Know Your Product.

Remi Collet ponders usage rates of the Enterprise RH versions vs Fedora.

It’s a good question too, actually. Personally I think a lot of it comes down to what you offer in your repo – I know most of my downloads are for server related software (eg. Courier related packages, Jabber transports) therefore quite a large percentage are for my RHEL/CentOS releases; this isn’t such a bad thing in my view.

The fact that the vast majority of hits on my repo are for what are now unsupported versions of Fedora (F7 and F8) – not so good. I usually remove my truly ancient releases on a semi-regular basis; I suspect if I’d kept them around I’d also be dismayed in much the same way Remi is.

(I know of one hosting provider out here that kept FC1 servers – yes, servers – around long after official support had stopped. If I were a security auditor I’d be terrified at what I saw :-()

I personally have both my servers (one public, one private) on Fedora, initially due to simple historical reasons (It’s how they were built and I don’t rebuild unless I need to. I do upgrade very regularly) plus I can give new packages a good “live test” before foisting them on the rest of humanity. Testing is good – and server / daemon apps need testing just as much, so a Fedora server can definitely play an important role in many cases.

Whether you use RHEL / CentOS or Fedora on the server depends on it’s intended use and how happy you/your admin is to keep it up to date and deal with the odd flaw or unusual circumstance.

Commercial use case is left as an exercise for the reader; I’m all for Fedora for internal use especially for development or non-public servers especially if you want / need new features that haven’t made it to RHEL/CentOS yet.

Desktop use definitely favours Fedora, again for the obvious “latest and greatest” reasons. As Remi notes developers and students especially take note, it’s the easy way to keep up and not get behind the tech curve.

Where it’s less well suited are for environments like aforementioned hosting situations where you have admins / customers et. al who simply want a mainly “hands off” box with conservative “safe” updates and software, RHEL / CentOS are your friends. Choose wisely and appropriately.

For the user – and if they’re providing active service to the Internet proper, the rest of us – it’s certainly a better option than leaving old, unsupported versions to rot and potentially get exploited. Yes, you can backport patches and even new versions – but if you’re doing that why not just upgrade or move to a more appropriate version for a similar/lesser amount of effort? šŸ™‚ Even remote upgrades work very smoothly indeed nowadays.

Do the right thing by both yourselves and the community.

This has been a public service mini rant by a Fedora/RHEL user, packager and systems guy, sponsored by inadequate sleep and an absinthe hangover šŸ˜€

[1] Interestingly, the “evilvte” terminal emulator comes in second, which I wasn’t expecting, especially given the eleventy-million variants available today šŸ™‚

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