[lug] RedHat Improvement Suggestions

Nate Duehr nate at natetech.com
Thu Aug 2 08:34:32 MDT 2001

On Wed, Aug 01, 2001 at 11:26:56PM -0600, Tom Tromey wrote:

> I've only ever used Red Hat and Debian.  And I have to say that my
> experiences were mixed.  On the one hand, Debian has cool technology
> that Red Hat is only just getting (updates over the net).  And Debian
> puts a lot more work into smooth upgrades than Red Hat.  That is
> something I miss.  On the other hand, Red Hat manages to get out a
> stable release once a year.  I ended up switching away from Debian not
> because I ended up working at Red Hat but because it had been two
> years since the last release, and I wanted newer software but I wasn't
> interested in running `unstable'.

Watch for a release on Debian sometime this fall.  Debian also slowed
down this year to change around their release process somewhat.  There
are now three possible versions to run of Debian...

stable, testing, and unstable

- Stable is... well, you know.
- Testing is anything that has been put into unstable and hasn't had a
grave or release-critical level bug filed against the package in a
certain time period (not sure what that is.)
- Unstable... quite messy, only good for developers and/or those who like
living on the bleeding edge sometimes, sometimes is perfectly stable.

The current Debian Project Leader has claimed that he's going to push
for much more regular releases as soon as "woody" the current testing
verion is released.  As with any volunteer project, more GOOD help is
always needed on the boot-floppies/CD systems and patches are ALWAYS
welcome.  Getting a proper build environment for the boot media right
now is very challenging as it requires many packages from
testing and/or unstable to be put in a chrooted build environment, so
there's only a limited number of people willing and able to tackle the
code right now... debbootstrap helps with this...

What I love about Debian is that they give you a nice solid stable
system in stable... and provide proper security patches for it through
their automated update tools and an apt source from security.debian.org,
but you can also run the unstable version on a machine you don't use for
production, and most of the time you'll have no problems whatsoever.

As you mentioned they also almost always attempt to make version
upgrades possible and warn you when things are going to break.  Upgrades
on RH are usually a complete mess, in contrast.

> Ferdinand> All distros have their shortcomings, including Mandrake and
> Ferdinand> SuSE - but you asked for feedback as the listening ear of
> Ferdinand> RedHat.


With all distros pushing to support in one way or another the FHS,
that's good for vendors of commercial software, but there's still quite
a bit of work to be done.

The one thing that is starting to worry me about Linux is that with the
popularity of the OS, there are an awful lot of end users who never were
indoctrinated into the "community" oriented nature of open-source
software -- many have an entitlement attitude -- "I'm entitled to a
working piece of software because I bought this box at CompUSA."

When they really should be thinking, "I know a better way to do this, I
should send the upstream author a patch or at least a well-researched
and detailed bug report to help have a better version next time."  Or in
the case of many authors, next WEEK.  :-)

My $.02 ($0.999999 in interest, $0.000001 principal)

Nate Duehr <nate at natetech.com>

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