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“BSD vs. Linux” or “what to do when your favourite Linux distro falls appart”


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I am quite frustrated about the things that have been going on around Mandriva in those last weeks and days.

After Mandriva fired most of its’ active and vital developers, a major part of the Mandriva community has decided to fork the distribution and restart under the new name “Mageia” [1].

Originally coming from a SuSE friendly company, I’ve been quite happy using Mandriva for the past 10 years, for many reasons. Now, apparently, Mandriva simply falls apart – for whatever reasons.

For us this means a huge workload on the horizon, because we have deployed quite a lot of Mandriva based servers and desktops, and unfortunately I am not quite sure about the eventual outcome of the new “Mageia” project. Well, I just don’t want to base our companies’ IT strategy on it.

So, what alternatives are there?

SuSE is simply a no-go, just remembering the devastating effects that “suseconfig” has had so many times on our productions systems makes me shiver even ten years later.

RedHat/Fedora … yes, we will give it a try, certainly. From my POV its only and major drawback simply is that it is so very US centric.

And then of course there is Debian. I think about half the servers we have deployed are Debian based and indeed I like it very much. Desktop however is another story, many of our test runs have miserably failed due to unsupported graphic cards, malfunctioning wireless support and so on.

Ubuntu tries to make Debian more desktop friendly, but manually changing configuration files broke the desktop tools far too often to give us a supportable desktop system (yes, we like to edit config files manually).

Of course, there are a lot of other linux distributions around, but all of them require quite a lot of changes in our infrastructure and commercial support is limited quite often.

So, I think it’s a perfect time to look a bit over one’s nose and give something new a try.

My first experience with “UNIX” type operating systems has been i386BSD, delivered on a huge number of 5,25″ floppy discs and so I think evaluating the existing *BSD variants will be a funny thing to do.

I will start with FreeBSD [2], continue with the very interesting PC-BSD [3] and finish with OpenBSD [4].

A very good primer covering the academical differences between BSD vs. Linux in general can be found here [5], so be prepared for some brainwashing to come 🙂

[1] http://www.mageia.org
[2] http://www.freebsd.org
[3] http://www.pcbsd.org/
[4] http://www.openbsd.org/
[5] http://www.over-yonder.net/~fullermd/rants/bsd4linux/bsd4linux1.php

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Stick with Mandriva man! They are still in business. Cooker the developement branch is being updated daily. Mandriva announced a 2011 Spring release. It is not as bad as some people want you to believe. Many of the developers had a choice to move to the new Mandriva management structure and they chose to leave.

Barista Uno
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Add my vote for Mandriva. Hardware support is awesome. If it had an LTS version, Mandriva would be the Queen.

lefty.crupps
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I’d vote for Debian Testing on the desktoo, especially if you have a number of systems that you want to keep at the same level. Right now its frozen for the Squeeze release so there aren’t many updates coming in, but in normal times there can be quite a few updates daily. Just plan for once a month or so for your desktop systems to get their updates from a local repo on your network, where you have the packages that you’ve tested on other machines first. With the KDE4 desktop, of course. Or perhaps Chakra or Arch, which are… Read more »

thesel
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@anonymous: I know the Mandriva story quite well and the major problem I see is not only that their developers have been fired but mostly that the major part of the community seems to shift towards Mageia. And cooker is not really alive these days, most of the updates coming in are security related changes. @Barista Uno: yes, Mandriva is good for many reasons, but LTS is even further away than ever given the current circumstances :’| @lefty: Our previous tests with Debian on the desktops just proved to be quite “complicated” because of hardware issues, but I guess you… Read more »

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