[nSLUG] Finding linux products and software

Ian Campbell ian at slu.ms
Thu Apr 12 17:02:59 ADT 2007

On Thu, Apr 12, 2007 at 04:33:49PM -0300, D G Teed wrote:
> On 4/12/07, Jason Kenney <jdkenney at gmail.com> wrote:
> In concept, it is a potentially solid way to get things done.  BSD has
> been doing this for years with ports.  The difference is, BSD allows
> for more QA and more careful release paths.  There was a time that
> Gentoo talked about having a more conservative enterprise repository,
> but this has died as their isn't enough people to make it happen.
> So Gentoo has remained a ricer/hobby thing.

I'm not sure that's fair, Gentoo's reputation isn't entirely deserved.
Port quality and overall system stability have improved greatly over
the last couple years, although there's still a ways to go. A lot of
the stigma of Gentoo comes from people using unsafe compiler flags,
which a lot of packages (binutils, glibc) don't like. If you pick
something sane, it's no more or less stable than anything else.

The only 'problem' with Gentoo as I see it is that they have no real
concept of releases. 2006.0, 2006.1 etc. are little more than
snapshots of portage at a given point in time. Short of pinning every
package, it's difficult to stick with a given version of software...
you're perpetually up to date.

That's not to say there are no options. Hardened Gentoo (very cool)
moves slower and more carefully than the generic profiles; it may be a
better choice for enterprise. I know LINX makes extensive use of it,
I'm sure there are others.

> In the first case, Ubuntu has a VERY clearly described, and adhered to
> >release cycle. They are extremely clear about how long they continue
> >to support older distributions they have released (hint: not 3 to 5
> >years). If you don't like that, and still want to support the same
> >system in 3 to 5 years, then well, you can't get any more clear about
> >that up front than the Ubuntu people have been.
> If you can find information like that on Ubuntu's site, then good.
> I know that I've read things on their site and I go back and it is
> changed.  The site navigation is the worst I've seen in a long time.
> It looks like it is easy to use, but ugh.

Ubuntu has pledged to support the 6.06 for something like 3 years on
the desktop, and 5 years for servers. I agree though, their site is a

> There was an update path for 5.10 to 5.5 which required
> only repository sources.list change, like the case for Debian.
> But this was not the case for upgrading to 6.x.  A CD based
> install was the only option.  I didn't touch it myself.  In any case,
> I did read that the new server 6.x has a EOL something like 6
> years into the future from release date, so they *are* targetting
> a commercial user.  Until they can demonstrate an upgrade
> from 6.x to 7.x by netinstall, I'm not interested in Ubuntu.

You can update from 6.x to 7.x without a CD. There are some reported
hiccups on 6.06 -> 6.10 for some users, but 6.10 -> 7.04 works fine.
It's not quite just changing the sources list, but it's close.
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