[nSLUG] A method of selecting best fit Linux distro

D G Teed donald.teed at gmail.com
Sun Dec 3 16:43:15 AST 2006


On 12/3/06, gnwiii at gmail.com <gnwiii at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
> There are other considerations:
>
> +1) Can the task be performed using the most common distro you already
> have?
>
> It is often better to keep the number of distros to a minimum, even it
> means extra work to support some applications.  Pick your main distro
> and add others only if there are compelling arguments against your main
> distro.


Good idea, but we are still working out what that distro will be.
We have a bunch of FreeBSD and Solaris in majority, and
Linux will be a replacement for FreeBSD over time.
FreeBSD has dropped support for the backup client we need,
and for other reasons we'd like to move to Linux.  I'd like
to standardize on a couple of Linux distros, as you are getting at.

+2) Do you need access to the latest version of the application?
>
> Some applications are experiencing rapid development and may need
> current versions of various toolkits (Gnome, KDE).  In such cases you
> may want to use Debian unstable, Fedora Core, etc. where other people
> are porting current toolkits.
>
> Virtual machines can help meet the need for a specialized environment
> without the investment in sys. admin. needed to get a distro up to
> your standards (firewall, logging, mail, etc.).


We have not needed super new tools. This question is
in relation to server room stuff only.  Mail handling, web, open
source DBs, etc.  Stability is the feature wanted over
anything else.

+3) Do you need to provide application-specific formats to 3rd parties?
>
> For some specialized apps, the best of category may only be available
> for a specific platform.    If you have to send application-specific
> files to a 3rd party, you will want to have access to the application.
> In dealing with publishers/print shops, "EPS" (encapsulated PS) means
> a file that can opened in Adobe apps.  This type of "EPS" file is just
> one instance of the "EPS" defined in the PostScript Language Reference
> Manual.  "EPS" you can produce on Linux may not work well on the print
> shop's prepress system.
>
> If you need a small number of specialized systems, COTS tools may be
> much easier to get working and use than trying to overcome with the
> differences between linux tools and "industry standard" applications.


The only stuff we have in this category are things we run on Solaris.
No issue there - we are keeping Solaris where it fits.

+4) Do you have a balanced set of distros?
>
> The distros you use should be considered like an investment portfolio.
> You want a base of stable, reliable earners, but you also need to have
> some investment in the future so you will be ready to move ahead when
> the need arises.  Some sites run RHEL version N on their servers and
> Fedora Core on desktops, with the idea that exposure to FC will help
> prepare admins for RHEL version N+1.


One of the things I like about Debian is the capability to upgrade
in situ.  It also has the development branches to use as you
suggest.  However, other than running it on our
own desktops, we would not have the time to
evaluate and cross-pollinate our knowledge this way.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Again, if anyone has experiences with how Redhat has
faired with CPAN perl module intensive servers, I'd like
to hear yea or nay.

--Donald


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