FC5 in a commercial product (was Re: Wanna give me a hand debunking this?)

John Summerfield debian at herakles.homelinux.org
Wed Nov 21 21:12:15 UTC 2007

Eric wrote:
> At 06:46 PM 11/20/2007, Les Mikesell wrote:
> <LM>>>>>The piece that it misses is that there are (so far...) 3 
> releases of fedora for every RHEL.  As the RHEL cut time approaches, 
> fedora becomes increasingly reliable, so RH resources are doing 
> something.   However, after the cut (which will have pretty much the 
> same versions of everything the concurrent fedora has minus some kernel 
> features), fedora returns to its wild and crazy ways for its next 2 
> releases.<<<<
> Where did FC5 fit in the sequence?  If the 3:1 ratio is more or less 
> absolute, I'd guess that FC5 was Wild And Crazy #2B and FC6 was Sorta 
> Quiet And Stable #2.
> (We use FC6 for our company's Asterisk PBX server and it has been rock 
> solid so far.)
> We have a new client who is using FC5 in a commercial coin-operated 
> entertainment machine.  Now, obviously a software failure in a machine 
> like that isn't going to cause any direct injury (might cause indirect 
> injury when the user gets pissed and throws a chair through the front of 
> the unit) but neither will it help the company's reputation in any 
> measurable way.
> I have already told them that using Fedora (any Fedora) in a commercial 
> product is probably Not A Good Idea, for reasons elucidated often in 
> this and other forums.  Are there any articles or white papers written 
> by members of the Fedora team, or others who know far more than I ever 
> will about this stuff, that I can download and show to our client?
> I have suggested that they move to RHEL or CentOS... any others that are 
> specifically targeted to reasonably-high-reliability commercial systems?
> (There are no hard real time requirements in the system.)
> But now, let's back off for a minute and think about this.
> The kernel is pretty much the same across all distros, isn't it?  Isn't 
> F7's 2.6.21 pretty much the same as RHEL's 2.6.21 or CentOS's 2.6.21 

RHEL and clones do not have 2.6.21. I run a RHEL5 clone on my desktop:
16:48 [summer at numbat ~]$ uname -r
05:56 [summer at numbat ~]$

RHEL and clones have 2.6.9.

Fedora change kernel versions, FC7 never had a kernel that old.

> except for some differences in configuration?  And are the kernels still 
> following the convention of the even-numbered releases (2.4.x, 2.6.x) 
> being the stable ones and the odd-numbered releases (2.3.x, 2.5.x) being 
> the unstable "development" releases?

No. There is not 2.7, development's done in the mainline kernel these days.

Previously, vendors were expending lots of effort retrofitting 
development features to so-called stable kernels.

> If that is true, and understanding that individual kernel releases may 
> have problems unique to that release (e.g. 2.6.23 might have broken 
> something that worked fine in 2.6.22), what else is it about Fedora that 
> makes it not-quite-ready-for-prime-time?  The applications and 

the enterprise kernels are going to be maintained at that level (though 
probably with some retrofitting) for years by all vendors in the 
enterprise market.

> utilities, and perhaps some of the drivers and daemons, right?  So, if 
> our client's application isn't using any of the distro's applications, 
> and only a minimal number of drivers and daemons (that can be 
> individually validated, or perhaps rolled back to previous stable 
> versions), what is it about Fedora that's likely to cause trouble?

I would prefer to base from EL because, at any time, its worst quality 
is likely to be at least as good as Fedora/OpenSuSE/etc worst. That's 
why folk pay for it.

That aside, if they're not going to update firmware it probably doesn't 
make a big difference.

Probably they're better working from Debian which has a smaller 
footprint, or Gentoo with (I haven't checked, but probably[1]) has a 
smaller footprint still, or even a specialist embedded distro.


[1]Years ago, on RHL 7.3 I tried to install ghostscript without X. 
Ghostscript pulled in part of X (probably for some fonts). On Gentoo, 
one would set up the build system to not support X, and the Ghostscript 
package would build without X and so be smaller.



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