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[wlug] [Fwd: End of Life for Red Hat Linux 9]

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Daniel Lawson daniel@m...
Sun Apr 4 19:43:10 NZST 2004

> Well, that is puzzling, because people are talking about upgrading to 
> the latest Fedora, in preference to Debian. But I understand Fedora 
> uses the latest versions of apps? This would seem to make it 
> equivalent to Debian unstable (and just as unsuitable for production 
> servers). I've never actually run Fedora though (and I haven't run 
> Redhat for years), so perhaps there's some flexibility I don't know 
> about.

Part of the puzzle here is that different distributions have a different 
release schedule. Debian Woody is a stable release, but its nearly two 
years old. Gentoo x86 2004.1 is a stable release, and its about a month 
old. Fedora Core 1 is a stable release, and its not very old either.

Personally, I run Gentoo ~x86 (the "unstable" branch) on my desktop and 
I've had some real show-stoppers sneak in. Things like, the shadow 
package *overwrites* my /etc/pam.d/system-auth with what it considers to 
be safe defaults, and in the process completely overwrites my changes to 
do LDAP auth. So, no users can log in. That's not a *huge* problem until 
you realise that SSH doesn't accept root logins any more. Suddenly, your 
box is inaccesable. 

Another bug I had with Gentoo ~x86 was an init script changing for the 
network interface. It tried to detect link state on the ethernet device 
before running DHCP - if it couldn't detect link, it would not bring the 
interface up. It was an attempt to make things quicker for laptop users 
who didn't like waiting 3 minutes or whatever for DHCP to time out. 
However, it meant I had no networking on boot up. The problem? A 
completely broken init script which wouldn't in any way work, but wasn't 
tested at all and was just committed into CVS and then into the 
initscripts package. Smart.

Easy fixes, once you know about them. Show-stoppers otherwise.

I can't speak for Debian Unstable, as I've not run it for ages, but I 
really don't want *any* chance of something that is even remotely 
untested going onto a production server.

That said, Gentoo x86 and FC1, both stable releases, are more 'up to 
date' than Debian. Without getting into why this is[1],  for a server or 
critical situation  I'd prefer to put my trust in something that's been 
through the testing process a lot more than the unstable branch of a 

I guess, the 'stable' bit refers not so much to how old the application 
or the package is, but how well it has been tested. That's probably the 
best way of describing this. Certainly some bugs get through, even in 
Debian Woody, but you don't have a trivial package update leaving your 
system unbootable as a general rule.

[1] or even if FC1 etc are actually more suitable for servers or 
critical situations.

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