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I have installed some servers with CentOS and it is really fast. The only concern is to newer hardware, as the kernel is not recent - you have to take care on this.
This said, since May the version 5.5 is out. I tried to submit a news here on June, but probably I made it wrongly, as the article was in the pending list for a week and was not accepted.
Part of CentOS success must be credited to Red Hat, that provides the source code and the only thing they asked to was removing the references to their company name in this distro.
Long Life CentOS - and RedHat too.
Don't be confused by old version number for kernel. Red Hat backports lots of things, especially hardware drivers. RHEL 5.5 which have 2.6.16-based (or something) kernel actualy supports POWER7 and Nehalem EX (Xeon 7500) iron which just come out.
Only problem with CentOS is that lags about 2 months beyond RHEL in releases and updates, and that includes security updates too. That means: When RHSA (red hat security alert) alerts paid RHEL customers to update and patch newfound security issue, you have to wait ~2 months for that patch to lend in CentOS. So you're leaving a window of opportunity for hackers. But luckily, there is always workaround for security issue, so you typically just need to block some port or do some kludge to secure your server until patch lands. And security issues that show up in RHEL are usually not severe anyway. It is just Red Hat, trying to make it perfect.
2 months is not the average, that's a gross exaggeration.
I hope your opinion isn't based on that of Caitlyn Martin, the Linux security consultant and transsexual who has a vendetta against CentOS. I remember a while back when her example of a lagged patch was for Firefox 3.
There hasn't been a single case of hosting companies having a mass hack due to using Cent instead of RHEL.
But if you are really that worried then just cough up a hundred bucks a year for Oracle support.
Someone's sexuality or physical/medical state has nothing to do with whether they're right or not.
No but I find humor in a ham-radio expert transsexual being the bane of an all volunteer software project.
Parasites? They're just embracing the magic of the GPL.
Red Hat does most the work and everyone downstream is guaranteed a free clone.
Nothing has stopped Red Hat from forking a BSD and creating their own proprietary Unix. However they decided to embrace the GPL and CENT is the result.
So is Unbreakable Linux which is very easy to switch to and can offer big savings over Red Hat.
There are a lot of business people in Red Hat that hate the fact that CentOS exists. They just don't get it. The developers there I have talked to do understand.
1. While Red Hat writes A LOT of software, they dont write it all. You have to give to get.
2. The people using CentOS are the same people working on Fedora, which is mostly done by volunteers. It would be kind of two-faced for Red Hat to accept all the free help they get with regards to Fedora, and slap the hand of the CentOS users.
Dude what are you smoking? Did you even read my post? You attacked me for something that someone else said? Because someone else's vendetta against centos? Really? I didn't read what that Caitlyn Martin said. Have a link?
I don't have a problem with CentOS security, I wouldn't be using it otherwise. I already said that lagging 40-60 days behind RHEL is not a big deal. You would know if you read the post.
If you want a flamewar, find somebody else.
you have to wait ~2 months for that patch to land in CentOS
and I said that's a gross exaggeration.
Maybe you don't know about Caitlyn Martin but she/he has brought this issue up numerous times without specifying any examples other than a late Firefox patch.
I said it because it's a fact. That Caitlyn Martin is exaggerating a little bit. But CentOS is really not good for mission critical stuff in big enterprise (it is crazy to go without support there) but it is enough for home server, development servers, hosting providers, and such. That is a fact. Why you have problem with that?
Maybe because you want to push CentOS everywhere, and don't want anyone to buy RHEL? Growing and profitable Red Hat sh1ts all over your "open source can't make money" agenda, so I understand your buthurtness.
PS: Oh, and I wouldn't recommend Oracle Unworkable Linux even to an enemy. Oracle support is worse than useless, any money thrown in their direction is wasted. Better go with CentOS than OEL.
Yeah Oracle made a PR splash when they introduced OEL but they didn't really made any sucess. Those are not customers. They just took OEL and use it, like they would use CentOS. Onl a few of those 1,500 actually pay support. Oracle's support is useless, especially if it is not large scale multi-milion $ deal in question. They are usually more interested in asking about other (unrelated) software you're using (so that they can send salesdroids to hook you up at more of their stuff) then actually helping you with your problem. I hear that they also ask about hardware and storage since they bought Sun. It is better not to call them at all and not buy support from them in the first place. Anyone who dealt with them will confirm this.
Also, that CW article about Yahoo isn't true. It says Yahoo had 50,000 of RHEL servers. If they used basic subscription ($350) that would make $17.5m per year. That kind of money would show up on Red Hat bottom line. But it didn't. OEL didn't budge Red Hat. And Yahoo uses FreeBSD and CentOS, as far as I know. They never used Red Hat, at least not at that scale. They might had a few servers.
I laughed hard when I read one of the Red Hat guys (I think it was Brian Stevens, cant remember) saying: "In past 4 years, we lost 3 big customers to Oracle. One came back to us shortly after, one was Oracle itself, and one was acquired by Oracle so they had to switch".
I tend to believe that he's saying the truth.
A couple of comments about Caitlyn Martin...
I went and read the links to the article she wrote about CentOS. Far from just complaining about an out-of-date Firefox, she made made some other very well-reasoned comments. It doesn't sound to me like a vendetta. Among other online posts, she writes for DistroWatch, and her comments are usually well-researched. Most likely, far better researched than yours. However, if you don't agree with what she says, feel free to respond IN AN INTELLIGENT MANNER, rather than character assassination.
Which brings me to this: as for Caitlyn's sexuality and/or medical condition, that is totally out of bounds. You don't know her, and you don't know what she's been through. Would you like us to have a public discussion about your sexual and medical history? What goes round comes round. Edited 2010-07-28 03:25 UTC
You don't see anything wrong with citing a single delayed desktop browser update as indicative of the overall timeliness of updates from a server centric distro?
How about at least a more relevant update like a vulnerability in openldap?
Oh look at that issued the next day on CENTOS:
Based on the same sample size that Caitlyn used maybe I should conclude that Cent delivers updates within 24 hours of RHEL.
Do you ever research when you post?
5.5 CentOS 2010-05-14 RHEL 2010-03-31
5.4 CentOS 2009-10-21 RHEL 2009-09-02
5.3 CentOS 2009-03-31 RHEL 2009-01-20
5.2 CentOS 2008-06-24 RHEL 2008-05-21
More over here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CentOS
It is almost always more than one month, and sometimes close to 2 months. It looks like you are one having vendetta... against Red Hat... and there is probably again your old vendetta against GPL. You even admitted that in previous posts.
PS: As for LWN.net alerts, alert gets you nothing without patch. You only know that there is a problem, you still need to wait patch to come in CentOS.
Also note that LWN.net news are only accessible to paid LWN.net subscribers of in first 7 days. After 7 days expire, everyone else sees the news. Edited 2010-07-28 13:12 UTC
Dude, those are major point releases. Those are complete rebuilds of every package from source. Plus testing. That's a hell of a lot of difference than how long a single patch takes to make it through. Also, critical patches issued during that period bypass the process and are pushed out immediately. The only thing that is lagging is that Red Hat has gone SO long between RHEL 5 and 6. But RHEL 6 is going to have a heck of a lot of major changes from 5. Many major subsystems were replaced since RHEL 5.
Major point releases? You can call them that way, but RH call them minor releases. Major release is RHEL6 or RHEL5.
Then there is minor releases, 5.x and what you call minor releases are in fact micro releases (that's how Red Hat is calling it), little updates with some fixes. Those come to centos quicker than minor releases but not that quicker. CentOS is late about 7 to 15 days with micro releases. It still needs a fair amount of testing to maintain 100% RHEL compatibility.
But don't get me wrong, that is not bad thing. I would hate to see it come out same day as RHEL and then make some problem or even bork my server.
Those are major updates, not critical patches.
All Caitlyn cited was a delayed Firefox patch for her netbook which is too small of a sample size to substantiate her argument. She should have taken the last 10 critical updates and then taken an average of the delay time.
(claps and wipes tears from eyes)
Yes I find humor in a transexual ham-radio operator who also claims to be a Linux/Unix security expert.
You find satisfaction in your morally indignant condemnation of my provocative comment.
At the end of the day, which response is healthier?
But if you are really offended by me pointing out a transsexual on the internet then by all means file a complaint with your therapist who might be able to explain why you take anonymous internet posts so goddamn seriously.
P.S. Your Oscar winning speech would have had greater effect if you didn't formally address someone named Jerkface as Douchebag. But way to be #9283 to walk into that ladder.
My work 'standardized' on CentOS for the reason that a lot of our proprietary vendors specify it as the only thing they support. It's also the most 'Microsoft-like' out of all the Linux distros, which I think makes Windows Admins a bit more comfortable.
My problems with CentOS are pragmatic. I understand the philosophy behind it... and disagree entirely. Stability through obsolescence might have made sense years ago (debatable), but now it really doesn't.
Take my recent project, for example. I had to design and replace an aging server application (serving XML queries) running on redhat 9. The old design was a process forking mechanism, and quickly destroyed the memory on the system (1.2gigs of memory at 200 users). In order to cut development time down, and increase speed, I opted to use Qt. Since I needed certain features (like talking to a MS SQL database), I had to have any recent version of Qt from the last year or two.
My replacement written, and tested on my ubuntu and arch machines, I tried to put it on our CentOS server, which was just installed with CentOS 5.4. After a week of trying to get it to run, I gave up; there were too many random crashes and problems that simply did not occur on any linux distro that had the dependancies I needed; namely unixODBC, FreeTDS, and Qt. I convinced my work to use Ubuntu, and life was wonderful. CentOS simply couldn't run a modern application stably at all.
Is CentOS a 'bad' distro? Eh. I won't even go that far. But I know of no instance I would ever choose it over Arch (my preferred for it's tiny install footprint), or Ubuntu (which, admittedly, is more production grade).
But hey, that's the beauty of all of this; choice.
Have you opened the SELinux troubleshooter? CentOS is not Ubuntu, there is a lot of permissions to add for an app to get stable. But Qt 4.1 is old, it was probably the problem. CentOS is more stable than Ubuntu, but you have to think CentOS/RedHat to have something working. At first, it will just crash with lack of permissions on the various security framework.
But once it run, it will run for a long time.
Got to say that it's bizarre you'd write an XML server app using the Qt libraries (which drag in a lot of dependencies, including X11 stuff that probably isn't initially installed on a CentOS server). Surely there are more "obvious" libraries such as libxml2 or even how about PHP with its XML/SOAP support? Not forgetting Java (Sun's JDK works fine on CentOS 5) too.
As for folks moaning about running CentOS 5 on the desktop, you have to be willing to keep some desktop apps up-to-date yourself (Open Office, Firefox and Thunderbird spring to mind), though I see CentOS 5 finally updated Firefox to something pretty new (3.6.7) recently (I've already got the 3.6.8 RPM built and running on my work machine though).
If you pick Fedora for a work desktop, updates screech to a halt after 18 months, whereas work desktops tend to last 3-5 years typically. You would have to upgrade Fedora at least once and probably twice, which is a messy business at best (so messy, that on my home machine, I do clean installs of multiple Fedora versions in separate partitions) - warm upgrades are full of risks.
Hence, we went with CentOS 5 on the work desktop and apart from some manual RPMs we update, it at least will get updates throughout the entire 5 years of our desktops' lives. And for free, which is I think the only model that works. If Windows offers free updates, all Linuxes should too, IMHO. Red Hat should separate out updates from support and offer the former for free for those who bought the base product and charge whatever they like for the latter (probably more than now to compensate for those who switch to the free updates only with no support).
So you write and test apps destined for a RHEL machine on Ubuntu and Arch? Makes sense to me!
Stability through obsolescence eh? I suppose you say the same thing about Solaris, Irix, etc? Some people just don't get what it means to have an enterprise OS. But to top things off, Red Hat continues to innovate year after year. Bah.
as the de facto server standard.
Novell is up for sale while Red Hat is trading at a 52 week high.
The Linux world has been long overdue for some standardization.
Care to explain? RHEL (Oracle Enterprise Linux / Unbreakable / OEL) was de-facto at Oracle before Sun aquisition, now, it less clear. Edited 2010-07-27 20:23 UTC
Not at Oracle but in the business world.
Cent/RHEL is clearly the safe choice now that Novell has a hazy future and Sun has been absorbed by an established and trusted corp that sells RHEL support.
Debian and Ubuntu are still growing as a whole.
Suse, Fedora and Gentoo seems to be loosing as webservers.
Fedora never has a place in the server space in the first place, CentOS is the Fedora derivative that has. Debian is losing ground and CentOS is eroding some corner of SLES while SLES is doing well in area where NetWare was strong. eDirectory is also doing good for SUSE, so is interoperability. But SLES as a general purpose server OS is losing, it's just bad.
Ubuntu is gaining some ground in clustered cloud server, but not on the general server market.
That's my own number, I work with those OS.