Thursday, May 29, 2008

Distro for Work Desktop

As part of a migration exercise from a Windows environment to a Linux one, the question of which distro to use for the servers and desktop is inescapable.

Should Centos be on the server? Should Debian or Ubuntu? Why not Gentoo? All are fine distros with strong community and tons of docs around and more importantly for a server OS, there are long support (patches) cycles.

After much discussion we decided to go for Centos as coming from the Red Hat code base, many 3rd party stuff will work with it.

I am more partial to Ubuntu servers, but Centos is a fine choice too.

Desktops. comes down to Ubuntu, hands down. Why?
  1. Ubuntu is designed to be user friendly.
  2. Hardware support is excellent.
  3. The current 8.04 is LTS and will have patch support for the next 3 years on the desktop. So Fedora and OpenSUSE are out.
  4. We are already running Ubuntu daily and so we are familiar with it.
  5. Tons of pacakages available from repos.
  6. It's free (as in cost).
When you have about 400 PCs to migrate we cannot afford to go for something that is hard to maintain and support. Centos is simply horrible as a desktop OS - the hardware support is just plain bad.

The previous vendor recommended OpenSUSE for the desktops.

OpenSUSE is a fine distro ( I was running it for 3 years and Novell's OpenOffice is simply wonderful), but I wonder have they really thought it out. I mean it is a community distro and was not meant for the Enterprise; granted tech-wise it is good, but for 18 months of patches I am not gonna base my Enterprise PCs on it.

At the least they could have recommended SLES or SLED.

Guess they were just in to fulfil their contractual obligations get the money. People like those give us IT folks a bad name.

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