[CentOS] General question on QA from a Fedora Core fan

Thu Apr 28 23:36:00 UTC 2005
Craig White <craigwhite at azapple.com>

On Thu, 2005-04-28 at 15:42 -0500, Steve Bergman wrote:
> Apologies if this ends up a dup, but there seems to have been a problem 
> with my original subscription.
> ------------------------------
> Hello,
> I am currently using Fedora on most of my servers.  It does pretty
> well.  I do have occasional problems which seem to me to stem from poor QA.
> For example, /usr/bin/enable <queue> coming back with "Enable:  I don't
> know what to do!" after a cups errata upgrade when I would try to
> re-enable a printer.  The "-c#" (multiple copies) option to lpr not
> working for serial printers due to a bug in the "serial" backend. (But
> to which a patch is applied to fix the same problem in the parallel
> backend).  Finding my first flaw in the OS when I try to check the CD
> media during the install.  The media check always fails.  (Yes, there
> are going to be bugs, but finding the first one before you even get the
> installation media checked looks really bad.  And, yes, the ide=nodma
> workaround fixes it.)
> I was very hopeful about CentOS shielding me and my clients from silly
> stuff like this.  However, looking at the RHEL source for the serial
> backend to cups, it looks as though the patch to make "-c#" work on it
> has not been applied to serial.c.  And the media check still fails with
> CentOS unless I use "ide=nodma", just like with Fedora.
> This is disappointing.
> Now, I wish to make it perfectly clear that I *DO NOT* consider this to
> be the fault of CentOS, as I understand that the policy is to remain
> faithfully compatible to RHEL.
> But if I ask RH about this, I know that I will get an "oh so politically
> correct" answer.
> On the positive side, looking at the errata, it looks as though CentOS
> has drastically fewer notices than Fedora, and I assume that is because
> there really are more problems (security of otherwise) shaken out during
> testing.
> Obviously, not being forced to upgrade due to withdrawal of support with
> regards to security patches every 1.5 years is a plus.
> So I welcome comments.  If I switch my clients from Fedora to CentOS,
> they don't have the latest and greatest  (and, for example,  I need
> OpenOffice 2.0 ASAP for one of my clients due to it's Access-like
> interface to PostgreSQL), but how much advantage am I really looking at
> with regards to stability?
> i.e. I know all the reasons that CentOS *should* be more rock solid 
> stable.  But is there a noticeable difference in reality?
> Thanks For Any Input.
unfortunately, this isn't the case of all things to all people.

Fedora favors the leading edge, short release/update periods whereas the
RHEL product (from which CentOS is derived) favors stable and long
release/update periods.

Where this is obvious are things like OpenOffice.org where Fedora Core 4
(at least test 2) has openoffice.org 1.89 and will obviously carry the
2.0 version in whatever form - even unstable if necessary and CentOS 4
will not have it unless RHEL updates which would be unusual for them to
do so.

Also, the RHEL packages tend to be much sparser and they don't include
all the potential kernel modules (though of course you can compile) and
they offer some things which aren't supported but clearly the package
list is much shorter than Fedora and when you consider things like
Fedora Extras and other repositories, Fedora has a much greater depth of
available packages. With RHEL or CentOS, you have Dag packages (which
isn't working to well these days - apparently because of reliance upon a
host that's been flaky the past few days).

As for your complaints...

I hope that you put in entries in bugzilla.redhat.com about the problems
such as cups-enable and the serial issues. That is how these things get
fixed. The issue with the CD-ROM and noidma probably stems from the fact
that RHEL 4 was released not too long after Fedora Core 3 and they would
likely had similar kernels and hal files. The benefit of CentOS/RHEL is
that CentOS/RHEL will provide a 'respin' or updated release of the
boot/install CD's which will have newer kernels and detect the issues
with hardware that may not have worked properly in the first release
whereas the only 'respin' that Fedora ever sees is the next version
release of Fedora Core.

Myself, I use RHEL or CentOS for servers but Fedora for my desktop
systems - I like having updated versions of things like gimp-2.2.4
(FC-3) vs. the earlier versions in RHEL.