JP Vossen on 23 Aug 2012 12:59:44 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Tried of Windows...

Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2012 18:08:39 -0400
From: Sam Gleske<>

When was the last time you used an rpm-based distro, the bad old days?  I
used to hate on rpm as well because I used it when it was shitty (RH9 days)
but a little over a year ago got turned onto RHEL from work.  In my
opinion, rpm and yum are much more user friendly and superior from a cli
standpoint than dpkg/apt-get/apt-cache.

I don't think 'rpm' has changed much, but I agree that 'yum' vastly improved the "RPM experience." RPM dependency hell is mostly gone and 'yum' makes most things Just Work. However, I'd argue that 'rpm' should be compared to 'dpkg', not 'apt-get/aptitude'. 'rpm' and 'dpkg' are both low-level tools that do about the same thing. The problem was that RH distros were missing the higher level tool until they got 'yum'.

While I understand it, I don't like the way yum wants to update the package caches every time you run it, that's slow and annoying. (yum -C gets around it, but...)

That said, I do find the large variety of Debian tools you need to use for other common tasks (like apt-cache) to be very annoying. 1 "wrapper" tool (like yum) is the right way to go there. I wrote my own, but won't work for everyone. You might explore 'wajig' on the Debian/Ubuntu side for a wrapper (

There's another more basic point though, which is the underlying package policy and philosophy. Ian & folks got this right in Debian, as as a result you can "upgrade" from major release to major release and it works, and it's not only supported but recommended. But RPM-based systems--like Windows--*very strongly* recommend you do a clean install for major upgrades. That sucks.

Major release upgrades Just Work for me on Debian, and mostly work for me on Ubuntu, but YMMV.

Ubuntu LTS is usually a 3 year
release but the most recent 12.04 is a 5 year release (dropping support in
2017).  RHEL6 and it's community built CentOS 6 support cycle ends in

Yeah, but try to get anything "current" to work on something that old... I use a *lot* of CentOS-5 and getting many things that aren't traditionally "packaged" is either a pain or impossible. For example: Snort, Mediawiki, Bugzilla, and similar things often want newer pcap, Python, MySQL, whatever. And once you go outside the package manager for fundamental stuff like Python, you are just asking for trouble and you will find it sooner or later.

If you can stay only with stuff in the stock repos you are OK to get it installed, but even then a lot of that is just too old.

	Tool	CentOS-5	Current
	----	--------	--------
	BZR	none		2.5.1
	SVN	1.6.11		1.7.6
	git	none		1.7.2	
	net-snmp	5.7.1
	Python	2.4.3		3.2.3
	MySQL	5.0.95		5.6.6

I hate to say it, but 2-3 years is about all I can realistically handle before it just gets too old. My Ubuntu 10.04 machines are showing their age... Corporately I get it, but...

Gentoo and the other source-based distros side-step both of these problems (major upgrades and out-of-date packages) nicely, at a cost of a bit more complexity, a bit more updating and care during updates, and a lot of CPU time.

My $0.02,
JP Vossen, CISSP            |:::======|
My Account, My Opinions     |=========|
"Microsoft Tax" = the additional hardware & yearly fees for the add-on
software required to protect Windows from its own poorly designed and
implemented self, while the overhead incidentally flattens Moore's Law.
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