[svlug] Which linux distro for production ?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Dec 17 18:16:29 PST 2004

Quoting Ivan Sergio Borgonovo (mail at webthatworks.it):

> > Pedantic quibble:  You can get as close to zero as makes little
> > difference, if you have a generous friend who will burn CDs, or you
> I've to trust you on the average. But if you add a couple of
> conditions this doesn't seem true at least for SUSE (and maybe for
> others). 

Well, first.  I certainly didn't say, and did not mean, that it was true
of _all_ distributions.


[/me reviews his notes about SUSE, notably "SUSE Product Strategy" on
http://linuxmafia.com/kb/Licensing_and_Law , which I see now needs
updating again, as Novell seems to have reshuffled the product line.]

> If you want the latest, you've just the live CD.

Well, not necessarily.  When last I checked (after the 9.1 release,
which is now one revision out of date), the following was true:
Immediately following each release, the very newest software was
available only in retail boxed sets:  Professional Edition, Personal
Edition, and Desktop Edition.  Also, the Live CD you mention would
follow quickly after that.  Some weeks following release, Ftp Edition
and Personal-CD Edition would then be incremented to the new versions
and release number.

So, whether you can get the "latest" via download via only the Live CD
edition or also via Ftp Edition or Personal-CD Edition depends on how
long it's been since release.

> It is up to your skills to be able to install it, install apt and make
> it a full Pro version. 

One cannot (lawfully) upgrade a hard-drive-installed SUSE Live CD
Edition installation via apt-get to Professional Edition, because quite
a number of third-party packages made available in the retail boxed sets
are never posted for public download (as their owners do not permit such

What you _can_ do is upgrade such an installation to the equivalent of
Ftp Edition.   But it would be a whole lot easier to either start with
Ftp Edition in the first place, or install Personal-CD Edition and add
packages to that.

And by the way, I'm pretty sure you'd be better off using SUSE's native
package-acquisition tool (whose name eludes me) than the SUSE packaging
of Conectiva's apt-rpm port.

> I haven't heard about distro based on XXXX that are good replacements
> for servers.

Where XXXX = Red Hat Enterprise Linux, I'd say Centos, Scientific Linux,
or one of the Lineox offerings would be good bets.  (Some people purport
to like Fedora Core for that; I wish them good luck and look forward to
hearing details as they emerge.)

Where XXXX = Debian, I find the answer to be:  Debian.  ;->

I operate my own servers with apt-get "pinning" used to set the default
development track to "testing", but with optional access to packages in
the "unstable" track.  Works for Me.<tm>

> Something like ubuntu but for servers: fewer packages but newer with
> long platform service life.

Debian testing/unstable provides exactly that for me -- except that the
"fewer packages" thing is something you'd have to retrofit locally.

Your Mileage May Differ.<tm>

> I tried Gentoo, I think 1.5 years ago, and my butt is still burning.

It's not my cup of tea, but it's well thought out and eminently
maintainable and reasonable as a server platform.

> Compared to FreeBSD, Debian offers me the chance to have an up to date
> desktop with support for fancy HW on sid, and a stable a server (even
> if not as up to date as I would like). 

You seem to among the "Don't use sid/unstable for servers" people.  I
have a different view, as noted.  (I would recommend it only for
seasoned Debian users, though.)

> I think I'll start to consider Debian as a desktop too and get more
> comfort with its administrative tools, if no news as we have seen on
> the desktop.

I use testing/unstable on my two x86 laptops, and Ubuntu (de-GNOMEified
-- basically using Ubuntu as a Debian installer) on my iBook.  Both are
worth trying.

More information about the svlug mailing list