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Re: Red Hat user shopping around

dman writes:
>On Wed, May 08, 2002 at 07:09:13PM -0500, Glen Lee Edwards wrote:
>I don't know about *install*, but it certainly *runs* (and sometimes
>crawls :-)) on 8MB.

Linux and low RAM boxes don't get along well.  I found that I can run FVWM on a
remote box using X-forwarding to a better box on the LAN and get acceptable
performance as long as I don't use high graphics programs, such as gimp or a
graphics web browser.  Unfortunately this only works if you have a quality
computer around, which wasn't the case here for several years.  For the first
couple of years I ran Linux, I did everything on the console.  My wife didn't
know Linux had graphics, and referred to Linux as the "X-ray vision operating

>(I couldn't get my 8MB clunker to boot from a cd and didn't have any
>floppies handy so I stuffed the hd in a bigger machine for the
>install.  Be aware that with only 8MB RAM package updates and many
>other operations cause lots of thrashing.  16MB would be much better

That's what I call resourceful.  I'd have put Windows 95 back in it and then
used it for target practice.

>| What are the main differences between Debian and Red Hat
>Policy is the first difference.
>Availability and findability and quality of packages is next.
>I recently had to install RH 7.2 on a machine, and I saw first-hand
>how badly RH is organized.  Config files are strewn about the FS, but
>on debian they are always in /etc/<pkgname>.  The dependencies in

They recently dumped inet for xinet.  Instead of having one configuration file
in /etc/inetd.conf, they now have individual files per service in
/etc/xinetd.d/.  I'm sure that makes sense to somebody, but it makes configuring
it a real headache.

>debian packages are much saner too -- for example try installing
>python2 on a headless RH box *without* also installing the X server
>and X font server.

Package dependencies are a real killer.  Try installing XFree86 first.  It has
dependencies, which in turn have dependency requirements, which also have them -
4 or 5 deep.  These of course conflict with other packages you already have
installed.  Some packages you need use older libraries, others newer libraries.
So you get to chose one or the other, or run different releases on different

>As far as availability and findability goes, RH has sendmail as the
>only MTA.  Debian has sendmail, exim, postfix, ssmtp, and I'm sure
>there are others as well.  The same goes for many other tools.  When I
>made the switch from RH to Debian I was amazed to find included on the
>cd many little-known programs I had failed to compile on my RH system.

I need one that's secure and gives you real control over it.  I've been using
Sendmail.  But I've been receiving mail from spammers that, according to the
message ID, are originating from my own box.  I'm guessing that they're either
sending mail directly from their home system to my Sendmail program, using it as
the MTA, which they aren't supposed to be able to do (relaying denied is set),
or they've somehow hacked me and are originating spam mail from my computer.  I
need an MTA that gives me more control over the mail in my system, including the
ability to have copies of all mail that originates in my system sent to me by
the MTA.

>| (I'm assuming there are a few current or ex-Red Hat users here)?
>Yep.  RH 7.0 pushed me over the edge (I only started with 5.2 which
>didn't like my vid. card and then 6.1).

I started with 5.2 also.  Actually I tried Slackware first.  That was a
nightmare.  How'd I know they'd expect me to keep a copy of my monitor refresh
rates lying around?  I then tried Red Hat.  It installed, so I've remain
unconditionally loyal to it since.  Heh, one upgrade from 6.1 to 6.2 literally
took 6 days.

>| Does Debian support the old Sound Blaster Pro CDRoms (sbpcd module)?
>It's in the kernel source and image packages.  I presume it works :-).
>(that's a kernel thing, really, and all distros should be the same wrt

Good.  I don't know what if any tweaking of the kernel different packagers do.
Thought I'd better ask.

>| How well does FVWM run on Debian systems?  I currently build FVWM
>| rpms for Red Hat.
>I use sawfish but I have fvwm installed just in case something goes
>wack with sawfish.  It runs, but I can't speak for how "well" because
>I don't usually use it.

I've spent way to much time personalizing FVWM to give it up.  I'll occasionally
use KDE just for the variety, but I have so may keyboard customizations and
mouse shortcuts designed into FVWM that I quickly get frustrated when I try
something else.
>| I need to run servers on two 16 Meg RAM boxes - DNS and mail mainly.
>I recommend running spamassassin with your mail service.  It won't
>take kindly to low memory (it uses around 8-9MB on my machine) though
>some people run it on a 486 with 32MB RAM.  (I think those are
>terminal machines with relatively low volumes of mail)  You can have
>'spamd' running on a different machine than your MTA, though.

I'll try it and see how it handles it.  I don't think it'll be a problem.  The
box I need to run it on only has 16 Meg RAM, but currently Sendmail is using 0%
of the processor and 2.05% of memory, while Named is using 0% of the processor
and 11.72% of memory.

>| X would be nice, but I usually use X forwarding on those boxes to
>| another one that can handle the load (500 MHZ, 512 Meg RAM).
>| Any thoughts or suggestions you have will be appreciated.  I need to
>| run a Linux distribution that will work as both a server and a desk
>| top environment.
>Debian is up to the job, and you won't regret the conversion.  Just
>take it one machine at a time, stick with it and ask this list even
>stupid questions.  

You'll get plenty of those.  I've read through the list mail over the last
couple of days.  There are noticeable differences in the language Debian users
speak.  One user posted a question about finding configuration files.  I didn't
respond because of the differences.  But on Red Hat you can find most
configuration files with 

$ locate .conf

For a specific program, such as proftp:

$ locate .conf | grep proftp

Guess I need to delete some files!

>You'll get the hang of debian's organization and
>how to use the package management tools and then you'll enjoy it.
>| And I need one that will remain loyal to its customer base,
>| including those with low resource PCs.
>Debian is it's customer base.  Since we are the ones who build the
>system, we can determine what goes into it and what it requires.  Oh,
>yeah, you'll never need to re-install either.  Some people have had
>'bo' (one of the earlier releases) machines that haven't seen an
>installation cd since those days.  The upgrade process is quite smooth
>in comparision to other OSes.

That by itself is good enough for me to try it.  I absolutely dread Red Hat
upgrades.  I don't know why they can't do it so you can just upgrade individual
packages without having to re-install the whole system.  Most of the time when I
upgrade I can guarantee that the box will be down for one to several days.  Ugh!



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