bitvector wrote: just brew it! wrote:
Shining Arcanine wrote:I think you misunderstood what I said. My point was that Ubuntu Server Edition lacks a GUI, which means that it has no ease of use advantage over other distributions.
Ahh, OK. But you can still install any of the GUIs if you wish -- apt-get install [k|x|l]ubuntu-desktop, and you're done.
Plus, things like the quality package management, good system configuration tools, careful handling of config file transitions between upgrades, responsible security issue tracking and patching, good installers, and the greater Debian-derived distro community all could be considered advantages.
I have found Gentoo Linux to be suitable for my needs, so while I have not tried CentOS/RHEL to know how it compares to Debian in each of those categories, I do know that more companies swear by it than they do by any other distribution. I also have used Gentoo Linux, so I can say that Gentoo fares well in each of them.
Gentoo has the most advanced package manager of any Linux distribution, so Debian's package manager is not very impressive in comparison. On Gentoo Linux, system configuration tools include vim, emacs and nano, as well as various GUI text editors. Traditional UNIX software is intended to be configured via text editors and most Linux software still is that way, so Debian and its offspring do not have much of an advantage there. Configuration file transitions between upgrades are handled by etc-update, which presents all of the modified files to the user, which prevents widescale disasters like the Ubuntu 8.10 to 9.04 upgrade
. When that upgrade happened, the Ubuntu forums were swamped with people trying to find out how to get their systems to work again. I had Ubuntu installed via Wubi at the time and I tried upgrading it, only to be hit with the same issue. Gentoo also has security issue tracking
, although the issues are usually fixed by changes to portage, which implies that regularly updating systems resolves most security issues. System package managers eliminate the need for third party installers on Linux. Lastly, Gentoo has a large community as well. Although it might not be as large as Debian's community, the density of its technical knowledge is much higher than Debian and higher still than Ubuntu, so having more numbers is not as advantageous as it would seem, although it is a definite advantage, because it means that third party packages are more likely to be available for Debian than for Gentoo. Debian also has more first party packages. I believe Debian has >22,000 packages
in its repositories while Gentoo only has 14,196 packages at the time of this post. The number of packages in Gentoo's main tree can be found by running "find /usr/portage/ -name '*.ebuild' | cut -d/ -f 4-5 | uniq | wc" on a Gentoo system that has recently been synchronized.
Shining Arcanine wrote:There are two ways that server distributions can be designed. One is to go the route where a big company does things for you in terms of security updates, bug fixes, feature additions, etcetera. RedHat does that best and as a RHEL clone, CentOS inherits that strength. The other is to go the route where distribution development is community-run and end-users receive the ability to do many things on their own that would normally be reserved for the distribution vendor. Gentoo, being a source-based rolling distribution, does that extremely well and it would be difficult to find a distribution that outdoes it in that category. Ubuntu Server Edition is a slightly modified version of Debian and I do not see how Debian, even with the modifications Canonical gives to it, does things better in either of those categories than the distributions I mentioned. That is not to say that you cannot use it for anything, but that is to say that it is not the best in giving people what they want.
Seriously, what are you talking about here? Debian and derived distros are community maintained and I don't see what metric by which you determine they're "not the best in giving people what they want."
The community involvement is not as strong with Debian as it is with Gentoo, although it is certainly stronger than how it is with CentOS/RHEL. That is the price of having binary packages without a framework in place for anyone to compile them. RHEL has no direct community involvement and while CentOS is closer to Debian in terms of being more open to community involvement, its packages are just recompiled RHEL packages, so there is not as much room for people to do things with them, which is quite possibly a good thing. Slackware is a distribution that is renowned for its stability because it has very few distribution specific patches. Since RedHat extensively tests all of its patches, the quality of CentOS/RHEL packages should be similar to Slackware, giving it the same sort of strength. Gentoo's package maintainers also try to avoid patching code unless it is strictly necessary, so it should share similar strengths.
Anyway, a company that heavily relies upon Gentoo for servers had wonderful things to say about Gentoo in a recent interview:http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/pr/201008 ... erview.xml
Gentoo is primarily used in a Server environment. The servers are configured as Web/mail or as EDGE routers on test networks. Maintaining our systems is primarily done by using Portage. Gentoo has been used on various machines for many purposes within our organization. It has enabled us to test several different branches of software, as well as mix software branches for development and experimentation. Gentoo servers are pretty easy to maintain. Once they are up and configured, emerge and portage can take care of a variety of issues when and if they arise.
Disclaimer: I over-analyze everything, so try not to be offended if I over-analyze something you wrote.