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Comment RHEL(L)? (Score 2) 129

I use RHEL4 compatible distro called Scientific Linux CERN 4 (SLC4) on my laptop. I need it to run some CERN software (mainly Geant4 and ROOT). These packages mostly work on other systems as well but they work best on SLC4 because they have been thoroughly tested on this platform. On other (newer) distros expecially new GCC4 compiler causes some annoying problems. I really like many things in this distro: stability (both as in "doesn't crash" and "doesn't change insert-name-of-software-package-here version unexpectedly", upgrades generally don't break anything, graphical installation/administration tools are great, etc. etc. etc... There is only one problem: lack of software packages. There is no good way to install new versions of some graphical apps. This is not exclusively Red Hat problem. It exists on all Linux platforms. The problem is that software developers have "works-for-me" attitude: "If I have the latest distro probably everyone else has it too." So they code apps using the latest versions of libraries. Since I use this software on my laptop (which is my primary computer right now) I need both stability of RHEL4 and preferably new desktop software (because new software offers generally better features and usability).

I'm annoyed by this situation because I can't install new tools when I need/want them. This is very inflexible (imagine that: I'm blaming Linux for inflexibility...) The only solution to this problem seems to be virtualization. RHEL 4.5 update (and probably SLC 4.5 as well) is going to have Xen domU support. Maybe it will be then painless to move, say to Fedora 7 or RHEL5 based SLC5 and run SLC4 using virtualization... One can only hope...

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