RedHat vs. the rest of Linux

Aly Dharshi aly.dharshi at
Fri Jun 14 16:21:00 CDT 2002

Greetings Collin, All:

Collins, Kevin wrote:

>Hi All,
>Some time back I read a reply to someone in this group from (I think) Matt
>Domsch (excuse me if I have that wrong) stating that Dell supports Linux on
>all of their servers.


>The first thing that I want to do is remind everyone here that I am a newbie
>to Linux.  The distribution that I have used the most is RedHat (both 7.2
>and 7.3) - primarily because Dell sells it on their servers and on some
>workstations.  I figured, I'll need to know RedHat if I'm going to buy Dells
>with Linux, so I started down that path first.

    Wise idea, to start with the supported OS on Dell servers.

>The reason I bring that up is because I laid my hands on SuSE Linux 8.0
>Professional at Best Buy earlier in the week and have been trying it out as
>a Desktop replacement for Windows at home.  I must say in the week that I
>have used SuSE that I am impressed by it.  Probably 10 times more than I am
>with RedHat - especially with YaST2 and the ability to add software in the
>form of RPMs to a base install.  All of this may be a "newbie" mistake, but
>I feel that I can gain better results from using SuSE than I can from

    Supposedly I was informed a while back that SuSE is the number 1 
distro, followed by RH and down the chain somewhere at number 7 or so 
was Debian and Mandrake. No flames please as this is what I had heard 
from one of the admins whose boss was at a Linux conference. 
Professional is decent, but their basic is crappy. You cannot download 
their workstation edition which is the equivalent of the basic edition 
of RH.

>So the big question here is:  Why does Dell bundle RedHat?  I can understand
>the economics behind the scenes (if that's what it is) and am OK with that.
>But if Dell supports "Linux" and not "just RedHat Linux", then why is RedHat
>the only option for bundling with their hardware?  Is there some fundamental
>reason that the Dell Engineers decided to use RedHat above any other

    What I like about Dell is most of their hardware is generic enough 
to work on most distros. I remember using the P133 desktops with Solaris 
6/7/8 as well as RH Linux 5/6 and it worked A1Okay. But RedHat is most 
used though. Sales are better than that of SuSE. SuSE has never given 
out a decent downloadable iso off their site as I have noted in their 
package list. RedHat is quite decent. I have 3 CD's of the stuff off the 
web for 7.3 and 2 for 7.2 and it works perfectly with all the packages 
that one would need for a server. The rest which are not packaged like 
say Exim or Courier (are you listening RH package this stuff its good) 
you can compile and install, courier is RH RPM friendly so you can 
generate your own RPM's.

    Plus they are more popular in North America and Europe than is SuSE 
(correct me if I am wrong). I have heard that people sometimes have 
compiling issues on SuSe or some software isn't SuSE compatible (correct 
me if I am wrong). YaST is not bad at all I like it better than the 
Nautilus program which Linuxconf beats any day of the week.

>The other (probably more important) question is: Is there anything that
>anyone in this group whose experience tells them that SuSE is a bad way to
>go compared to RedHat?  Should I use RedHat because it is fundamentally
>better than SuSE?  Should I go down the RedHat path and be done with it?  If
>so, WHY?

    Recently the U of L took a vote on the new OS to go to away from 
Solaris (slowly), Debian and RedHat came up. Debian is rock solid but in 
my opinion when I last reviewed it behind times, they were still on a 
2.2 kernel. So the fact that RH is supported by Dell, Oracle, I would 
stick to it, even Sun is going to do some Iplanet stuff for Linux the 
first would be RH and Sun Linux. The school went RH, 7.2 for now. I 
would have liked that they upgrade to 7.3 but maybe they are waiting for 
it to settle down abit, I trust it for my servers though. It fairs well 
on me laptop too.

     Now if I were to call Dell and told them that I was running RedHat 
then I would get a better support as they bundle that (whatever their 
reasons are) I seem to think of SuSE as the BSD of Linux. Not really in 
the shadows but not in the limelight either.

    You mentioned that you are new to Linux, and if you are managing 
Dell servers for whatever your service is then go with RH until you are 
a Linux guru and since you are running SuSE at home you soon will be 
then slowly get off it if you feel compelled to.

>I don't want to start a flame war, I'm just curious about why RedHat is so
>dominant and whether SuSE would be a bad choice for me from a corporate
>server standpoint.  I have so little experience, that I feel I need guidance
>from those who have traveled the road several miles more than I have.
    For a decent SuSE distro I have to pay for it, I am a student and no 
is the answer, the "basic" RH version is the decent as you get a full 
complete set, web servers to multimedia. The Workstation edition for 
SuSE gives that. Even Debian does a better job of providing pkgs aka 
debs. Atleast they provide a decent mail server like Exim. Mandrake 
would be the other choice and was good while it was based on RH but when 
they decided to do their own thing they really messed up. Its decent for 
the desktop.

    So if you want to be hassle free in the office, stick with RedHat on 
the server end, go with SuSE if you like on your office workstation and 
home machine and the reason is that you will have a better time and more 
help from Dell when you call them and say you know what I can't get the 
sound card on my Dell 2550 going and its my blooming mp3 server :) :) :) 
and they may say try this or that, or if you were to ask them that my 
scsi device isn't doing this then they can advise appropriately. I say 
this because you are a newbie to linux. I find RH kernels to be of 
decent quality too.

    Hope that this helps some.



Aly Dharshi
aly.dharshi at
aly.dharshi at

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