Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why I think it is in RedHat's interest to help CentOS...

Today I was asked if there are any security implications in selecting particular licensing model from Microsoft. Basically, I know nothing about that particular subject, and as far as I can remember from some previous experiences, this is something that requires specialization in itself. To cut the story short, I don't intend to waste my time in studying Microsoft's licensing models! So, in the end I basically said that any option is valid from my perspective as long as we have access to security updates. No more no less...

But since everything was about selecting the least expensive solution, I mentioned that it might be beneficial to introduce LibreOffice (OpenOffice) instead of Microsoft Office and/or Linux on certain workstations because people don't use all the functionality of Windows and especially Microsoft Office. It is true that LibreOffice isn't quite a match to Microsoft Office, but for people that only write a single page of something and then send this to a printer it is to much to pay for a whole office suite! Or, those that access remote machines and do their work there it is also to much to maintain the whole workstation with a full productivity suite on it. My idea was, unsurprisingly, rejected because of a slew of problems, like compatibility between different office suites, support for equivalent functionality of Outlook, potential problems with user support, etc. Those might or might not be the problems, but in the end, I was asked what distribution I would recommend if there would be (partial) migration?

I said, without almost any thinking, latest version of Ubuntu LTS! Let me first clarify that I'm actually die hard user of Fedora, and also CentOS, and I use them as much as I can. But, I also stand firmly on the ground and I'm aware of problems associated with that route. First, you'll probably ask why I didn't recommend RHEL? Well, the reason is simple, it costs, and price cut wouldn't be large enough to justify such transition. Scientific Linux, as I already blogged about, has a problem with a name. If I'm going to say "Use Scientific Linux!" probably I would be rejected with a comment something in a line with "Wow, we are not scientific institution!". And for CentOS, well, no timely security updates! Period. Ok, to be honest, I do install CentOS on servers in a good hope that things will become better, but it is on a small scale and I'm usually directly in charge of those servers. Note that I didn't mention Fedora as an alternative. Well, the reasons are bitten to death by now, so I won't go into that.

So this leaves me with Ubuntu or Debian. The clear winner is definitely Ubuntu, more specifically, Ubuntu LTS. The reasons in favor are strong. First, quite user friendly, second, long time support (LTS!), third advanced almost like Fedora, but without Fedora's short support timeframe. Finally, there is possibility of obtaining support contract.

And what's the conclusion? The conclusion is that Ubuntu slowly and certainly is introduced into business environments which might or might not pose a threat to RHEL... decide for yourself...

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scientist, consultant, security specialist, networking guy, system administrator, philosopher ;)

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