[CentOS] Re: Contemplating Move -- [OT] Fedora Core

Thu Aug 18 05:41:08 UTC 2005
Mike McCarty <mike.mccarty at sbcglobal.net>

Les Mikesell wrote:

I appreciate your response.

> On Wed, 2005-08-17 at 13:38, Mike McCarty wrote:
>>>Just as everyone said about Red Hat Linux 5.0, Red Hat Linux 7.0 and, to
>>>a lesser extend, Red Hat Linux 6.0 and Red Hat Linux 8.0 before.
>>Hmm. Maybe what you're saying is that RH altogether is not
>>what I had in mind. Or that I'll have to adjust my thinking
>>if I intend to continue using RH at all.
> What he means here is that Fedora corresponds closely to the
> X.0 releases from RH before the name and numbering scheme
> change and RHEL corresponds to the X.2 and X.3 RH releases (up
> through 7.3) in the extent that they are tested.  That is,
> new major version numbers of the upstream packages were rolled
> into the X.0 releases as in Fedora now.  For the X.1, X.2, X.3
> releases no 'new feature' changes were done, just security and
> bugfixes backported out of development work on the packages.
> Likewise, except for a few things like Mysql 4.x, everything in
> Centos4 is the same as went through wide use (testing...) in
> FC3.

Ok. Thanks. I'm not familiar with the history of Red Hat. But what
you say makes sense in light of what I have experienced over
on the FCx mail echo.



>>And I appreciate your efforts, here. I'm not sure "blame" is the
>>right word. As I said, no criticism intended. It is whatever
>>it is. I'm trying to evaluate what is best for my situation.
>>What is best for yours may not be what is best for mine.
> The part you need to understand is that if you are developing
> something that will not go into production for a while you
> probably want to be on the latest FC you can get, because as
> those base package releases accumulate their own bugfixes, they
> will become the 'next' stable release of RHEL.  And most of the
> patches go into the upstream package anyway so regardless of the
> distribution, the versions you find in FC4 right now will be close
> to what everyone runs in production later on.

Umm, I think perhaps you missed the fact that the target system
does not run Linux.

>>Ok, that seems fair enough. Perhaps simply watching FC closely and
>>"upgrading" on my own schedule (not theirs) is good enough.
> Right now, Centos4 is a fairly good choice because it is not
> all that old.  If you are running server software it will probably
> be suitable for a long time.  If you are running desktop software
> you will probably want to update before you are forced to because
> that is still evolving and improving rapidly - and if you are
> developing desktop software you will need to be working with the
> version that will be in use next.  Centos3 is still usable as
> a server but you wouldn't want it as a desktop now. 

I'm not running server, but desktop. The purpose of the desktop is
building and testing new releases of the software, and as a
repository for CVS source libraries. I am developing desktop software,
but no GUI is involved. The target system does not run Linux.

>>I am doing contract work on software for pharmacists.
> Server-side or a GUI client?

Non-GUI client.


>>I wonder why the pressure to move on? I get advice from time to
>>time on the FC echo making it sound like FC2 is a danger just being
>>on  my machine. But if it's sooooo bad, then why was it released
>>in the first place?
> If it had not been released, the bugs it included would never have
> been found and fixed.  As much as you want to blame RH for pushing
> out the buggy stuff, you have to give them credit for most of the
> exposure that results in improvement.

I really don't like the word blame here. I was requested by a fellow
at the company I'm doing development for to install FC2 on my machine.
I did that, but I'm not sure he knew the full implications of that
decision. I know that I certainly did not. Doing development on a
system which requires re-installs every few months because of
newly-found defects doesn't sound all that wise.

>>>Fedora Core 4 is another shift, although not nearly as bad as Fedora
>>>Core 3.
>>But you have suggested with some amount of force that I should
>>move away from FC2 to FC3.
> FC3 is at the end of the cycle where the new bugs in the new code

Couldn't this same argument be made for FC2? I've put myself on the
Legacy update notification, and have used yum over a dozen times,
but not downloaded one single fix.

>>To put it another way: every install/upgrade/whatever one runs the
>>risk of data loss. Since data in this case is my livlihood, I'd
>>rather do it less often than more.
> That doesn't make much sense. If you care about your data, make
> backups that will survive whatever happens to the machine.  External
> hard drives, CD and DVD writers are all inexpensive and suitable
> for this.

Certainly, the data are backed up. It's the hassle of re-installation
of all the packages and re-creating the work environment. The actual
CVS repository is not on my machine. It's my stuff, not the company
I'm contracting for, that I'm concerned about. I don't want 2-4 days
downtime while I try to reconfigure.


>>IIU you, you're saying that the churn in CentOS is just about as
> No, but as a side effect the jumps are bigger.  Centos 3 still runs
> the 2.4 kernel and is still maintained and usable but because the
> apps don't get version-level updates it isn't a good choice for
> a desktop now.  Centos 4 is approximately the same 'age' as FC3
> so it is more up to date but still well-tested.  The jump from
> FC2 to Centos4 would be approximately the same app-version-wise
> as FC3 but should be good for several more years.

That's very good information to have. Thanks.

>>Since I am a complete newbie to *NIX admin, I find it somewhat
>>daunting to contemplate a wipe/reinstall. I don't want, for
>>example, to have to re-build and re-install the cross-compiler
>>which targets MSDOS. And other applications. And my /home tree,
>>which has a great deal of stuff installed in it.
> You really, really want a backup of that stuff - and generally
> you want to save the commands to do anything slow or difficult
> in a script so repeating it becomes painless.

Ah, there's the rub. Knowing *what* to back up is the issue.
It appears that every version of *NIX has a different list of
what need backup. Clearly on FCx one needs to back up /home/...
probably also /etc/... and /var/... Or does one? Much of the
stuff in /etc/... is also stuff simply used to configure
GNOME, and whatnot. Yes, just go ahead, get it all. It's only
something like 60MB on my machine (/etc/...). But how much
of it do I need to restore? I plunked down $50 USD last weekend
on a book on Linux administration, which looks pretty good.
But a 40 page chapter on backup (entirely too much of which
was spent on explaining why one should back up) never even
mentioned how to go about installing a new version of Linux
and getting going again. Complete disaster recovery (I
didn't need that, it's the same for every system) and
general backup were considered. But not much else.

Not complaining, this is a really nice book. But it seems that
Linux admin is something which people still intend to be learned
either as an apprenticeship or via hard knocks.

>>I guess I'm pretty ignorant about this. What do you think I might
>>miss from FC in going to CentOS?
> It will probably be a long time before you'll get the next Gnome, KDE,
> Evolution, etc. releases dropped in your lap.  With FC, all the new
> stuff comes with the next release.

I'm not interested in the latest GNOME or KDE releases. I'm
pretty much indifferent to them. I use them only to manage
windows with command-line text in them. If they currently
allow me to configure a new printer, or find another machine
and use its discs, then I'm happy.

Actually, I'd prefer that they not change. I tried FC4, and
had problems with finding where several things moved to. They
changed the menu layout. I don't need that. I just want a computer
which works. Having to learn all over again where to find
the system configuration widgets is undesireable.

This message made from 100% recycled bits.
You have found the bank of Larn.
I can explain it for you, but I can't understand it for you.
I speak only for myself, and I am unanimous in that!