[clug-talk] Red Hat system admin experience vs slackware / debian experience

Mark Lane mark at harddata.com
Thu Mar 3 06:57:48 PST 2005


Michael Gale wrote:

> Hello,
>
>     Supporting Slackware is easy enough ... I am not worried about 
> getting support from vendors. I have been using slackware through out 
> my career for all of the servers I have built.

For you maybe but what happens if the customer needs or decides they 
need another person servicing their systems.  You really limit the 
user's choices if they go with a Distro that is less supported 
commerically. Of course that could be to your advantage.

Slashware is really easy to admin on a few servers but when you are 
looking at a big installs or a lots of clients, it doesn't scale well. 
Gentoo has similar problems. They also require more work to setup and 
more work to maintain. Thus in the end will have a higher TCO than 
RedHat or SuSE.

RedHat (EL, FC), Mandrake and SuSE are also better for clients who have 
bought a system from you but don't have a software support contract. IE 
they want to do some the updates and admin themselves. Some customers 
are savvy enough to be able to handle gentoo, debian or slackware but to 
be frank a majority aren't (or at least don't want to bother becoming) 
that savvy.

Often the question of which distro is used comes down to requirements of 
Commerical software run by the client. For the most part, I can get any 
commerical software to run on any distro but often the software vendor 
will only support certain distros with specific kernels, etc. When the 
client has a $500,000 dollar commerical package to run and needs support 
for it, they aren't going to choose slackware unless the vendor supports it.

Another reason a customer may run RedHat is because, for their uses, 
there are more options for RedHat than other distros. For instance, we 
build and install Beowulf clusters. Now I can put pretty much any distro 
on my Beowulf cluster but if I want to use packaged solutions for easier 
adminitration most of them are RedHat based or distributed in RedHat rpms.

I definitely have nothing against Slackware as it was for a long time my 
distro of choice (the redhat 5.2 installer crashed on my 486) but it 
more for use by hobbiest and small installations.

regards,

-- 
Mark Lane, CET mailto:mark at harddata.com
Sales Manager, Hard Data Ltd, http://www.harddata.com
01-780-456-9771 Fax: 01-780-456-9772
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