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Discussion on: Which is the best Linux server distro?

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lietux profile image
Janne "Lietu" Enberg

Comparing anyone to Google is just ignorant. Google has some 100k employees with a quick look at Wikipedia. What they are able to do is quite different from what almost anyone on the planet is able to do.

Google running a "custom version of debian" could easily mean they're manually packaged every single thing themselves to make everything work unattended. Do you seriously expect every small company out there to be able to put the same effort into managing their servers as Google?

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anonymouscoward profile image
Anonymous-Coward

May be so, but still, thousands of smaller companies have no problem running Debian based infrastructure. Those don't have that many employees. IME, Ubuntu server, which is Debian based, is extremely convenient to run as a server, more so than anything RH-based. It's package ecosystem is still somewhat larger than RH's, and in 10 years since I started using it as a server I didn't have a single problem with package dependencies, despite using tons of PPAs. There's no PPA equivalent in the RH world, and whenever I needed to get my hands into anything RH or Fedora, I sooner or later ran into package dependencies trouble.

Another argument for Debian-based servers: there is a chart somewhere with what distro is based on what other distro. More than half of all distros out there are Debian-based. RH-based ones barely account for a quarter. That means you're twice more likely to get distro-/package-related support, if you need it, if you run something Debian-based rather than RH-based.

As for Google, I can tell you first hand that while they do inspect and get every single package they allow on their machines, they don't repackage them. They just built a ton of stuff on top of Debian. Really, a huge lot. Choosing Debian must have had at least something to do with how easy it is to customize and script Debian-based systems.

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lietux profile image
Janne "Lietu" Enberg

Another argument for Debian-based servers: ... More than half of all distros out there are Debian-based. RH-based ones barely account for a quarter.

Your logical fallacy is: Bandwagon. yourlogicalfallacyis.com/bandwagon

The rest is anecdotal: yourlogicalfallacyis.com/anecdotal

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anonymouscoward profile image
Anonymous-Coward

I meant half of all distros being Debian based and only a quarter being RH based as a statistical argument. It's highly unlikely that many more distributions use debian as a base even if Debian is a less stable or otherwise worse base distro than redhat. Possible, but unlikely. It's more likely that there's something (or some more things) that Debian does differently that makes it easier or more convenient in a different way to build and customize distros based on Debian. Since most often when, as a company, you use a Linux distro for your servers, you customize it, and maintain those customizations, that would be a significant advantage for Debian.

Personal experience is always anecdotal. Yours included. Statistics, on the other hand, is based on data, not anecdotes. Debian-based systems have a much larger installed base than RH (server-side), which implicitly means a larger community and a wider area of applications and more varied setups in which Debian-based systems run. This, in turn, means better community support. That's not something to be discarded for a server OS.

RH, as a server OS, has the upper hand when you actually need all the enterprise-specific features that RH adds on top of what's freely available as open source, such as infrastructure management or high availability, plus the paid support. If you don't, RH doesn't have anything on other distros, except a smaller package library than Debian-based systems.