Red Hat WS 3.o?

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Red Hat WS 3.o?

Post by dishawjp » Fri Sep 26, 2003 9:44 pm

Hi All,

I've been using Red Hat for over a year now. My main computer is a dual boot RH8/RH9 box, but I have been a bit concerned about Red Hat's decision to move away from Linux for the home/hobby user. I've been reading their mail lists, formerly rhl.redhat.com and currently http://fedora.redhat.com and am not certain that staying with this short-lived linux flavor is what I really want. Moving my data and other personal files around every few months as I reinstall operating systems doesn't seem like it's in my best interests. Running an OS without access to maintenance updates is also not an option. So I'm considering spending the $299 and buying Red Hat WS 3.0 standard edition when it comes out in a few weeks and having a stable platform to work (and play) with for a few years at a time. But I have a bunch of questions before I drop that much money on an OS.

1) Are there or will ther be apt4rpm respositories for RH WS3 like there are for RH8 and RH9 or will I have to maintain an account with RH for up2date to maintain my system easily? I guess that $60/yr. wouldn't be all that much to spend to have a solid, reliable and long-lived system, but I am kinda cheap and would be willing to avoid that expense.

2) RH doesn't list all the packages included with RH WS like they did for RH8 and RH9. Does it include the games, graphics applications, multimedia apps, and other programs that I've become used to having available? If not, can they be installed from the same .rpm files that came on the RH8/9 CD's I already own? For example, they do say that RH WS does not include a telnetd of an ftpd, both of which are very handy for me on my internal home network. Would it be possible to install vsftpd or whatever from my RH9 CD's onto RH WS3?

3) My primary computer is a pretty decent box, 2.4 GHz P4, 512 MB RAM, dual 40 GB hard drives, and etc. What I'd like to do is get and keep a stable and maintainable Linux on one hard drive with my work and important personal files on it, and a "toy" Linux on the other with all the latest and greatest gadgets and whatnot. I wouldn't mind having a dual boot Fedora/Red Hat WS machine, if I could keep my important files on the stable OS and play around with the other and install updated versions every few months on it. Is this a realistic approach?

4) I read a couple of really good reviews about the soon to be released Star Office 7 and would consider purchasing and installing it on the RH WS install if I do decide to go this way. I'm now using Linux for my work... I still have a Windows computer, but it hasn't been booted in months. I'm looking for a long-term, stable, reliable, yet flexible home computing solution. Does RH WS 3 and Star Office seem like a reasonable way to go? It seems to be less money that WinXP and OfficeXP over a 3 yr. period and there's no way I would consider M$ in any event.

I've looked at the other Linux distros a bit, SuSE isn't for me, Gentoo, Slackware, and Debian seem to be a bit to complex for me, Mandrake, Lycoris, and Xandros a bit too GUI oriented, and, I guess, I've gotten pretty comfortable with Red Hat and don't want to switch.

I see a lot written about RH8/9 and very little about Red Hat's Enterprise Linux offerings. If I do decide to move to a more commercial offering, will I still be able to get support from groups like this, or will it just be Red Hat support and me?

TIA for any thoughts or comments,

Jim Dishaw

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Post by Void Main » Sun Sep 28, 2003 8:46 pm

I can't say much for RH WS 3.0 but we do run a few copies of RHAS at work because it's required for Oracle support. For home I am sticking with the current line (which will now fall under Fedora). The main thing I don't like about the Enterprise versions are they aren't as current (bleeding edge) as the downloadable version. The enterprise version is nothing more than a snapshot of the download version and then just kept up with security patches etc. It's a slower release cycle so it's easier to provide support for (which is mainly what you are paying for). Upgrading to the next version has not been a hassle for me as long as I can remember and with apt it's easier than ever.

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Post by dishawjp » Mon Sep 29, 2003 12:20 pm

Thanks for your insight Void Main.

You're a much more advanced user than I am and evidently reinstalling goes a lot more easily for you than it does for me.

This weekend I decided to reinstall my RH8. I had a couple of issues that I was just unable to resolve, including Xcdroast being hosed, Evolution not handling my e-mail, and a couple of other minor issues. Installing the CD's took less than an hour, but getting my apt updates and upgrade took about 7 hrs. (dialup internet access). When I moved my data, document and other files to the other hard drive (before formatting), ownership changed somehow, and I had to chown all of them back to myself when I moved them back to the new install (granted, this was probably something I hosed when tar'ed and moved them). Then, there are all the little reconfiguring things like network settings, mini-com, Tripwire, Evolution, and etc.

I know that this is a bit "whiney" and for a "hobby OS," it's no big thing, but now that Linux has become my work OS as well, doing this every 3 or six months and risking making serious mistake (my area of special expertise) and losing important files is something that would be worth spending some money to avoid.

As I said, I intend to use Fedora when stable releases are available, a couple of times a year, for playing with, but am also giving serious consideration to RHEL WS for my work. It's just that I don't know anything much about how it works or what the ultimate costs will be. A "buy-in" of $299 and $60/yr. for maintenance would be worth it to me. But if there are other, significant hidden costs, then it may not be the way for me to go. If it could be maintained using apt, yum, current or some similar free method, then it is even a better value.

Jim

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Post by Void Main » Mon Sep 29, 2003 3:16 pm

dishawjp wrote:You're a much more advanced user than I am and evidently reinstalling goes a lot more easily for you than it does for me.
I can't say reinstalling is any easier for me than it is you mainly because I can't ever remember "reinstalling". I've never had a problem that I couldn't resolve, at least as far back as I can remember.
This weekend I decided to reinstall my RH8. I had a couple of issues that I was just unable to resolve, including Xcdroast being hosed
I wish I could have tried to help you on this one. It may take a little more time to figure out and resolve a problem the first time you run in to it but it may just pay off down the road in case you run into it again.
Evolution not handling my e-mail, and a couple of other minor issues.
I remember you bringing this issue up and none of us being able to help you solve it. Wish I could have gotten my hands on it. The Ximian Evolution mailing list might have also been a good place for help.
Installing the CD's took less than an hour, but getting my apt updates and upgrade took about 7 hrs. (dialup internet access).
I feel your pain. If I had to go back to dialup I think I would give up computing. :)
When I moved my data, document and other files to the other hard drive (before formatting), ownership changed somehow, and I had to chown all of them back to myself when I moved them back to the new install (granted, this was probably something I hosed when tar'ed and moved them).
I suspect it had something to do with your newly created username on the new installation not having the same userid (number) as your old username had on the old installation. This would have been an issue on any UNIX or Linux system. One thing to think about when creating your accounts on the new system to give them the same userid (number) as they had on the old installation. This really causes havoc on NFS mounts.
Then, there are all the little reconfiguring things like network settings, mini-com, Tripwire, Evolution, and etc.
Again this is something I usually don't ever have to deal with as all my settings usually carry through on an "Upgrade". The closest I might come to a reinstall is if I have a hard drive go out I reinstall the OS on a new drive and then restore my configurations from a backup (I always back up my configurations and user data).
I know that this is a bit "whiney" and for a "hobby OS," it's no big thing, but now that Linux has become my work OS as well, doing this every 3 or six months and risking making serious mistake (my area of special expertise) and losing important files is something that would be worth spending some money to avoid.
As you know I've been using Linux full time at home and at work for years now and I think most of your issues will be worked out as you gain experience and knowlege of the OS. With that experience/knowlege things become easier to solve, lights start to come on and computing really starts getting fun. I just hope you can experience that as soon as possible. It's something I don't believe you can get from the other OSs.
As I said, I intend to use Fedora when stable releases are available, a couple of times a year, for playing with, but am also giving serious consideration to RHEL WS for my work. It's just that I don't know anything much about how it works or what the ultimate costs will be. A "buy-in" of $299 and $60/yr. for maintenance would be worth it to me. But if there are other, significant hidden costs, then it may not be the way for me to go. If it could be maintained using apt, yum, current or some similar free method, then it is even a better value.
I'll be interested to hear how things go. I would like you to also be familiar with the current Fedora line as well as the Enterprise offerings just so you can compare for yourself what the differences are (and give us your own reports on differences/benefits one way or the other). Maybe it will be a good fit for you. If so, good for you, and good for Red Hat.

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Post by dishawjp » Tue Sep 30, 2003 2:41 pm

Void Main,

Thanks for the thoughtful response.

I did try posting my xcdroast difficulties:

http://voidmain.is-a-geek.net/forums/vi ... .php?t=636

but evidently I either failed to include sufficient information, or nobody here was able to point me in the right direction.

The only reason for the reinstall was that problems were piling up and for now, RH9 is my main work and play distribution. I brought up my Evolution difficulties on this forum and to the local LUG, but nobody had any suggestions on how to correct it. It was a bear. I did try poking around on the Ximian.com site to see if there were any similar problems, but it looked like I managed to do something rather unique. I am pretty sure though that it did have something to do with the failed install of Ximian desktop and/or Red Carpet. Once I tried those two installs, I was up that well known creek, without a paddle, and in a chicken wire canoe.

The xcdroast issue was a real surprise since I had used it successfully many times prior to it failing.

Probably because of a combination of factors; my relative inexperience, and the fact that I am experimenting (oh...ok, alright, just plain playing) with a great new OS trying to feel my way around in it, I am managing to break it. One of the things that I REALLY love about Linux is that the files that do stuff can be read. So very unlike the Windows Registry and etc. The problem is that since I do use it for real work now, breakage is a consideration. To date, I haven't lost or corrupted a single work related document or data file. Knowing myself, if I regularly get a neat, new, bleeding edge "toy" Linux (Fedora) to play with and a rock solid reliable "non-toy" Linux for my work, I'll probably be better off in the long run.

Since one of my children is *finally* finished with her education, and I only have to come up with the funds for one tuition, room, board, books, expenses and etc., I find myself with enough money to not only pay for things like food and heat, but also with enough left over to pay for Linux :-)

Actually, there's another reason that I'm going to get RHEL WS. Now that I can, I want to give something back to the people who are making such great software available to all of us for next to nothing. I'm in a position now where I can afford to do it, and I want to. I'll never be a programmer or a developer or be able to contribute in that way. Hell, I can only rarely even attempt to help people on mail lists by answering questions. But I can do this little thing, and hopefully derive some additional personal benefit from it as well in terms of stability and usability.

Once I get it and have it installed, I'll be posting to let you know my impressions of it.

Jim Dishaw

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Post by Calum » Tue Sep 30, 2003 3:36 pm

by the way, with reference to something void main said, what is a good way to keep backups of configuration files? for example, i have slack 9.0, i will probably wipe it (the drive has everything except/home on it) but alot of the files in /etc have been changed by me. i imagine it is not a good idea to simply overwrite my new /etc with my old /etc after the reinstall as version numbers may have changed and some packages may not be included in the new system etc. This applies doubly if i decide to replace slack with another distro.

on the other hand, i'm loath to hunt down all the changes i made and do them all again by hand, so what's a good way to go about it, folks?

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Post by Void Main » Tue Sep 30, 2003 4:21 pm

Calum wrote:by the way, with reference to something void main said, what is a good way to keep backups of configuration files? for example, i have slack 9.0, i will probably wipe it (the drive has everything except/home on it) but alot of the files in /etc have been changed by me. i imagine it is not a good idea to simply overwrite my new /etc with my old /etc after the reinstall as version numbers may have changed and some packages may not be included in the new system etc. This applies doubly if i decide to replace slack with another distro.

on the other hand, i'm loath to hunt down all the changes i made and do them all again by hand, so what's a good way to go about it, folks?
If you don't have a way of doing full backups then at a minimum you should back up /etc and /home as that should cover the majority of the configuration and user data. Obviously if you have placed things outside of those standard directories (/usr/local/etc, etc) you might want to add them to your backup script (Murphy's law states that if you have good backups you will never need to use them, if you do not have good backups you will be very sorry). I make a habit of backing up this sort of data and never having to use it. I find that when I upgrade my system things like web server configuration (httpd.conf are not touched but a new default configuration is placed in the same directory with a *.rpmnew extension. Usually the older config file works flawlessly but if I want to see what new additions have been made I just look at httpd.conf.rpmnew.

And Jim, as far as the XCDRoast thing I am sorry I missed that one. I have a feeling I looked at it but didn't have time to dig into it right away and then forgot about it when I did have time. I do that quite often.

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Post by dishawjp » Tue Sep 30, 2003 5:40 pm

And Jim, as far as the XCDRoast thing I am sorry I missed that one. I have a feeling I looked at it but didn't have time to dig into it right away and then forgot about it when I did have time. I do that quite often.
Void Main,

Please don't even consider apologizing or saying you're sorry. Without your help on this forum and before that on the one which shall remain nameless, I would never have had a chance of becoming a Linux user. You, Calum , LinuxFrank, Tux and the many other fine members of these two forums are the reason that I'm using Galeon on RH9 to type this message; and not still using IE on Win98 as a Linux wannabe.

I can't thank you all enough for all your assistance and patience with me on so many occasions and with so many problems.

As sad as it may be, we all have other things to occupy our minds, time, and lives than Linux :-)

Jim Dishaw

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Post by Tux » Wed Oct 01, 2003 4:53 am

Calum wrote: on the other hand, i'm loath to hunt down all the changes i made and do them all again by hand, so what's a good way to go about it, folks?
diff

NAME
diff - find differences between two files

SYNOPSIS
diff [options] from-file to-file

DESCRIPTION
In the simplest case, diff compares the contents of the two files from-
file and to-file. A file name of - stands for text read from the stan-
dard input. As a special case, diff - - compares a copy of standard
input to itself.

more...

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Post by Tux » Wed Oct 01, 2003 5:54 am

dishawjp wrote:
As sad as it may be, we all have other things to occupy our minds, time, and lives than Linux :-)

Jim Dishaw
Indeedy, that's why it's cool that we can pool our knowledge here and save several hours and a ton of coffee :D
I say 'pool knowledge', i really mean leech void's ;)

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Post by Calum » Wed Oct 01, 2003 2:16 pm

void main, thanks for that!
as always your few words contain enough for me to go on reading and finding out the little things (which are the most important things).

You answered all my questions so thanks again.

btw, i am posting this in dillo! it works! i logged in and everything! (however linuxmail.org won't work, i think it is a reason of javascript) anyway sorry for off topic.

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