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Re: debian vs RedHat

Peter Halvorson wrote:

> I, for one, would like to hear more about the joys and sorrows of
> Debian and Red Hat Linux.  I've been listening to debian-user for

I certainly wish I had two hosts to run both to compare !

>   + Email support for 60 days included in $50 package
>     - a user email list may be better anyway, I've heard
>       no complaints about debian-user

debian-user is a fine list. My only complaint is there is no room for
advocacy and threads like this which tends to stiffle it's openess
to group involvement and enthusiasm, which attract me every bit as
much as any perceived technical excellence.

>   + 200 page printed installation and setup book included in
>     $50 package (so sue me, I like bound installation instructions)

I personally would prefer a decent html version anyday, mainly because
errata becomes immediately available.

>   + Live CD (run Unix mostly off the CDRom)

I wonder if this is all that useful ? It may be to those running Windows
who are thinking of trying before buying but these days a dedicated 300megs
worth of partitions or hd is not very hard to come by, ie; I'd rather see
*.deb's working real well rather than energy split into too many areas.

>   + There seems to be a limited (shrinking?) supply of Debian
>     package maintainers.

If this is really the case then therein is a real problem. One other thing
that primarily atracts me is the "free" team spirit where the rest of us
can contribute something to the stream that nourishes us unlike commercial
distributions where any input is for the good of those who "rule the roost".

I'd like to contribute to maintaining a package or two but I have not yet
had the time to investigate how the packaging system really works and the
one time I was half determined to try.. well, the docs seemed to be written
presuming one already knew how the system worked.. I use dpkg -i but I don't
really understand how it works under the hood, and I don't feel like I can
ask "stoopid" questions or get newbie help from this list.

>   + No boot floppy needed for the 3.0.3 Red Hat package.

I find floppy dependance truly achaic and would like to see other more
net.savvy solutions of upgrading to debian. I'm installing debian now
for a service provider who has a neglected year old infomagic 1.2.1
installation and my casual emmployment revolves around updating this
old distribution to debian via a new hard drive installed for the purpose.
I'm yet to see how it all goes but am pretty determined not to use
floppies at any stage... we'll see ;)

>   + While I'll pay $50 for the first installation, I expect to

At that price they can afford to pay professionals to improve the system
even more... which I take is the basis of the argument between true GNU
and "debianised" distributions (not to pay pro's directly but to see more
cash flowing generally to stimulate more aggressive growth, like HURD who ?).

> Please don't take this as criticism, these just seem like valid
> reasons to me for currently favoring Red Hat.  (I'm hoping to spark
> a brief discussion rather than a lengthy flame war.)

I, for one, appreciate your thoughtful post and have also wondered whether
I should "drop" debian and go Red-Hat.

The other thing that has irked me somewhat is getting decent access to
ftp.debian.org via mirror. It does seem better the last week or so though.

I'd like to see the mailing-lists really set up as newsgroups with public
nnrp access via a few sites and depreciate the mailing-lists themselves,
only (or mainly) for those who can't access nntp.

I'd also like to see some user-input surveys to get a feel for what the
rest of us really want and to help guage who uses what... like I'd be
interested to know how many (what proportion) of debian users use Netscape
for mail and news, ie; would it be worth investigating plug-ins installation
systems now Netscape 3 for linux supports them (says he who can't even build
a deb package).

Mark Constable (+61 7 55275724) mailto:mc@motd.com http://motd.com

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