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Re: Debian vs... ? (was RE: powerbook and debian)

On Thu, Jan 22, 2004 at 12:25:24PM -0500, James Horton wrote:
> Debian Testing, can use a 2.6.x kernel, today. I do  not believe,
> but I'm not certain, that RH does not TODAY have 2.6.x kernels
> available. What's important about 2.6.x ?

Forgive me, but I'll argue all of these are very bad reasons
to use Debian. When you choose a distribution, that choice
will stick with you for years. Choosing Debian because it
has Linux 2.6 now, when RedHat will probably have it in a
couple of months, is silly. Indeed, it's similar to choosing
RedHat because it has KDE3.2 now, when Debian won't have it
before another few months (more or less -- I don't know what
is the current version of KDE, but you get my drift).
Besides, compiling your own 2.6 is easy enough that you
could do it on RedHat too.

> Another approach to take, is let the others use RedHat. You use Debian.
> Let them waist time and money. You can find a really good Debian consultant
> to help yourself(if you need it. I'm guessing you do not really need help).
> You run more (debian)  servers and features that they do not have
> running or 'happy' on RH. Competition, which is healthy, is over....

OTOH this is a good approach. We started with a good deal of
RedHat servers here, because "it's supported and everyone
uses it" (another bad reason, everyone really uses MS
Windows). Then upgrading pains started. Then I installed a
trial Debian server. Then we decided to move all the
development servers to Debian because that was the only way
to keep their software in sync easily, and RedHat only
remains on one database server, because that database's
vendor  supports RedHat. Too bad, we'll have to ditch them :-).

Anyway, now most people here swear by Debian for its ease of
upgrading and maintaining. Only one guy also uses Gentoo at
home, for fun more than anything.

> >This might be off-topic, but Yves started it :)

I didn't mean to troll, it was really down to "why would
anyone use any OS in the first place". MacOS might be good,
but I'm sure you could find reasons to use anything else
instead. And I'm sure there'd be reasons to use MacOS in
place of Debian, too.

> >We're evaluating a professional platform that can run
> >enterprise applications. We need reliability, good
> >threading, responsiveness, stability, performance, but
> >also easy management (if there's such a thing) and good
> >support.

Debian has easy management, RedHat has good support. There
might be firms supporting Debian commercially, too.

> >So could anybody give serious reasons as to why RH is
> >bad, Debian is better ? I've looked on Google but I
> >didn't find a real serious report.

Well, the very core of RedHat's business is paradoxal: they
sell (mostly) support (note that I know they're bringing in
a new business and support model, so some of these comments
might not apply anymore). So, the best for them is an OS
that would install easily (hook the customer), but where
maintenance is difficult (get them to pay for support).

Debian tends to be exactly the other way round: people
install once, but spend a lifetime maintaining the system,
so the packaging system is so much better, but installing
any new service can be challenging (esp. new hardware.
Software install is usually very easy).

That's exactly how RedHat was last time I had to use it:
install was trivial, it was very good at using new hardware,
and probably comes with a bunch of stuff pre-configured out
of the box (printing system, file shares and so on). But
from that on, upgrading anything was a pain. And my last
installation of a pcmcia wireless card on Debian took me
most of an evening, but security updates are made trivial.

That said, RedHat has also evolved a lot, and now has
apt-get as well I hear; Debian's install and hardware
detection is to become much better in Sarge.

I don't guess this helps much. Sorry. :-)


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