[CentOS] Transition test report going from CentOS8 to Debian 10.

Thu Feb 4 16:15:58 UTC 2021
Valeri Galtsev <galtsev at kicp.uchicago.edu>

On 2/4/21 9:39 AM, Lamar Owen wrote:
> Sorry for the length....
> I'm posting this here since this particular transition has been 
> mentioned on-list as one possibility for a path forward for current 
> CentOS Linux users.  AlmaLinux, the Developer Subscription RHEL, Rocky, 
> CentOS Stream, Springdale, upgrading to full RHEL; all these are also 
> possibilities, too, and all have different strengths and weaknesses. The 
> transition to Debian has a lot of strengths, including a long 
> track-record of support (even if the support time for a particular 
> release is shorter), a fully-open development model with no 'corporate 
> overlord' that I know of, a large set of supported packages, and a huge 
> community of developers and users.  For the CentOS user the main 
> weakness is having to learn a few areas of difference in the way the 
> system is setup and maintained; of course, if a ten-year 'stable' 
> timeframe is really that important to you the lack of that is also a 
> weakness.

Thank you, Lamar, for your post. I second what you said about strengths. 
I converted a few machines to Debian myself (number cruncher that is wen 
server and samba file server simultaneously, and a couple of 
workstations). Oh, I forgot this: laptop I set up for my wife quite a 
wile ago also runs Debian. I would add one thing (some may consider it 
extra strength, others may think otherwise). Debian doesn't make any 
decisions for you, so you really have to do your own thinking and 
decide, say, which firewall to install. And choices are plentiful.

And as Lamar said, you will have some learning curve with which commands 
to use, several will be different commands from what usually are in rpm 
based distro. But that is minor thing IMHO.

And while they tolerate it, I will once again mention: Consider FreeBSD 
(or any of BSD descendants) for servers. Once you are there, you will 
never regret that. I do not.

Thanks again, Lamar, for detailed and very encouraging post!


> So, last week I transitioned, as a test of sorts, my working CentOS 8 
> main laptop to Debian 10.  I kept a complete backup of the C8 install 
> should I wish to go back to it, and installed Buster to a new mSATA SSD, 
> but ported the two SATA drives (Dell Precision M6700 - has an mSATA slot 
> plus two SATA bays) straight over after making full backups.
> I posted a pretty complete rundown on the scientific linux users mailing 
> list, so I won't recap it all here.  The bottom line was the the 
> transition was not any more difficult, really, than moving from CentOS 7 
> to CentOS 8.  The software versions in Buster are pretty close to what 
> is in CentOS 8, although I have yet to need any third-party repository 
> (PPA) for anything I've needed to install.
> All the packages I have worked with so far have worked fine with a 
> little bit of massaging.  These include commercial (and costly) software 
> such as Harrison Consoles' Mixbus32C, Qoppa's PDFStudio2019 
> Professional, and others.
> So if you were to decide that this is the route for you to take, it does 
> work and I found it to be not nearly as hard as I had thought it might 
> be.  If you install GNOME 3 you get GNOME 3; it feels pretty much the 
> same as a non-Classic CentOS GNOME 3, just with a different set of 
> extensions installed by default.
> That's on the workstation.
> On the server side, I'm evaluating Proxmox for the virtualization 
> solution, and so far I'm finding it to be a pretty easy migration.  I'm 
> using the 'non-subscription' repository, so this is a no-cost option. 
> Even getting the box registered to our EMC Clariion SAN was relatively 
> easy; EMC provides the Unisphere Server Utility for Linux x64 in RPM 
> form; the latest I have is 
> "ServerUtil-Linux-64-x86-en_US-" (which is 
> fairly old, but I did say Clariion arrays, so they're pretty old, too). 
> Debian has provided the 'alien' tool for some time; after installing 
> alien, a simple 'alien -i 
> ServerUtil-Linux-64-x86-en_US-' installed the 
> EMC RPM in the correct place.  Proxmox already included everything that 
> serverutilcli requires; on a plain Buster install I had to install 
> dm-multipath and the device mapper libraries and tools before 
> serverutilcli would find the arrays; but it ran just like it did on 
> CentOS 8 (and 7).
> I haven't decided whether to stay on Debian or not; too early to tell. I 
> have time to test and evaluate.  My CentOS 7 installs aren't goin 
> anywhere, though, at least until late 2023.  And I've registered for a 
> Developer subscription of RHEL so that I can properly evaluate that 
> option, too.
> This is the beauty of open source: we have OPTIONS.
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Valeri Galtsev
Sr System Administrator
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics
University of Chicago
Phone: 773-702-4247