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the distro kunundrum...

On Nov 17, 2009, at 9:40 AM, Rich Braun wrote:

> Well, my $.02 on the performance problems with RHEL may offend the hardworking
> Red Hat employees on this list, but alas here goes:

No offense taken. However, comparing openSUSE to RHEL is... well, odd. openSUSE is more akin to Fedora, while SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is more akin to RHEL.

> I've been using SuSE (now 'openSUSE') since about version 6, circa ten years
> ago.  I've been using Red Hat Enterprise Linux since version 4, three years
> ago.  There were a lot of other distros before that, starting with the H. Lu
> root/boot disk images that I first found on
> The folks at SuSE, and the volunteer contributors to the community archive
> called PackMan, have pushed the technology quantum leaps forward.  This year I
> was hoping for another quantum leap with the 11.2 distro, and thus far have
> found only small increments in a few non-work-related things I care about
> (desktop issues like HDMI sound and IR remotes and stuff like that are still
> complicated/broken).  The enterprise-grade quality of the product is
> astounding:  the distro came out last Thursday and I've been running
> production servers with it since Friday.

And similarly, I've been running production servers on what will be released today as Fedora 12 for several months now, as well as running it on my thinkpad and workstation...

> As for RHEL, it's simply not gone anywhere in the past 3 years.

Um. That's kind of the idea behind RHEL.

> I just
> haven't seen improvements, and I've got my own share of performance woes with
> it.  Resolving such mysteries through RH vendor support has not really been
> possible; resolving them through community resources

That much I'll buy. Its sort of a known issue here (at RH) that we could do a much better job of engaging the community on the RHEL side of things -- I think the CentOS community actually does a better job than RH does of engaging its users, sadly. All I can say is that we're working on improving that.

> (newer packages,

Yeah, that's not going to change. See Fedora.

> wider groups of contributors,

See Fedora again. The openSUSE community contributor model (at least on the packaging side) was modeled after Fedora's.

> better QA,

How so?

> more overall knowledge)

Perhaps in the frontline support, sure (some vendor vs. developers actually working on the project). But for truly deep and dark technical issues, I highly doubt it. Unfortunately, to get at some of the best minds behind RHEL, you probably have to be a fairly large and significant customer right now. :\ (That, or circumvent the official support channels, and talk to Fedora people instead, who wrote and/or packaged a huge percentage of what went into RHEL).

> under openSUSE has
> been vastly easier.  Things like 'git', and a lot of the Ruby gems, are /so/
> difficult to shoe-horn onto a RH distro that I've opted to stop wasting team
> resources on it.

Um. I think there may be some degree of Doing It Wrong involved. Install the EPEL yum repo config, and git is a 'yum install git' away, as are a pretty good number of ruby gems...

> The 5.4 distro which came out a number of weeks ago was the last straw.  At
> this point I've convinced our CTO that it's time to green-light a wider-scale
> migration off Red Hat onto openSUSE.  This posting is basically a challenge to
> the Red Hat folks here:  how might this decision be a mistake?  What superior
> attributes of RHEL should I be looking at, as compensation for putting up with
> aging/poor-performing distro components?

If you want the latest and greatest stuff, RHEL probably isn't for you. RHEL is focused on long-term stability, packages generally are not rebased to newer upstream versions. So yes, three years into RHEL5's product lifecycle, its going to feel dated compared to a fast-moving community distro like openSUSE. But if you deployed code three years ago, with an expectation that it would still run as well as it did then today and another four years in the future without having to make *any* changes to it, then RHEL is for you.

Jarod Wilson
jarod-ajLrJawYSntWk0Htik3J/w at

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