[LON-CAPA-admin] Fedora v. Enterprise Linux

Peter Kovac kovac at gwu.edu
Thu Jul 14 17:14:36 EDT 2005


    The good news about future Suse packages/installers got me 
thinking.  As dangerous as that is, I'd also like to make a possibly 
inflamatory suggestion: I think LON-CAPA needs to replace Fedora with an 
Enterprise Linux distribution as its development base.

    I don't want to start a "my distro is better than yours" flamewar.  
I do, however, think that for L-C to grow and become more marketable, 
L-C *needs* an "Enterprise" base.  Consider the following points:

    - Fedora has a 6-month release cycle
    - L-C has required new versions of the base O/S for Fedora upgrades 
at least 3 times since the Fedora project start, including for v.2
    - Fedora is a non enterprise-supported, community O/S with no real 
corporate backing
    - Some versions of Fedora have also been plagued by release bugs.

    The kind of people that make large-scale IT decisions don't like to 
see that kind of thing.  From previous discussions with developers, 
providing generic packages for L-C is a fairly difficult and 
time-consuming task given the current setup (filesystem structure, 
etc).  For a stop-gap, I think producing a RHEL-equivalent 
package/installer would be a very good step.

    RHEL-equivalent O/S's descend from the same source as Fedora, 
hopefully making the transition easier.  More importantly, RHEL has a 
seven-year life cycle, significant market penetration, a good 
reputation, and the possibility of purchased, enterprise-grade support.  
RHEL has also become a de facto compatability standard.

    Those features, of course, cost money.  However, RedHat makes SRPM's 
(*) freely available out of the kindness of their heart (oh, and the 
GPL).  This means that there are several excellent free and reliable 
projects based on RHEL that would provide a nice base for small users 
without the expensive, customized support options.  Centos [ 
http://www.centos.org/ ] (popular community project, base of such things 
as the ROCKS cluster distribution - http://rocksclusters.org/ ) and 
Scientific Linux [ http://scientificlinux.org ] (produced by Fermilab 
and CERN) are both excellent options.  Having a RHEL-equivalent 
installation package will make L-C much more palatable to MIS types and 
people managing large groups of machines.

    Just my $.02.  And yes, if the summer continues to be slow and 
people agree with me, I'm willing to work on the transition.  ;-)


"Wait!  I'm getting one of those things.  You know, a headache with pictures." --Fry
Peter Kovac
Systems Coordinator

e: kovac at gwu.edu
o: (202) 994-3811
f: (202) 994-3001

725 21st St. NW
Physics Department, GWU
Washington, DC 20052

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