[kwlug-disc] topic request

John Van Ostrand john at netdirect.ca
Tue May 4 10:00:40 EDT 2010

----- "unsolicited" <unsolicited at swiz.ca> wrote:

> Khalid Baheyeldin wrote, On 05/03/2010 10:47 PM:
> > On Mon, May 3, 2010 at 6:56 PM, unsolicited <unsolicited at swiz.ca>
> >> The sense I have from the list is that in business / servers,
> CentOS or
> >> RHEL is more prevalent, while on desktops it is Ubuntu.
> >>
> >> Thus, having an understanding of both seems appropriate.
> > 
> > 
> > Yes, that is a common perception, and it has historical reasons.
> > 
> > First, RedHat had commercial support and support for certain
> hardware
> > that does not have the same support in Debian (and therefore
> Ubuntu).
> > This makes certain server stuff (e.g. RAID controllers).
> > 
> > Second, there was the "Debian is hard" which was true until a few
> years
> > ago.
> > 
> > Third, RedHat supported proprietary service based thingies that
> were
> > common on web hosts (e.g. cPanel, WHM, ...etc.), and support for
> Debian
> > was lagging for these.
> > 
> > However, lately things have swung in favor of Debian, with Ubuntu
> Server
> > Edition gaining traction everywhere. One of the reasons is that it
> is Debian
> > with all the APT goodness there is. Another is that it has a vast
> central
> > repository with everything in it. And yet another is the familiarity
> with
> > the
> > desktop provides easy switching rather than a different one for
> each.
> > 
> > And with virtualization, support for hardware is not that much of an
> issue
> > if you are managing VPSs.
> > 
> > So hopefully more people will see the light and switch to
> Debian/Ubuntu
> > on the server.
> John, is this what you are seeing in the field / your business as 
> well? A move away from RHEL (CentOS)?
> Will you be packing up all those skills any time soon?

Even after I re-arranged your top-post I'm not sure what point you want me to address.

I'll be generalizing here.

I find that typically CxOs, IT Managers and senior IT people tend to choose Suse or RHEL for production. Why? I'll speculate since I don't have hard facts: It's direct strong vendor support (HW and Software), it's easy to find training courses, it's advanced products (Cluster server, Directory server, Satellite server, etc.), it's because sales people sell Red Hat and Suse, it's because they do not have an emotional or religious connection with a distro or a community, it's because they can't be fired for choosing either one, it's because these enterprise distros have solutions for enterprise needs (see Satellite server).

It tends to be technology enthusiasts who tend to gravitate to other distros like Ubuntu. I suspect it's comfort with the desktop that does it and a perceived technical advantage. Maybe it's because it was the latest big distro to launch. We all like new things, especially if they are shiny.

Sure there are the technology companies like Google, Amazon, RIM and others who have massive and brilliant engineering staff who choose to put non-"enterprise" distros in place, but these were decisions made by the technicians in the early stages of the company. Some of these large companies are deciding to move to a commercially supported distro.

I think the VPS (ahem, cloud computing) idea that bodes well for non-enterprise distros. It takes the hardware equation out as long as the virtualization vendor supports the distro or vice versa. It takes driver issues away and it's easy to believe that it will be much more stable.

That still leaves two issues software support and distro support.

I have never seen a Oracle server in production running on a non-enterprise distro. To complement this I tend to see fully open source software stacks running on non-enterprise distros (I'm bunching Centos in here). There tend to be more servers running open source software stacks than Oracle.

I still don't see senior managers and execs preferring the idea of community support over commercial support from a multi-national company. And there isn't anyone trying to sell them Debian community support, so I doubt their minds are going to change any time soon.

John Van Ostrand 
CTO, co-CEO 
Net Direct Inc. 
564 Weber St. N. Unit 12, Waterloo, ON N2L 5C6 
Ph: 866-883-1172 x5102 
Fx: 519-883-8533 

Linux Solutions / IBM Hardware 

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