[buug] tired of redhat, and i want something new to play with

Michael Paoli michael1cat at yahoo.com
Sun May 4 19:48:38 PDT 2003

Well, I'll attempt to not be too redundant, anyway ...
--- mikron <mikron at idiom.com> wrote:
> for a wide variety of reasons, I am sick of red hat linux, and I want
> to try something else for some of my home systems.  any suggestions?  I
> am thinking of trying debian or freebsd; both seem to have plenty of
Knowing why you're sick of Red Hat and why you're thinking of Debian and
FreeBSD - and perhaps also what family(/ies) of hardware you have to
play with might help a bit.
> 1) How does debian stack up to rpm based distros?  does it use
> runlevels, or is it more bsd like in startup/shutdown?
Debian has a rock solid excellent packaging system - but it's not RPM.
Many (most? :-)) would argue that Debian's packaging system is superior
to RPMs ... but RPMs are the de facto (and LSB) standard for LINUX
distributions.  Debian does support installation of RPM packages in one
of two ways:
A) recommended method - use the Debian package alien - it will handle
RPM packages and track them within the Debian package management system.
B) One can install rpm and its requisite libraries and use rpm itself on
Debian - this is however generally not recommended, as the Debian
package management system will be unaware of packages handled through
that means.
And my random comment - who'd want RPMs on Debian anyway?  Most anything
anyone would ever want is already available an packaged as a native
Debian package anyway. :-)  [Okay, so maybe there may be some exceptions
if you want to install come commercial closed-source binary-only
RPM packages.]
Debian uses a System V / LSB style init/runlevel/rc configuration.
> 2) How much of a learning curve is there for freebsd coming from a
> linux environment?
I haven't really worked with the *BSDs, but I'd guestimate it would
mostly depend on how many non-LINUX UNIXes one is familiar with.  Every
UNIX(-like) Operating System is a bit different, and for better or
worse those differences tend to be most noticeable in the Systems
Administration realm.  Once one's worked with enough different
"flavors", one can at least better anticipate where to expect the
differences to show up - but there's always at least some learning
> 3) How widespread is *bsd or debian in the corporate world?  besides
> yahoo, anyone else use bsd?
You can find at least some of this information by poking around the
relevant sites and doing some research on the Internet.  Hard numbers
are a bit harder to come by, though - particularly where software can be
freely duplicated and used, and need not be sold.  Extensive (balanced
and comprehensive) survey techniques are probably the best way to gather
such data - unfortunately that's a fairly expensive process - hence the
data is a bit more sparse than one may wish.
> 4) In 50 words or less, why you use debian(or freebsd).
Debian rocks! - cool, very solid, best in the "free" senses of the word.

Other random comments:
Debian isn't necessarily the easiest LINUX distribution to install (not
necessarily a top recommendation for a LINUX/UNIX newbie if they're
going to install it themselves unassisted).
Some excellent ways to stay on top of Debian stuff - subscribe to Debian
Announcements/News (debian-announce) and Debian Weekly News
(debian-news).  You can also peruse the archives of these items.
If you run Debian system(s), you should probably also subscribe to
Since you mentioned you have Red Hat installed, there's an item in the
most recent Debian Weekly news that may be of interest - see the
item: "Installing Debian over a remote GNU/Linux System.
This document explains the steps required to change the operating system
running on a remote system to Debian." in:
No guarantees that's easier or preferred means compared to doing an
ordinary Debian installation - but with Red Hat already installed, it
may be worth looking at (if nothing else, it can be at least a useful
"trick" for remotely converting a system to Debian).

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