Debian vs Fedora (again)

Debian vs Fedora (again). This
weekend I set aside some time to upgrade my wee Debian server.
They've finally released “sarge”, an update that was years in the
making, and I figured it was time I spent some time on that machine
getting it back in shape.

As it happens, I
also wanted to tweak how my mail server ran the Open-Xchange server
(actually I just wanted to make it work). It runs Fecora Core 2.

The results are in:

  • Debian
    server: complete OS upgrade done (including kernel), with only a minor
    quibble over what a mouse was (it seemed to forget).
  • Fedore
    Core 2 server: still in progress. It's pants, it really is.
    The packaging system just isn't as complete as Debian's, the
    package/dependency management has gaping holes, conflicting
    repositories are all over the place, and OX is a world of pain.

Debian's update was really, really easy. I just followed the instructions. (Some folks who didn't ran into trouble…)
One 600MB download, a few questions, the obligatory update of the
NVidia drivers (Why? Why not just open them up and let Debian
redistribute them?), a minor quibbling while telling it that, yes, it
still had the same mouse it always had, look, look, there it is, and
the whole thing is up and running.

Compare and
contrast with Fedora Core 2, where RedHat maintains a fairly restricted
set of packages and the world-and-his-wife has set up their own RPM
repository with different dependency and naming/numbering
mechanisms. Package X needs package Y(1), package Z needs Package
Y(2), Y(1) and Y(2) are effectively the same as far as one part of the
package management system goes, so you can only have one of them
installed. But they're different as far as another part goes, so
you can't meet both dependencies using just one of the packages.

It can be quite, ahem, frustrating.

And remember, Debian is completely free, supported by volunteers. Fedora is sponsored by RedHat. This would not persuade me to spend a fortune on any of RedHat's enterprise products.  [Geoff's Blog]

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