On Wed, 25 Jul 2007, Tom Lane wrote:

The problem I've got with Gentoo is that it encourages homegrown builds
with randomly-chosen options and compiler switches.

It encourages it, but it certainly doesn't require it. Knowing that this is a NOC machine, I don't think there's going to be a lot of fiddling with custom builds.

That would tend to make me vote for RHEL/Centos, where long-term stability is an explicit development goal. Debian stable might do too, though I'm not as clear about their update criteria as I am about Red Hat's.

RHEL is certainly on the stable at the expense of slow to change side of things, and Debian stable is even slower. However, at this very moment, there have been very recent refreshes from just about everybody such that the options available are very similar. Here's the current state of things:

RHEL 5.0:  March 2007, kernel 2.6.18, glibc 2.5
Debian Stable 4.0:  April 2007, kernel 2.6.18, glibc 2.3.6
Ubuntu 7.0.4:  April 2007, kernel 2.6.20, glibc 2.5
Gentoo 2007.0:  May 2007, kernel 2.6.19, glibc 2.5

(http://distrowatch.com is the best site to drill through details like this if anyone else wants to dig further/double-check me here)

I would hate to see this system installed with any kernel <2.6.18 or with glibc<2.5 because that's clearly where the line of current generation releases starts. I'd consider Debian Stable a poor choice accordingly. I don't think you're going to see a lot of difference right now between RHEL 5/Gentoo 2007.0/Ubuntu 7.0.4; all the major packages and kernels are really similar. A year from now, there will be much more divergance were a fresh install done with current versions of each at that point, but there's nothing that says the system has to be upgraded then.

The think the main argument for either Gentoo or Ubuntu over RHEL/Centos comes down to ease of installing additional packages to support building the kinds of random software that you end up needing on a development system. Not the core code, but the add-on packages needed to run the various benchmark/monitoring packages people may want. To pick a random example, the last time I was using an older SuSE system it was a pain to get DBT2 running on it, and I ended up having to build the documentation on another system altogether because it was easier than sorting out a weird RPM issue I ran into.

Pulling packages from the Ubuntu universe with apt-get is usually trivial and the available package base is very broad. Running emerge to get new things into Gentoo is normally straightforward. RPM-based installs on RHEL are still sometimes tricky, and my take on the breadth of the official repositories is that they're not as wide.

* Greg Smith [EMAIL PROTECTED] http://www.gregsmith.com Baltimore, MD

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