Home > Red Hat > Red Hat Linux 9 Forces Reliability Gamble Red Hat Linux 9 Forces Reliability Gamble Eugenia Loli 2003-03-28 Red Hat 29 Comments Changes to core packages in Red Hat Linux 9 can potentially impact thousands of applications, says eWeek in their review of Red Hat Linux 9. OSNews also featured a Red Hat Linux 9 review recently, and we have one more coming up soon. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 29 Comments 2003-03-28 2:55 am Many people use something like RH Linux due to dissatisfaction with Windows instability. If people who try out RH, who will always be the same people who will naively think it’s at least to some extent representative of their enterprise offerings, find out it’s just as flaky as Windows (I found RH8 was pretty flaky, and the news is RH9 is *worse* in that regard) I don’t think they’ll gain customers. Customers by and large won’t give a darn as to how much better posix threads, which are taken advantage of most by Java and server enterprise aps, are in RH9 Linux if it frequently crashes. I think Red Hat is making a big mistake. 2003-03-28 3:15 am I use Red Hat 8.0 and last week, Red Hat Network issued an upgraded glibc package. AFAIK, it’s the same glibc package that Red Hat 9 will ship with. Yes, wine no longer works (winex available at freshrpms.net does though). However, I haven’t experienced any other incompatibilities – and the system feels a tad bit snappier. Apparently, the only packages that are affected by this bug are those that were using threads in nefarious ways they should not have. 2003-03-28 3:36 am I am running RH8 right now. I updated to the new glibc and my wife can still launch spider solitaire. Word gives me an odd error when I try to run it about a x11drv error on something I never saw before. Is that the issue? BTW, is there anyone out there with some serious disk space? Deal is that I want to gather up all the plugins, pieces and rpms needed for RH9 to fill in the gaps that RH does not or can not include. It would include all of this with a setup.sh script to install it all for you. I was thinking about forgetting any kind of slick detection and just asking the user for each piece whether they want it or not etc…etc.. 2003-03-28 4:16 am There are two wine packages that no longer work for me: the one that came bundled with RH8 and the non-free WineX RH8 package (not the latest 3.0 one). I’m using freshrpms.net’s winex RH8 package just fine though. The error message I get with the official RH8 wine package (either trying to run wine or recompile it) mentioned libc.so.6. I could not run wine whatsoever. The freshrpm.net winex package is actually working better for me however, so I’m quite happy. 2003-03-28 4:32 am This issues with the new glibc and new posix threads seem to start affecting everybody who is on Red Hat. The thing is that instead of maintaining compatibility Red Hat is pushing it to a new level. IMHO developers will have to start porting code to Red Hat like it would be some other OS, not Linux. But it is Linux! We already have enough OS for which code needs to be ported, why do we need more complications? Or is RH’s way to test code on the average user? It is good to develop new tech, but not this way. I hope that RH somehow realises what it has done. 2003-03-28 4:45 am After reading the article, especially Some firms may find their needs better served by selecting one of Red Hat’s enterprise products, sticking for now with an older Red Hat version or opting for an offering from another OS vendor. Be advised, however, that Red Hat has announced plans to end updates and support for versions 7.1 through 8.0 at the end of this year, and subsequent releases will come with one year of support each. it sounds like people are getting the worst possible quality when paying less than US$299 to RedHat. 2003-03-28 6:33 am RE Beta-quality software != more customers Here is a hint sunshine, crap threads equals crap performances equals pissed-off customers. Get it? You either have two choices, make the hard move now or wait till the last minute, namely when 2.6 is released and try to go hell for leather trying to get your particular application working. As for the wine issue, it is being resolved via the win32 threads > POSIX threads. 2003-03-28 6:46 am Stupid question, i understand the new glibc is major different but WHY the h*ll it’s not backward compatible? aka all “old” programs keep working? 2003-03-28 7:01 am Sometimes backwards compatability isn’t a good thing, especially with open source where problems can be rectified quite simply. Backwards compatability can cripple a platform or make it bloated and cumbersome. (Eg, Windows). All you have to do is have a look at how well BeOS performed (I don’t mean market wise, but OS-wise!) – it didn’t even *attempt* to work with any legacy applications. The results – smooth, slick, powerful. 2003-03-28 7:18 am The article doesn’t mention anything about potential unstability, only that the new libraries might cause some incompatiblities….. What’s that have to do with _stability_? Now, if you’re going to say that it’s untested software, and therefore, might not be as stable, that’s one thing. That said, if you’re concerned about rock-solid stability, you shouldn’t be running an off-the-shelf cutting-edge commercial distro. Run Debian Stable. Still, not long ago, I used RedHat quite a bit. I haven’t tried 8.0 yet, and have kind of lost the desire to do so. Nothing overly interesting here….move along. 2003-03-28 7:38 am wine does not work, but you can recompile it. Get the src.rpm for Red Hat 8.0 install it (yes install the src.rpm) edit the .spec file , and comment away the glibc patch (patch4 iirc). Rebuild it and install. 2003-03-28 8:21 am I have been running the Pheobe beta 3 for about a week now on my 650Mhz PIII with 256MB ram. I have found it to be VERY stable and pretty darn snappy compared to Redhat 8. Personally I think that Redhat is making a positive move forward with their move to the new glibc. (The post about how the BeOS had to break backwards compatibility is very insightful. ) Any reluctance that people have in using Redhat 9 because it is a .0 release should be ignored because this release is a very good quality release (well thus far it’s working very well for me). You may want to wait a little bit for software makers to update their software to work with this new release Any software that currently doesn’t work with Redhat 9 will most likely be updated in the next week weeks. In response to the “Hmm..” troll that read “people are getting getting the worst possible quality when paying less than US$299 to RedHat.” While it IS true that Redhat will only keep their non-enterprise releases for one year, the quote in completely FALSE. For FREE you will be able to download Redhat 9 off the web and keep one machine updated via their up2date server. Redhat is just trying to make money. Personally I don’t mind paying them if I’m paying for them to make a quality distrobution and to improve open source software. If you don’t like their motives then too bad. You can use one of the may other Linux distrobutions. One of the major strengths of Linux is that there is NO ONE Linux company with a variety of motivations and goals. If you don’t like the motives/methods of one company then you can use a different distro. Redhat seems to be driven by two primary motivations: 1. Make Money and 2. Release a good Linux distrobution for business (both server and desktop). If you don’t like this there are plenty of alternative (i.e. Debian / Slackware aren’t very focused on making money) so stop your whining. 2003-03-28 8:51 am Redhat taking a reliability/stability risk is new? Anyone here remember Redhat basing itself off of a broken version of gcc. Sure they eventually fixed it up well enough, but it tooke them a while. 2003-03-28 9:00 am Changes for changes’ sake, a 1% increase in performance even though it fucks half your apps etc. Good to see they didn’t change their philosophy. 2003-03-28 10:17 am Actually, glibc is always backwards compatible, yes, even 2.3.x is backwards compatable with 2.2.x The problem with Wine (and i suspect the jvms that broke) was that they didn’t follow the LinuxThreads standard. In particular, Wine overrides internal glibc functions in order to synchronise Win32 threads with glibc threads. That’s because, when wine threading was first implemented, LinuxThreads/glibc threading didn’t have the features they needed. Anyway, basically now NPTL is in, glibc does indeed have the features Wine needs, and so Wine is now being ported to the new threading system. It’s for the best in the long term. FWIW, the glibc developers work very hard at backwards compatability, they even implemented symvers to ensure that you never had to have multiple versions of it installed at once. But when apps rely on bugs, or override internal functions, stuff will break, they can’t avoid breaking compatability with stuff like that short of never touching the codebase again. Some people have reported that Wine works for them with the new glibc on Redhat, for others it broke. I think it depends on what version of Wine you’re using (lots of threading work in CVS lately), the kernel version, and so on. Plus the problem is timing/thread related, so not all apps show the problem either. Anyway, mario, don’t blow your lid at Redhat or glibc – all distros are moving to this new glibc, Mandrake 9.1 for instance uses it, as does the next version of SuSE. It was just an unfortunate accident, Wine was caught between a rock and a hard place and got squeezed. 2003-03-28 12:42 pm Yeah I checked it out last night and pretty much the codeweaver wine (the free one available from Ximian I believe that is where I got it) never gives me the glibc errors you are getting. The only reason the thing is on my box is so my wife can run Spider Solitaire from Linux. : -> 2003-03-28 1:23 pm At least it appears this way. If RedHat is that bad and they break everything etc, why are people still using it? I run RH and so does my wife. All our Servers here run RH because it’s quite easy to maintain them. I have yet to encounter an instability problem with any of them. I guess when a company becomes big and things start to happen (like noobs identifying Linux with redhat) then you become a target. Redhat “crippled” KDE, redhat ” breaks compatibility” . To be quite honest a) this looks more like a WINE problem, since other distros will implement the new threads and b) if noone would ever change anything for sake of compatibility we wouldn’t get anywhere, well we would but the Windows way. Shouldn’t we be happy that someone is implementing things fast and push something new and GOOD forward? But if we keep everything compatible with everything all the time, 3 CDs (install Cds) for RH or Mandrake wouldn’t be enough. Anyway it would be nice if people would start thinking and not bashing all the time. If you don’t like it, use Debian (until they implement it) or use windows if you don’t like change or don’t like it that some obscure Apps wont work anymore because they were coded so badly that they cant be patched. //vic 2003-03-28 2:42 pm NPTL is a reality on 2.5 kernels AND will be the thread library on 2.6; RedHat only backported it to 2.4 so people crash those non-LinuxThreads-compliant apps now and not when 2.6 start shipping. About glibc 2.3… the only problem I had is that the RH 8 OpenOffice.org is now not playing nice. I don’t know if it is the problem, I haven’t employed the RedHat’s glibc updated (I’m using a backported glibc 2.3 used to run GNOME 2.2 packages available on http://people.ecsc.co.uk/~matt ). 2003-03-28 3:02 pm All the short problems with WINE, nvidia drivers etc. will be fixed very soon. As others have mentioned, this is not really a RH specific issue. The threading issue is going to be an issue for all distros soon enough. It’s just that RH is doing it first. Clearly, the WINE developers and the nvidia driver maintainers will want their respective code to run on RH and other future distros so it will be fixed. As an example, take a look at the Codeweavers’ support site and browse their mailing lists. They are well aware of the problems since it affects their WINE product and their Crossover Plugin & Office products. They are actively working on Plugin 2.0 and Office 2.0 that will work on RH 9 and future distros with the 2.6 kernel. So, in sum, don’t worry RH fans. The proggies will work. Just be patient. 2003-03-28 3:52 pm Why every time we have to waste our time to install something that a complete OS should have ? I’m tired of fighting with all the plug-ins and media stuffs …. it should be more convenient. 2003-03-28 4:38 pm It is not to hard to install the support, Red Hat isn’t focusing on Multimedia Support, and if you are to lazy to do it get Mandrake, and don’t even think about Debain or Slackware… 2003-03-28 4:43 pm Well, I run Slackware Linux 9.0 which comes whith glibc 2.3.x and Wine compiles and works great on it. Red Hat probably made a deeper implementation of the NPTL and so it’s not backward compatible anymore. But who cares about that, we wan’t speed and reliability. I personaly don’t care about running Slow Apps or Old Ones. So I don’t run Open Office, but KOffice, which works better and faster. And stop complaining about RH, it’s stupid! 2003-03-28 4:49 pm “Why every time we have to waste our time to install something that a complete OS should have” I understand that you are Anonymous, but really Handicap should be your name! Do you even know what an OS should be able to do or what it is? Who says that a complete OS should have a mediaplayer or flashplugins as default? Is it just because Windows gives you that, you then presume that a OS should have support for every media on earth? How hard is it to download and install a mediaplayer or just the xmms-mp3-support.rpm or do the same with flashplugin? Ok, you might have to read a little for the last task, but you could do that can’t you? With Redhat you get a good free Officesuit, Windows doesn’t give you that. But why should it? Because everycompany builds their OS as they want. Redhat got a great GPL thinking but not everyone gets that… sometimes not even me. 🙂 2003-03-28 4:56 pm So is this bascially the preemptive kernel and low latency patches that redhat has implemented? I’m just curious what exactly they’ve done. If so that’s not really that huge of a deal because I mean anyone that knows a little bit about compiling a kernel probably already did that a few months ago. It’s great that redhat is pushing forward these new technologies, but I really think that they should have at least put out one point release before completely breaking compatibility. It really just seems like they don’t want businesses to use the free version or even the standard box sets that you can buy in the store. Business’s don’t want to have to have toworry about OpenOffice breaking after they run up2date. It seems like redhat really only wants them to use the “enterprise software” and if that’s the case, then what’s the point of even using it, becuase by the time you pay for the support and everything else you might as well just use windows, at least with a windows release you will be sure that they’re not going to break binary compatibility every 6 months…(i mean windows releses new os’s only about every 2-3 years…not months). No, I’m not a windows troll, but some say the “right tool for the job” and if Redhat keeps playing games, then microsoft is actually looking better which is scary. I mean redhat is making microsoft look like a stabel platform. That’s just not right. I actually despise microsoft and everything VB related (sorry a little bitter, my one class has been nothing VB this semester and it’s just disgusting to program with it). Anyways I just don’t really think that redhat is making very good business decisions right now. New technology = GOOD. However, implement it gradually. As someone said it’s going to be built into the 2.6 kernel. Maybe they just should have at least waited untill it gets closer to the 2.6 release, that way devolopers would have made the adjustments, because LINUS said so not REDHAT. 2003-03-28 7:42 pm In short, the answer to your question is no. Red Hat has pretty much backported all the low-latency patches and O(1) scheduler with the exception of the pre-empt patch. But, this is something different. Red Hat is definitely walking a fine-line between aggressively pursuing the interests of its users and being arrogant and problematic in doing so. For the most part though, their changes are still more beneficial than detrimental. RH is stuck between a rock and a hard place. If it is as aggressive as MS in keeping up with trendy things, it is lambasted as being arrogant. On the other hand, if it does not do so, potential converts constantly whine about it not being up to par with MS products. So, it’s got to find the right balance between these two extremes, and I think it’s doing a good job. 2003-03-28 7:56 pm I concur. RedHat sometimes screws it up (7.0, gag) just like everyone else, but more often than not, they get it right, like they did in 7.3 and 8.0. The patches RedHat is implementing are coming no matter what you want – AFAIK, they’re going to make it into 2.6. In the end, it’s probably better to force compatibility fixes now than waiting until it’s sudden overtime and 2.6 is out. Don’t let the whines fool you – these patches make real differences, and getting them in as soon as they were stable was a smart idea. If you don’t want to break binary compat all the time: 1. Start using AS 2. Don’t upgrade At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. Caveat emptor. -Erwos 2003-03-28 8:40 pm While i don’t really have anything against Red Hat in general, i really do not like what they are doing to the system. It is entirely possible that they are working hard, trying to provide a better system, but… KDE in 8.0 simply didn’t work right. I’m not gonna get into the speculations that this was done on purpose, but consider it a bug. But truth is still, that KDE in redhat 8 was quite unstable, shipped with a buggy version of bluecurve, and had problems with separately shipped KDE programs. They ship with unreleased versions of much software. Their X was a strange version, their glibc was a strange version, their kernel includes a lot of non-standard stuff, and at least on my system had poor performance. And remeber their gcc 2.96 version earlier? They also left out NTFS support and MP3 support. In Red Hat 9 they ship with a kernel with some things backported from 2.5. This brakes the nvidia drivers (many people wrongly blamed this on XFree86 4.3, but it was the kernel) Sure most of these things doesnt matter to most people, and many of the things are easily fixable. But creating software that works on all linux systems is hard enough already, and will surely not be made easier by every distro applying random patches, and using random unreleased software. This is why im moving away from Red Hat. I simply don’t like their hacked up system, no matter how good their reasons and motives are. I find it annoying though, as i still consider Red Hat 8 the most polished distribution that i have tried, yet also the most buggy, and with performance problems. (I still have problems with MP3 playback skipping when restoring complex windows, like a Mozilla window. I have never had this problem before, even on Red Hat < 8) 2003-03-29 12:00 am I strongly suspect that RedHat’s decision to change the threading model is pretty much based on economics. Their enterprise customers need this functionality and, because they actually pay for RedHat, their interests are given a higher prriority than the end user who downloads it off the web. There are a lot of distros out there to choose from, go pick one who’s update model fits your precise needs. If you were stuck with Windows and Microsoft decided to do this, you wouldn’t have nearly so many options for getting around it. As for the Wine problems, even Debian managed to break Wine at one point when they changed libc6. If you REALLY need to run Windows apps, you should probably run Windows. 2003-03-29 1:36 am @Troles: “But truth is still, that KDE in redhat 8 was quite unstable, shipped with a buggy version of bluecurve, and had problems with separately shipped KDE programs.” Not in my experience. I use KDE3 in RH8 as my desktop every day for long hours, I’ve had the panel crash once since I installed it, other than that I’ve had no issues. It just works. “They ship with unreleased versions of much software.” Just like a lot of other distributions. Nothing new here. “Their X was a strange version, their glibc was a strange version,” There X is not a “strange version”. It’s the standard release of XFree86 plush patches to add hardware support that the XFree group might get around to adding a few years from now. Seriously. “their kernel includes a lot of non-standard stuff,” Yeah, non-standard stuff like hardware support that most other distributions DO NOT HAVE that makes their customers a bit happier. ” and at least on my system had poor performance.” Then you should have filed a bug report, I’ve found their kernel to perform much better than a vanilla one for me. ” And remeber their gcc 2.96 version earlier? ” This is way old news. And remember that some of the main libc and Linux kernel people are employed by them. They’re human everyone makes mistakes, and it’s pretty sad that you’re bringin up an incident from a few *YEARS* ago. “They also left out NTFS support and MP3 support.” Both are patent laden and cannot be distributed under GPL terms.