Re: Abandoned Redhat customer needs advice

From: Martin (
Date: 11/04/03

Date: Tue, 04 Nov 2003 22:55:56 +0000

Don wrote:

> With all that now ending in a few months where does a small business owner
> that does not have the budget for Redhat Enterprise and is only familiar
> with RH distro to Linux go?
> Right now I have several RH 8.0 servers running apache, w/frontpage
> extension, iptables, postfix, (samba on internal servers) and a web perl
> app using mysql server on SMP kernel.
> I assume it is only the Redhat distro that has the ease of RPM
> installation?
> Are there other distros as easy to setup and maintain as Redhat? For
> example with other distros are package installation, uninstall and upgrade
> as easy unzipping and doing the 'make install', 'make clean' (or do they
> have something similiar to rpm?).
> With Novell's acquisition of SUSE I think this was a really bad move for
> Redhat to abandon small business owners. What does this group think about
> SUSE as an alternative?

For servers, I favour a minimalist approach (nothing unnecessary, and
definitely no X-Windows) in order to reduce risk/complexity and hopefully
increase performance and security. My experience is that FreeBSD 4.x runs
like the wind even on cheap/old hardware, and is pretty simple to install,
administer and keep secure. Keeping up with security updates is very easy,
either by manually applying the Errata patches, or by using CVSUP to keep
up with the RELENG_4_x stable supported branch. Then it's just "make
buildworld", "make installworld" plus perhaps "make buildkernel; make
installkernel". For ported applications outside the core OS, again you can
just CVSUP the ports tree, then use "portupgrade". FreeBSD is an excellent
server platform, and their ports and packages collection is great too.

For workstations... well I do have one machine running KDE/OpenOffice etc on
FreeBSD, and that works well now I've got it set up nicely: it will even
run Linux binaries, for example Acrobat Reader. But the FreeBSD X
installation wasn't as slick straight out of the box as a modern Linux
distro tends to be. Perhaps I've been spoilt by Microshaft Windows in the
past, but for a desktop machine, I do like to have all those tarty GUI apps
installed automagically, and the desktop on the SUSE 9 LiveEval CD looked
great. So I'm planning to switch from RedHat 9 to SUSE 9 on the desktop

YMMV of course, and the great thing is that there's so much choice these
days, even if RedHat's free/cheap products are no more.

- Martin.