View Full Version : Linux may be better, so long as you don't upgrade

11-21-2005, 11:03 PM
Yes, I'm a real link monkey today. That's because my blog isn't working properly, so I have to post here. Anyway, this was interesting:


The gist of the article is even though Linux may be more secure, businesses are always having to upgrade systems and the process of changing a Linux application stack is so complex, the resulting downtime can be pretty harmful.

Of couse, studies like this are never exact, and I'm sure people will say they could have picked a better distro, or done things differently, or better admins, or used a backup and migrated to new systems to reduce downtime, and blah blah blah. To that I say: Install any new software on Linux without an internet connection available. It's IMPOSSIBLE.

11-21-2005, 11:46 PM
True that. I'd use linux much more often if there wasn't so much time needed to be spent just getting things working in the first place. The time wasted trying to tinker with linux just to get certain aspects to work is horrible. Not to mention the hardware support (i.e. at my res we all have to have wireless cards, but they aren't supported in most linux distros). IMHO, windows is far superior when it comes to being productive.

11-21-2005, 11:50 PM
I installed debian on my computer but never really used it. I probably would have, but I couldn't get the internet working with my wireless card

11-22-2005, 01:51 AM
It's all in the distribution.

I've become really, really attracted to UbuntuLinux. It's the perfect distribution for me. It's based on Debian, so you get the power of Debians apt-get system, it's meant to be easy to use, so you don't have to spend countless hours to get it to work.
It installs easily on my two platforms (one stationary, one laptop) and everything Just Works(tm).

The only catch is I have to separately install the ndiswrapper package to get my WLAN card to work on the laptop.

If you use a distribution with a reasonably smart package system (Gentoo-based have Portage, Debian-based have apt) then maintaining it becomes a breeze. It's a very simple operation to schedule updates on a box, and barring the update of core components like daemons and the kernel, you will have no downtime at all.

In fact, one of my boxes at home has been running for 120 or so days, doing a system-wide update once a week. It's probably downloaded a newer kernel, but I can't be bothered rebooting :)

And, just so I don't sound like a mad Linux zealot: I dislike a lot of distros out there because they don't follow the Just Works(tm) philosophy. If I want to do anything fancy-schmancy then I can accept having to muck around for hours trying to get it to work.

But, relatively simple operations should Just Work(tm).

11-22-2005, 09:36 AM
I think some of the most important info in the article is the 'bone picking' at the end. While I'm not totally anti-Microsoft, I do tend to prefer Linux, so there's my bias right there. I've personally found that with a decent grasp of the issues, it's hard to break a Linux server, and relatively easy to upgrade without breaking much, if anything. I will agree that a 'Net connection is critical to good Linux maintenance, but then again, I'd also kill anyone that threatened to take away my broadband connection!

11-22-2005, 10:55 AM
There's ways around it.

Set up a server on the network that handles downloading all the new updates and install them on either that machine or a test machine and then you can use that server as a distribution server for the remaining computers on the network once the updates have been validated.

edit - Also yeah I like gentoos packaging and portage system as well. Even though it's based off BSDs port system.
Now a days I don't even bother with distributions I manually compile my entire barebones linux system which has really been a fun learning experience as well as time consuming :O

Rashakil Fol
11-22-2005, 04:03 PM
Install any new software on Linux without an internet connection available. It's IMPOSSIBLE.

How is this impossible?

11-23-2005, 01:28 AM
It's not impossible, it just gets harder. You can order CDs for most distributions, which contain all the packages, and use them as a repository for your package-management system.

But, the downside of that is that you're stuck with the version that's on the CDs.

Besides, who doesn't have an internet connection these days? And, how is installing new software on Windows any easier if you lack an internet connection?

11-23-2005, 01:01 PM
yeah, I'd have to say that ALOT of things are impossible without a good internet connection these days... and what business doesn't have an internet connection?

anyway, why are you installing that much stuff on a business computer? any upgrades can be very quickly sent down the chains of command via CD. for example, at work we have these fuji kiosks, and although they could be upgraded via the internet, upper management would rather send CD's down the chain to the TSM's.

just a little insight to how it works: the CTO creates enough disks for the people directly under him/her. they create enough CD's for the people right below them and it goes on (about 3 levels) until it hits the technical service managers. they go around to each of their stores and completely re-ghost all of them.

simple, quick, and by re-ghosting the entire system, it makes sure the peons don't ........ it up too bad. any data they need saved gets sent to a central server. it uses the same connection it uses for credit card transactions ;-)

11-23-2005, 05:30 PM
>Install any new software on Linux without an internet connection available. It's IMPOSSIBLE.
It is possible, it's just a PITA. Basically just like with Windows.

Besides, that test is completely bogus. The GNU/Linux admins had to UPGRADE GLIBC! Without any intervention from the distribution!
That would be something like changing all the .DLL files in C:\WINDOWS from the 2k to the XP or 2k3 version and hoping nothing breaks. It's just stupid. You never upgrade the basic libraries in Windows if it's not an update from MS. The same happens with GNU/Linux. If it doesn't come from the vendor, it's usually a bad idea to install it.
Some programs won't be a problem (just like you install sofware on Windows), but the basic libraries... Completely brain-........ retarded doesn't even begin describing it.

The exception is when you do it on a toy machine, just to see if you can, but that defies most rules of 'normal' reasoning anyway.

11-24-2005, 05:25 PM
Windows XP Pro: $79.99
Windows Server 2003 Standard with 5 CALs Academic: $349.00
A mini network of Windows XP Pro boxes (40): $3200.00
A mini network of Windows Server 2003 standard (40): $13960.00
A massive network of ANY Linux distrobution [infinite]: Priceless

11-24-2005, 07:29 PM
Except if you're buying that many copies of a windows OS you can probably get volume licensing ;)

11-25-2005, 08:25 AM
>Except if you're buying that many copies of a windows OS you can probably get volume licensing

Well, it's still gonna be more expensive, methinks.

Where do you get that price for WinXP from? Here, pro is about 300.
Oops, that's actually Office pro. Still, WinXP pro is 145EUR.