Why Im switching from Red Hat (and friends) to Debian (and friends)


Yeah, I decided I’ll be switching my servers to Debian.

It slowly started with my desktop OS, when I moved from Fedora to Ubuntu. (and CentOS before Fedora, until came the need for wireless with ipw3945 on my new laptop [was using Orinoco Gold on my old CentOS 4 laptop]).

There was a reason why I chose to try something else. First, the (french) translation under Fedora was somewhat broken back then, sometimes resulting in frenglish sentences. But the most tedious problem in Fedora was (and still is) actually the point of the Fedora project : it is a testing field for Red Hat, meaning a lot of updates (I’ve had 100MB+ updates waiting when not booting for a few days), it also meant a lot of kernel updates, and at every kernel release, wireless support (provided by a 3rd party repo due to patent issue) and some other stuff would go kaboom. From there, you have two choices, sticking with the “old” kernel until support is brought up by some good fella out there, or rebuild/recompile that stuff that just broke.

In the end, you spend more time building/compiling/tweaking/figuring out/etc. than doing some actual work.

Then I moved to Ubuntu (since 6.06), it helped me discovering what Debian could be like (mainly the package management). Ubuntu particularly amazed me with the huge work brought at every new release. What struck me the most when I first tried Ubuntu was the availability of tools like ettercap and dsniff directly in the repositories… Indeed, anything depending on libnids/libnet/libpcap under CentOS/Fedora was a real pain (see here). Under Ubuntu, it was just a few clicks away.

What I like is also the huge user base, which means a lot of bug reports (maybe too much ? duplicates must be counter-productive) for all kind of hardware. Anytime I’m finding a bug, a bug report is already filled.

So… Enjoying Ubuntu on the desktop… I decided to give Debian a try on the server, appealed by the official repositories providing just about anything.

Here’s my feeling with Debian Etch after a few days…

Pros :

Cons :

Edit :

My simple points of comparison between Debian Etch and CentOS 5

Debian Etch : Packages : 147

Netstat : Active Internet connections (servers and established) Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address Foreign Address

CentOS 5 : Packages : 340

Netstat : Active Internet connections (servers and established) Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address Foreign Address State User Inode PID/Program name tcp 0 0* LISTEN 0 5513 1671/rpc.statd tcp 0 0* LISTEN 0 5452 1646/portmap tcp 0 0* LISTEN 0 6076 1906/cupsd tcp 0 0* LISTEN 0 6227 1948/sendmail: acce tcp 0 0 :::22 :::* LISTEN 0 6136 1924/sshd tcp 0 0 ::ffff: ::ffff: ESTABLISHED 0 8275 2200/0 udp 0 0* 0 5495 1671/rpc.statd udp 0 0* 0 5504 1671/rpc.statd udp 0 0* 0 5451 1646/portmap udp 0 0* 0 6079 1906/cupsd

After using Debian for more than a month, here are my views :

As you can see only minor itches so far, except about the apache module…

Edit 2 :

I’m now used to update-rc.d but here’s another tool to manage services and runlevel : apt-get install sysv-rc-conf

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