so you've got to do that yourself (and without a suitable disk image). The distributed PHP build also lacks support for convenient extensions like calendar, mcrypt, and gd (a library vital for generating images dynamically), which renders the whole package next to useless for some add-on software. The only solution to these problems is to throw out Apple's default PHP installation and roll your own, with all the pain of setting up your build environment and finding out how to configure each feature.

Virtually any GNU/Linux distributions that comes with binary packages allow for an easy opt-in installation of these and any modules, and some actually enable you to rebuild any package in their repositories from source, with customized options set at configuration time. That said, all distributions geared toward operating a LAMP server usually come with all the well-known PHP extensions you might want to use enabled out of the box, so you most probably won't have to deal with these issues at all.

OS X is going astray from the "one true way" of Unix

Although OS X is a real Unix system, as Apple's marketing department let the world know in 2007, it isn't as close to Unix as it could (or should) be. For example, most GNU/Linux-literate people know what /etc/fstab and /etc/resolv.conf are for, and are surprised by what they do on OS X: nothing. /etc/resolv.conf applies only to some programs; there are multiple, independent ways of resolving domain names on OS X, which is a potential source of confusion. Many standard Unix tools also work in unexpected ways. For example, mounting a remote filesystem on the command line becomes a real quest as soon as you'd like to grant access to users other than the one who actually executed the mount command. Also, the well-known /etc/passwd file does not really reflect a user's login shell, and chsh, the program you use to change that setting whenever you don't edit config-files manually with a text-editor, operates on some different yet unrevealed data store. In addition, octal Unix permissions do not necessarily represent what's really going on and what you may or may not do with files; there's a chance that you'll get a "permission denied" error when you try to change to a certain directory even though the POSIX view of the system would seemingly allow you to do so without hassle, because some other system programming API (presumably Apple's Cocoa) overrules them. The standard userland tools don't allow for ordering command-line arguments any way you want, which can be highly inconvenient. The list of strange discrepancies and annoyances is a long one.

You won't come across a System V init system on OS X either. The system uses a service called launchd to control most of its other services (and supports a legacy system to control similar functions in parallel), and it performs tasks like automatically starting, stopping, or restarting services whenever various conditions apply. The configuration for those services is kept in XML files, making them difficult to read and even harder to write from scratch. In general, OS X does not really support you much when administering it via SSH on the command line. Most of the guides and howtos on the Web assume you're sitting in front of the desktop shell of OS X and next to the physical machine it's running on, and are dependent on the mouse and GUI. That's not always possible.

On GNU/Linux systems, a graphical interface (such as the X Window System) isn't a necessity, and many servers don't have one installed. Most of the configuration relevant to servers takes place via a command-line interface (CLI) anyway, because it is efficient to work with and you can easily script and automate processes.

A few bright spots for OS X

What I do like about OS X is its default mail transfer agent (MTA), Postfix, due to a personal preference for that particular program over its numerous competitors. You can have that on all mature GNU/Linux distributions too, but it's not the default for popular choices like Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Debian. OS X's manual pages are top-notch, too.

However, despite these couple of positives, I don't see any benefit in having a Mac act as your Web server. Updates and software installation can be a pain, and you're likely to find a cheaper, more flexible, better-working, and better-performing solution with GNU/Linux at a lower price.

Johannes Truschnigg is a computer science student from Vienna, Austria, where he also works as a freelance GNU/Linux and Apple Darwin systems administrator.

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on Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 156.108.0.70] on June 30, 2008 09:45 PM
Your first item is really a double-edged sword. Yes, Linux is a bit more flexible in terms of speed of fixes and the like. The benefits of being open source. But with Apple, while you wait longer, you do have a dedicated team interested in making sure that everything works the way it's supposed to - the benefit of a commercial project.

Granted that PEAR is not installed by default, but a search on Google for "Pear for Mac" turned up a page with a half-dozen command line commands to install it without a bit of trouble. Your other examples are apparently better supported than you think, though to be honest you do need to install four libraries by hand for GD to work correctly, but it really is trivial, and the full instructions are available, with cut and paste code, on the Apple Open Source Developer website.

Could it be easier to do these things on a Mac? Sure. But most of your issues are one-time fixes at the beginning and rarely if ever need to be tinkered with again.

The nice thing is that, if you decide that OS X isn't cutting it for you, there's a distribution of Linux that'll run on the same hardware and you can try the other side of the street for free.

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Re: Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.247.9.183] on June 30, 2008 10:12 PM
#1 Debian developpers or RHEL anyone ?
#2 Nothing to say but it is more convenient to do on most GNU/LInux distros.
#3 One-time fixes, maybe, but do it each and every time you have to configure and it becomes quite a pain.
#4 You might not be able to make that kind of choice in an enterprise environment.

No hard feelings but hey, linux zealots are here d:

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Re: Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.213.0.206] on July 01, 2008 04:48 AM
"But with Apple, while you wait longer, you do have a dedicated team interested in making sure that everything works the way it's supposed to"

I have to laugh when thinking about the launch of Leopard... That thing was so buggy it made me sick. Now comes the Snow Leopard, which "is not focused on adding new features, but providing stability" (summarized). ROFL Don't get me wrong, but Apple's patches have completely sucked the past year or two. Where is this dedicated team that's interested in making sure it works the way it's supposed to?

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Re: Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.148.150.64] on July 03, 2008 09:20 PM
" dedicated team interested in making sure that everything works the way it's supposed to - the benefit of a commercial project" Really funny. The main benefit of a commercial project is that paying for everything allows you to feel rich. You know, when programmers here "commercial" words like "deadline", "marketing", "good enough", they just smile happily, cut corners and release crap. Like Windows Vista.

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And a fourth reason

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.192.250.149] on June 30, 2008 09:54 PM
There's a lot of track record and experience out there for GNU/Linux servers. They've proved themselves, and there's a big community of people who know them and can give advice.

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.237.174.94] on June 30, 2008 10:14 PM
You forgot another advantage for GNU/Linux: I can turn any piece of hardware on hand into a LAMP server -- never mind who manufactured it or even what platform it is. I'm not tied down to buying hardware from Apple.
Plus OAMP is harder to pronounce.

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Re: Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Lennie on June 30, 2008 11:11 PM
But so it:
Linux
Lighttpd
Postgresql
Php/Perl

But I still use it. :-)

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Re: Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Joe Barr on July 01, 2008 01:04 AM
Plus OAMP is harder to pronounce.

Good point!

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Re: Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Johannes Truschnigg on July 01, 2008 08:45 AM
That's another great benefit, of course. However, since article length is limited to a certain degree, I wasn't able to provide an exhaustive list of GNU/Linux's advantages, sorry. ;-)
[Modified by: Johannes Truschnigg on July 01, 2008 09:45 AM]

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 91.149.11.240] on June 30, 2008 10:34 PM
A very nice article. I came to the mac before I started with Linux, starting with Mac OS 9 / 10.0 and now Debian Lenny at home and Leopard at work. I really see your arguments, going from one Linux distribution to another takes a bit of reading - going between Linux and Mac OS X is just frustrating. Mac OS X is not anything like Linux. Looking forward until I can/will install native KDE 4 applications in OS X, I am sure that will make OS X more appealing for many Linux users (at least on the desktop).

BTW, you should also check out macports if you haven't already. I haven't tested portage, but macports are more up-to-date than fink. Cheers.

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Re: Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.240.11.2] on July 11, 2008 02:15 PM
>going between Linux and Mac OS X is just frustrating
so is going between linux and BSD.

I work on OSX, linux (whatever flavor) and FreeBSD. They all have their quirks. With exposed web services I prefer to gcc everything, though I don't have the choice where I currently work.

my 2 cents from a developer's point of view. IMHO packages are a horrible choice for anything which is critical and exposed. When you are dependent on the package maintainers for your critical web services, you can be left high and dry when you need a package the most. If the maintainer isn't fast enough you become a victim. With source you have complete control, but you'd better know what you are doing 8) By compiling into /usr/local you avoid clobbering system files provided by packages, but can remove dependance on the vendor provided packages for the important stuff.

The last openssl worm is a perfect example. Our apache vendor was horribly slow to patch that and release packages. Once bitten, twice shy... Since then I've built my stack from source when allowed to. I don't like being made to wait for critical patches. Usually you aren't allowed to wait if you have a good infosec team who is serious about security.

-Viz

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Good read

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 83.227.140.22] on June 30, 2008 10:59 PM
I hope not the Mac zealots come trolling over this good article.

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Some good points but some pretty wrong statements as well

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 12.31.124.2] on June 30, 2008 11:23 PM
Johannes makes some good points, OSX can be difficult to administer strictly from SSH.

OSX does have a package manager, it uses .pkg files, receipts (records of what is installed) are kept in /Library/Receipts. It is surprising that the package system is not used as much as it shoud be. Why did macports and fink write their own package systems when they could have just used the built system.

OSX desperately needs a package uninstaller, currently it is a pain in the ass the open the package receipt, look at all the files it installed and delete them.

Fink and macports really need to parse the installed packages to resolve dependancies.

Now the statement "Often, corporate policy forbids the installation of third-party software like Fink or Portage" is just plain stupid, if corporate policy would forbid installing a package manager, then it sure as hell would also prohibit installing anything else.

The statement "The configuration for those services is kept in XML files, making them difficult to read" is about as stupid as I have ever heard. I for one would rather have all configuration kept in XML, I can read it write, apply a style-sheet, read it programatically with just about any language. Sure beats the hell out of trying to parse ten thousand different configuration files, where each program has its own syntax like all the crap in /etc.

OSX could learn a thing or two from Linux, but Linux could also learn quite a bit from OSX.

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 217.157.197.11] on July 01, 2008 12:41 AM
Only fools are using OS X.
I deleted my installation and now it works.
The look of the Apple hardware is nice, but the performance is way too bad.
Strange how Apple can make such a low performance OS! X

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.53.155.40] on July 01, 2008 02:09 AM
You are preaching to the choir here. Doubt many OSX users will visit here. Certainly none of the hot chicks who like OSX. All those Linux loving babes will be all over you for writing this intelligenct article.

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Re: Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.148.150.64] on July 03, 2008 09:30 PM
"Doubt many OSX users will visit here" Exactly. I cannot imagine a person both capable to manage a server and likely to love OSX.

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Postfix

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 206.248.149.123] on July 01, 2008 04:16 AM
"What I do like about OS X is its default mail transfer agent (MTA), Postfix, due to a personal preference for that particular program over its numerous competitors."

If you install a decent distro with build tools than you can build and configure Postfix on your own - it takes about two minutes. I don't see how this is an OS X selling point.

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 88.217.15.133] on July 01, 2008 05:28 AM
- who is using PEAR anyway?
- there installable packages for the most important things: mysql, lighttpd, php

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.147.56.174] on July 01, 2008 05:50 AM
I guess it's always easier to complain about problems by writing a negative linux.com article than to actually accept the fact that sometimes system administrators don't get to work on their idea of a dream system, find intelligent solutions, and write about those. But then again, positive news rarely gets published.

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Re: Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.165.198.43] on July 01, 2008 06:05 AM
This article got quite a few things wrong, I think. It seems the article was discussing Mac OS X Leopard, a client operating system. Leopard server is a bit different. It is intended to be used as a server and is configured as such - including apache with PHP. On regular Leopard, apache is set up for hosting personal web pages simply, not for complex web applications. The less unixy aspects have their pitfalls, but many of the changes are implemented to help put the service configurations in directory services and using standard plist files, allowing for simpler, more universal management. For a web server, yes, linux is better, but OS X Server can be great for providing services to macs without needing technical knowledge, or for providing Open Directory, managed preferences, apple remote desktop and netboot/netinstall for simple administration and imaging. Just don't use a client OS as a server.

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Re(1): Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Johannes Truschnigg on July 01, 2008 08:42 AM
I don't know if you've ever worked with OS X server to have it serve up web content - but I have numerous times, and the points made in the article still hold up on that platform, which doesn't differ all that much from the "client OS" in that regard. It's the same beast under the hood, and the part that differs most between "server" and "client" is the default DocumentRoot-content, really.

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 67.174.150.213] on July 01, 2008 07:11 AM
"The average Web app (that doesn't run under Internet Information Server) probably needs PHP at some point..."

Uh, although PHP is very nice (I use it a lot), it's not the only thing out there for non-ISS servers, such as:
Perl
Python
Ruby
Java

BTW, if I use Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Ruby on Rails, is it a LAMR? Maybe LARM?

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Re: Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.125.252.78] on July 01, 2008 08:44 AM
"BTW, if I use Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Ruby on Rails, is it a LAMR? Maybe LARM?"
If you also use Exim, it's LAMER.

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 212.17.134.138] on July 01, 2008 10:25 AM
Mac OS Server is in many ways a different beast and the author's comment about hard to administer from SSH shows he has not looked at the serveradmin and softwareupdate commandline tools for instance. For the full command line reference look at http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/Command_Line_Admin_v10.5.pdf

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Re: Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Johannes Truschnigg on July 01, 2008 02:13 PM
The Apple-supplied documentation is very nice, as I did point out in the article. This does not change the fact that 3rd-party contributed HowTos assume physical vicinity and access to an OS X machine you want to do $something with most of the time.

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 127.0.0.1] on July 01, 2008 01:40 PM
Most of that article can be summarized as "OS X isn't GNU/Linux". Which is true, but not exactly a valid point on why it's a worse web server. If you're going to administrate an OS X server, learn how it stores user accounts, how it does name lookups, how to install new software - don't just complain that it doesn't work exactly as GNU/Linux does. The differences aren't that huge if you spend some time reading up and have enough understanding of *nix in general (though the points you make to argue that "OS X is going astray from UNIX" indicate that you don't really know UNIX, you know GNU/Linux).

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 81.175.196.204] on July 01, 2008 01:49 PM
You have some interesting misconceptions about how corporations are run. I work for one of the largest corporations in the world, top 3 in size and revenue. We don't have any such rules on Fink or any other nonsense about compiling from source since its a complete false sense of security if you think building your own binaries is safer. How many vendor products do you compile the source to before deploying? What? You don't??? How many of those include open source libraries these days? What? The majority?? How many times have you successfully sued a vendor to cover losses related to security flaws in their software? None? that's right, because it just keeps an ugly issue in the public eye longer. Hmmm.... seems like your argument against OS X as a server falls apart once Fink and the Darwin Ports libraries are brought back into the picture. Their exclusion was based on a fallacy that applies only to the most naive of companies or those who haven't faced the reality of security theater.

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Re: Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Johannes Truschnigg on July 01, 2008 02:18 PM
Oh, I'm perfectly aware of the fact that any such policies are plain dumb, but as a matter of fact, I do have to live with them on more sites than you'd maybe expect. Companies don't always go out of business just because their IT is run in a poor manner and hamstrung by issues like this, but they manage to limp along just so.

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Re: Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.240.11.2] on July 11, 2008 02:29 PM
>since its a complete false sense of security if you think building your own binaries is safer

How's citigroup? In 2002 when the openssl worm was infecting everything, and our CISO officer was standing over me telling me that I don't get the patched OpenSSL in, by 5PM that day, or he was shutting down the farm, source was the only option. Our vendor had been dicking around for weeks and had still not provided us with packages. We never went back to packages, at least before I left. I trained the administrators on how to compile the stack and that was it.

At the time citigroup was #1 financial company in the world.

There are times when blanket statements like this are patently false.

-Viz

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 128.146.172.220] on July 01, 2008 06:42 PM
The package management system is the main problem for OS X. Apt is a really nice way to keep all your packages up-to-date.
Remote administration is also a pain with OS X.

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 190.52.139.205] on July 01, 2008 10:41 PM
Linux also performs faster than anything else =D

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 81.110.12.245] on July 02, 2008 02:33 AM
I tend to agree with the comment that this article was miss titled.
Can you amend it to 3 reasons that OS X isn't GNU/Linux

GNU/Linux isn't quite Solaris or AIX or HP-UX silly me GNU/Linux isn't UNIX!!!

Just because you know how to do something in one OS don't assume you can do the same in another.
Its stupid comments like this that end up with OS wars. *nixy operating systems are far better than windows, would i want to support a building full of machines each with a pittifly slow office suite on... or have to go to a manager to explane why the mount points on his system aren't working, rather you than me.

Everything has its place, unfortunately Windows still has a place, free nix has a place as does paid nix. None are the same, but saying one is better than the other just on the premise of a personal preference is a bit short sighted.

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Re: Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.240.11.2] on July 11, 2008 02:22 PM
>Just because you know how to do something in one OS don't assume you can do the same in another.
Usually you can with a few minutes of figuring out where things are.

In 2003 I'd never used a Sun box, just UNIX(Sco) linux and bsd. "Consultants" hired to run the oracle boxes couldn't seem to get Oracle installed. I had a reputation at the company as someone to go to with tough problems. They contacted me and asked me to look at the situation after unsuccessfully trying for 2 weeks to get it setup.

I logged into the sun box, saw that the idiots hadn't even set up the java environment, set up the environment for them and they were able to get Oracle up. It took 5 minutes.

UNIX variants are not all the same, but they are similar enough if you know how UNIX works and grok it. You should have seen the look on their faces when they asked me how much Sun experience I had and I said "none".

ROFL.

-Viz

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.137.5.136] on July 02, 2008 02:55 AM
The author is lazy, period. As a systems admin he should be familiar with solving dependencies when building a system or installing software without the aid of RPM or apt-get. He wants everything done for him via a GUI. That's worse than an Apple noob. Out-of-the-box the client version of OS X is as good a starting point as any BSD or Linux distro when it comes to webservers and a lot of other basic network services servers. If you can't get approval to use Fink or Macports, download the sources from another source like HMUG. Look around pal, there's alot more out there than your limited view has provided your readers.

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Re: Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 194.83.137.88] on July 02, 2008 10:54 AM
"The author is lazy, period. As a systems admin he should be familiar with solving dependencies when building a system or installing software without the aid of RPM or apt-get."

I assume you've never worked in the real world. When I install a machine with basic functionality I want it to be painless, I don't have the time to mess around with dependencies, I want to get down to real work not reinventing the wheel. Mucking around with dependencies is fine for the bedroom, not the work place.

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GNU/Linux is better than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.209.64.185] on July 02, 2008 12:34 PM
At least the mac is an imitation of windows Vista!

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.97.30.210] on July 02, 2008 07:10 PM
Any other Solaris admins out there? A lot of his complaints about OS X apply to Solaris as well... The answer is the same in both cases: Know the system you're running, don't just whine that it's not some other system.

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XML configuration files

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.62.180.12] on July 03, 2008 01:01 AM
I agree with most of the sentiments in this article and found it a good read, with one exception: I prefer a GNU/Linux server to anything else but I really wish it would catch up to the 21st century and use XML for configuration files more frequently. Real XML, not the half-assed unparseable stuff used by apache2. "Hard to read"? Come on, if you're manually editing configuration files you're tough enough to read XML. Of course, the real problem may be that you're using an obtuse and antiquated text editor like vi that has trouble figuring out which terminal emulation to use, much less do any automatic chromacoding...

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Re: XML configuration files

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 84.196.241.160] on July 05, 2008 08:20 AM
Seriously, I love flat config files and hate XML. Way overkill for most of configurations. At least say YAML or smth.

obtuse and antiquated text editor like vi . Please, don't blame the tools you can't use!

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Re(1): XML configuration files

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.62.180.12] on July 07, 2008 10:39 PM
"Way overkill"? Try "standard data format". YAML or smth, you could also save a config file in Morse code or smoke signals with Huffman coding and save a whole bunch of bytes. The point is that manipulation of XML is a standard part of every programming language now - using some fancy and exotic or home-made format is pure arrogance and hubris.

And why shouldn't tools be blamed for being unusable? vi is extremely blameable for not even being able to self-configure its own terminal emulation and its many other shortcomings. It was primarily designed by little kids who really liked memorizing cheat codes for their Nintendo games.

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.180.111.117] on July 03, 2008 04:08 AM
What the author is saying, Mac is build on BSD, but Mac is NOT BSD as he know BSD to be. That was information to me.

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1 very good point and mac/solaris/tru64/bsd is not gnu.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 134.106.3.130] on July 03, 2008 06:09 PM
The good point: The Mac needs a fraking package mechanism, damn it, for uninstalling software or updating already installed software.

Yeah, well, the rest is just that the other unix' do not behave like gnu. Lame.

P.S.: I am a gay chick. ^^

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Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.197.125.242] on July 04, 2008 04:50 PM
>>In addition, octal Unix permissions do not necessarily represent what's really going on and what you may or may not do with files;

Extended ACLs exist both on Linux and OS X and are part of POSIX.

>>there's a chance that you'll get a "permission denied" error when you try to change to a certain directory even though the POSIX view
>> of the system would seemingly allow you to do so without hassle,

Again this is just as true under Linux as OS X.

>>because some other system programming API (presumably Apple's Cocoa) overrules them.

The kernel produces "permission denied" (errno=2) and it has nothing to do with cocoa.

I just picked one example. It'd probably be easier to point out the accurate statements. This article is embarrassingly horrible.

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Re:Three reasons why GNU/Linux is better for Web servers than OS X

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.114.158.75] on July 05, 2008 12:50 PM
If perception is reality than the article is spot on. Yeah ACL exists on gnu/linux too, all those flat config files have their own little language, etc... but all the esoteric problems I have on gnu/linux are a thousand times more googleable than the trouble I have with other systems. The community makes all the difference when I'm missing some lore.

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