Should I use CentOS?

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Should I use CentOS?

Postby CY087 » 2012/05/11 13:59:27

Hello all,

First, let me explain that rather weak Subject line:

I am a moderately experienced Linux developer, 8 years young (and many years older). I have built and have been "living on" a very specialized set of Linux end user applications that supports the operations of thoroughbred horse trainers in regional Australia. That description warrants more explanation. What I really have is a small "company" of myself and 2 other developers. We have built, with the input of our users, an extremely niche market set of Linux applications that assist thoroughbred horse trainers to run their business. For various reasons, this is targeted at trainers who operate a stable of up to 30 or so horses.

For the last three years we have been doing this on an extremely "hacked" version of another community rpm based distro. Various recent events in the management structure and philosophies of that distro have recently made it harder for us to keep a stable development and production environment going. (More explanation, sorry, I'm not having a good day.) It is hacked in the sense that a) we use a lot of core product at the latest available stable versions, things like gsl and other statistics libraries and b) we rely on specific older versions of other core product like "lynx" and "html2text". But we have one specific need, postgresql 8.4 (because we have a large database on our server that is shared with all our customers and that is the latest that all can use).

Here are my real questions succinctly as I can put them, as I have not been able to see answers on the CentOS website or by browsing this forum:
1) Is CentOS a "release" or "rolling" based distro?
2) Can we "pin" versions of libraries?
3) Is it, how can I put this, a "good" developers system? I ask this because the distro we are currently using is now actively "discouraging" its use as a development platform.
4) Can I use an LXDE desktop? (That's a personal one. Seriously, I can no longer put up with the tripe* in both KDE and Gnome.)
* "fantastic desktop experience", "fantastic user experience", "bling", "poptarts" etc etc
5) Can it (yum) gracefully handle integration of SRPMS from external sources?
6) Toolchain versions, can we get and use different versions of autotools suite for different external sources?


This list is getting too long, but I hope it gives an idea of the issues we face here and why I am looking for a new solution.

Thanks in advance for any input.
Cy
CY087
 
Posts: 3
Joined: 2012/05/11 12:22:40

Should I use CentOS?

Postby pschaff » 2012/05/11 21:18:34

Welcome to the CentOS fora. Please see the recommended reading for new users linked in my signature.

CY087 wrote:
... we have one specific need, postgresql 8.4 (because we have a large database on our server that is shared with all our customers and that is the latest that all can use).

CentOS-6 currently has postgresql-8.4.9-1.el6_1.1 and the major versions of applications will typically not change for the life of the distro.

Here are my real questions succinctly as I can put them, as I have not been able to see answers on the CentOS website or by browsing this forum:
1) Is CentOS a "release" or "rolling" based distro?

CentOS follows the major and minor releases from TUV through the production life cycle. See the FAQs for more.

2) Can we "pin" versions of libraries?

You certainly can exclude specific packages from being updated in the yum configurations, but in doing so will forgo security and bug-fix errata. Enterprise Linux goes to great lengths to preserve ABI/API compatibility across a major release, so this is usually unnecessary.

3) Is it, how can I put this, a "good" developers system? I ask this because the distro we are currently using is now actively "discouraging" its use as a development platform.

It would be interesting, particularly as we are in Social, to know what distro you are talking about, and it might also help you get better advice. As far as I am concerned CentOS is a very good development environment. YMMV.

4) Can I use an LXDE desktop? (That's a personal one. Seriously, I can no longer put up with the tripe* in both KDE and Gnome.)
* "fantastic desktop experience", "fantastic user experience", "bling", "poptarts" etc etc

It is not in any of the well-known repos. You might look at XFCE from the EPEL repo for a lighter weight desktop, or roll your own packages. Looks like Fedora 14 might be a good starting point. Perhaps EPEL could be persuaded to carry it.

5) Can it (yum) gracefully handle integration of SRPMS from external sources?

That's kind of an oxymoron. Yum cannot directly handle creating binaries from SRPMS, but you can rebuild from SRPMs as linked in my previous answer, and create your own local repo. It can handle various Repositories including local ones.

6) Toolchain versions, can we get and use different versions of autotools suite for different external sources?

Short answer is yes, but I'm not totally clear on your definition of "autotools suite for different external sources" and the details might get quite hairy if you must have different toolchains in use simultaneously. There are various "compat" packages that can be installed alongside the standard ones for such purposes.
Code: Select all
# yum list gcc\* compat\*
Loaded plugins: changelog, fastestmirror, priorities, refresh-packagekit
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
Installed Packages
gcc.x86_64                                    4.4.6-3.el6                  @base
gcc-c++.x86_64                                4.4.6-3.el6                  @base
gcc-gfortran.x86_64                           4.4.6-3.el6                  @base
gcc-java.x86_64                               4.4.6-3.el6                  @base
Available Packages
compat-dapl.i686                              1:1.2.19-1.el6               base
compat-dapl.x86_64                            1:1.2.19-1.el6               base
compat-dapl-devel.i686                        1:1.2.19-1.el6               base
compat-dapl-devel.x86_64                      1:1.2.19-1.el6               base
compat-dapl-static.x86_64                     1:1.2.19-1.el6               base
compat-dapl-utils.x86_64                      1:1.2.19-1.el6               base
compat-db.i686                                4.6.21-15.el6                base
compat-db.x86_64                              4.6.21-15.el6                base
compat-db42.i686                              4.2.52-15.el6                base
compat-db42.x86_64                            4.2.52-15.el6                base
compat-db43.i686                              4.3.29-15.el6                base
compat-db43.x86_64                            4.3.29-15.el6                base
compat-expat1.i686                            1.95.8-8.el6                 base
compat-expat1.x86_64                          1.95.8-8.el6                 base
compat-gcc-34.x86_64                          3.4.6-19.el6                 base
compat-gcc-34-c++.x86_64                      3.4.6-19.el6                 base
compat-gcc-34-g77.x86_64                      3.4.6-19.el6                 base
compat-glibc.x86_64                           1:2.5-46.2                   base
compat-glibc-headers.x86_64                   1:2.5-46.2                   base
compat-libcap1.i686                           1.10-1                       base
compat-libcap1.x86_64                         1.10-1                       base
compat-libf2c-34.i686                         3.4.6-19.el6                 base
compat-libf2c-34.x86_64                       3.4.6-19.el6                 base
compat-libgfortran-41.i686                    4.1.2-39.el6                 base
compat-libgfortran-41.x86_64                  4.1.2-39.el6                 base
compat-libstdc++-296.i686                     2.96-144.el6                 base
compat-libstdc++-33.i686                      3.2.3-69.el6                 base
compat-libstdc++-33.x86_64                    3.2.3-69.el6                 base
compat-libtermcap.i686                        2.0.8-49.el6                 base
compat-libtermcap.x86_64                      2.0.8-49.el6                 base
compat-openldap.i686                          1:2.3.43-2.el6               base
compat-openldap.x86_64                        1:2.3.43-2.el6               base
compat-openmpi.i686                           1.4.3-1.el6                  base
compat-openmpi.x86_64                         1.4.3-1.el6                  base
compat-openmpi-devel.i686                     1.4.3-1.el6                  base
compat-openmpi-devel.x86_64                   1.4.3-1.el6                  base
compat-openmpi-psm.x86_64                     1.4.3-1.el6                  base
compat-openmpi-psm-devel.x86_64               1.4.3-1.el6                  base
compat-opensm-libs.i686                       3.3.5-3.el6                  base
compat-opensm-libs.x86_64                     3.3.5-3.el6                  base
compat-readline5.i686                         5.2-17.1.el6                 base
compat-readline5.x86_64                       5.2-17.1.el6                 base
compat-readline5-devel.i686                   5.2-17.1.el6                 base
compat-readline5-devel.x86_64                 5.2-17.1.el6                 base
compat-readline5-static.x86_64                5.2-17.1.el6                 base
gcc-gnat.x86_64                               4.4.6-3.el6                  base
gcc-objc.x86_64                               4.4.6-3.el6                  base
gcc-objc++.x86_64                             4.4.6-3.el6                  base
pschaff
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Re: Should I use CentOS?

Postby CY087 » 2012/05/14 01:19:23

Phil,

Thank you for those answers they helped a lot. I had spent some time browsing the wiki but just couldn't see the information in front of me.

I have now installed 6.2 on one of our spare machines and it looks impressive and so far performs well. I have spent a couple of days "playing" and have now started to set it up with the tools we need.

I have a couple of comments (that should probably go in other forums, but I haven't quite figured out the layout yet.)
1) There is an Australian mirror at mirror.aarnet.edu.au which does not appear to be found by the yum front end. This mirror is quite advantageous to us as it is a free download site for BigPond users. I have changed my /etc/yum.repos.d *.repo files to point directly at it, e.g.
[base]
name=CentOS-$releasever - Base
#mirrorlist=http://mirrorlist.centos.org/?release=$releasever&arch=$basearch&repo=os
baseurl=http://mirror.aarnet.edu.au/pub/centos/$releasever/os/$basearch/
gpgcheck=1
gpgkey=file:///etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-CentOS-6

This is working well, but are there any disadvantages in doing this?

2) No LXDE is a shame, but I suppose I can get used to gnome :-) Well actually, I see that openbox is available in the repos, since it is the base dm for LXDE I reckon I'll be looking to follow your suggestion of building it locally. (The framework is gdm=gnome, dm=openbox, desktop=LXDE)

again, thanks
Cy
CY087
 
Posts: 3
Joined: 2012/05/11 12:22:40

Re: Should I use CentOS?

Postby pschaff » 2012/05/14 15:36:29

CY087 wrote:
Thank you for those answers they helped a lot. I had spent some time browsing the wiki but just couldn't see the information in front of me.

You are welcome. Too much information can be as hard to deal with as not enough.

I have now installed 6.2 on one of our spare machines and it looks impressive and so far performs well.
...
1) There is an Australian mirror at mirror.aarnet.edu.au which does not appear to be found by the yum front end. ... I have changed my /etc/yum.repos.d *.repo files to point directly at i
...
This is working well, but are there any disadvantages in doing this?

As long as it stays available there is no problem. All you have lost is redundancy in case of that site goes down. You can add additional URLs under baseurl with whitespace in front and specify "failovermethod=priority" if you want to manage the list yourself rather than trusting fastestmirror.

2) No LXDE is a shame, but I suppose I can get used to gnome :-) Well actually, I see that openbox is available in the repos, since it is the base dm for LXDE I reckon I'll be looking to follow your suggestion of building it locally. (The framework is gdm=gnome, dm=openbox, desktop=LXDE)

Good luck with that. Please start a new thread if you need help there.
pschaff
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Re: Should I use CentOS?

Postby CY087 » 2012/05/15 09:44:57

pschaff wrote:
As long as it stays available there is no problem.

I most certainly hope so! It's been around a while or so, (you can read the history here )
In case you missed it or don't care to ... aarnet is the fundamental foundation of the internet in AU and therefore all the things we hold dear, etc,etc ...



I was "slyly" suggesting that the aarnet mirror get included in the mirror list. Not only for us local's financial advantage but also because the more hits aarnet gets and more appropriately, the more hits on the CentOS mirror then the more likely they get continued public funding to keep it "staying available". If you know what I mean.


All you have lost is redundancy in case of that site goes down. You can add additional URLs under baseurl with whitespace in front and specify "failovermethod=priority" if you want to manage the list yourself rather than trusting fastestmirror.

Ah! Nice clue. Followed this up and now have some appropriate backup mirrors in place. Ater all, I don't want to inconvenience those poor little electrons too much.

Good luck with that. Please start a new thread if you need help there.

Stay tuned. (In fact, please stay very,very tuned :-) )

best regards
Cy
CY087
 
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Joined: 2012/05/11 12:22:40

Re: Should I use CentOS?

Postby pschaff » 2012/05/15 15:07:25

CY087 wrote:
...
I was "slyly" suggesting that the aarnet mirror get included in the mirror list. Not only for us local's financial advantage but also because the more hits aarnet gets and more appropriately, the more hits on the CentOS mirror then the more likely they get continued public funding to keep it "staying available". If you know what I mean.

Too subtle for me :-) and I couldn't do anything about it anyway. Not sure why a major public mirror would not be on the list, but see CentOS Mirroring HowTo for the right contact information. They are on the CentOS Other Region's Mirrors list so it may just be a shortcoming of the fastestmirror plugin that you are not seeing them.
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