Linked by Eugenia Loli on Thu 13th Nov 2003 05:19 UTC
Fedora Core Fedora Core 1 has been out now for a few days now and many faithful Linux fans have already installed it. Red Hat's Linux is still one of my favorite distributions because of one main reason: compatibility with Linux software. Red Hat is a market leader and following the market leader assures the least trouble for most users. But is this the case with Fedora Core?
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by Nacs on Thu 13th Nov 2003 03:58 UTC

I can already see a bunch of red flags in that "review".

The box I'm typing on now began its life running Red Hat 4.2. It's been upgraded countless number of times, and it's now on Red Hat 9. And it's rock-stable solid. And the reason that it's stable, and functional, is precisely because what I've been doing, for the last six years, was the exact opposite of what this "review"er did.

Notice that she began having problems when she tried to hack together an upgrade to some application. Lesson number one when running Red Hat: do not install any software yourself. Always use rpm, which checks in, keeps track of, and maintains, all the inter-library and inter-application dependencies. Once you begin flinging random libraries and applications into the system, some of which may or may not overwrite existing libraries or files, you're well on your merry way to Linux's equivalent of Windows DLL hell, when you've got ten versions of the same basic library installed in fifteen different directories, and you now have absolutely no clue whatsoever what you end up running when you start a given application. Which randomly crashes, I wonder why?

By the way, the same also applies to other Linux distros too, I'm sure. They all use some kind of a package management system, be it rpm or apt. The same principle applies in either case.

My box is very solid even though I have plenty of custom software installed which I've compiled and built myself. But the key difference is that all the software was installed by rpm. Rach time I upgraded to a new distribution release, the installer correctly detected that I have an application that has a dependency on an older version of the library. The installer then proceeds to load a compatibility library, in addition to the new, incompatible version of the library. After upgrading, I then recompile all my custom software and install the new RPMs, whenever I have some free time. Everything still works in the meantime, because all the dependencies are correctly satisfied.

Eventually, I get around to cleaning out my box, seeing which compatibility libraries can be removed. When I try to remove them, inevitable RPM complains because I forgot to recompile some application that still depends on the old library. After doing that, and when nothing no longer needs it, it gets removed by rpm without a peep.

I also see that the reviewer grabbed some random third-party RPM from some dark alley (strike 1). Unsurprisingly, rpm refused to install it due to missing dependencies (strike 2). The reviewer tried to fix the situation by, once again, grabbing a bunch of third party libraries, and installing them manually (strike 3). End result: a big, recursive mess (strike 4).

I wonder why?