Tuesday, April 20, 2010

why do u wear a red hat

Frankly speaking the biggest reason, I stick with redhat Operating systems is I am quiet comfortable with them and I know them inside out. And as long as I remember Linux, they have been around, and been loyal to what they started with. I don't think ubuntu is bad, but I don't like it. I started my days with Redhat 7.3 and then Redhat 9 and then Fedora 3 and then EL 3 and EL 4 and then everything upto Constantine. I am baffled by the fact that I have to look elsewhere in my /etc to find out where my stuff has suddenly gone and other distros stare me with that dirty look, when I look into those standard files, I have been editing(or shall I say viming) for years now. I know "system config _variable_" is not the standard. Purist run around saying that its not the linux way, so is apt and so is yum or for that matter any utility. RPM is not worse than .deb or .dpkg, they are just different conventions. And I think RPM package management is one of finest out there. I know ubuntu is doing wonderful thing, its kool and its easy to use. Repo support in ubuntu(with synaptic) is seamless. But but but, to me that is not charming enough to leave Redhat. I have tried Sabayon and Mandriva and Suse, I would say Suse is the coolest, they can bloody recognize all OS and add entry to MBR/grub and u don't have to worry. And interface and display look neat. I had some trouble with Fedora being not able to recognize other distros, but may be its not being thought of it yet.
Redhat is making good progress. The significant number of people working in any list(dev or testing) are from Redhat. I am quiet surprised by the fact that Redhat files and please note that fixes maximum number of security bugs in Linux. Okay, debian is not far, but Redhat ELs are bloody Garrisoned castle. From EL4 onwards they introduced SElinux, which is just amazing. As far as security goes, Fedora wins hands down.
Now one more aspect of these new breeds of distros is assuming user is totally ignorant and they try to disable everything. That is a good thing for security reasons, but to me its not worth the try. I want gcc and bin-utils right there as soon as my system is up and running. I am bit puzzled by sendmail though, as to why is it "up" all the time. As what I understand its not required most of the time(but I could be wrong). Its bit too much of a hassle to get everything on the fly especially basic development tool. I can't think of my life without having a kernel headers in place. And I shouldn't be dependent on internet all the time. Right, I don't live in bunker, but still dependency on internet for basic system functionality is a disease. Ok, I know ubuntu have DVD version, but I haven't tried it, and I don't think anyone else had(bit far fetched assumption, I know). Everyone depends on stupid live CDs. Sorry I am old school I like full distro on my DVD.
Ok, repo support was bit clumsy in fedoras, but I can handle that. I have been resolving weirdest of the dependencies for a long, and at times it could be frustrating, but its a good exercise to understand working of packages. And in recent times yum is improving like anything since F10, things are very smooth. With addition of repos like livna, rpmfusion, everything imaginable is available. Well, I am not saying it has highest number of packages available, but it has pretty much everything I can imagine. Well, I know debian is like holy grail of package support, Debian's port style package management is one of the finest. But its tad slow. And release cycle are not worth the wait. With some commands here and there, I have consolidated that fedora has around 18k packages, debian more than 18k and ubuntu somewhere around 16k plus. So I don't think packages supported in fedora is lacking or missing in anyway. You get everything what you want.

As far as shiny new packages are concerned, I recently came to knew that until Redhat team is satisfied by its security and stability, its not released. And that is best thing to do. What is the point of porting a package, which crashes and which makes system vulnerable. I am not saying that fedora is shipping everything pretty tightly, but not risking much security for new fancy cosmetic packages not properly supported. They now have live CD, its not all that difficult thing to implement. yeah but ubuntu had it first, so credit goes to them.
There are few hiccups with wireless and graphics and all, but that is general Linux problem and not Fedora issues. Few distros provide third party non-GPL packages, where as Fedora generally refrains from it, but they are not absent or something. Its just u have to dig a little harder.
So, instead of running around and learning new structures of where is what? And Since I am command line person, I can live without much of gui. I don't want fancy interfaces to do the same thing which just need one command, with these new distros command line has become more confusing than being helpful. I see no reason to move things from grub.conf or changing rc.d structure is some mysterious way. So Redhat it is, for me.