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Re: review of Gentoo -- v. LFS, Red Hat, Rule, Componentized
From: "Drews, Jonathan*" <DrewsJ@cder.fda.gov>
> This long-term Red Hat Linux user has given an honest look at Gentoo, and
> has concluded that the stereotypes surrounding this distribution are false.
> After all these years, I have finally found my new distribution: Gentoo
From: Nate Reindl <email@example.com>
> Whoever said that will learn otherwise once they find that they don't
> have time anymore to screw around with maintaining a dynamic system
> like Gentoo. Trust me on this one. :)
> Then again, I disagree totally about running Gentoo on a server.
> Well, at least having it on a production box; that stuff should be
> left to things like Red Hat (not even Fedora... yet) and Debian.
IMHO, Gentoo has its place.
- Gentoo: A better way to LFS
For those that need a way to put _only_ those packages into a system
they really need, free of the distibutor's "bloat," then going with
Gentoo is a far better mechanism than, say, Linux From Scratch (LFS).
Gentoo is more like a BSD flavor (although that's an over-
simplification), with a "ports-like" collection of Makefiles and other
goodies so you can fetch and built just what you need. More organized
than LFS, but almost the same level of fine-grained tuning.
Gentoo is most ideal for when you are considering LFS. Something like a
single-use application -- firewall, router, other embedded system,
etc... Something where bloat is not an option, and I'm not running
much, so "integration testing" between packages is not a major concern.
- Red Hat, Debian: For file servers, workstations
When you're talking more of a file server or workstation, I don't know
if I'd look at anything but a "mainstream" distro. The reason is
simple. Thinks like network filesystems are a pain, have all sorts of
quirks, and many times, the kernels and user space files have to be
heavily patched to support these. In a nutshell, Linus' focus isn't on
integration testing NFS support in his kernel, and many user-space
capabilities like Samba and other daemons are an afterthought.
I want a distributor that spends thousands of man-hours that
"integration tests" all those various services, and says they work
against various configurations. Especially something that is integrated
into the kernel, but very necessary for many network sharing operations
-- like NFS, AFS, etc... But even user-space programs like Samba,
Apache and others are also a consideration. In 9 years of Red Hat
administration on corporate networks, I have to say Red Hat has never
failed me there.
Even if I build these components from source, I stick with the SRPM or
Deb source package of the distro. I rebuild from their heavily patched
and modified versions, as they are better tested than I could on my own.
- Fedora Core v. Red Hat Linux
As far as Fedora Core (FC) 1, it's basically Red Hat Linux (RHL) 10,
right down to the same, _paid_ Red Hat people working on it -- let alone
the countless Red Hat paid developers working on various GPL software
(remember, Red Hat is the _most_ GPL-centric, major _commercial_ distro
out there). I've found FC 1 to be _outstanding_ to this point,
especially now that the various repositories (Extras, Legacy, 3rd
Parties, etc...) are starting to get organized.
Now I don't think I'd trust FC 2. That's going to be the first kernel
2.6 flavor, and I'll probably wait on FC 3 instead. But FC 1 has been
pretty rock solid for me. At least a better option than RHL 9 in my
book -- and just as ABI compatible.
- Something in-between: Rule Project, Progeny Componentized Linux
There's always been the complaint that Red Hat is "overbloated." Well,
with 3 CDs in "Fedora Core," that's definitely a bit "bloated."
Previously, projects like Rule ( http://www.rule-project.org ) used to
offer a way to install a "basic," but 100% Red Hat-based distro. It had
everything from a "lighterweight" base package set, alternative to
GNOME/KDE as defaults, etc... along with "lighterweight" installers like
Miniconda and Slinky. That was nice option to consider for older
systems with 32MB or less of RAM, and they are continuing this for
Fedora Core as well.
Debian has always been this way, no "bloat by default." Not
surprisingly, this will happen with Fedora too -- although probably
outside of the Fedora Core releases themselves (being that FC is the
basis for future Red Hat Enterprise Linux, RHEL, versions as well).
There is still a lot of Fedora, thanx to its RHL legacy, that keeps it
from approaching Debian's guidelines, etc...
But one commercial integrator that plans on offering this level of
capability is Progeny, not surprisingly founded by Debian's founder, Ian
Murdock. Their own Componentized Linux will allow you to build a
lighter system or distro from either Debian or Fedora packages. This
will be an interesting approach, one that I hope works.
Bryan J. Smith, E.I. -- Engineer, Technologist, School Teacher
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