[CentOS] two cents or not two cents

Fri Dec 17 14:18:30 UTC 2010
Peter Kjellström <cap at nsc.liu.se>

On Thursday, December 16, 2010 11:45:36 pm Sean wrote:
> Hello Producers
> "Longevity of Support" is an attractive drawcard for CentOS if it means
> the exact opposite of Fedora's "short support cycle" that does not
> provide updating of infrastructural libraries for very long, libraries
> which newer versions of applications (like Firefox, Thunderbird, Opera
> etc) depend on and which wont install unless the libraries are also
> newer versions? But is that what it means -- ie that those
> infrastructural libraries (libpango, libcairo etc) are continuously
> updateable to fairly recent versions?

Longevity (things continue to work without breakage for a long time):
 This kind of implies "don't keep stuff continously updated to recent 
versions" don't you think?

Support (help if it breaks, security updates etc.):
 Is often realised by fixing bugs in the shipped versions and/or backporting 
> If so, the problem is in reconciling that meaning with the reputation of
> CentOS to only support older versions of applications (eg Firefox-1.5,
> Thunderbird-1.0 etc).

"yum list firefox" on CentOS-5 as of right now:
firefox.x86_64                   3.6.13-2.el5.centos                   updates

> It does reconcile, of course, if  the implications
> are merely that the CentOS user must compile and install the later
> versions of such applications from source, rather than having the luxury
> of pre-packaged binaries. It doesn't reconcile if there is some other
> critical reason why newer such applications just wont install. But which?

It's very hard to get both "I want to run the latest softwares" and "I want it 
to be stable for many years". When you run something like, for example, 
CentOS-5 you get stability (this means things to change completely from last 
month) and a long life (you can run it with updates enabled for many years).

What you _don't_ get is the latest upstream version of libfoobar that would 
allow you to build or install application-whatever.

> Then there is a further question, I'm afraid. Since CentOS also does
> specifically target the profile of a so-called 'enterprise/server-user'
> what does that actually entail.

It means pretty much what I've outlined above.

> Does it mean concrete security
> strictures which bolt down non-'root' users or does it merely mean the
> availability of SELinux (but which can be turned OFF)? For instance,

Enterprise vs. non-enterprise linux has very little to do with default 
security behaviour. It has more to do with lifetime, support and what kind of 
3rd party software and hardware it's been tested and qualified with.


> (with SELinux OFF), can a user still:
> (a) su root via Kterm anytime?
> (b) Access services-admin anytime via Menu+Pam to control printers,
> modems, daemons etc?
> (c) compile
> (d) have 6 to 8 desktops running
> (e) call up 'konquerorsu.desktop' (root-konqueror with embedded root-Kterm)
> (f) have normal cron scheduling
> .......................................................... maybe more,
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