[NCLUG] Suggestions for a distro change

Chad Perrin perrin at apotheon.com
Mon May 4 17:03:22 MDT 2009

On Tue, Apr 07, 2009 at 11:38:02AM -0600, Michael Milligan wrote:
> Kevin H. Olson wrote:
> >  Therefore, I am looking for suggestions on replacing the distribution.
> > I've been debating CentOS, as it seems to have a longer, stable life.
> > However, I have to admit I'm not that familiar with the other
> > distributions. I've read the basic stuff, and I think, for example, that
> > Ubuntu is not appropriate since these are not desktop machines.
> For servers, you really should check out http://www.freebsd.org/  ;-)

Actually (he said, joining the conversation almost a month later), that's
not a bad thought.  If you go with a release that enters extended
support, you've got a release version that gets security update for a
*minimum* of three years, *garanteed*, because it gets primary support as
a -STABLE release for a year followed by two more years of extended
support.  Support can be extended beyond that point as newer releases get
delayed, of course.

Also . . . if you decide you want to support it yourself beyond that
date, the way the Ports system works makes it rather easier to backport
security updates and other new versions of software from newer FreeBSD
releases to older releases than is typical with systems focused on binary

While I quite loathe all things Ubuntu these days, for its "my way or the
highway" approach to software management and its bizarre dependency
policies, if you don't have these issues with it I think the Ubuntu LTS
option is one of the best you can have for a binary package based server
running a Linux kernel and the usual GNU userland, if you want longevity.
I haven't used CentOS myself, but from what I've read here it sounds like
a similarly good option, especially since I've found I like Fedora better
as a desktop system than Ubuntu (even though I prefer Debian vanilla over
all things RedHattish).

Have you considered OpenBSD?  The OpenBSD-current release branch is a
sort of "rolling update" branch of OpenBSD, in a way similar to what
Debian Unstable/Sid provides, but with less breakage and more of a focus
on security and stability in particular.  As long as you run a system
with minimal software installed (rather than the gigantic clump of stuff
you'd expect in a "minimal" install of many Linux distributions, such as
Ubuntu), this could be very manageable, and would free you from having to
deal with doing release upgrades very often (or, actually, *ever*).  The
OpenBSD-current branch has no update schedule at all, basically.  Some
minor issues may crop up every now and then, but they tend to be either
"this new version that you don't really need today won't compile, but it
probably will in about half an hour", or "the new LDAP version changes
some permissions stuff that I should look into", of course.  Some of
those are the kinds of issues you'll have with *any* system that gets
updates beyond pure security updates, though.

If that's not the kind of solution to the problem of making regular
updates you want, then of course you should stay away from
OpenBSD-current.  If it's the kind of thing you want, though, it is by
all accounts a more stable solution than either Debian Testing (which
tends to break a bunch of stuff all at once when a Testing release is
getting finalized for migration to Stable) or Debian Unstable (which just
tends to break stuff all the time).

Anyway, if you're still thinking about the matter of what to use instead
of Fedora, I hope this helps a bit.

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]
Quoth Larry Wall: "What is the sound of Perl?  Is it not the sound of a
wall that people have stopped banging their heads against?"
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 196 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://lists.nclug.org/pipermail/nclug/attachments/20090504/000bdeb7/attachment.pgp>

More information about the NCLUG mailing list