I’m trying to test mysql replication and mysql proxy, and later on will try some grid thing to see how current web sites setup their environment. This is a great chance to me to try out different Linux distro, running in VirtualBox on my home Vista machine (4 core 6G mem 😉 ).
I did some research around and tried to figure out what are the most popular distro, after trying wikipedia, distrowatch, and some other sites, I listed candidates here (by priority):
- Ubuntu and Debian
- Fedora and CentOS
Soon I gave up Gentoo as it may take too long to build up the system, though I’m not quite sure, and I believe small start-up cannot afford the time. I tried Slackware which … I cannot figure out how to proceed installation, I believe I’m just to stupid to dig things out but obviously it is not what I want. Mandriva finally became one (I can install 6 distro in total), though it is not that easy to find its 64-bit free edition.
Alright, time to install – all these distro are really friendly on installation. Put a disc in, boot machines up, and instruction after that were all clear enough. All these distro have both graphical and text mode, and I used to choose text mode. Mandriva and openSUSE don’t have SSH server installed by default, which is not that good, and their firewall setup by default does not open for SSH (sure thing as SSH server is not installed). Ubuntu/Debian and Fedora/CentOS by default installed quite a lot packages that I don’t want them at all, but anyway it’s better than missing packages 🙂 . All distro asked for my own account but at least Mandriva didn’t install sudo for me, which is tricky. I have to say, Ubuntu is doing great job on these stuffs, almost made everything I want on the default installation.
Now, after installation, I want to do couple of things:
- Remove unrelated packages
- Update the system to latest packages
- Install mysql server/mysql proxy, etc
Now, CentOS becomes the worst distro, while I was trying to do “yum remove <some packages>”, it can correctly (?) determine the dependencies. However, it seems it was not doing the right order to uninstall packages, things like gconf and gtk gave me great headache to make things clean, and finally I have to get all (non-necessary) packages back to the system as I don’t want to break anything.
openSUSE is another tricky one – it is not bad but I don’t quite understand the design goal. For example, I was trying to remove some x86_64 packages, it would do that for me, but also try to install 32bit x86_64 packages, or downgrade the version, or install something else (such as for the missing lib). This is ridiculous, if the package is providing some necessary libraries, just tell me there are dependency there and I can decide if I want to remove the dependencies or not, and whenever I want to remove a specific package, I don’t mind if it is 32bit.i386 or 32bit.x86_64, ot 64bit.x86_64 – just remove it for me.
openSUSE got another problem is that CD/DVD is by default in the distro repository (guess it is because I installed from DVD), so without removing the repo, every time it would ask me put the installation disc in, which is too bad. Luckily, zypper clearly told me how to remove a repo entry and things worked perfectly after that.
Mandriva has the same problem as openSUSE and removing CD/DVD from repository is not supported by urpmi, but find out the configuration file is not that hard, and “#” is the standard way to comment entries out, which is fair enough.
I haven’t tested more yet, but based on my experience playing with couple of distros, I would like to rate Ubuntu and Debian as the best, Fedora is really close to these two, Mandriva and openSUSE is a little bit behind, and CentOS is something better to avoid.
All about installation, nothing else. 🙂