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Re: OS recommendations/Aging software issues

On Thu, Jun 02, 2005 at 09:34:53AM -0400, Marc M wrote:
> Hi, 
> I work for a major defense contractor that is very tight with money at 
> times. Two years ago, before I came, they got RH 9 (bought or downloaded- 
> whatever). I guess that got deemed appropriate to buy at the time, and it 
> has been sitting here getting old ever since. The purpose of this server is 
> to run Symantec Manhunt on it as an IDS. They bought Manhunt at the same 
> time and never got around to deploying it until now. 
> Now I am about to deploy a linux server (Dell) and I am trying to figure out 
> which version to go with - RH 9, FC 1-3, or whatever. I want it to be 
> redhat-based since I am the main admin, and I am more comfortable with that 
> than on debian based systems. 
> On the other hand I am not sure what to do. My boss makes the argument that 
> we need to run the oldest, since he has seen versioning issues and conflicts 
> in this situation. However most of that is in the world of Windows which 
> does stupid things by default as we all know. 
> In this scenario my argument is <still> that we should go with something 
> more recent. I don't like the idea of putting something out there that is so 
> old it isimpractical by today's standards, that am going to think is stupid. 
> I guess there is some wisdom in being able to keep the age of the OS in sync 
> with the age of the software, but in the linux realm, that really isn't the 
> same issue as it is in other areas - right? OTOH I don't want to do a 'yum 
> update' on the box and not be able to get updates because the version is so 
> <frickin'> old. I think FC2 would be a good choice. Although it is still 
> old, it at least is a little bit ahead of RH9. An additional concern - even 
> if I were to deploy FC2, I would probably want to upgrade that too. Is that 
> gonna be a problem? Can I upgrade versions of Fedora (2 to 3 to whatever) on 
> a production box without a lot of problems? Will yum do that cleanly and 
> consistently without a lot of headaches? 
> Whatever choice I make is going to have to last for a good while. Does 
> anyone have any advice for this situation? 
> Thanks in advance
> Marc

You've already received a lot of advice, most of it good. 

One important thing has not been pointed out by the other posters, though 
one of them alluded to it. That important fact is: RED HAT IS NO LONGER
SUPPORTING RH9. As was pointed out elsewhere, others are still providing
security patches for it. However, this sounds like a "mission-critical"
function, do you want to entrust it to an obsolete/unsupported version
of the OS? I wouldn't!

As others suggested, you should find out what distributions/versions of
Linux are required for the app you want to run, and choose one from that
list that is most likely to receive ongoing support from its vendor.
Keep a spare machine (preferably identical to the production one) up to
date with all vendor-released patches/updates, and once you've proven that
each batch of updates causes no trouble, apply them to the production box.


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