RIP Gentoo

Stuart Jansen sjansen at
Wed Jan 23 09:03:50 MST 2008

On Wed, 2008-01-23 at 08:25 -0700, Jeff Schroeder wrote:
> I was a Red Hat user for many years back in the 90's, and one day I woke 
> up and felt like they'd become too corporate.  They were all 
> about "enterprise this" and "support contract that" and the easygoing 
> leading-edge stuff was gone.  Even today, I work with some companies 
> who use RHEL and tell me they can't upgrade to, say, PHP 5 because 
> it's "too bleeding edge" and the repositories don't support that kind 
> of craziness and whatever.

I'm sorry, but this sort of attitude bugs me. Let me guess, you're a
developer? As a general rule, developers don't seem to understand the
world of system administrators. I know, I've been both. There's a big
difference between babysitting 2 or 3 boxen and administering the
infrastructure of a medium to large organization.

If you want to be bleeding edge, Kubuntu is fine. So are Fedora and
openSUSE. These are great for hobbyists, developers and people who want
to learn about new tech before it reaches the enterprise distros.
They're not great for servers. I know, I've tried. Most people who do it
acknowledge they're insane. (/me waves to Dan Hanks)

Enterprise releases are all about long support cycles and minimal
changes to address security and reliability issues while maintaining
compatibility. So we're talking Ubuntu LTS, RHEL & SLES. But be careful
with Ubuntu, the fact that a package is available doesn't guarantee it's
supported. I would personally roll my own packages before building a
server that depends on anything in Universe. Just like I'd have to do if
I wanted something that wasn't in RHEL or SLES.

Red Hat, Novel and Canonical would be crazy to upgrade a previously
shipped enterprise releases from PHP4 to PHP5. Especially with PHP's
poor history of backwards compatibility. You the customer are free to
upgrade your own systems by hand and support it yourself, but unless
it's a core part of your competitive advantage it's probably a poor
investment. It's not as simple as compile and forget, you're committing
yourself to either stay on the upgrade treadmill for years or backport
fixes by hand. Insane.

In summary: Be fair and compare apples with apples, oranges with
oranges. Don't knock sticking with supported packages. Just because you
can upgrade doesn't mean you should.

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