[SLUG] Re: Moving from Red Hat

From: Bryan J. Smith (b.j.smith@ieee.org)
Date: Tue Nov 16 2004 - 02:27:14 EST

On Tue, 2004-11-16 at 01:05, steve szmidt wrote:
> The slickest of them all has to be the latest SuSE. Slick, slick! Not a single
> odd things sticking out really.

SuSE has always been the kitchen sink, get it done, commercial distro.
Linus has favored it himself -- at least in years prior.

> However, I stopped using SuSE after getting fedup with the different (from RH)
> configuration model. Servers I had up on it did not conform with RH and made
> certain updates fall behind while that got fixed.

Prior to Fedora'izing, Red Hat(R) Linux moved slowly to Linux Standard
Base (LSB) adoption. Debian and SuSE were much quicker. Now that
Fedora(TM) allows non-Red Hat paid members on its steering committee to
help set direction for Red Hat's release of Fedora(TM) Core, this has
changed significantly -- specially in CL4 (Fedora Core 2+).

As someone who has had to maintain home directories and login scripts
that might be mounted from AIX, Linux, Solaris and even SCO, slight
differences between Red Hat and SuSE are far more manageable. ;->

> For a non techie desktop user it must be swell though. : )

Conformity and uniformity is always nice. But SuSE followed LSB better
than Red Hat before its Fedora'izing.

> Mandrake has a pretty good security model for online servers, and is
> compatible with RH. But I've discovered some odd beta s/w in it's KDE
> (Quanta).

I won't comment on Mandrake because I have real problems with their lack
of integration and regression testing of releases -- at least through
version 9 (and especially from version 6 through 8). But I have
dissected this prior, and will leave it to those prior comments --
especially since I have not tracked their development over the last few

People debate whether or not Freedomware means it is more stable and
compatible, and I think Microsoft is both right and wrong. They are
wrong in the fact that the software itself is not reliable, but they are
right in the fact the software has to be "integration and regression
tested" as part of a whole distribution. That's where it's up to the
testing of the distros, and I prefer Debian and Fedora-based

> I hate Fedora for it's lack of mp3 support etc,

Corporations feel the opposite because both Debian and Fedora don't
install such "questionably licensed" packages without you knowing about
it. But if you really want such things "out-of-the-box," check out the
IDG "Dummies" Fedora(TM) Core books which include those packages.

Once the new, unified Anaconda-YUM installer/tools replace the various,
legacy Anaconda and disseparate tools, it will be very easy to install
MP3 directly inside of the installer, even though it's not on the CD.
Fedora has a long way to go before it's the fully community that Debian
is. But so far they have gone much farther in little time than I

> but it's not very hard to add afterwords. And as RH test bed you get up
> to date stuff. But now I want some more excitement in the GUI and I
> think I'm just being silly but Fedora does not seem as exciting as it
> used to be.

When was Red Hat _ever_ about "exciting?" ;->

Fedora(TM) Core will _never_ be any more "bleeding edge" than Red Hat(R)
Linux was. In fact, the ".0" revisions are typically full of "boring"
ABI (GCC/GLibC/kernel) changes than "damn exciting desktop stuff!"

Tiemann doesn't seem a reason to change what makes them money and, in
his own words in the recent LinuxQuestions interview, what is best left
to other distributions. There are plenty of new desktop developments
based on Fedora as their are for Debian.

> Could be the fact that it does not have KDE 3.3 which I'm really sold
> on right now. : )

>From the release notes for Fedora Core 3 (CL4.1):
  "Fedora Core 3 contains the following changes:
     GCC 3.4
     GNOME 2.8
     KDE 3.3"

But had KDE been a few more months later, I'm sure it would have been
pushed back. Again, refer back to my whole "integration/regression
testing" spiel. If Red Hat hasn't had a couple of months with it, they
won't ship it.

Furthermore, they don't update most applications mid-revision. But
typically if you upgrade to the X.MAX(Y) revision, you will get most of
the latest goodies. But still not anything that has been released
sooner than the last 2-3 months.

> Gentoo, Knoppix, MEPIS all have interesting features but currently I'm looking
> for 2.6.x, KDE 3.3 and a decent installer that supports as many custom
> partitions as I want, does not easily make you format existing partitions and
> will work well from the hard disk, with ample prepared packages.

Kinda scratching my head here because that sounds like Fedora Core 3 to

Don't get me wrong, I like "ports" OSes like FreeBSD and Gentoo.

I also like the "liveCD" approach of Knoppix (although most builds have
serious issues with included and unlicensed software).

MEPIS is getting rave reviews, but some people have been extremely
critical of how "protective" the author is being with his work (I don't
get into those arguments, but I do prefer "raw" Debian and Fedora for a
reason ;-).

> I'll try Debian just because I've not had a pure Debian before. URPMI and YUM
> are pretty good and so is apt. (Not sure how they rate next to each other.)

APT seems to be far more mature than YUM for Fedora, and I haven't met
anyone who disagrees with me yet. The original Fedora Project (U of
Hawaii Fedora.US) became the obvious merge target for Red Hat because of
the majority of their APT/YUM, especially APT. Once I switched away
from FreshRPMS.NET to Fedora.US, I had full APT bliss.

But I leave it to Seth Vidal and the Fedora Steering committee to push
YUM to the same level -- especially in the installer. We'll see, until
then, I prefer APT for Fedora.

> My first distro was Slackware. But then RH came out with RPM and I never went
> back.

I started with Yggdrasil, then Slackware and then Red Hat. Many of my
current files are still based on an original Red Hat Linux 4.2 install.
I basically upgraded until 7.1 this way, then re-installed with SGI XFS,
and then re-installed 7.3 when I went back to Ext3. After upgrades to
8.0 (CL3.0) and 9 (CL3.1), I did "apt-get dist-upgrade" to both Fedora
Core 1 (CL3.2 -- cake) and now Fedora Core 2 (CL4.0 -- 2 issues because
of the CL3 -> CL4 "version change").

[ For more on my FC1/CL3.2->FC2/CL4.0 "apt-get dist-upgrade," see:
http://lists.leap-cf.org/pipermail/leaplist/2004-August/039896.html ]

Once Fedora Extras are built for Fedora Core 3 (CL4.1), I'll "apt-get
dist-upgrade" to FC3.

> KDE 3.3 on 2.6 is really FAST! So I'm more looking to see who will deliver
> that combo to build on.

Fedora Core 3? ;->

Seriously now, Fedora Core 3 is the ".1" point revision of the same
version as Fedora Core 2 (which is the ".0"/early adopter).

Bryan J. Smith                                    b.j.smith@ieee.org 
Subtotal Cost of Ownership (SCO) for Windows being less than Linux
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) assumes experts for the former, costly
retraining for the latter, omitted "software assurance" costs in 
compatible desktop OS/apps for the former, no free/legacy reuse for
latter, and no basic security, patch or downtime comparison at all.

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