[CentOS] A minor beef

Bryan J. Smith thebs413 at earthlink.net
Thu Nov 24 21:57:54 UTC 2005

On Thu, 2005-11-24 at 13:12 -0700, Collins Richey wrote:
> Comments for this and the preceding post:
> 1. Paying for Red Hat does not resolve the problem as I described it.
> The Red Hat service provides for big bucks very slow, low bandwith
> access to it's updates. It's like watching paint dry when I have to
> download updates at work. I'll stick with free but erratic delivery if
> those are the choices. YOU DO NOT GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

First off, I differ with you on the performance.

Secondly, you _will_ get packages that have been integrated tested
together.  I have no complaints with CentOS repositories in general, but
Red Hat is the upstream provider, and they've typically done an
excellent job for my systems.

> 2. The local mirror and sync process is certainly an approach if you
> have the patience (or the right parameters? I have no experience) to
> keep retrying until you eventually get past the stuck point. Also, I
> don't have a lot of machines to maintain, and this is only an
> occasional pain. It's only a real pain when I let a machine (like my
> laptop) get very back level on maintenance.

If you have just a couple systems, it's worth the local mirror.  I
maintain my own Fedora Core, Extras, Livna, CentOS and RHEL mirrors at
both home and work.  And I put forth nearly *0* manual effort in the

It's very nice to have the packages directly to use.

> 3. I started my rant with praise, and I continue the praise. CentOS is
> one of (if not the) best enterprise Linux offerings. That being said,
> the software delivery (including Dag which is not a part of CentOS but
> which is relied on by a lot of folks) is not up to the reliability
> level that I have experienced elsewhere.
> For example, I ran Gentoo

(How come I knew Gentoo was coming? ;-)

> for years, and I seldom found this type of problem getting updates even
> though the volume of downloads (source) is much higher than for CentOS
> and Dag (binary).

Gentoo is a _ports_ based distribution system, _not_ a packages one.
It's like comparing apples and oranges -- Gentoo and Fedora-based (or
Debian-based for that matter) are _not_ comparable.

E.g., Gentoo does _not_ maintain some of the software on their site.
They reference other sites.  It's like buying from a reseller that has
various warehouse around the country v. a reseller that drop-ships from
other distributors.

If you like Gentoo's approach, you should stick with it.  It has many,
many advantages.  It also throws some things on the end-integrator.  I
can't tell you which is better for your needs, but just know there are
certain things to Gentoo that are not applicable to Fedora, CentOS or
even Debian for that matter.

> For example, I've been maintaining a Ubuntu system
> for several months alongside of CentOS. I very rarely encounter this
> type of problem with Ubuntu updates.

And Ubuntu (and like Gentoo in some places -- although Gentoo's "ports"
approach avoids much of it), _illegally_ distributes some packages.
Things that you won't find in Debian, Fedora, CentOS, etc...  Things you
might have to go to DAG or another repository.

You're really crossing a lot of things that CentOS can't address for
both legal and design considerations.  You can wish and hope and that's
all it will ever be.

> Please don't waste your breath saying I should go elsewhere. I will
> continue to use CentOS and to recommend it to my friends. It's a great
> product.

Then _understand_ some of the limitations of the distribution system
with those advantages.

> IMO, this is purely a mechanical problem. Whatever the methods, other
> FOSS providers manage to avoid this type of erratic delivery. I don't
> have a clue how. I have no experience setting up or maintaining a
> system of mirrors.

Which is why you are drawing the conclusions you are.  As I said before,
you're comparing things that work very, very differently -- as well as
some of the legal issues CentOS wishes to avoid.

> I'm on the fifth attempt this morning to get through about 200
> packages, and I don't think the results would have been much different
> if I were trying to sync a local mirror. This isn't even the
> post-new-update-rush, for $DEITY sake.The first 3 attempts hung
> totally at retrieving a man update. The next attempt waded through
> about 80 more packages and then hung. The final attempt is trying many
> mirrors again and not getting there again.
> I've changed my mirror settings a few times, but there does not appear
> to be an ideal solution. Thus my frustration.

I'm sorry you're frustrated.  We all get frustrated at times.

But you're making comparisons that are _not_ just "purely mechanical
problem[s]."  Please _avoid_ doing that.  It does _no_good_ to openly
complain about something the project can do nothing about.  ;->

-- Bryan

P.S.  I too maintain some of the other distros you speak of.  There are
many differences involved.  I'm not going to tell you what to do.  I
just ask you to remember that you may not be taking everything into
consideration that might be involved -- distribution-wise, legal-wise,

Bryan J. Smith   b.j.smith at ieee.org   http://thebs413.blogspot.com
For everything else *COUGH*commercials*COUGH* there's "ManningCard"

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