Monday, October 06, 2008

cave of wonders, the catacombs

Underneath the town of Linuxville is not only the history of Unix but also room after room down a long corridor. The rooms, 400+ are distros, all similar to some degree but different. On a source code level, you could never get lost as long as you had your handy compiler. On the surface things are more defined for the type of user. Some rooms are so similar, closer inspection is the only way to see they are different. As you know, I am a Ubuntu kind of guy and have tried most of the Ubuntu flavors, but I started out with Slackware and Red Hat. Now Red Hat has the non-commercial focused Fedora distro. I have installed Fedora 9 on the same drive I have Ubuntu on. My Fedora uses the Gnome desktop. You can't tell if you are using Ubuntu or Fedora except for the little icon indicating where the menu is. Yeah, using the same desktop GUI does that. The desktop GUI is the same and under that both the Linux and the communities behind them are just a tad bit different. Ubuntu has Canonical, Fedora has Red Hat, Ubuntu is Debian (.deb), Fedora is Red Hat Packaging Manager (.rpm). You can argue all day about the advantages of each. I could recommend either, no sweat. So, with philosophical and minor technical differences you might find either will do what you need to do and still get support. My impression is that Ubuntu is a newer and global out reach, Fedora is an established, well known system, almost a standard worldwide for Linux. It is a good thing the pool of applications are the same for either system, albeit it is said that Debian based software repositories have more stuff. If you are looking for work here in the US like yours truly, the Red Hat brand is more familiar to server folks and engineering folks. Knowing Fedora ins and outs puts you in the ballpark for Admin work. You know, businesses like to channel you to a brand-named experience, do you know Red Hat, Suse or.........whatever. And alas, there are not enough Linux businesses or home users for a vibrant and profitable Linux based PC support person. Besides, from my experience so far, Linux runs great so there is less need for Linux support once it is setup. But users could still use the help and I could use the work.

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