Linked by Andy Richter on Thu 11th Dec 2003 10:46 UTC
Red Hat When I volunteered to do this review I quickly realized that I was asked to review 'Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Server' and not just 'Red Hat Linux'. Then panic set in. How different was this going to be from regular old Red Hat that I've used and relied on for years? Is this going to be a whole new Red Hat with a whole bunch of advanced features that I wouldn't be able to talk about either because I missed them or because I'm not qualified?
Order by: Score:
ncurses
by None on Thu 11th Dec 2003 03:52 UTC

"Furthermore it by default boots directly into X Windows. This to me again doesn't make sense for a server operating system."

or
"I felt from the very beginning that the default install of a server should include almost nothing like OpenBSD does."

Its a pity that red hat keeps making all their tools graphical. Perhaps RH should take a hint and either let people use the command line or make ncurses based scripts for config utilities. Does RH really believe that people are that alienated from the command prompt?

Take note RH "Minimal install and for tools: give people the option to use ncurses".

I don't use RH so I don't know if they do have those kind of tools available. Just my humble opinion.

Advanced Admin Tools ???
by Anonymous on Thu 11th Dec 2003 03:59 UTC

After reading your review - I am now confused as to what exactly the difference between Fedora and Advanced Server is. I always assumed that Advanced Server has many more GUI admim/system tools and extended some of the functionality in the existing admin/system tools. The review mentioned nothing "new" compared to the desktop version.

Is the support contract the only reason to chose Server of Workstation?

RE: Advanced Admin Tools ???
by contrasutra on Thu 11th Dec 2003 04:19 UTC

You pay for the support. Everything in it is GPL, and available as other distributions ("whitebox" I believe).

Re:Advanced? RH not in the same sentence
by None on Thu 11th Dec 2003 04:32 UTC

The source code is free. You can download and compile it yourself (less the proprietary tools). Now please go troll somewhere else. Shouldn't you be defending the latest Microsoft bugs/exploits/tom foolery "IE Bug Lets Fake Sites Look Real".

RE: Advanced Admin Tools ???
by Anonymous on Thu 11th Dec 2003 04:32 UTC

>> After reading your review - I am now confused as to what exactly the difference between Fedora and Advanced Server is. I always assumed that Advanced Server has many more GUI admim/system tools and extended some of the functionality in the existing admin/system tools. The review mentioned nothing "new" compared to the desktop version.

Is the support contract the only reason to chose Server of Workstation?


> You pay for the support. Everything in it is GPL, and available as other distributions ("whitebox" I believe).


The reason why I ask is because with SuSE Personal - you don't get all the admin tools that you get with SuSE Professioal

RE: Advanced Admin Tools ???
by moosh on Thu 11th Dec 2003 04:45 UTC
Graphical Interfaces and administration
by Robert Escue on Thu 11th Dec 2003 04:52 UTC

I think RedHat is following the lead of the big 3 (Sun, HP, and IBM). Sun promotes Solaris Management Console and Sun Management Center as if they are the only answer for administering servers. IBM has been looking at replacing smitty and smit with WebSM for some time now, and HP has SAM.

As far as installing X, with Solaris you can use the SUMWreq cluster and not get X. With AIX, if there is a graphics adapter in the system you get X whether you want it or not. And I have never installed HP-UX so I can't say either way.

And where the graphical interface comes in is when you install something like Oracle (which requires it) unless you perform an unattended installation.

I can administer machines either way, but there is obviously some demand for the GUI because it seems that everybody includes it.

Re: Graphical Interfaces and administration
by Anonymous on Thu 11th Dec 2003 05:00 UTC

> I can administer machines either way, but there is obviously some demand for the GUI because it seems that everybody includes it.

GUI can become extrememly powerful over directly editting config text files if designed right.

A GUI config application can:

1) check for correct data input
2) limit certain settings when need be
3) allow you to apply the settings much more quickly

A good example, please don't flame me, is IIS. You can in the matter of minute setups: a certificate, multiple virtual directorys, aliasing, filters, permissions all of which validates your settings before they are applied. Now yes, you can do the same with httpd.conf but it would take much longer and you have to be much more careful when applying the settings.

Graphical Interfaces etc...
by Andy Richter on Thu 11th Dec 2003 05:12 UTC

My intent was not to portray graphical utilities in a negative light, infact I found the apache and samba utilities be extremely easy to use and much quicker than doing it by hand. I just found that it was a little hard to get used to simply because I had been using the config file directly for so long. And Robert Escue is right, things like Oracle need a gui to install, I just an not sure that X should start up by default when the machine powers on.

updated binary rpms
by Anonymous on Thu 11th Dec 2003 05:18 UTC

"My last grip (although minor and wont' apply to RHN users) is the lack of public ally available binary patches. I know src-rpms are available but that was one hassle I really didn't want to deal with. Call me lazy (and I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who think I am at this point) but I would have much rather had binary patches straight from Red Hat."

The binary RPMS are available through RHN, which is included in the purchase price of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Graphical Interfaces and ncurses
by none on Thu 11th Dec 2003 05:29 UTC

Your point about GUI's is very valid. I as a reader did not take your wording as being negative in any way, shape or form. I was expressing a personal preference.

The typical default GUI install leaves x listening to ports ~6000-6047 (if I remember correctly). Since its a server, there is really no need to use those resources for a GUI. Personally I believe that a person could use CLI or a ncurses config tool as easily as a GUI without using as many system resources.

People, I ask forgiveness. I was not trying to smack GUI's. They are a very useful and powerful tool. My only point that I wanted to convey is of choice. I would love to see more ncurses tools. GUI's are a wonderful. All I wanted to see was a choice. I should have explained myself in a more appropriate manner.

Sorry Andy Richter and people. I didn't not mean to start a GUI war. Please accept my sincerest apologies.

that whitebox looks interesting
by hmmmmm on Thu 11th Dec 2003 05:33 UTC

any other projects that are doing the same type of thing?

i was thinking about trying it but this may just save me some time and effort :o)






One thing...
by ChocolateCheeseCake on Thu 11th Dec 2003 05:46 UTC

Red Hat Enterprise WS 3 would be better value for money had they bundled Crossover Office 2.1 with it. Sure, some purists will say, "ooo, Windows ABI", but the fact remains that if the customer likes Office 97/2000 but finds that Windows doesn't "do its thing" then why not win over a customer by simply offering them a bridging piece of software until they find an Office suite they like on Linux?

long way to go
by another linux dork on Thu 11th Dec 2003 05:50 UTC

Like many others I bought in to the RHAS 2.1, I was tasked with bringing up an oracle ias instance. The redhat install was flawless... yet I was able to get as far in the oracle install with 7.2, 9 ( with some relinking ) and gentoo. Oracle imho is not ready for linux... I feel as if RHAS is target to take out Sun, which I think will happen some time, but oracle is not ready for the penguin...

ncuses
by Andy Richter on Thu 11th Dec 2003 05:53 UTC

none: no offense taken ;)

Honestly... I would personally prefer ncurses admin tools to what redhat currently offers... simply because i wouldn't have to waste resources on X. but anyway... maybe i'm totally wrong and X is great... but whatever

Coincidence?
by hubbabub on Thu 11th Dec 2003 05:54 UTC

That's wild. I found this article by Andy Richter, while watching Conan O'Brien.

Proofread!
by Phuqker on Thu 11th Dec 2003 06:32 UTC

Andy, nice article, but you need to proofread. Lots more than just typos.

okay guys
by Bitterman on Thu 11th Dec 2003 06:35 UTC

X listens on port 6000 only and is not by default accepting any connections other then localhost

If you think running apache, X or whatever by default makes you vulnerable take a look at the default firewall that blocks those connections. the exec-shield that helps prevent stack/buffer/heap/lib overflows or the fact half of these daemons do not even accept connections execept localhost.

there is always that little red globe in the corner telling you to update. There are plenty of things inplace for default security.

Kernel rocks...
by Romario on Thu 11th Dec 2003 07:35 UTC

Just one note...
RedHat has done a great job with their kernel. It is very responsive, very fast.

Binary Updates
by Anonymous on Thu 11th Dec 2003 08:48 UTC

What the heck are you thinking RH is making its` business off?

Should they work for free? For me it is totally reasonable that they want to have money to build a solid server distribution and therefore only sell RHAS (RH EL) with a service-contract.

Server based review
by Marshall on Thu 11th Dec 2003 08:57 UTC

Since this is one of Red Hat's 'big' products shouldn't we see some benchmarks and installs on some systems with RAID arrays and stuff?
I guess since it's using the Anaconda installer it should be the same as any other Red Hat product in these respects so maybe I should pipe down.

Nice to hear about what kinda options it gives you when installing at any rate. Good work.

Default Services
by hurdboy on Thu 11th Dec 2003 09:37 UTC

I work for a small Unix services company, and we've pretty much ruled out AS except on co-located managed hosts, where we can pass along the cost of the service contract on to the customer (basically the AS machines are the same price as our Debian or *BSD machines plus the monthly cost of AS). It was kind of a shock to discover that over a three year period, Linux came out to be significantly more expensive than Windows or OSX.

The review itself was pretty spot-on. I do have one small complaint, and it comes from drinking the OpenBSD Kool-Aid. OpenBSD machines are so secure, not because of the code auditing or their design, it's because they don't do anything out of the box. Once you open them up so you can actually do something with them, they're just as likely to get 0wn3d as any other BSD box. Well, maybe not, because the performance is worse. Having Apache turned on by default is probably a good idea, seeing as how the majority of "server" machines will use some kind of httpd.

RE:Default Services
by RoboStac on Thu 11th Dec 2003 09:46 UTC

I agree there should be as little as possible installed out of the box, like gentoo or debian can be. This has always annoyed me about redhat.

Oracle on RedHat and X
by Tal Hawkins on Thu 11th Dec 2003 10:25 UTC

I can only speak for Oracle 8 and 9 but X is not needed to install Oracle EXCEPT the package....

Xfree86-libs

With that installed you can output the display of the Oracle install to a machine with an Xserver running whether that be Linux BSD OSX or Windows (running something like X-win32)

LVM on RedHat
by Tal Hawkins on Thu 11th Dec 2003 10:51 UTC

" The first that jumped out at me is that RHEL 3.0 supports Logical Volume Management."

LVM has been in RH since at least RH 8. Pretty ordinary article.


Building the Kernel
by Krusty on Thu 11th Dec 2003 11:01 UTC

What about if I download the SRPMs of the RHEL3 kernel, build and install on my RHL9? Will it work? Will I have any advantage? Will I have RHEL3 running on my workstatio? Which are the differences between the 2 kernels?

Default Install
by Maynard on Thu 11th Dec 2003 11:38 UTC

This is RHEL Advanced Server people, if you are an admin, and you do not know how to pick the apps to install, then why blame Redhat. The default install is most probably for people who want to be good to go in fifteen minutes. If you worry so much abotu security, read their Security Primer. Lock the box down yourself. If you do not want Apache installed, uncheck httpd. Its all available in Anaconda. You cannot simply slate Redhat for the choices they made. If we were to have a discussion over here about what should be on or off by default, we would not come to a consensus.

MySQL server?
by James on Thu 11th Dec 2003 14:42 UTC

You mentioned using PHP and MySQL, but I had heard that there was no mysql-server package that comes with RHEL AS, nor is it available on RHN. Did you download mysql-server yourself, from mysql.com, or is my information false?

Comments
by Erwos on Thu 11th Dec 2003 16:19 UTC

"I agree there should be as little as possible installed out of the box, like gentoo or debian can be. This has always annoyed me about redhat."

At least with RedHat 9, the minimal install is pretty minimal. Most people, like myself, get lazy and click "install everything" because they don't have any disk space issues. But the option is there if you want it.

Re: graphical config tools:
Something people don't consider is that you _don't_ need X11 going on the server to use these. On the server I admin, I just ssh in, start redhat-config-users, and up pops the interface on my local machine, with acceptable drawing performance. There's really no drawback to GUI tools anymore, unless you're doing something very, very weird that the tools don't support (which does happen!).

Re: mySQL packages
There's a mySQL SRPM in the RHEL3 sources, so it's almost certain that it's got some amount of support.

Re: Crossover Office
There's no real point in bundling Crossover Office with RHELWS. A "workstation" typically connotes an engineering or design workstation, where you'd be doing serious work with CAD or other such programs. It's not usually what you put on the secretary's desk for typing up a memo. And, fact is, why not just use OpenOffice? If the secretary's on Linux, presumably everyone else is...

There's also support costs to be considered. The contract you make is with Red Hat. Supporting MS Office for Windows on Linux is not trivial, and Red Hat (wisely, IMHO) has decided that they don't want to take the burden.

The article was quite good overall, and I look forward to installing the server "academic edition" variant.

-Erwos

Nice, but...
by Fred on Thu 11th Dec 2003 17:09 UTC

why aren't server products reviewed by people qualified to do it, with hardware to match?

I mean, who besides scriptkiddies and wannabes run this "Advanced Server" products on hardware which is basically a game PC? If I want to read a server product review, I want to know how it deals with raid configurations, performs on server centric benchmarks, how manageable it is inside a larger farm. Not how pretty the installer looks (does anyone actually install lots of servers from scratch off the CD with a custom install?) and what version of Gnome it comes with (I know, the reviewer didn't mention this, but I conveniently use this occasion to bitch and moan about this kind of "reviews" in general). In this case the reviewer himself states he's not really qualified to do a decent review of this product. So here I am wondering why he did actually write about it then. Just to have his name splattered all over the frontpage of this website? This sort of site pollution is not of much value to anyone but the self interrest of the reviewer.

Also, on the subject of reviews, why are a lot of reviews I read done by college students? Is it only because they have the time to do it? I mean it sure isn't the quality of the reviews which seems to attract people to publish the stuff. Reviewing stuff properly is hard. I wish people would put some more effort into doing it properly, and write a decent report about it. Seems that reporting is a skill which isn't tought in said colleges anymore. Pity.

Interesting
by ricky on Thu 11th Dec 2003 21:04 UTC

I guess they don't want to make RHEL too different than Fedora so you feel comfortable using it.

I didn't know Andy Richter is in school again. I saw him on Comedy Central's last special. It wasn't too bad. Is there going to be another season of A R Controls the Universe?

@fred
by dizz on Thu 11th Dec 2003 22:34 UTC

well it would be nice to have tesets done on real hardware.
but real hardware isnt cheap. if you have acesses to real hardware the you should sign up as a tester and write a rewiew.i mean this is not a service we pay for so we cant force people to buy cool hardware just to test stuff.and yes alot of students have more time but i also thing that students have a bigger intrest of checking out new stuff.

@Fred
by another2 on Thu 11th Dec 2003 23:50 UTC

Hey, I'm a college student and I want server benchmarks.
Also, I'm really tired of install articles, I want to see an
article called "The first year of running XXXXX linux as a
server" where XXXXX is some distro, I'm going to be
purchasing a small 1u rack and run it as a server, I could
write a review in a year and a couple months.....

Re: MySQL server?
by James on Fri 12th Dec 2003 04:14 UTC

"There's a mySQL SRPM in the RHEL3 sources, so it's almost certain that it's got some amount of support."

Yes, but that's only for the MySQL client programs (mysql, mysqladmin, mysqldump, etc.) and libraries. No server!

RE: Kernel rocks...
by Slackers on Fri 12th Dec 2003 04:25 UTC

"Just one note...
RedHat has done a great job with their kernel. It is very responsive, very fast."
are ya kiding everybody here? 5 years (not much in the life) using RH, and now I have made a move to Slackware. It is only two words ya said: responsive and fast. No way to honour two of these words on RH which it is actually right on Slackware (a quite careful comparission was carried out by myself between RH and Slack on the same system b4 I have made a move). Even Gnome, a RH defacto long time is still far behind Dropline in Slackware or in Slackware Gnome (Gnome goes w/ Slack distro) about speed and responsiveness, and not often to see bugs as working on slackware env.//
I dunt blame RH, just wanna say something which is true. RH is always next to me at work, but Slackware is the best in my selection.

RE: Kernel rocks...
by Reload on Fri 12th Dec 2003 09:21 UTC

I'm a slacker too, since 1996 =)
It is installed on all my comp/servers at home (5 in total) and it rocks.

Bur at work, for a customer, I've installed RH9 and RHLES 3 on the same server for a test and I can confirm that between RH9 and RHLES, there are big performance gain in favor of the RHLES.

Fedora Core 1
by Charlie on Fri 12th Dec 2003 16:27 UTC

I have been using Fedora on my laptop since a couple of days after it was released and have yet to see a serious crash leave alone a kernel crash.

crossover office ???
by noway on Fri 12th Dec 2003 19:33 UTC

chocolatecheesecake - no self respecting admin would install an office suite on a server.

mysql server rpm
by Erik on Sat 13th Dec 2003 14:02 UTC

I can confirm that RedHat Enterprise Linux Advanced Server does not contain the mysql-server package. This must be a review on one of the RedHat rebuilds, note the author states that he wishes he had binary rpm upgrades.

Having undertaken the rebuild process myself, I can also confirm that rebuilding from source does generate a mysql-server package.

This is going to suck for all the small time LAMP's (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) because they will have to generate their own mysql-server rpm and even with a support contract, they will have to support their own mysql-server.