Re: A whinge about distro version 'churn' why are things going EOL so quickly
- From: ibuprofin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Moe Trin)
- Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 22:01:29 -0600
On Sun, 28 Jan 2007, in the Usenet newsgroup comp.os.linux.misc, in article
<pan.2007.01.28.22.41.15.38516@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, gbzzl wrote:
Moe Trin wrote:
Perhaps a more useful newsgroup to post this to is comp.os.linux.advocacy.
I don't think that would be the appropriate place, I don't routinely,
in fact have never read the messages in that group, unlike this one,
A large number of us killfile anything crossposted to any advovacy group.
where the occasional cross-post spills over, it looks like a lot of
useless, unproductive noise, but it does suggest to me that you you view
this rapid pace of change, though perhaps necessary as having something of
a downside to it.
I don't know that it's all that rapid. In general, the average Linux
distribution releases a new version twice a year, and tend to support
those for no more than three years. It's been that way since the mid
1990s. We used RH 4.2 (biltmore) for a _long_ time - such that some of
the systems were upgraded directly from 4.2 to 6.2 in 2000, while some
5.2 systems made it all the way to 7.2 in 2001.
I do tend to think like that, it is what I am used to and comfortable
with, your own reply and those from Dave and General Schvantzkoph and
others have prompted me to consider Redhat-a-like distros such as White
Box and CentOS in order to stay in my happy comfortable groove.
Without trying to stir up controversy, there are several main flavors of
Linux distributions, and Red Hat has been an important branch. There
used to be a web page at ibiblio.org/pub/Linux/distributions/ that listed
something like 100 different distributions in that directory, and gave a
short (one paragraph) description. "based on Red Hat" was a fairly
common string in that page.
I had to snip your nice table which was concise and interesting as once
indented it wrapped and turned ugly
Sorry - I try to width limit at 75 characters - sometimes it works
what distinguishes these releases, redhat-6.2, redhat-7.2, fedora-core-1,
fedora-core-3 is that they ran perfectly right from the word go, and
continued to do so for a long time afterwards and with which I was
perfectly happy and delighted.
I can't comment on Fedora, but I'll certainly agree with 6.2 and 7.2 (as
well as 7.3) which we ran into 2004. Actually, 7.3 stuck around here until
about a year ago. We never accepted either 8.0 or 9. See below.
I'm sure it was but I can't fully explain the rationale for not just going
from FC1 to whatever the latest was at that time, what really prompted
that change was fedoralegacy dropping FC1 support and FC3 looked to have
some support life ahead of it, it proved to be very short-lived indeed,
If you want a long term distribution, Fedora isn't where it's at. The
goal of Fedora was to stay relatively close to cutting edge. That's the
may reason we never went that route. And before you ask, I'm under NDA,
and can't comment on what we're using now.
the current fedoralegacy website homepage has a sidebar saying "Fedora
Legacy is no longer supporting *any* releases of Red Hat Linux or Fedora
Core." Gulp! this does not bode well, as I said before, madness it is.
You can do what Fedora Legacy was doing, and take the errata for later
versions and build it for the older version. You also have to pay
attention to Bugtraq and see when other problems are identified, and
make "new" rpms for the older distribution. It's a lot more work,
given that there are other ways to go. Using a GPL version of RHEL is
just one of them.
A change is in the offing, debian is a definite possibility though there
seems to be no point right now in doing anything other than waiting for
You need to spend a bit of time at the Debian website and gain an
understanding of the way Debian releases work. "etch" has been available
for some considerable time. It is labeled as "testing" meaning that the
bugs are being worked out - an advanced version of a 'beta' release
perhaps. There is another branch called "unstable" (going by the
name "sid") which is much closer to the cutting edge. The third branch
is called "stable" (currently "sarge"), and is what "etch" _will_ be
called when it's released perhaps next month. "Stable" is exactly that,
but "testing" isn't that far behind right now.
likewise if staying redhat-ish then waiting for the next iteration
RHEL 5 and then for the CentOS or White Box equivalents of that.
'distrowatch.com' is your friend here - there is at least one GPL
version of RHEL 5 (based on a late beta) already available.
My company uses Linux quite heavily (probably about 80% of the systems
use it, some use FreeBSD, and some still use Solaris), and when a new
release of what we are using comes out, we burn a handful of copies
and six admins go back into the lab to play on test boxes. Typically
it would take a week or two to come to some consensus of what the
new "standard install" would look like - or maybe that "this" release
was going nowhere near our systems. If we had a winner, it got poured
onto about 25 systems that mirrored our main server design, and a few
workstations, and we'd run that through an 8 week test cycle (that's
our standard backup schedule). If everything still looked good, we'd
schedule a weekend "party", and everyone in the department got 20 hours
of overtime installing on our systems (close to 2000 at this facility).
Monday morning might be a bit nerve wracking, but in nine years of
using Red Hat, we only had one roll-back, and that was only the print
servers. You might also understand why we didn't look forward to a
new release either,
One of the best things about fedora is the availability of independent
repos such as dag and livna in order to put back the gutted support such
as mp3 and video support(GPL purity),
We tend not to have to much of that - we're a business... no time for
that kind of stuff... <cough>
upgrading distro version means sorting out all this other stuff which
has to be added back and probably no more than about a dozen smaller
packages built from source which I use quite frequently to sort out also.
/usr/local/bin and /usr/local/sbin are well populated on our systems.
That usually means a recompile on them as well, because of new
libraries and the like.
it sure looks to me that redhat have shot themselves in the foot
somewhat in abandoning a key part of its non-business, non-paying
Since the beginning, nearly all distributions could be downloaded as
GPL versions, and I don't know of that many that actually made money
on the "Official Version". The money has always been in the support
area. In the '90s, I don't believe we ever bought an official version
from anyone, but we did drop a fair chunk of change on support
agreements - despite having highly qualified staff. That's still the
way it works. Red Hat had a support package for the pre-Enterprise
distributions. I don't know how much they were able to sell that
product to the general public. Corporations are another matter.
Free is fine, but it doesn't put bread on the table. That's a fact
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