Redhat Fedora

Andrew M.A. Cater amacater at galactic.demon.co.uk
Sun Sep 28 16:23:57 EDT 2003


On Sat, Sep 27, 2003 at 09:57:24PM +0200, Toon Moene wrote:
> adm35 at georgetown.edu wrote:
> 
> >It just seems to me that the entire question is less than relevant for so 
> >many of us.  In many cases, we're *compelled* to use one particular 
> >distro over all others, because the researchers we support are using 
> >binary versions of applications that require a particular distro, which 
> >is frequently RedHat.
> 
> In that case, why use Free Software - you could just as well shell out 
> the bucks and go for a proprietary solution.
> 
Indeed: by demanding Red Hat / SuSE you may already be using a 
proprietary solution (since you can't redistribute their Linux 
versions).

If your vendor only supplies binaries which are vendor/version locked -
strongly consider changing your vendor.

If your vendor insists they need to supply binaries:

a.) Get them to take the risk of keeping up to date with Fedora and hold
them to it.

b.) Get them to port the code to any LSB compliant distribution / remove
kernel version specific stuff.

c.) Ask them to supply you with the programming hooks necessary to use
the binaries if your vendor disappears / pulls out of the Linux 
business.

d.) If in Europe at least - advise them that you will feel free to 
reverse engineer their binaries to ensure onward compatibility / 
interoperability with other software.

Remember folks: This is Linux (GNU/Linux for the pedantic :) ) - we have 
access to the underlying code and will continue so to do.  If need be, 
as a community, we can kludge packages together to ensure binary 
compatibility for obsolete code [libc4 is still in Debian for just this 
reason - obsolete commercial packages depend on it] / write wrapper 
scripts / whatever.

I have a slight residual personal interest in this: a long time ago,
I wanted to port the original Extreme Linux stuff to work on a Debian
system and it was hard because it was all .rpm based and predicated RH.
Eventually, I managed to package LAM (before passing it off onto a much
better maintainer - Hi Camm {B-) ) but gave up on several of the smaller
bits because (a) Some of them were obviously RH specific / (b) Some of
them appeared to be commercial software. At this stage, some years 
later, I can't recall exact specifics but it was enough to put me off
"based on specific distribution" type hacks.

Can I commend Debian to the list for serious consideration for future
projects / clusters.  

a) It runs on virtually anything from PDA's to Alphas / Sparcs / IBM big 
iron / ia64 / Opteron

b) Debian main is free and open and all source is available, modifiable 
and freely distributable.

c) There are no licence costs per node.

Just my $0.02 US (saving $149.98 or so per node ...)

Andy
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