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Redhat - Winds of Change

James Specht
Trusted Contributor

Redhat - Winds of Change

OK, I am looking for input on linux versions people use. I have 6 production boxes running RedHat linux and come April 2004 I can no longer patch my systems through RH. I have used RH since 5.2 and really have not looked at other products myself. The bosses and myself can not justify $1400 per year per system to keep using RH linux, enterprise or not. So the search begins for the next linux vendor.

I must have patch support and the OS must be able to run Oracle and I want a strong command line interface. I hate it when the best way to do something is through a GUI only! Right now I am looking at SUSE or mandrake as a primary replacement for RH.

Any and all input is greatly appreciated!

--Jim
"Everyone can be taught to sculpt: Michelangelo would have had to be taught how not to. So it is with the great programmers."
22 REPLIES
Steven E. Protter
Exalted Contributor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

Red Hat has a project called Fedora.

It will take over support and development of the free versions. I believe that might be what you are looking for.

You can get AS support from Red Hat for as little as $349.

SEP
Steven E Protter
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Martin P.J. Zinser
Honored Contributor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

Hello Jim,

I am using SuSE for a couple of years now on my private gear. Generally I do like them, although for a production environment I would check a new distro on a test system before depoloying it on the servers (but hey,this I do/would do with any OS ;-)

They should be able to put up more of a presence in the US since they were bought by Novell very recently.

Greetings, Martin
erik petersen_1
Occasional Advisor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

Hi Jim,
I too have just entered a similar scenario. We were just fixing to launch some new servers using RH 9 then we saw the announcement.

I do have a server that just completed one full year of uptime service running SuSE 8.0, Apache, MySQL and sendmail. This server moves over 55GB/mo. Can't vouch for Oracle support but I did see library support for Oracle.

Now that Novell owns SuSE, who knows whats going to happen ... JFS and Reiser removed in favor of Netware volumes !?! ;-)

What about Debian?

Best regards,
-erik
The mind is like a parachute -- if it doesn't open, it doesn't work.
Mark Grant
Honored Contributor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

I first tried Red Hat at version 4.2 and thought "Wow, that installed quick". I stuck with it until around 5.2 when I realised it wasn't actually very good.

I ran SuSe on several servers for a couple of years and was really pleasantly surprised. As long as you remember to disable SuSe-Config as soon as you have installed the box, it behaves almost like a Unix box :). It comes pretty close to Red Hat in terms of support though that might change now that Novell are involved. I know IBM run Oracle on SuSe at several sites and it is supported by Oracle.

We are moving to Slackware on several machines because it doesn't do much which is just how we like it :)
Never preceed any demonstration with anything more predictive than "watch this"
Ragu_1
Regular Advisor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

Some people may argue that you should buy support services for software you have on your machines. the money going in makes the software better and more secure. This is not entirely true! Debian GNU/Linux would be a good choice for you, with its update tool `apt-get' and some other CLI tools. Security breaches are disclosed and fixes are made public. Right now, Debian.org has been cracked into, full disclosures may be posted any time soon. Better deploy a solution where you have full control instead of the vendor of that software/OS.
Share and share alike
Jerome Henry
Honored Contributor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

Hi Jim,

Same issue for us, RH since 5.2.

We are turning to fedora, assuming we'll be able to decide what needs to be updated and not, not getting the latest package just because it has been released...

We are not turning to mandrake, because we feel it's often too heavy, and not as efficient as redhat, as far as stability and home made tools are concerned.

Not to Suse either, for the community seems to be less wide than RH based one. Of course, this is in no way criticising these distro, just our local feeling. If your purpose is just Oracle and command line, Suse is said to be strong on Oracle support, being the first to have been officialy supported by Oracle...

ht help you choose.

J
You can lean only on what resists you...
Bill Thorsteinson
Honored Contributor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

I've been running development systems on Debian since I had to upgrade them. The dependency handling is extremely good.

I had a little problem installing a virus scanner deployed as an RPM. However, once I worked out the dependencies and got it installed
it has worked flawlessly.
James Specht
Trusted Contributor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

SEP: Fedora is sounding more like a BETA version of Enterprise if you read the RH releases. I don't think I want to stay with RH that badly. I do have a couple of servers that are 2 CPUs or less and could get the AS version for those, but two of my systems have 4 CPUs in them. Forcing the ES version.

Martin: Our Assiociate Director is our old network admin and he is big on Novell and what they could do with SUSE. I just need to find out what applications are supported on SUSE. And I live by your testing any and all OS thoughly.

Mark: Thanks for the oracle info!

Jerome: Another mark for SUSE and oracle. I'm not against doing my own patching but I have 36 systems to maintain all by my lonesome and need any help I can get. I have truly fallen in love with CPM and up2date!

Thanks for the input! Keep it coming! I'll keep checking this thread. I can't get online as much as I used to at the moment due to a serious upgrade we are doing over the holiday break and all the last minute details need buttoned up.

--Jim
"Everyone can be taught to sculpt: Michelangelo would have had to be taught how not to. So it is with the great programmers."
erik petersen_1
Occasional Advisor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

FYI and slightly OT:
It looks like Debian was hit yesterday. See:
http://lists.netsys.com/pipermail/full-disclosure/2003-November/014019.html

-erik
The mind is like a parachute -- if it doesn't open, it doesn't work.
Balaji N
Honored Contributor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

Fedora is one option.

Same stuck me to. Mostly i have worked only on RHL and this took me by surprise. Am planning to switch to Slack.

Comments.

-balaji (hi all)
Its Always Important To Know, What People Think Of You. Then, Of Course, You Surprise Them By Giving More.
erik petersen_1
Occasional Advisor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

FYI: here is a link to Oracle configuration on SuSE:
http://www.suse.com/en/business/certifications/certified_software/oracle/documents.html

Cheers!
-erik
The mind is like a parachute -- if it doesn't open, it doesn't work.
Alexander Chuzhoy
Honored Contributor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

Jim, just one correction-IN RedHat it's the ES version that supports up to 2 CPUs, and costs 349$.
The AS is the expensive one...
Best regards.
James Specht
Trusted Contributor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

Eric: Thanks for the headsup. And more so for the SUSE/Oracle docs.

Balaji: Why slackware? I don't see the advantage for a production system.

Alexander: Thanks for the correction.

It's looking like SUSE will be my first test subject. I'll keep and eye on this thread for any updates.

--Jim

"Everyone can be taught to sculpt: Michelangelo would have had to be taught how not to. So it is with the great programmers."
George_Dodds
Honored Contributor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

I'm currently testing Suse and mandrake options for non critical production systems and so far suse looks the better option.

We are just waiting to see how the Fedora project comes along.
But for the critical systems we will be forking out for redhat enterprise, at least you do get varying levels of support for the price.

Cheers

George
John Meissner
Esteemed Contributor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

At work we are currently useing SuSE SLES 8 for our production boxes....

At my desk I'm using Red Hat 7.3 with plans on upgrading to Red Hat 9

On my laptop i have Red Hat 8 installed

at Home I have Red Hat 9 installed.

From all I've seen I prefer Red Hat 9 to all these - but for production I would use Red Hat Enterprise server.

We use SuSE at work is becuase they are SAP certified
All paths lead to destiny
Huc_1
Honored Contributor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

I am still not realy decided ...

I found it worth while the read

http://www.newsforge.com/article.pl?sid=03/11/04/1854241&mode=thread&tid=85

J-P
Smile I will feel the difference
Balaji N
Honored Contributor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

why slack?
i have never tried it but have seen people talk of it greatly. the installation is difficult but worth it. somehow i am not very comfortable with debian. and add to that recently read that they servers have been hacked.
i would prefer a system where you compile every package from source on the specific hardware. it takes some time to get it up and running but once you are there, you have great system.

for that fact, gentoo is also worth a try.
-balaji

(meanwhile, i have started to download fedora. going to give it a try.)
Its Always Important To Know, What People Think Of You. Then, Of Course, You Surprise Them By Giving More.
Cristian Draghici
Frequent Advisor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

I for one am running Fedora Core 1 on my laptop.
Don't have a production machine running it but my personal oppinion is that it wouldn't make any difference.

System stability is the kernel and I've seen both the 7.3's initial 2.4.17 alancox kernel and RHAS 2.1 running Oracle reboot without being under (tremendous) load (2.4.17 had a problem with the VM eating up memory for IO caching).

Of course, if you need someone to blame for a system that's not running as expected, you should buy a distribution that offers support.(and SLAs or whatever they call them). So even though Fedora is not a choice for you, my input on it follows.

Fedora is no better or worse than RedHat9.
Here's a rundown of likes and dislikes (again from a laptop(hp xe4500) user pov):
likes:
- ACPI support - I get everything (battery, processor, thermal) but can't control processor limits (throttling)
- infrared support - works out of the box
- special keys work (Fn+F1 etc)
- bugfixing in packages (some guy from redhat just fixed redhat-config-packages which was broken). I haven't seen errata bugfixing in RedHat Linux in a while.

dislikes:

- RedHat style policy is still applied - no NTFS, mp3, etc. This is a big nono for a system/distribution that is considered and advertised as experimental.
- fonts are ugly on LCD (like really ugly :-) / the old system -misc-fixed-*-*-*-*-10-100-*-*-*-*-*-* (xft1) of naming fonts is now totally dropped
GTK is taking over the system.
I for one think motif is still usable and am beginning to get sick of the antialiasing hype that forces me into buying 17 inch displays just because antialiased fonts are bigger.

- ships with gcc 3.3 but its kernel is compiled with gcc 3.2; to compile modules you have to alias the compiler to the old version

- up2date is somewhat broken (can't tell if it's because of my upgrade and not using clean install but all packages to be updated are 0 in length, stuff like this)

dontcare

- it runs the NLPTL - this forced a JDK upgrade for Eclipse to run. Can't see any visible improvements (no real tests performed).

Hope this helps,
Cristi
James Specht
Trusted Contributor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

Huc: Thanks for the article.

Balaji: Thanks for the update on Slackware.

Christian: Thanks for the run down on your setup. I would be curious if you get up2date working. From what I have read RH will not be supporting up2date of fedora.

Once again I appreciate the comments. I still feel that SUSE is my first choice for replacing RedHat.

--Jim
"Everyone can be taught to sculpt: Michelangelo would have had to be taught how not to. So it is with the great programmers."
Cristian Draghici
Frequent Advisor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

Jim,

up2date does work, meaning you can update packages with the usual python gtk interface.

However, the Fedora up2date will not:
- display advisories (the button does nothing)
- show the sizes of the packages to download

Fedora Updates are RPM packages signed by RedHat with their usual gpg key.
Since running the system (~2 weeks) they've performed a gcc update, a mozilla update and a bugfix on redhat-config-packages (mentioned in my previous post).

To quote Fedora on updates: "Updates will be available for two to three months after the release of the subsequent version; that is, updates for Fedora Core 1 will be provided for two to three months after the release of Fedora Core 2, and so forth."

Forgot to mention that fedora's kernel has support for Exec shield (non-executable stack i think).

Cheers,
Cristi
Ratzie
Super Advisor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

Jim
We have had that very long discussion here at our shop. We have 5 servers, running various Redhat. We decided last year that we were going to stick with one distro RHAS.

Now we have other servers that are not up to snuff and were in a delema... We were going to jump ship and try openbsd.

But, think about it... Red Hat works! That always came back to that and as much as we did not like to pay the money...
A. Did we want to learn another OS...
B. Can we guarantee that it would work with the Oracle and sybase databases...

For a production evironment you should pay the extra and know that it is going to work.

AND C.
Can the other distro's guarantee that they are not going to follow suit sometime down the road...

We forked over the cash, when they offered it at 50 % OFF.
Cristian Draghici
Frequent Advisor

Re: Redhat - Winds of Change

FYI

Progeny (& Novell) will be offering pay-for support on the RHL 7.2 and 7.3 line for
$5 per machine, per month or $2,500 for unlimited machines.

See
http://www.linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/newss/5137/1/
and
see http://www.progeny.com/products/transition/


Cristi