[CentOS-devel] Balancing the needs around the RHEL platform

Tue Dec 29 09:42:35 UTC 2020
Simon Matter <simon.matter at invoca.ch>

> On 12/29/20 8:33 AM, Simon Matter wrote:
>> For me the characteristics of RedHat EL/CentOS have always been:
>> * It's stable, and stable for 10 years minus the first ~1-2.
>> * It's old and outdated, nothing to make developers happy.
>> * It provides a quite limited package set with high stability and
>> quality.
>> A lot of interesting stuff (things like Tomcat) have to be installed
>> from
>> elsewhere without stability and high quality or easy management.
>> * It has a lot of competitors but the long support is unique.
>> * As an admin, if you have a lot developers around you, you ALWAYS have
>> to
>> defend the usage of RHEL/CentOS because ALMOST EVERY developer would
>> like
>> to use something else.
> For me it makes more sense to pick a distro based on application needs,
> it saves a lot of trouble if what you need isn't directly supported by
> RHEL base repos:
> * if your organization or customers mandate RHEL, or you need
> third-party hardware drivers or expensive applications (CAD, medical
> imaging, FEA, physics simulations) only certified on RHEL, then RHEL it is
> * if you're developing upstream software like the kernel, or for
> statically-linked microservices or utilities in Go, Fedora has the
> latest upstream releases and is very stable considering how fast it
> changes
> * if you develop application with lots of dependencies, like Java
> enterprise apps or apps in Rails or Django, the huge selection of
> packages in Debian or Ubuntu LTS will provide you stable versions with
> security updates handled by the Debian or Canonical security teams, so
> your application keeps running without fighting Maven or having to
> choose between a security vulnerability and a newer version in a
> third-party repo breaking your application (Debian almost never breaks
> something with security updates or point releases, because they don't
> backport new features to old versions, proprietary hardware drivers are
> not an issue with Ubuntu or Debian if running on AWS, and HP and Dell
> offer physical servers with Ubuntu LTS support[0])
> * if you need DTrace, ZFS or the best network throughput, FreeBSD can do
> that very well (but FreeBSD Ports is similar to Gentoo, no stable
> versions that only get security updates)
> Backpack, formerly 37signals, wrote in 2006 that they run RHEL 6 on the
> database servers while their application servers use Ubuntu LTS, so I
> guess I'm not the only one looking at this pragmatically.[1]

While I agree to what you wrote, there are also reasons to stay with a
choice of distribution you made. It's to protect knowledge, to not double
the work with internally used special software, prevent from doing wrong
decisions with far reaching consequences and so on. It sometimes need a
trigger to rethink hard. In your list only the first point leads to RHEL
family, and this point doesn't apply to our current environment. While it
was always clear that we _may_ change distribution in future, no concrete
steps have been done and nothing has really forced us to do something.

But now, things have changed, with this _huge_ trigger which was launched
by Red Hat some days ago.

Only time will tell what comes out of this story. My feeling is that
support for choosing RHEL will become more difficult in future.