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

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Sat Nov 24 17:17:45 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.

Yes, RHEL5 was cut towards the end of FC6 development.

> (We use FC6 for our company's Asterisk PBX server and it has been rock 
> solid so far.)

But active development has stopped on FC6 and bug/security fix updates 
will stop soon.

> 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.

Bug/security fixes have already stopped there.

> 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 
> 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?
> 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 
> 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?

The quality is not so much of an issue if you take fedora near the end 
of a development cycle, but then you won't be able to get updates for 
very long.  In any code base the size of a linux distribution there are 
always going to be bugs that aren't discovered until later.  The real 
value of the enterprise distributions is that they provide updates to 
fix these bugs without surprising behavior changes over a period of many 

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com

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