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Gentoo On Server Considered Harmful

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the not-a-desktop dept.

Operating Systems 372

Siker writes in to point out his blog post — Why Gentoo Shouldn't Be On Your Server — which seems to have stirred up a lot of discussion, including a thread on the Gentoo forums. From the post: "I firmly believe in updating server software only when you need to. If you don't need new features, and things are working, why change anything? If you update anything you will undoubtedly need to update configuration files. You will need to fix things that break in the upgrade process... This is hard with Gentoo. Gentoo wants you to change a lot of stuff. It wants to be bleeding edge."

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This article makes good points. (4, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795014)

At the same time, the "your system is always approaching the bleeding edge" way of doing things solves one problem that I've always been bothered by with running user servers for suso.org [suso.org] . Eventually, the OS on the server reaches the age where it is no longer supported and updates are no longer coming out for it. This isn't always X years where X is the number of years that a distribution claims to provide package updates for. Its usually X-1. This is because you'd be foolish to use the very latest hasn't been available for more than a day version of Linux. Usually you wait for 6-12 months for it to be mature and have special packages of whatever available for it. Then you spend another month or two setting up the machine and getting it ready for production. By that time, you've already burned over a year of support time. Then you get users onto it and now you only have X-1.5 years of support. On Fedora, this means practically no time is left. Upgrading such a system to the latest version of whatever distro means taking the server down for several hours to upgrade, hope to hell that special packages you've built and configurations aren't broken and in nightmare situations, roll back because something is broken and can't be fixed.

The promise of Gentoo for me is being able to continually upgrade and never get outside of that window of support.

I actually have a new shared user system that is running Gentoo that is kinda in beta right now. This article was very useful for me because it brings up those points about stability that concern me. Its kinda an experiment.

I think I may try Debian next.

Re:This article makes good points. (5, Informative)

lordsilence (682367) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795118)

Gentoo has proven troublesome in a production environment.
The problem isnt updating often... it's when you DONT update often.

We had one system which we didnt bother to update. (Dont fix what isnt broken)
Then one day we had to upgrade some of the services.. which in turn required lots of libraries to be upgraded.

In the end, we had to upgrade kernel.. cause libraries didnt support 2.4 kernel.
Stuff change too much in gentoo to put it simple.. It's easier to keep updating often

emerge sync && emerge -u world
Then iron out all config-changes. Find out which undocumented features were changed, which keys to add to startup script etc.

Lesson learnt: Dont use gentoo on production systems. Run it on your desktop computer you play around with...

Re:This article makes good points. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795480)

Then one day we had to upgrade some of the services.. which in turn required lots of libraries to be upgraded.

In the end, we had to upgrade kernel.. cause libraries didnt support 2.4 kernel.
Stuff change too much in gentoo

How is it Gentoo's fault that the services you run require updated libraries? How is it Gentoo's fault that the libraries you use require a 2.6 kernel?

Seems to me the blame lies with the services and the libraries respectively, and performing the same upgrade would require the same kernel update on other distros too.

Re:This article makes good points. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795924)

In the case of Red Hat, they'll backport changes for you so that you don't need to upgrade 50 other packages in order to get a security patch for Apache to work.

So in a way, yes, it is Gentoo's fault. It's just the way the distro is designed. Everything at the latest revisions possible. Great for a home system, not good for a server you have to maintain.

Bukd your own binaries (2)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795716)

If you have more than one server, the best way to manage updates is to have one server (preferably non-production) on which you build and install binary package updates.

These binary updates can be pushed out to other machines and installed once any config file issues have been ironed out on your package-build machine. For extra kudos, all machines can be used as distcc-servers so that package compilation can be accelerated.

Finally, to reduce load on gentoo's servers and to help keep the machines in sync, the machine on which the packages are built should be the only machine that syncs to Gentoo's servers. All other machines should be configured to get their portage updates from your local build machine.

Re:This article makes good points. (4, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17796004)

Lesson learnt: Dont use gentoo on production systems.

I would see that lesson instead as don't experiment on your production systems. Obsolete hardware is useful for testing out stuff like this.

The reason I don't run gentoo on production systems is simply becuase I am not familiar enough with it and it is different enough from other distributions of linux and other versions of *nix to make things confusing. It's the same reason I don't use reiserfs - if it all messes up how can I or any moderately skilled linux user get things back into operation?

Redhat 6.2 (5, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795160)

Don't fix it if it ain't broke: up 292 days, 22:26 The reason for the short uptime, is PSU upgrades...

Re:Redhat 6.2 (2, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795372)

I ran RedHat 6.2....... 8 years ago. Dude, that's not too cool. IMHO, that was back when there were some more serious remote exploits.

Re:This article makes good points. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795164)

Gentoo brings one thing to the table that I wish other distros would: The ability to do a reverse-dependency analysis of the package tree (revdep-rebuild). Too often, RPM-based distributions must be updated to address security issues, which is often more than risky if you're running, say, Oracle, which has a high level of dependency on library versions (to the point where old compatibility libraries are still required to run it on the RHES 4 distros.)

Having the ability to do the reverse dependency analysis can help you find potential trouble spots before wide deployment.

Re:This article makes good points. (1)

sethawoolley (1005201) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795390)

sourcemage has had this longer than gentoo has.

It's actually a _lot_ better at it, too, since dependency analysis is more difficult than revdep-rebuild comprehends.

Re:This article makes good points. (4, Informative)

Fyre2012 (762907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795208)

The promise of Gentoo for me is being able to continually upgrade and never get outside of that window of support.
I agree. Every now and then a program's latest version doesn't agree with a config script somewhere, but that's what etc-update is for. If something borks, you can always ask the gentoo forums [gentoo.org] , which is an invaluable source of information for all things gentoo. That and the gentoo-wiki [gentoo-wiki.com] .

Also, no one is 'requiring' anyone to upgrade. I administer hundreds of gentoo servers and you don't always need to keep up to date to be secure. Part of the nice thing about gentoo is that you're only installing the packages you need, so if you know of a vulnerability in a script you use, you don't have to upgrade your whole portage tree just to plug a hole.

Re:This article makes good points. (3, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795690)

but that's what etc-update is for.
dispatch-conf is an improved tool for managing configuration files.

Re:This article makes good points. (4, Insightful)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795228)

Then you get users onto it and now you only have X-1.5 years of support. On Fedora, this means practically no time is left.


Which is why IT Pros prefer Red Hat Linux or its unencumbered variants link CentOS, White Box, and Scientific. Better testing up front thanks to the Red Hat gang, and longer shelf life. Which is why most commercial software chooses to support it first, it provides a stable base.

Re:This article makes good points. (1)

oGMo (379) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795338)

Which is why IT Pros prefer Red Hat Linux or its unencumbered variants link CentOS, White Box, and Scientific. Better testing up front thanks to the Red Hat gang, and longer shelf life. Which is why most commercial software chooses to support it first, it provides a stable base.

Not really. "Pros" typically don't care about platform-delivered apps, and they certainly don't care about crap like various RedHat knockoffs. Stability is OK, but in the end it comes down to one thing: paid support. Which is why commercial vendors produce software for it, because you can then buy support contracts for the entire platform. And it's usually a big chunk of change, which makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy.

Re:This article makes good points. (1)

runderwo (609077) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795992)

Stability is OK, but in the end it comes down to one thing: paid support.
It would seem to me that the availability of these two features in a particular distribution would be highly correlated.

Re:This article makes good points. (3, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795358)

Then you get users onto it and now you only have X-1.5 years of support. On Fedora, this means practically no time is left.

What kind of dope uses Fedora on a production server?

Use CentOS - I'm running CentOS 4, and anticipate not having to do *ANYTHING* to my production systems except use them, keep them turned on, and keep them updated (which is about 5 min/week) until 2010 or so.

Re:This article makes good points. (2, Interesting)

suso (153703) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795492)

What kind of dope uses Fedora on a production server?

Here is where I make myself sound like an old man talking to his children about walking through the snow both ways. I knew someone would have to make a remark like this.

I've been using RedHat and thus Fedora for 10 years now. I started out on Linux on the RedHat track. And thus I'm more familiar with it. CentOS wasn't even in diapers and there weren't many other choices. Now that there are things like CentOS, I've actually gotten tired of dealing with rpm dependency issues that Fedora/CentOS/RHEL have and don't want to use it anymore. I once had an error about something like kernel-source requires some audio library.

CentOS updates (2, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795852)

At risk of exposing my ignorance here (I'm a Debian person; the last time I did anything RedHat-based was before automatic package management), what is CentOS's automatic-update feature like? Does it have one?

I assume it uses yum, or something like it, being RedHat, but does it pull from RedHat's servers directly, or are there separate CentOS repositories? I assume it's the latter. In that case, how closely do the CentOS repos track the 'official' RHEL ones, in terms of patches and bugfixes? Not that you'd probably want to do it on a true 'production' system, but can you do the CentOS equivalent of 'apt-get upgrade' and be reasonably assured of not breaking things?

I've always been intrigued with CentOS, and it does seem to have a good reputation as far as stability is concerned, but after growing up with apt-get (and before that, nightmarish experiences with dependency hell on some very early RedHat systems), I've developed a certain perhaps-unwarranted negative bias of everything else.

Re:CentOS updates (4, Informative)

DA-MAN (17442) | more than 7 years ago | (#17796000)

At risk of exposing my ignorance here (I'm a Debian person; the last time I did anything RedHat-based was before automatic package management), what is CentOS's automatic-update feature like? Does it have one?

Yes, it's yum.

I assume it uses yum, or something like it, being RedHat, but does it pull from RedHat's servers directly, or are there separate CentOS repositories?

CentOS Repositories

In that case, how closely do the CentOS repos track the 'official' RHEL ones, in terms of patches and bugfixes?

The official RHEL ones are publicly available, and tracked by CentOS very well. The only changes they make are for trademark requirements. Thus far it has been bug for bug compatible with RHEL.

Not that you'd probably want to do it on a true 'production' system, but can you do the CentOS equivalent of 'apt-get upgrade' and be reasonably assured of not breaking things?

Yes

I've always been intrigued with CentOS, and it does seem to have a good reputation as far as stability is concerned, but after growing up with apt-get (and before that, nightmarish experiences with dependency hell on some very early RedHat systems), I've developed a certain perhaps-unwarranted negative bias of everything else.

I prefer yum myself. I used apt when it first came out, and loved it. Since I got my first 64 bit machine I just prefer something that handles the dual architecture a little better. For the most part they're about the same though.

Debian stable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795568)

I have tried them all and the only one you can trust is Debian stable.
Keeping it up to date is a no risk operation.
Services are stopped and started and any config changes are explained and documented.
Everything else is junk compared to Debian stable.
It even still has SysV init which is a dying "Legacy UNIX" thing... so the OSX, Ubuntu, Slowlaris etc. crowds say..

Debian GNU/Linux (stable), OpenBSD.

Re:Debian stable (2, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795910)

[Debian stable] even still has SysV init which is a dying "Legacy UNIX" thing... so the OSX, Ubuntu, Slowlaris etc. crowds say..

I'm a long-time Debian user, and I also think it's an ugly legacy UNIX thing. It's much better to have some sort of process supervisor that will restart crashed servers, and that will deal with dependencies in some sort of sane manner. The problem is that Debian is huge, and the amount of work required to switch to a new system would be almost equally as huge, but the benefits are comparatively small, so there's never been a push to change to something different.

The bright side of it is, like most of the advances Debian has made, when it finally does get replaced, it'll probably be replaced with something substantially better, because anything less would be unlikely to win the support of Debian's army of volunteers.

Re:This article makes good points. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795598)

I had a simular problem but it was a little worse. It was with mandrake (now mandriva) and not only did they stop updating my version after about a year an a half, they pulled all the existing updates from the servers and they weren't availible anymore. I had some program that was compiled against something that was newer after an update but the next mandrake release version was too new and I couldn't get that program to compile and except the data set from a server that crashed due to harware problems.

Long story short, I spent about 6 days compared to the original 4-5 hours I was expecting in order to get a running version of a program going and move it to a new server. I also ended up fiding a guy who had his system set to cache all the updates, send them to me so I could get everything to were it needed to be and move the data set. Who knows if his cached RPMs were changed or not but at that pint i didn't care. It was a big nightmare I wish not to repeat.

BTW, backups were usless because the database backend was on the machine that crashed and postgre SQL cannot take a data directory from a previous whole numbered revisions and use them without exporting everything and importing it again. I guess I made several mistakes with that setup.

Re:This article makes good points. (1)

matrixhax0r (988785) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795622)

Unfortunately, we will have to wait to read about proper server setups until once the server recovers from a slashdotting. In the mean time, I suggest you emerge -uDN world while you wait.

Re:This article makes good points. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795738)

This article is FUD. Nothing more.

The stability of Gentoo on ANY system is user controlled. Period. Yes functioning hardware is first and foremost, but running a stable/unstable system is entirely set up by user config settings. Its THIS ability in Gentoo, that will determine just what software gets updated at what stage of their particular development.

I keep reading posts in here about constant updates, and bleeding edge, which in turn produce broken Databases, unstable systems etc. If people don't know how to properly Administer their Linux distro's and the software and applications they are running on them, they have no right to complain about the stability/instability of the distros THEY CHOOSE TO RUN.

If people want to complain about a particular program that is unstable or whose updates have caused instability on a system, there are places for that in the forums and on the dev lists. To write off an entire distro. because of individual user limitations and mismanagement is callous and juvenile. Proper Administration of Linux requires knowing each of your distro's limitations and benefits.

I run gentoo on servers, desktops, and notebooks; at work, and at home. Gentoo is the EASIEST distro to control, IMO. It allows me to run stable or unstable designations for my arch-type if I prefer. It allows me to update WHAT I WANT, WHEN I WANT. There is no GREATER control of Linux than that. Is there?

Gentoo is about one thing. Complete System Control. Every facet of it. If sys-admins aren't interested in THAT BENEFIT, I'd like to hear where you find it elsewhere.

Re:This article makes good points. (2, Informative)

scum-e-bag (211846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795968)

If people don't know how to properly Administer their Linux distro's and the software and applications they are running on them, they have no right to complain about the stability/instability of the distros THEY CHOOSE TO RUN.
I just thought I might repeat that point as there are too many Linux "experts" out there whose only real skill is being able to run the installation disk.

Re:This article makes good points. (4, Interesting)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795752)

And that my friend, is the niche Opensolaris will quickly start filling.

calling all trolls (1, Redundant)

Zashi (992673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795022)

Someone tag this article flamebait because hoo-boy are the trolls going to be coming out of the woodwork for this. My prediction, around 200 comments along the lines of "You don't have to update constantly and still get the 2% performance increase from those 72 hours of compiling!!!1!!one"

hey now (1)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795050)

This is hard with Gentoo. Gentoo wants you to change a lot of stuff. It wants to be bleeding edge.

Hey now, anything endorsed by Larry the Cow can't be bad. Larry the Cow and Poochie the dog are similar, in a lot of ways.

Some serious crack smoking... (4, Interesting)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795056)

Gentoo allows you to be on the cutting edge, just like all the other distributions. The primary difference is it makes it very easy for those who don't know what they are doing to be there. Most folks running SuSE, RH, or one of the other 'package' based distributions won't build their own RPM, etc. There is nothing stopping one of the 'normal' distributions from upgrading the kernel with each release. I certainly don't update everything on my Gentoo box because it is there, on my server.

I run Gentoo on a server. The server is stripped down beyond what a typical 'router' distro looks like - one of the reasons I went with Gentoo is I could really trim the system down for the job at hand. My server only gets updates for security, and once in a while a bug fix that impacts the applications running on the server. Not often. When I need to compile something big, the last place I'd do it on is the server itself - it has another task. I take one of my workstations with far more GCC horsepower and let distccd [gentoo.org] do the work for the poor little pizza box. Beyond the initial build, I doubt those boxes have ever compiled anything.

Since it is a source-based distro, I also am not trapped by RPM's or other packages no longer getting provided for my system. One of the applications I had was using RH9 (with paid support) only to have them drop maintenance on it and have the vender drag their feet moving to another platform (clue stick, they had issues with the 2.6 kernel, so would not 'support' any platform but RH 8 and later 9. The enterprise editions? Forget about it... You want to live in the suck, you try keeping one of those boxes alive and secure years after it EOL.

Re:Some serious crack smoking... (2, Insightful)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795112)

Of course some distributions like Debian/Ubuntu/Mandriva let you build the packages if you really want to.

With Debian/Ubuntu it's easily done with apt-build. Mandriva on the other hand, things get a bit more complicated.

Re:Some serious crack smoking... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795254)

You are essentially describing a Slackware system after 20 minutes of install.

Tag: (1)

the_mind_ (157933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795058)

Troll

Re:Tag: (1)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795612)

Then I have already failed, by replying to you.

Depends on admin... (1)

sparcnut (775902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795066)

This whole article is a blatant troll. Gentoo's usability on a production server depends entirely on how you use it. It is up to the admin to manage updating software without breaking anything.

That said, what really ticks me off about Gentoo is when they make big, sweeping changes that aren't backwards compatible. For example: modular X. I know there was plenty of warning, but when modular X went stable all of a sudden *all* packages that needed X now depended on the modular X libs. If you had monolithic X installed, anything that requires X now generates many blockers. That's just *awesome*... you are forced into installing something you shouldn't have to install. The best solution to that problem was really to put all the modular X libs in /etc/portage/profile/package.provided, but that's an ugly hack.

Re:Depends on admin... (1)

lintux (125434) | more than 7 years ago | (#17796018)

but when modular X went stable all of a sudden *all* packages that needed X now depended on the modular X libs.

Dude, that's a lot better than to have all those packages depend on non-modular X packages that don't exist anymore. Actually I'd almost say I'm impressed that they managed to update all those dependencies so quickly. Although depending on both (OR, not AND) would be better, of course...

Out of Context (1)

yamamushi (903955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795070)

I run gentoo on my servers (3 of them), and yes Gentoo may be harmful if you don't know what you're doing. If you're the the kind of person who updates everyday, and stays bleeding edge, it's relatively easy to bring down your own server for a good couple of hours to a few days.



But if you have a good schedule for when you want to update your system, it's as good as any other linux distro out there. What this guy wanted was probably something like Redhat, or Debian (don't nitpick). I don't run enterprise servers, I run basic gaming/radio/website setups, the website server is updated once every 4 days, but I don't get a lot of traffic, and I can afford to have my system come down for a few hours while I figure out what is going wrong.


My gaming server is my testbed, since I update that once a day, if something goes wrong I don't mind digging into it to figure out what went wrong, this usually helps me keep the other sites from screwing up when they update, and I can troubleshoot problems on them before they happen.


Regardless of what you run, there is going to be downtime associated with your distro, and gentoo is no exception. If the guy who wrote this article had any experience with Gentoo, he'd know the hardships that come with it. I'd never reccommend someone to use Gentoo as their server operating system if they've never used it, even if they've had a few months using it, but that doesn't mean it's a bad choice for a server operating system.

And?? (4, Informative)

friedmud (512466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795080)

"I firmly believe in updating server software only when you need to. If you don't need new features, and things are working, why change anything?"

I agree... so why does this preclude using Gentoo?

Just because you _can_ update all the time doesn't mean you should. I've used gentoo for various purposes (server, desktop, laptop). What I usually do is get it setup and install all the packages I need and then leave it for a _long_ time... only upgrading packages that I either need the new capability of or for security purposes.

Look... I personally don't think Gentoo is the best server OS out there... but I also don't think that just because the package system makes it really easy to tinker with the system that Gentoo is inherently unstable...

Friedmud

Re:And?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17796028)

You're retarded. Gentoo doesn't let you get only security updates to old packages, which are sometimes backported by the distro-makers themselves. That's what all the enterprise distros and Debian get you.

Re:And?? (1)

lintux (125434) | more than 7 years ago | (#17796040)

Just because you _can_ update all the time doesn't mean you should.

From what I have heard, it does mean that. Not updating a Gentoy box for half a year or even longer often means that any attempt to upgrade it will be hard and painful.

Part of "article" not quite correct. (4, Informative)

michrech (468134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795088)

There is no 'stable' version of Gentoo. Gentoo is rather a moving target where emerge will forever cause your system to approach the cutting edge.

Yea. Not quite. This is what the "ACCEPT_KEYWORDS=" setting in make.conf is for. If you don't have it set, you get "stable" packages. If you do have it set, you get the unstable stuff.

Further, with the use of the files in /etc/portage, you can have a stable system, but have one or more packages be unstable without having it a system-wide setting.

Haven't read the rest yet, but wanted to point that out.

Re:Part of "article" not quite correct. (1)

sethawoolley (1005201) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795456)

if you don't have actual branches, you get version creep, even if you do that.

This is the main reason I use sourcemage, which is source-based, has all the package management capabilities of gentoo (but easier), and has actual branches.

I run servers on the stable branch.

Gentoo is shit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795098)

Not just the "bleeding-edge" software, but especially the philosophy behind it.

Gentoo may be good enough for the Linux lovers who care only about running Linux and not about using their computer, but please stop trying to make Gentoo look like it appeals to more than 0.00000001% of computer users.

It's a dirty job (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795100)

If nobody had "bleeding edge" software running, how would anyone know when it was ready to use ?

This person is obviously no pioneer, & exhibits the same attitude described in the "Stale Tech" article on Slashdot awhile ago.

Re:It's a dirty job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795410)

> If nobody had "bleeding edge" software running, how would anyone know when it was ready to use ?

Gosh, I dunno, a QA process? Naw, that's just not l33t enough.

Re:It's a dirty job (5, Insightful)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795486)

Servers are not the place for bleeding tech. Servers are the place for stability.

That is, unless you really dislike your customers that much, be they actual customers or other divisions in your business.

Re:It's a dirty job (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795744)

I suppose new stuff just magicly appears all rock solid like, it's not like it needs to be tested in a real world setting before everyone else starts to use it, right ?

Re:It's a dirty job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17796130)

It is better to allow developers and casual users (who only lose time, not money or prestege) tread through the land mine field than servers.

Yes, they might not find everything, but they'll still probably discover something you're happy you didn't.

Not for me! (4, Funny)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795104)

I certainly wouldn't want a Gentoo on my servers. Sure, it wouldn't weigh [wikipedia.org] much, but think of the poop you'd have to clean up!

I use to run Gentoo on a Personal Server (3, Interesting)

asv108 (141455) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795130)

I had a colo box that ran gentoo. Then one day, a standard stable package update broke mysql [alexvalentine.org] .

* MySQL DATADIR is /var/lib/mysql * Previous datadir found, it's YOUR job to change * ownership and have care of it * Sorry, plain up/downgrade between different version of MySQL is (still) * un-supported.

I vowed never to use Gentoo again, and promptly moved that machine to Debian. I use to run Gentoo on all my desktop machines in the pre-ubuntu days, because it had the most bleeding edge desktop packages and optimizations. After Ubuntu came on the seen, Gentoo had no advantage for me. Its still a great learning too though. I highly recommend for aspiring Linux geeks.

Re:I use to run Gentoo on a Personal Server (1)

robbyt (528845) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795448)

hrmm you might want to try a little RTFM now and then?
http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/mysql-upgrading.xml [gentoo.org]

Re:I use to run Gentoo on a Personal Server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795672)

Don't imply that that isn't ridiculous error message. Other distros handle upgrading MySQL without admin intervention. Your comment doesn't refute the idea that Gentoo isn't real server-worthy framework. If you think you can block a db sw team by having a broken MySQL service while you dick around with config files when another distro could have done the job automated & cleanly you're sorely mistaken.

Thats the thing.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795678)

In a production eviornment you don't have time for little things like that. RTFM on every little upgrade does'nt really matter when the mysql server suddenly goes down for no reason and thousands of users get pissed off. I reccomend fedora for beginners and slackware for seasoned veterans and people wanting to know what a true linux experience is (no flames please :).. They are very solid for production enviornments. Like previous posts have said, Gentoo is a good distro, but not suitable for production. development boxes, sure.

Re:I use to run Gentoo on a Personal Server (1)

paulmer2003 (922657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795654)

You should have masked mysql. If you are running a server with important things running you also need to consider every emerge when you do it. Learn to always emerge -av things.

Re:I use to run Gentoo on a Personal Server (2, Insightful)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 7 years ago | (#17796054)

You should have masked mysql. If you are running a server with important things running you also need to consider every emerge when you do it. Learn to always emerge -av things.
No, I should run a distro where I don't have to be on the defense against stupid design choices. I should choose a distro where stable really means stable.

I know that apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade (on Debian Stable) is unlikely to break anything. Testing is still prudent, but you know that nothing so insanely stupid as an incompatible database upgrade is going to occur. PHP4 and PHP5, for example, are separate packages in Debian. So are MySQL 4 and MySQL 5, Apache and Apache2, and any other package with significantly different versions. Running updates doesn't drastically change your environment. That's a good thing.

Agreed. (5, Interesting)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795136)

I have been a server admin for web/database for about 3 years now. I agree that bleeding edge is *not* where server admins want to be. There's a reason that Debian is widely considered the best server OS despite being rather far behind the bleeding edge. Tried and tested is better than the latest and greatest when you rely on the machine being up. It's also worth noting that the military doesn't use any COTS technology within 5 years of it being released.

Re:Agreed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795732)

It's also worth noting that the military doesn't use any COTS technology within 5 years of it being released.

What military would that be? It's not true for the USA military, and that's the usual country in question when somebody is arrogant enough to assume everybody knows what country they are from.

Re:Agreed. (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795800)

I'm referring to the US military, and before you get all indignant about the US military being high tech and cutting edge please note the "COTS" in my sentence. Sure, military designed hardware is cutting edge, but they never use consumer grade stuff off the shelf unless it has years of testing in the real world behind it. There's a difference between stuff designed to be "consumer grade" and "military grade". Consumer grade stuff only gets integrated into military systems when they can be dead sure it's not going to go berserk at the worst possible moment. A CPU throwing in a floating point error that causes a fire trajectory to be out on a naval gun can make the difference between winning and losing a battle.

Re:Agreed. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795974)

Actually, I was thinking of one case in particular, the USS Yorktown, which made the news in 1997 for being dead in the water because their systems crashed. It was reported that they were running Windows NT 4.0, which was released in 1996, making it a year old when the USS Yorktown incident happened.

The Problem With Gentoo... (5, Insightful)

mattdev121 (727783) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795154)

The problem with Gentoo Linux is not the system itself, it's the stereotypes that people put against it.

Gentoo is only good for ricers, Gentoo is bleeding edge and unstable, Gentoo is only good for X deployment

The truth about Gentoo is that it is not really a distribution. Gentoo Linux does not make "releases" and it does not aim to cover one area of the market alone.

In Gentoo's packaging system, called portage, the aim is not only to provide up-to-the-minute packages (which it does) but also to provide a wide variety of both tested and verified "stable" packages as well as more bleeding-edge, testing packages.

This, along with a properly configured make.conf and /etc/portage file system, allows you to pull down the packages you want that have been verified as stable (and are also under watch by the Gentoo security project) and keep track of their libraries with revdep-rebuild.

Stop branding Gentoo with stereotypes that label it as X distribution, the project even calls itself a "metadistribution" capable of dropping into multiple roles.

Re:The Problem With Gentoo... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795542)

Okay, maybe Gentoo isn't only run by ricers, but all ricers are still running Gentoo.

Re:The Problem With Gentoo... (1)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795892)

The problem with Gentoo Linux is not the system itself, it's the stereotypes that people put against it.
The problem with Gentoo is that Gentoo users assume that most people care about configuration options. They assume that people want the most up-to-date packages. They assume that there's no reason to have stable, long-term supported releases.

The vast majority of the market wants something that's not a moving target. I can install Debian or CentOS, keep it up to date with yum or apt-get, and never worry about something breaking because a new version of some package was installed.

I'm sure you can do this with Gentoo. But that's not the point. I don't want a distro that makes more work for me. I don't want to "keep track of their libraries with revdep-rebuild". I don't want to screw around with make.conf or /etc/portage.

ISVs don't want everyone to be running different binaries. It's hard enough to debug without having to worry that one of your customers has changed their compile flags for glibc.

some truth, but for many Gentoo is appropriate (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795168)

First of all, I find it interesting that FreeBSD never seems to get these complaints and hate about having to recompile packages with portupgrade all the time, and being able to tweak the flags, etc. In this respect, it's just like gentoo!!! Except without a lot of the fancy features like etc-update and slots and masking and multiple supported versions. Yes, the "base system" is more stable on FreeBSD (which is both a blessing and curse), but what is it about Gentoo that attracts so many haters/inexperienced admins, hmm??

Anyway, I run Gentoo on servers. (Also FreeBSD). I think it's great. I can't stand stuff like Red Hat, which makes it difficult to customize anything, so I'd always resort to installing stuff "by hand", which was a huge pain. Or creating a custom RPM, which was an even bigger pain (RPM is basically a huge clusterfuck in general).

Being able to set up ebuild "overlays" is great. Being able to set up custom profiles that contain all the software needed for a particular app is great. Writing ebuilds is a piece of cake. Turning on/off various features system-wide is very helpful. The mechanism for merging configs (etc-update or dispatch-conf) is nice. Being able to pin down specific versions with masking is good. Etc. For the record, I've never tweaked the CFLAGS in my life.. that's just not why I use Gentoo.

The author writes this:

A profile update will touch a very large number of configuration files, and it may even alter your startup process. Obviously this is not something you want to do to any server. ................. The end result: the machine had to be resuscitated on-site with associated downtime.

I have no idea what happened to him. Updating your profile is basically moving a symlink, which changes some lists of base packages and other high-level build configuration. It doesn't "touch" anything in your system. Sure, you have to some upgrades afterwards, but you have to do that regularly anyway on Gentoo. Compare it to upgrading FreeBSD from 5.x to 6.x, which is much more involved.

As you might be aware, FreeBSD has a nice little program called portaudit........... Now, Gentoo also has something like portupgrade. What it doesn?t have is portaudit. ............ In all fairness, Gentoo has an experimental command called "glsa-check".

I've been using glsa-check for a while now, it works great. It tells me what's got known holes and I just update those packages, and their dependencies. What problem did he have with it, besides the "experimental" status? Yeah it can "do stuff", but I don't use those options, I just use it to get a list of packages with known holes. Heck I could probably write a script to do the very same thing.

Suppose you need to patch one of your installed packages by the way.. it's very easy to create custom ebuilds on Gentoo. Sometimes I plug security holes that I've found on my own for instance.

I have a simple strategy with Gentoo servers: keep an identical test/staging server nearby and do your updates on that machine first. Run your application tests and then upgrade the production machine. If you want, build binary packages on the staging machine. I would do this even with Red Hat, Debian, etc.

Another point: I've NEVER run "emerge -u world". I always do the packages in small groups or chunks and then updated configs, restarted daemons, and run tests after each one. This seems like a much better strategy than what some people do.

Also, I gotta say, it's probably not a good idea to run Gentoo on a production server unless you've got at least 5 years of Linux admin under your built. You also need to FOLLOW the Gentoo newsletter, AT LEAST, so you can get a heads-up when config files change or files are moved around. It happens from time to time.

Really, the only valid point he makes that generalizes to servers other than his own is the following: Gentoo takes more time to keep running. But you have to weigh that against the flexibility you get, just like any "build vs. buy" decision.

Re:some truth, but for many Gentoo is appropriate (1)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795674)

Gentoo's portage was modeled after BSD ports. The similarities are intentional :D

*sigh* (4, Insightful)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795188)

The article makes it sound as if gentoo installs the ~unstable profile by default. The stable one's no more bleeding-edge than Ubuntu.

Re:*sigh* (2, Insightful)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795380)

While stable may not be particularly bleeding-edge, it is still very dynamic, which is the point of the author's grief.

Re:*sigh* (2, Insightful)

chamont (25273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795472)

It's even worse than that.

Incidentally, I've run Gentoo for years on laptops, servers, you name it. I switched to Ubuntu about a year ago for desktops, but still use Gentoo on a server.

What I like about Ubuntu in particular is that every six months you can pretty much EXPECT all your packages, for the most part, to be updated to the most current stable versions. With Gentoo it's so much more haphazard. Yeah, Linux itself is haphazard...right, I know. With Gentoo, however, you're tied to the maintainer of the package deciding when a new version of application X is stable. Maybe there's some formalized internal process for this, but I don't know of one. So I remember waiting for MONTHS for the latest version of KDE or Firefox when other distros were actually shipping these same versions.

Yes, I know I can always just go unstable, but if you live on the unstable Gentoo crack too long, you'll OD sooner or later. No question about it. So I tried to stick stable, and wait and wait until finally a bug is fixed and our benevolent maintainer finally deems us worthy to receive. So even though it has a reputation of being bleeding edge, it's a lot more complicated than that.

Re:*sigh* (2, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795512)

The stable one's no more bleeding-edge than Ubuntu.
Which is itself a fork of Debian unstable. Makes you think, doesn't it?

Re:*sigh* (3, Funny)

strider44 (650833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17796120)

And I heard the Debian Stable packages are from Debian Unstable as well. That definitely makes you think!

Re:*sigh* (1)

Handover Phist (932667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795516)

The stable one's no more bleeding-edge than Ubuntu.
Which is somewhat bleeding edge. I'm still a Slackware guy because of that.

(Although I yearn for a 2.6.x kernel by default)

Oh! I Guess Non-MS SW Has "Issues" Too! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795282)

Gee!!! I thought that moving from Windows to any Linux-based anything would solve all the worlds's problems that Microsoft has caused!!!

Where, oh where, is the standard Slashdot drivel from you sanctimonious Slashdot twits?

You've got to be kidding me... (4, Insightful)

God of Lemmings (455435) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795318)

There is NOTHING forcing you to "emerge world", "emerge system", and "emerge --sync" every single time Gentoo
updates portage... Emerge flags include "--pretend", "--ask" and "--fetchonly" among several others, learn to
use them.

Submitter is right... (1)

aschoeff (864154) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795362)

...gentoo is *the* bleeding edge distro and is proud of that. Almost every CS major at the University of Chicago has it on their Thinkpad or Powerbook.

As for being unstable in regards to updating, I can only guess the submitter didn't configure his system correctly and allowed clearly labeled beta builds of server components into the automated upgrade queue. That's an irresponsible mistake only a newbie would make, and has nothing to do with the distro itself (or any distro for that matter).

to each their own (3, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795424)

i didn't read TF blog post, but since i saw a radical view and the word "server" in the same summary, i'll add my 2 yen here. Since we see the word "server", we assume we're talking competent system administrators here. A competent system administrator usually reads and understands the documentation of a software package before making a decision. Having read the documentation of gentoo, I can suggest at least the following ways to ensure a stable distribution:

- one can create a copy of the source files repository
- one can create a repository for self-compiled binary packages and install from there
- one can use the global repositories, and still get a stable version by restricting available packages by version
- finally, as others say, one can use the stable version.

Since the blogger seems to have missed these obvious ways, he hasn't read the documentation, and hence is not a competent administrator, hence his opinion is not very valuable.

If you want to protect your server (-1, Redundant)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795434)

Then keep it off the internet.

Having not even read the article... (1)

joto (134244) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795446)

...I wonder where the debate stems from. Gentoo is a nice OS and all that, but it's not one that includes the features most server admins want: stability, non-intrusive security upgrades, support for commercial software, minimum hassle, minimum maintenance, and minimum surprises!

Of course, if you absolutely want to, Gentoo is perfectly capable of running on a server. It's just not something I would use myself, or recommend to any others. People who do so, do it because they are already Gentoo fans, not because it's the system that's arguably best for their purpose.

My post to the gentoo forums (5, Informative)

RyogaHibiki (969138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795476)

(I posted this on the gentoo forums)

If someone is running a server room with many live production systems where downtime must be in seconds per year, they should ALWAYS have a test environment and a production environment. Gentoo makes it extremely easy to produce this setup. Imagine if you will, this setup:

1) Master rsync system (contains the portage sync used by all the systems)

2) Test boxes for each role needed (perhaps you have 3 different kinds of servers, WWW, Mail, DB)

3) Many production boxes

What you would end up doing is creating a fairly generic gentoo install (by generic, I mean hardware independent - like i686 or whatever you feel comfortable that will be supported for the lifecycle of the servers). All production servers are identical to the test boxes at the beginning of this example and have a simple backup of the whole test environments (perhaps a large tarball saved on a separate drive). A new update is necessary for apache so you do an emerge --sync on the master rsync system. Then you rsync all the test boxes so they have the same portage tree. You then run the necessary installs on the test systems to make sure that it works, if it doesn't, then you research why and figure out if its easier to fix after the update, or if the update needs to be done differently, if you need to, you can restore the test system from the backup and start over. After you have all the test boxes running well, you can then rsync the production boxes and reproduce the steps necessary to get them updated.

Once all this is said and done, the production boxes will all be updated successfully (and the updates were tested on the test boxes) and the test boxes will at this point have the same configuration as the production boxes. You would make a new backup of the test boxes and wait for the next time you have to do this cycle. As long as the boxes really are identical, you could even run konsole (or another xterm that allows you to send your input to multiple console windows) and perform the identical steps on all the same type of boxes (sending your update commands to 20 or even 50 servers at once).

I'm sorry, but in any real production environment, I see NO issues with this setup. It may be a bit time consuming if you have a lot of etc-updates to do, but still, the basic update should be painless to that point.

-Jason Pf.

Lack of support contract considered harmful (4, Interesting)

fabu10u$ (839423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795484)

For a true production server where downtime costs thousands or millions of dollars a minute, you need the insurance of having people to escalate to if you have a problem. If for no other reason than to CYA in a liability / management-political situation. That's the real reason not to run your production on Gentoo (though the technical problem mentioned is probably what's kept anyone serious from selling a support contract for it).

I tried Gentoo, then moved to Arch (1)

Jessehk (894352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795528)

I'm a Linux newbie. I've run it for about 1.5 years and in that time, I've installed and used Fedora Core, Ubuntu, Gentoo, and now Arch.

I might have just been unlucky, but I ran the so-called "stable" branch of Gentoo and on more then one occasion, ebuilds had syntax errors, program sources had undeclared variables, and gaim (which I consider to be an important desktop application) segfaulted where the unstable release did not. The advice I was getting was to emerge the unstable version. Why was the unstable branch fixing known bugs in the stable branch? Am I missing something?

In any case, I've moved to Arch linux and I've been running it for about a week. So far, I've been extremely impressed.

To be fair, I ran Gentoo for 2 weeks only and I've never had experience with a server, so my opinion is likely insignificant.

Re:I tried Gentoo, then moved to Arch (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795688)

Why was the unstable branch fixing known bugs in the stable branch? Am I missing something?

I'd say you are, if you want a stable version to be getting changes made to it.

Nonsense (5, Insightful)

loxosceles (580563) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795532)

You say Gentoo wants to change a lot of stuff?

Any binary distribution has two modes of updates. One is an updated package within the same release; the other is a mass-update from one release to another. Gentoo combines the two, since the distinction is artificial. What you call "changing a lot of stuff" is merely keeping packages reasonably current so that you never have to do a mass-update or complete reinstall.

Anyone who considers the Gentoo update process too difficult either hasn't used Gentoo (upgrades are easy, and there aren't that many of them if you stick to stable x86) or has never dealt with package conflicts in binary distributions. That is the real horror I want to avoid, and I avoid it nicely by running Gentoo.

Updating (3, Insightful)

MrEcho.net (632313) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795558)

Gentoo gives you 100% control over your system and how things are built.
It does NOT force you to do anything.

"You will need to fix things that break in the upgrade process..." Like what?
This past year there have been some major changes in the Linux world like:
glibc, gcc, xorg, apache(Gentoo went to the standard) and mysql are some the things I can think off of the top of my head.
Because of how Gentoo updates, big updates like these might break things if your not watching what your doing.
And if your blindly updating your system and overwriting confings when you do etc-update, its your own damm fault.

There comes a point in where a package is marked 'stable' for some distros, but if you look on the project site, its old and outdated.

http://gentoo-install.com/ [gentoo-install.com]

Re:Updating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795806)

Yeah but the problem with 100% (manual) control is that humans are fallible. I have a friend that runs Gentoo & talks like you. Something breaks on his box for a couple days about every 6 months. Usually the mail server configs, which has in the past dumped mail down a black hole. He takes full responsibility for losing the mail; the problem is /that's not good enough/. That seems to be the rule more than the exception with Gentoo users - they know that it's their fault when something breaks but my experiences indicate that they overestimate their ability to maintain a system with uptime equivalent to other distros. There are simply too many variables. That's why I don't trust him (who, btw, is the head sysadmin at a 200+ person company) with any of my data anymore. Before you slam him for being stupid or at fault, I agree, but it's in the choice of Gentoo to maintain a system with high uptime, not in his ability to anticipate all (and I mean ALL) the potential things that can go wrong with a system upgrade and address them so that there's no downtime, and do that continuously. Any gentoo user that claims that they haven't had service downtime other than reboot is fooling themself or a severe exception to the rule.
Gentoo problem management is typically reactive rather than proactive; issues are documented and users are told to RTFM to fix the problems; they don't seem to get the concept of automating a task (i.e. translating a particular config script to use a new format) once and not repeating it (i.e. throughout the community). I've been running linux for 15 years and have run slews of distros, and in my opinion Gentoo is straight up the most bush league.

"Considered Harmful" considered harmful (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795594)

"Something Considered Harmful" is one of the more cliche ways to title an essay like this. Can't we come up with *slightly* better titles? Like, say, the one the blog post used?

Anyway, it's been said [meyerweb.com] far better than I could manage already, so I won't keep ranting here.

Re:"Considered Harmful" considered harmful (1)

CameronGary (8441) | more than 7 years ago | (#17796082)

Thank you ! I was going to say the exact same thing. I know that "GOTO considered harmful" is one of the seminal papers in CompSci, but enough is enough.

I think "Considered Harmful" has jumped the shark ;-)

Disagreement (1)

MrManny (1026106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795596)

I RTFA but I do not fully agree with both, the article and its information. The author seems to have fallen in love with the word "time" or the phrase "time consuming"; so much that he's willing to use it in every other sentence and/or listed as different critics.

Now on to the containing information and my personal opinion:
1.) "Gentoo is time consuming" - that it is, measuring between a few hours and three days (if you set up your system completely from scratch by pulling every source file like I did). But you can leave the system most of that time unattended. Also this is done once et voilá.

2.) "Gentoo's Stability/Security Strategy: Update Everything" - wrong. That's pretty much a choice left to the end user. You don't have to run "emerge --sync && emerge --update --deep world" each and every day. Hell, I haven't synced my file server since I've set it up half a year ago and it works fine. If I ever find a reason to update a specific application, most often or not updating it won't require updating anything else on that system.

2b.) "With Gentoo, this isn't really feasible because there is no 'stable' Gentoo release." - That's not correct. There are hardened sources intended to be.. well.. hard, as in "stable". Also all packages should be pretty much stable unless you specify the "~x86" (or whatever system you are running) keyword which will take the most bleeding edge stuff into account.

Either the author misunderstood something or I'm completely a gentoo fanboy.

My gentoo server... (3, Funny)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795700)

...is currently uptime 242 days. Updating daily.

So, now when server issue has been explained exhaustingly, we can talk about my gentoo programer's desktop, gentoo electronics lab and drill machinery controller, gentoo adsl/wifi router and gentoo tv/multimedia nano-itx box.

From my point of view, Siker is just a moron and I mean it seriously.

Cannot say I disagree. (4, Interesting)

atomic-penguin (100835) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795724)

It's been said before by many. I cannot say I disagree with the article. With more traditional distributions of Linux, you always have standardized packages with some amount of quality control. Bugs and security holes slip through to the end users all the time. Often your end users report these bugs to the upstream maintainer. Occasionally, the end user even submits fixes upstream.

Gentoo is so system dependent compared to other distros. The end result, instead of having 1 package for some function, you have 1^n packages for that same function. Given 'n' amount of users with differing hardware and compile time arguments. The Qaulity Assurance ends at the user, always. You ultimately have a quality control department that consists of one, the user.

Any system upgrade or maintenance procedures in production environments are usually limited to a few hours at most. It does not make sense to spend six hours compiling what could have been installed, configured, and tested in 6 minutes with a pre-compiled package. In the event of a hardware failure, I find it reassuring when a Linux distro can be loaded onto a spare box in 15 minutes. Then spend a few more minutes restoring configurations from a good backup.

But that's just my opinion. To each his own. If it works for you, then go with it. Otherwise, I'd say it is a fairly level-headed review.

Qaulity Assurance (1)

perthling (200909) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795922)

I think you need some Quality Assurance

Re:Cannot say I disagree. (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795934)

You realise that portage supports binary packages, right?

*chuckle* linux for hot rodders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795730)

As I was reading this article, it occurred to me that more and more Linux has become a hot rodders' playground. It's all about the fun had with tinkering. It's true for many distros and true for the kernel itself.

Not bad as an end in itself, it's just unfortunate when people don't understand this is the case and work to build products off it.

Like the perlmudgeon Christiansen used to say (para.), "the game isn't on the computer, it *is* the computer."

Compile-Time (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795794)

I haven't RTFA, but, yeah, compiling all of your software from scratch in a production environment every time you want to upgrade? That's ok. I'll pass.

Don't believe everything you read. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795834)

My webserver runs Gentoo and it has been rock solid for two years now. If you know what you are doing, it doesn't break.

I run an
      emerge --sync
everynight, this updates my portage cache.

I run the following by hand weekly:
      emerge -uDav world
      emerge -pv --depclean
      emerge -v --depclean
      revdep-rebuild -pv
      revdep-rebuild -v
      dispatch-conf
This does a DEEP update of my system, checks all dependences are OK, then rebuilds conf files with a bit of help from me.

Every hour I run a:
      glsa_check -f all
which checks and installs latest security patchs.

I've been using a Hardened Server profile, using only packages marked stable.
I have been doing this over the last 2 years and the system has only broken once -- due to mysql. Which caused me a 60min downtime.

Don't believe everything you read.

di3k (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795838)

problem stems 7o keep up as

Not anymore. (4, Insightful)

a9db0 (31053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17795850)

Gentoo on a server? No longer.

I used Gentoo for several years. I learned an awful lot about Linux from it. And I appreciate the work that goes into it. But my servers run Debian now, for one reason - quick, reliable updates. I support several small businesses, I don't have the resources to maintain test environnments to check the impact of upgrades. And not having multiple powerful systems at many sites means distcc is not an option. And the recompiles occasionally necessary for apache or samba or postfix or mysql put an unreasonable strain on servers that are typically not high powered and are supporting multiple users. So for quick, reliable system updating apt-get beats emerge every time.

I'm not knocking gentoo. It's a great system for testing stuff, and evaluating software. But in the 3 minutes it took me to type this post, I could update 5 servers that hadn't been updated in a week.

The real problem with gentoo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795928)

Is that it assumes that you know how to use it.

Quit calling sensitive boxes "servers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17795950)

The article is really about the disadvantages of running Gentoo on any box that needs to be stable. Some workstations are like that, and some servers aren't.

Wow nice logic. (1)

bigmauler (905356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17796076)

So using the same logic as the article uses. I don't thin buying a car short of building one yourself is a good thing. Why? Because most brands comes out with new cars every year. And the article thinks that if there is something new, then it must be acquired.
Not at all. Don't want to emerge --sync && emerge --uD world? Why don't then. I really don't understand where this article gets any credit for being anything other than flamebate.

Never updating a server? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17796096)

Hello? Security anyone? Or maybe someone remember kernel 2.4.11? Don't wanna update that one either should you happen to have it installed back when it was considered stable?

I do agree that there are certain things you needn't update. A local server without a connection to any user you do not trust your data with (i.e. nobody but you, if you're smart) running on rock stable software that gets feature adds rather than bugfixes in new versions is a candidate for this. And for this server (singular, probably worldwide), the setup is ok.

Not updating a server connected to the internet is an invitation for hackers. No matter how "stable" or "solid" or "secure" a system is deemed to be at the moment of its compilation. Time and again there are bugs found in software that has been considered stable and safe for years. OpenSSH is hardly the most insecure application out there, and I would NOT want to see what happens to a server that does not update it.

And, last but not least, when you don't want to update Gentoo, you don't have to. It's fine and satisfied if you don't do an update sync. Actually, you reduce the workload of the servers if you don't.

So what the hell is this fuss about?

Linux.com had a different take (1)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17796132)

Gentoo in the server room? [linux.com]

I think Gentoo CAN work in the server room. glsa [gentoo.org] and other tools make it a better candidate than it was a few years ago.

Some of the other popular distros capable of running X-less (e.g. Debian) and the *BSDs have been and are in wider production deployment. Of course, if one is tied to a storage, database, or backup vendor, one may be tied to Red Hat or SUSE.
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