Tobias DiPasquale on 13 Sep 2004 13:47:03 -0000

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Re: [PLUG] Religious Questions

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On Sep 13, 2004, at 9:06 AM, sean finney wrote:
the development process is not at all the same!  first off, anyone can
contribute to or become a developer for debian.  debian has a strict
set of guidelines for what and how software gets into the distribution,
and what quality assurance checks it must pass.  but perhaps most
importantly, this is all completely transparent to the general public.
all the rules, guidelines, bugs, development statuses, and security
issues are made available.

Anyone can submit to Fedora. Its fully open source now. As far as being transparent, well, that it is, but that doesn't mean that its not also confusing at the same time. They seem to have a really tough time getting their documentation straight. When you find 3 different documents on their site that have three different ways of doing things that all claim to be the right way, you could see how that might irk a person. RedHat Enterprsie Linux is definitely not open source, though, and so you're right on that score.

as far as available software, my rhn account says that redhat provides
1215 seperate packages for the latest version of their enteprise server.
you do realize that debian has well over 10 TIMES that amount?

In stable? I don't think so. Debian stable and Debian testing/unstable are two very different beasts. As I've said in the past, my beef is with stable, not testing/unstable. Besides, the RPM community is much larger than RedHat's FTP servers. Freshrpms has some great stuff.

the whole point of pulling only what you need (+ deps, yes) is that you
minimize what isn't part of the stable security infrastructure. we've been
over the security issue as well. it's not that there is no security
infrastracture for testing, it's just you don't have the same guarantee
that you do with stable. and if you're concerned about security, then
you'd already be subscribed to debian-security-announce, and you'd know
about it ahead of time. typically security updates to testing are only
a day or so behind, assuming that the issue isn't moot because the
version in testing is usually far ahead of what's in stable to begin

Good points.

not having used gentoo, i can't say anything one way or another. i have
friends who are big fans though. maybe when i finally get that amd64
system, i'll give it a whirl. however, i do have extensive experience
with redhat, and i think that having to manage 50+ production machines
gives me sufficient credentials to bitch about it :)

Gentoo's pretty cool. It's a source-based distro where everything is downloaded and compiled as you request it (dependencies are resolved automatically and compiled as well). The system layout is reminiscent of BSD, which was the main influence of the project to start, and has a large and growing user community. Automated installs would be a pain in the ass, but if you had multiple machines with the same hardware you could just make a disk image.

Sure it definitely does. Just as having to manage 2x that many Debian machines gives me leave to do the same about it. No distro is perfect and to be fair, Debian really does rock when you know what you're doing with it. I'm just saying that, for me, the big reason in using Debian's was APT and that now exists for RH/SuSE which frees those distros from the classic RPM dependency hell. Having to add a few extra lines to /etc/apt/sources.list or /etc/yum.conf for some external package repositories (freshrpms, etc) is a small price to pay for getting a bunch of great software for RH/SuSE. Personally, a lot of software makes it into Debian's repositories that has little merit and some stuff that has a lot of merit never makes it there (e.g. the pape mirror with DJBs djbdns and daemontools).

As well, Debian's installer is notoriously chaffing, whereas RH leads the field in Linux installation technology (I know they are coming out with a new installer for sarge, but I haven't used it yet, so I can only comment on the current one). Ever used FAI for Debian? It makes you want to gouge your own eye out. Kickstart, OTOH is pretty smooth stuff and can do more than FAI with much less setup overhead.

basically, you provide a control file for a dummy/non-existant package,
and equivs will convince your system that you have that package
installed.  say for example, you want to run a newer version of's
xserver, and don't have xfree86 installed.  there's tons of stuff that
depends on having an x server, so you could use equivs to tell your
system that you indeed have one installed.

Oh yeah, Gentoo has a similar thing called virtual packages. I had to do the same thing to get some software to work with the server when it first hit. Pretty handy.

Anyway, lets just agree to disagree on this issue. You're a Debian guy that is frustrated with RedHat, I'm a Gentoo guy that is frustrated with the amount of software that he's had to backport to Debian stable. And besides, if all there was to use was Debian, I wouldn't be too worse off. Cool?

- --
Tobias DiPasquale
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