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vanten
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the author of the story, maybe had a good idea. But I do not have any bigger problems with gentoo. I'm running some gentoo desktop/server by my self (counting 3). As to many already have pronounced; its simple to avoid a broken gentoo. Sure, thats don't do a thing, and also, I have to write the key off success in the everyday life living on the edge:
Code:
eix-sync
emerge -upvDN world
gls-check -l
emerge --depclean -p
revdep-rebuild -p
dispatch-conf
But I can agree with the author of the story/blog-post, about gentoo being edge, I wouldn't wait to get *bsd for the all and only server, but that is some way , just offtopic IMO.
As desktop and a few server features Gentoo is my choice.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My comment left on his blog
Quote:
Being a Gentoo user for about 6 years, there’s no other OS that I’d rather install on a server. Currently at work we run Gentoo on 4 production boxes. One of those servers is our main production server which everyone in our company uses for just about all aspects of our business.
If you’re good enough with using and understanding Gentoo, you won’t have any problems at all.
The above blog could be related to any OS like Windows, BSD, RH, etc by anyone who doesn’t know enough about the OS to handle it correctly.
The below line states that the author doesn’t know Gentoo as well as he should to even consider running it on a server.
“This is hard with Gentoo. Gentoo wants you to change a lot of stuff. It wants to be bleeding edge”
I do agree with the comments about the install process of Gentoo. But like they say, ‘if you can’t take the heat, then get out of the kitchen.’


It's super weak when someone can't get a good understanding of an OS and then proceeds to flame it.
I could write a blog about how my first few installs of OpenBSD didn't boot. I could blaim it on their text based installer, or the silly program used to partition up the harddrive......but it's my lack of knowledge that caused those installs to not boot, not the OS.
Same with Gentoo..My first 5 or 6 install's didn't boot without having to boot the the Livecd again and remount, and try it again. Did I get all pissy and feel the need to 'blog' about it? Nope. I spent that time reading the install guide, and the forums.
Now 95% of my Gentoo installs go though without a hitch, and we're using Gentoo more and more here at work.
To each his own as to what distro to use.....Just don't be a n00b and bash other distro's because it pwn3d you due of your own lack of knowledge or time spent learning it.
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Parasietje
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The author of the article has noted some very serious points IMHO! If you compare gentoo to a Debian system it requires a lot more effort to keep it running. In return, you get a lot of configurability.

For example, I can easily use 1 or 2 experimental packages without having to upgrade the rest of my libraries. In debian, it's very difficult to combine stable, unstable and testing.

But all of these points are worth noting! When deciding wether or not to use gentoo, these are definitely things one should take into account!
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arpunk
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

elgato319 wrote:
I´m very happy that gentoo won´t settle with a stable release, i want my packages fresh :)

True, thats one of the things that got me into gentoo.
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soroh6
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I run gentoo-i586 on a 233mhz pentium-mmx box, which serves NAT, Firewall, local shoutcast, lighttpd, mysql, on a hardened-sources-2.6.18 kernel.

Some people don't mind compiling.. to me, I run a cron job that syncs once a week and e-mails me the updates. Then I go emerge -uD world, etc-update, and that's that. I usually run it over-night as not to bore myself.

I've had over 100 day uptime many times.

Anyway, just my 2 cents. If you don't like to compile/need 3rd party programs to check security advisories for you.. don't use gentoo? Heh.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 8:47 pm    Post subject: Why? Gentoo is the only Linux for servers! Reply with quote

Personally Gentoo is the only Linux I’d use on a server, while it takes time to get installed correctly and I need a staging server to test major changes on, I feel it is the single most secure OS simple because I install what I need and nothing else, and other Linux install wans to and requires crap (sound anyone, sound on a server what the hell). I’m reminded of a version of Suse (old version of Suse) that wanted a menstruation calender as part of the server install (explain that). Gentoo is for the truly savvy installer only, but it is the only of for a truly minimal yet fully functional server install (think MC or screen, most servers do install them by default).

I should mention I use Suse 10.2 at work on my workstation (Gentoo takes more time than I have), all my servers run Gentoo Linux, at home all my Server systems have Gentoo, my Workstation dual bots for gaming.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:40 pm    Post subject: gentoo for servers - no! Reply with quote

I would have to agree with the web page and my sysadmin friend - Gentoo is too "unstable" for a server situation.

Though there are default USE flags, you cannot use the default USE flags (i.e. none) and expect a working server situation every emerge -uD world. Ideally the software revisions should only include bugfixes, no new features, compatible with existing data, and especially NO CONFIG FILE changes.

I do run Gentoo as a server because my server does not generate revenue. I can afford it to be down hours at a time, sometimes even days (though I'll miss out on a lot of email...alas mostly spam anyway :)) I've already had many worrysome issues recently during Gentoo updates:

-the gcc 3.4.6/4.1.1 upgrade - broke a lot of stuff. Ended up fixing it by hand. Technically this is an unnecessary upgrade for servers. Short downtime.
-the php5 upgrade - broke more stuff. Ended up downgrading back to php4. Downtime.
-the mysql5 database issue - had to export and re-import all my data. Large Downtime.

Some minor inconveniences, but again, I don't make money from my server:
-Some versions of Wine broke virtual dub. I emerged -u wine thinking the new version is better... and then found out virtualdub no longer works. I'm afraid of upgrading wine sometimes because I need virtualdub to work on my pvr box.
-Some kernels leaked memory bad. I'm sure some people saw my posts pleading for help. A tested and true version of kernel should be stuck with for a while with minimal changes. If a leak is discoverred with the existing kernel, patch it - can't say "Upgrade to version x.y.z+1."

If Gentoo is to be used for a server environment, the compile times aren't an issue at all - it's only the manual config and data incompatibilities with new software that's the pain and must be avoided for production servers.

Summary:
Need to have a way to make sure it's possible to guarantee no upgrades to newer software if it will break existing data or config in any way, unless it's a security fix.
Either that, or also have a known set of masks and USE flags that will guarantee no new incompatible versions are ever installed. And this includes kernels!
Perhaps a cycle time of two years or so where versions are set in stone and manually bug fixed only - no feature improvements if it could remotely break anything - this is a lot of effort for developers who may not be part of the original software package development.
Thus in terms of version stability, Gentoo can be really bad and thus a nightmare for servers. Perfectly fine for home server use, no good for enterprise - remember sysadmins are lazy :) (or actually, they have more than one machine to take care of!).
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zeek
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Debian is easy to keep up to date. Thats because they don't update it.

I don't know anyone who uses Debian Stable. Everyone uses Debian Beta aka Unstable.
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Samoth
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone seen this?http://haven.loki.ws/blog/2007/01/why-gentoo-is-a-great-server-distribution-a-rebuttal/

A rebuttal. He brings up a lot of points, and I do agree that the original article was giving Gentoo a bad rub(he didn't mention etc-update, the greatest tool in existance). The only thing I did notice is that he said that he typed "-5" to automatically merge all changes.

1) -5 is not auto merge everything. -3 is.(I think)

2) It is definitely not a good idea to auto-merge everything without even looking....Very Dangerous.
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Hideki
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While etc-update is not the best shell script on earth 8) , giving '-5' instant is a big joke.
When you merge application like postfix or apache and once you do that, you must be looking hard on your backup...

No one really mentioned how they handle these config changes via package update, but what I do is, run etc-update when told to do so after an upgrade, then look at the files and find out which file are the ones I actually edited and which are the ones that needs no edit (like, init.d files) and look at the diff, figure if theres something too different, I merge and manually fix it back. If the difference are just reverting back to the default state, because I merged a similar version, then I just dump it with 'delete update'. Changing config often is really not a great thing to do, but that is the thing about Gentoo, if you can't stand this, I think you should take Debian for servers or make Gentoo dev to stop touching config files for trivial things, which I think should rather be considered.

And then, when the edits are done, I just '-5' the rest of non touching ones.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basically every time I upgrade apache, squid, and syslog-ng, I get prompted to update the config files. I use etc-update to do this and get a whole mess of files to update (and thank goodness it's smart enough to handle comment changes!) While this is not a bad thing, there's some manual labor involved which can be multiplied by the number of machines that need to be upgraded. This must be automated for the enterprise/servers, and if sticking to one version helps, then so be it.

One thing I do wish is that when a config file format changes, etc-update itself points out the most important changes and does them automatically. My squid config is quite stable, all I'm doing is blocking access from external and only allowing local access - I don't see why I need to update the whole file when a whole bunch of things merely get moved around and a lot of comment changes. But I upgrade squid not for no reason - I want to make sure I have all security patches!

my apache config - which I've grew tired of updating as well - is quite complicated, and is thus the reason why I'm still using apache-1.3. Maybe obsolescence is coming - I should upgrade apache - but while it still works, it still works - and it would be nice to have an idea when 1.3 will stop being supported just like how Microsoft will stop supporting XP. Once again, security is the issue.

Forced baselayout/portage changes is another silly example, and a whole bunch of config files there need to be "updated"... A lot of the times I actually never touch those init.d scripts and technically should just auto-replace them. Though it's nice to give you a heads up that they did change, but is this necessary at all for an enterprise server environment? I realize there are internal wars going on - and this needs to stop for enterprise server usage.

Just my $0.02 about the issues, probably $0.04 now. There's a reason why there's a "debian-stable" and redhat has so many outdated packages... the fear of breaking things is real, and people are lazy - the whole reason why we even use distributions in the first place... The "home" server is not an "enterprise" server - maybe I'm totally off base on what Gentoo wants to be - but it does fit my needs perfectly.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have run into grief with two Gentoo systems that I hadn't upgraded anything on in a long time ( > 6 months).
Both machines (x86 PIII's) were horribly broken after trying to "emerge -uD world".

One of these boxes is now running Ubuntu. I kept my /home partition and installed over /boot and /.
The other computer will become an Etch box soon.

My main box is an AMD64. I would expect the same thing to happen here, but I will end up re-installing from
scratch on this one...on to two new disks that will be in a RAID1 array. I'll copy my old /home partition onto the new filesystem after rebuilding the OS. Here I'll probably keep Gentoo.

BTW, for those complaining about breaking Gentoo boxes with upgrades....
I have also had apt-get update, apt-get dist-upgrade result in a broken system on Debian when going from
one release to another, requiring a complete re-install of debian to fix the problem.

I won't even mention upgrading to a new version of Windows!
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a server that has been running Gentoo for 2 years without problems resulting from any package updates.

This is not to say that the next person didn't have problems, packages installed could be vastly different.
So basically any argument for or against Gentoo as a server can be made, but I think it is important to separate Gentoo stability issues from program version change problems.
(database format changes, gcc upgrades, etc can cause problems/issues on any distro)
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the record, upgrading to 3.5.6 fixed all kde problems with kcontrol crashing. 8)

I also run Gentoo on a server(not heavily loaded, nor misison critical, but I pretend it is :roll: ), and haven't had any real issues. I have made a mistake every now and again, but sticking to (amd64) has been quite stable. I do mix in a few ~amd64 packages, but whatever, it works great.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zeek wrote:
Debian is easy to keep up to date. Thats because they don't update it.


I was just deciding whether to mod you 'Insightful' or 'Funny', then remembered this wasn't slashdot :oops:
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Headrush wrote:
database format changes, gcc upgrades, etc can cause problems/issues on any distro


Absolutly but that is the reason why you avoid doing major change on a prod server, if you need to migrate those things you usually install a newer version of said distro on another server, leaving the users who are not interested by the new features on the old one.

We have Mandriva servers at work, and trying to "upgrade" them from one release to another is like defusing a bomb with a hammer.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I posted three comments there, tried to express that he is wrong at some points, being as constructive as I can.
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Headrush
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeremy_Z wrote:
Headrush wrote:
database format changes, gcc upgrades, etc can cause problems/issues on any distro


Absolutly but that is the reason why you avoid doing major change on a prod server, if you need to migrate those things you usually install a newer version of said distro on another server, leaving the users who are not interested by the new features on the old one.

We have Mandriva servers at work, and trying to "upgrade" them from one release to another is like defusing a bomb with a hammer.

Obviously.
My point was always these reviews always seem to count major upgrades like these against Gentoo, but these specific problems aren't Gentoo unique. 8)
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2007 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think desktop and server better have different discussions...

While desktop users can enjoy using Gentoo being bleeding edge, I think the real matter lies on how stable it is to be used as a production server...

So, complaining your kde just broke over 'emerge -uDN world' trying to upgrade 100 packages at once, doesn't really count for people who's looking to use Gentoo for servers. Of course it's a bad reputation even kde broke for someone who's trying to use for server, but I think going for total number of packages under 150 or so, I don't find much difficulty maintaining Gentoo, hell I don't have to maintain any single extra packages I don't need thanks to Gentoo's system, so I can even delete gcc not to mention 0 mta is possible when most unix has some sort of mta running by default, if I got a compile farm and test boxes, but I can say, constant etc-update can be a bit of a problem.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2007 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just wanted to say that Freebsd does have a global use flag equivalent its just (a little) ugly compared to the USE flag system.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm using gentoo since 2003 now.
I'm using 2 firewall, 1 xen development server, 1 xen production server, 1 desktop, 1 reference server.

I asked to myself thoses questions you are asking.

My point of view is :

1 Gentoo needs a stable version like done today for personnal computers (Done). :D
2 Gentoo needs to continue like that for personal computers (Done). :D
3 Gentoo needs the update flow as it's done today, cause that's a huge advantage. :D
4 Gentoo needs a rock annual version with security updates backporting and a beautiful name to personalize it.(Not done as i know but, it seems we just need to update the tar.gz as i understood). :idea:
4 Gentoo needs a more efficient binary functionnality deployment inside portage to save install cost time and to be ecologic (then to save our old planet). :idea:
First step : This needs to include in the ebuild quality criterias the check of a such installation. I mean : The last test witch should be done by the developers should be the possibility to install the package in binary version.
Second step : Gentoo needs a new project to propose a portage test/prod/save server (the failover solution is great but not accessible for every one), a portage binary client program, a hook routine in the ebuild to install the right config files and a userfriendly configuration stuff of such tool with the possibility to disconnect the client and re use the standard portage functionality.

That's just my point of view. Perhaps, we just need a State Of The Art documentation to manage servers by a gentoo team. :roll:
Concerning the support, the gentoo bugs site is very efficient. And in fact, i'm my support for a lot of things.
Concerning the Redhat, Suse and so on support... I'm wondering if it's a real one. :cry:
Does someone have already tested such supports on thoses distro ? :?:
Does Debian have a such support ?
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Samoth
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with you, It would be quite nice to have server specific documentation. There is some at gentoo.org but it isn't as much as there could be. :!:

I don't know that people consider "arch" to be stable, as things still break every once in awhile. I think people mean "stable" as debian's "stable". I run "arch", upgraded my lvm2 version to 2.02.10 from 2.02.06 and the config file was broken. Once that happened everything went to pieces. I went back to the older version and it fixed things, but, I think people mean "stable" as 'no updates, just security backports'.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, "stable" should not involve any config file change at all. Stable doesn't mean you may want a faster baselayout, it means "Don't fix if it not broken".

It would mean making version frozen branch of the arch stable tree, and apply GLSA to them. But that also mean more work to maintain those branches.
It could be done with a reduced tree with only "server" apps.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other advantage to have a stable version is that commercials products will use gentoo (Like Open xChange, SAP and so on). :roll:
Portage is so simple to use and so flexible. The obtained distro could be so performant and stable.
Then gentoo will be more know and used. :wink:
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I know this is thread necromancy, but I really had to post a reply to this one. The article linked in the OP had a significant role in my choice of Gentoo as prefered server OS. I stumbled upon it after a while of using Gentoo both on my server and desktop. And that was after a year of trying out several mainstream distros on the server, to see which one I'd like best and would work best for my needs, which are, ORDER BY priority DESC :) :

* Stability
* Performance
* Configurability / ease of maintenance
* All above within the context of apps I require (PHP (>=5.2), PostgreSQL (>=8.3), Lighttpd, ...)

And contrary to the points in the article linked in OP -- and with some of them I agree -- Gentoo is indeed the only choice of server OS for me, now. And I say that after I've tried Gentoo for a while, used it on the live, production server (few incarnations thereof). That article opened my eyes and made me realize that the points made are part of server maintenance regardless of the OS.

I have used Gentoo on teh live server "directly", meaning I'd compile the base and then do regular emerges to keep up with latest software. Not that there were many updates: having configured the server with software that I really used, I didn't have to update obscure packages that I don't need, but are there because they're binary deps to another package that I'm using. I had to update only those that I really used.

That said, I really didn't have to update each and every time there was something to update. I'd check changelogs to see what's really new and remerge something only if there were security holes or bugs fixed. I didn't need to remerge for simple version bumps. With the help of ccache and distcc.

Then I moved to using Gentoo "indirectly", which is now my preferred way of administrating the Gentoo server. And this is really the way every sysadmin is doing, or should be doing, imho: having a testbed/staging server where you compile/install software upgrades, test the new upgrades and deploy to your production servers as binary packages. With this approach, administrating the live server is really, really easy and not time consuming at all. Do regular updates on the testbed server. Since it is not live, you don't need to babysit it. Just emerge -vaDu and go about your business, come back to it when it's done. Optionally fix/remerge if anything broke in the meantime.

Then test the upgrades. Personally, I've written some test framework scripts that emulate the kind and amount of load on the live server (mostly for the web app we're using), and I run the framework for a while and see if anything breaks. Then I wait a few days to see if anyone complains about the upgrades, check the bugzilla, forum, irc. And if everything's fine, I deploy the binary packages to the live server.

Unless there's a serious security fix, in which case the emerge-to-deployment cycle is much faster, with fingers crossed that nothing will break on the live server once the upgrade is deployed.

But hey, know what? Even if it breaks I can simply roll back to previous working version, it's that easy. So far I haven't had such breakage (not with Gentoo, thatis). And in case of some massive update/upgrade/reconfiguration, you don't do that on the live server(s) in situ, never, ever. Regardless of teh OS. You fire up another server, configure it for/with the upgrade then migrate seamlessly to it, with no downtime.

And this is the same cycle of operations that should be done regardless of the OS. You have a testbed server(s), you test the upgrade(s), then deploy them to live machine(s). Even with CentOS. And if you do that often, you write yourself a set of scripts to help out. You build a test framework for your server(s).

Because there are really two extreme situations with running a server:

1. You run it for your own stuff and can afford breakage or downtime, regardless of OS.
2. You run it for clients and every hour/minute/second of downtime means serious $$ and you can't afford it.

And the reality is anywhere between (and including) these two extremes, depending on what you have. Maybe your clients won't mind few hours of downtime, maybe they would. Or maybe your own, private project requires maximum possible uptime. At any rate, even with most enterprise-grade server out there, the more stability you require, the more testing you will do yourself, not blindly trusting a distro update. And what distro has better tools for that than Gentoo? With excellent portage system, utilities and the update cycle framework that you've made for your server(s), I can't think of anything better. It then boils down to rsyncing the live server(s) with your staging server's repositories: binary packages, /etc, and whatever else you might require.
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