[svlug] (forw) Linux at Work

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Jan 28 09:44:34 PST 2015

An offlist inquirer wrote:

> In your years of experience at the various places you've worked at,
> was there a 'predominant' distro that you worked with the most?

CentOS, followed by Debian, followed by RHEL.  The exceptional case was
Cadence Design Systems, which was (middle to late 2000s) almost purely
RHEL for idiosyncratic reasons related to that company's way of doing
things.  (Cadence also used SLES = SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.  That's
not counting Solaris as a non-Linux Unix.)

> What type of constraints did your superiors put on the decision of
> which to use?

Typically the decision about what to use was made very long before my
hiring.  Sometimes for particular project deployments, the choice of
distro was essentially dictated by the software it was required to run,
such as Oracle servers having, at that time, a narrow platform support
list that included particular releases of RHEL and SLES in the 2000s,
but not many other Linuxes.  (I haven't seen the platform support list,
lately.)  Another example was a backup server running Legato Networker,
which again was certified to run on RHEL, so it was installed onto RHEL
even though there was not any reason to think it wouldn't run on CentOS.

> I hear people say that RHEL is for the corporate world because of the
> support contracts they provide, yada, yada, but I know that sometimes
> it's left to the admins to decide which application works best for the
> needs of the company.

Upper management doesn't give a damn.

IT management just doesn't want everything to blow up, them get blamed,
and them get fired -- but they also are typically under severe budget
constraints, so they can't just throw away money.  RHEL contracts cost
significant money on an ongoing basis, and can be difficult to justify
if, say, you are just running a couple thousand Apache Web servers and
a few dozen MySQL servers in data centres.  What would Red Hat Support
be able to tell you that you would actually want to know?

I'm getting the impression the 'people' you are citing aren't IT
management, and are just spouting the usual mouthing-off.

> I would put this up on the svlug list but I really don't want to sift
> through 20 different responses that lead to no real conclusions.

I'm sure you had reason for concern, but I'll just mention in passing
that your objectives as a querent and my objectives as an answerer are
somewhat in conflict.

I'm mentioning this now, in order to nip in the bud a pattern I've seen
before, where someone decides to keep sending my an ongoing series of
questions about Linux in private e-mail.  When I question the choice of
medium and express a preference for public Linux community discussion
forums, the querent always has ready justifications -- that make sense
for him, but never make the least sense for me.

Querent will say:  Well, I would have posted this on the mailing list,
but I figured it's mostly of private interest.

Querent will say:  Well, I would have posted this on the mailing list, 
but then sometimes a noisy argument starts, and I don't want to see

Querent will say:  Well, I would have posted this on the mailing list,
but I don't want to talk in public about my business.

Querent will say:  Well, I would have posted this on the mailing list,
but I am really interested only in _your_ view at this time.

That's nice, but it fails to consider what *I* get out of this.

I get the satisfaction of repaying the debt that I owe from the people
who helped me, in my day, when I asked questions in public forums.
I get the occasional good repute that comes from participation in public.  

Private help is called 'consulting'.  People charge money for it.

So, please do not attempt to keep using me as a Linux guru in offlist
private queries.  I will be obliged to start saying no.

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