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GNU is Not Unix

Journal Nidhogg's Journal: Dilemma 17

Alright gurus I have a little dilemma.

We need a server at each of our branches (I work for a Caterpillar dealer with 8 remote branches by the way) so we've decided after talking to another dealer to go with Dell servers with Red Hat Pro pre-installed.

The decision to go with Linux was based on a few things.

1. These are remote branches. I don't want to have to drive 120 miles just to reboot a forkin' box.
2. Stability. Enough said.
3. I don't want to have to give these things a great deal of attention like I have to do to the Windows farm. According to Cat all I need to do is install the application, set up a Samba share, make a DNS entry for each box according to the branch and I'm done. I'm willing to take their word on this but if it turns out to be true then it'll be the first time they've been right about pretty much... anything.

So anyways the dilemma.

I don't know a damned thing about RH. Nothing.

I've been a Slackware guy since the 3.x days. And I say a Slackware guy but really my experience with it has been to install it, configure it how I want, and then leave it alone with the exception of security patches that Volkerding releases. I'm not the kind of guy that sits and tweaks a box for weeks on end just to get some small percentage of performance increase out of it. My last Slackware box had an uptime of 19 months before some suicidal squirrel fried itself on a pole transformer.

And that's what I'm looking for. I know Slackware can do it but I don't know about RH never having tried it.

But I don't want to condemn RH Pro and remove it simply because I'm not familiar with it. There may be advantages to it that I'm not aware of and I'll lose those plus waste a lot of time changing distro's when I don't need to.


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  • Redhat sucks, but I can't explain why. I'm a SuSe man. Many people criticize suse because yast (sysadmin application) is a hog, but I say poppycock to that. Poppycock.

    I guarantee you you'll be able to do everything you mentioned. Simply cd /etc and various subdirectories of /etc and configure. It's all in /etc.
    • For DNS, edit /etc/resolv.conf.
    • For samba, make sure it's installed (use rpm -i, simple, or configure it to install when installing the OS) and configure smb.conf and nmb.conf.
    • Use 'man' gr
    • They're not going to be running DNS but thanks though. DNS will still be handled by the 2003 boxes at our main branch so that really isn't a concern.

      I don't doubt that RH can do it but I'm more than a little concerned about what's going to be running on it out of the box. Telnet for one like you mentioned.

      Which is why I like Slackware's minimalist nature. I know how to install only what I want with it. I don't know how to do it with RH.

      Thanks again.
      • One of these will tell you, network wise, what's running and available on *any* workstation/server: nmap [] and/or netcat []. I use both on any machine I release onto the network. Basically, they're just port scanners, but they should give you some confidence as to what is running on your RedHat box.

        Sorry if I'm missing the point as to what you're getting at. ;) The resolv.conf thing I stated is just for pointing the boxes to the DNS servers you mentioned. Also, you most likely should re-install RedHat the
  • and find it to be a fine distro, but that's without really getting into the nuts and bolts of other distros. I've used SuSe, Slack (a bit), perhaps some others. I find RPM (Redhat Package Manager) to be very easy to work with and use. Others might have more critical comments, and I haven't worked with it in a while to be able to offer more info. But FWIW, it's been fine and useful for me.
    • Oh I don't doubt that a bit Sam. I'm sure there's a reason it's the most popular distro. I just don't what the reason is having never used it.

      Package management doesn't concern me since the onset of swaret which is a godsend.

      Thanks for the reply.
  • The answers should be:
    • Go Debian!
    • Go FreeBSD!
    • You really want Windows 2003 Sever, it is so much more easy to manage

    I have never used RedHat either (well, yes, once back in 1995 or so). Anyways, if you feel most comfortable with Slackware, then take that. I for one know the slackware config files quite well, and anything like SuSE, RedHat, Debian just confuses me. If the machine is on a separate network, well protected from the internet, you can set it up and even don't worry too much about secur

    • You really want Windows 2003 Sever, it is so much more easy to manage

      Sever? Is that some kind of slip there JtS?

      And it's not.

      I've already moved us to a 2003 native AD domain and it's already bit me in the ass. Cat wants a one-way trust setup between us which I don't have a problem with except for the fact that I moved us to a *.local domain name. Cat's still on a 2000 AD domain. Wanna guess what their DNS can't resolve?

      Bastards. Now I have to rename our domain.

      My boss won't have a problem with givi

      • Chill down man... The list was a joke, you know, like typical slashbots. It might of course be a freudian slip, since I don't hold Windows in very high regards for anything that touches serving. (Read: my *personal* servers both run OpenBSD and I am mucho contento with that) Look, I ssh into my machines all the time and edit the config files with plain old vi, and I like it that way. With Windows? Uhm? Terminal services, perhaps, but I've never seen it in action and must be a resource hog like none el
        • Heh. I know it was a joke man. I just needed to vent on the whole domain thing with Cat. But then bitching about Cat is one of my favorite pasttimes.

          Slashbots don't bother me. I believe it was Em who had a rant containing the phrase "never spent in a minute in the business world". Pretty much summed it up for me.

          Terminal services isn't that bad. I've got two servers running load-balanced Citrix Metaframe on top of it with 100 users connected at any one time on average. Once you get the profiles configured
          • My boss might read /. but he doesn't know my nick. :^)

            Well my nick is so easy to guess that it isn't funny anymore (okay, I really did some brand-recognition marketing on my nickname). My company email gets forwared to an addres on, so some people must know about that nick. Also, I have a shark tattoo on my left arm, and many people know about it. Besides, my affinity for sharks is widely known in real life (hey, I'm wearing a tshirt with sharks on it right now).
            This coupled with a

        • HEY!!! TS rules even on 33.6 k dialup! (at which point ssh sucks without compression)
  • and generally would have recommended it...but am still rather pissed about their EOLing Red Hat Linux and only supporting Enterprise Edition from now on (and jacking up the prices majorly).

    I loathe SuSE -- or at least I loathe YaST and SuSE.Config, which irritate the hell out of me, and they tend to choke if you fiddle with conf files in a way that SuSE doesn't like and be resource hogs.

    Nicest thing about Red Hat is, as far as Linux distros go, it's one that (relatively) tends to "just work" for me. I c

    • but am still rather pissed about their EOLing Red Hat Linux and only supporting Enterprise Edition from now on

      That's one of my concerns too. If we were getting Enterprise with it then this wouldn't be an issue since support would more than likely come with it. I know I won't need support with Slack simply because I've used it for so long.

      Other distro's and variants really aren't an option here. It's either RH or Slack. And if I stick with the pre-installed RH then I'll just have to tell my boss that I d
      • Well, here's some pros and cons for you, shaken outta my sleeve:

        Pros: if the RH install dies and goes to that great big /dev/null in the sky, you can always CYA and blame Red Hat. RH is more or less stable and easy enough to deal with (up2date works pretty well, though still not as good as ports; it uses xinetd for services; it has a fairly consistent, if technically non-standard, directory structure).

        Cons: RHL does not like having stuff installed from source over its RPM dependencies. You can, if need

        • See that's what I was looking for really. How often does it go up in smoke and how much of a risk am I taking on that?

          Because seriously... I want to set these things up, send them with one of the Help Desk guys to a branch, have them turn it on and not have to worry about it. Ever.

          And for a RH user you're talking me into my beloved Slack. *sniff* Thanks brother...
          • See that's what I was looking for really. How often does it go up in smoke and how much of a risk am I taking on that?

   terms of kernel panics or other serious problems, I've not had many to speak of. My main webserver (RH 7.x) has an uptime of 362 days, and even then the reboot was only because the server had to be physically moved; before that it was around 240 days IIRC. OTOH it did get hit with the SSL worm, and I have not had the chance to go re-install it, so I had to use Band-Aid-and-glue r

  • Depending upon what you need, it is probably best to go with a hand-rolled distro. It'll take maybe a day of your time to make an image you can put on all of the boxes.

    Both RH and Slack have problems. Slack's init style is particularly annoying to me. Ok, I take that back, Slack's init style is completely and abysmally stupid. However, you can compile things from source with Slack easily instead of it being like pulling teeth.

    Redhat has this recent annoying habit of EOLing their products faily quickly

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.