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psycho
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:38 pm    Post subject: W3Tech reports Gentoo's slow but steady growth Reply with quote

Interesting: Distrowatch is notorious for trumpeting Gentoo's doom in various ways (articles, plus the uber-reliable Distrowatch-visitors'-clicks-on-distro-pages showing Gentoo's steady decline over the years); but this week they've reported W3Tech's research on actual distro usage for hosting websites. Whereas Gentoo is number 29 on Distrowatch's list, it's number 7 in terms of actual web presence (hosts, not visitors to sites), with a slow but steady increase in usage from 1.2% at the beginning of last year to 1.5% now. This is (of course) way behind the three hugely popular stable server distros Debian, CentOS and RedHat...but it's interesting that only the (also huge) Ubuntu, Fedora and SUSE distros top Gentoo after that. Even some fairly obvious server distros like Slackware and Scientific Linux and some popular distros like Mandriva are used less than Gentoo. So...despite almost zero "marketing" of Gentoo, it remains very much a major distro (only around half the presence of Fedora, for example, the usage of which has been declining as steadily as Gentoo's has been growing over the last couple of years), at least among users with the competence and enthusiasm to host sites.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, that is good news indeed. I think many people misunderstand the true role of gentoo in the linux community. I mean, sure gentoo is useful for students or for hobbyists. But gentoo's design is so suitable for application engineering, specifically high-volume application engineering, that's it's suitability for computational systems (e.g. scientific modeling) or high-uptime systems should be better emphasized.

I'm not at all surprised that someone who needs to build a website that serves a lot of web traffic would want to use gentoo, it seems possibly to be the ideal choice.
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forrestfunk81
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The FAQ says:
Quote:
How do you know which technologies are used by a site?

Primarily, we use information provided by the site itself when downloading web pages. In other words, we fetch web pages very much like a search engine, and analyze the results.

Linux is a subcategory of Unix. According to the Unix site Linux has a 50.7% fraction of Unix, 47.4% unknown. I know these statistics should be taken with a pinch of salt, but I would like to know how they extract the operating system information. Does somebody knows this?
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not 100% sure how they do it, but most web servers cheerfully disclose lots of information about the underlying operating system, etc. unless you configure them not to. Let's see if we can determine what kind of web server this Chinese Government University is using.

Code:

# wget -S http://jledu.gov.cn/
--2013-02-13 20:47:05--  http://jledu.gov.cn/
Resolving jledu.gov.cn... 175.19.31.200
Connecting to jledu.gov.cn|175.19.31.200|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response...
  HTTP/1.1 200 OK
  Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2013 02:01:09 GMT
  Server: Apache/2.2.3 (Red Hat)
  Last-Modified: Wed, 13 Feb 2013 03:18:32 GMT
  ETag: "fc052f-1a940-4d59298c79200"
  Accept-Ranges: bytes
  Content-Length: 108864
  Connection: close
  Content-Type: text/html
Length: 108864 (106K) [text/html]
Saving to: `index.html.4'

100%[=========================================================>] 108,864     52.1K/s   in 2.0s   

2013-02-13 20:47:08 (52.1 KB/s) - `index.html.4' saved [108864/108864]



They're using Red Hat Linux! Neat!

There's actually a crawling tool called harvestman that's pretty good for this kind of research.
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forrestfunk81
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you. My gentoo server states "Server: Apache" but nothing more. I can't remeber if I configured it to not expose the operation system information or if it was default.

Edit: Found the apache configuration regarding this information: ServerTokens
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666threesixes666
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

im trying to fix the rails wiki to up that..... rails was a piece of cake, passengers proving to be a bit more difficult.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

in a phoronix post I saw somebody put together gentoo with redhat in economic terms. Really?? Where and how Gentoo keeps large amounts of money??

That's a mystery to me.
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GFCCAE6xF
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

_______0 wrote:
in a phoronix post [..]


You should take pretty much anything you read on the site (including the articles posted) with a kilo of salt :wink:
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

_______0,

You want to buy some shares in Gentoo :)
I have a bridge for sale in London too. :)
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i always thought the london bridges were "falling down" its hard to believe fedora, cent, redhat are more popular than gentoo... they are junk, impossible to maintain, same for ubuntu, impossible to upgrade.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, yes...but they have the advantage of tens of thousands of users testing identical package sets, all compiled the same way...so they may be crap to maintain and upgrade, but they're much easier to depend upon without endlessly extensively self-testing every package upgrade. if enough gentoo users were happy to commit to a frozen "testing" slice of portage with a standardised package set built with standardised CFLAGS and use flags, we'd have a trustworthy (because heavily tested prior to release as "stable") distro that could still be customised to a user's heart's content at any time. i think the reason that's never happened is that most gentoo users are individualists with more interest in having fun and doing things their own way than they are in debian or redhat-style dependability. if interest in a stable gentoo ever gained critical mass and presented gentoo to the popular distro users as a distribution with the advantages of a widely tested OS that those big distros enjoy (including those less important but still attractive bonuses like fast installations from standard binary package repositories), AND the vastly superior flexibility and ease of customisation, maintenance and upgrade that portage offers (e.g. automated library rebuilds for a required bleeding-edge package or package-specific use flag change, with the inevitable costs in reliability that such customisations would involve), it would be hard to find a good reason for using any other distro. portage effectively builds developers' knowledge of compilation dependencies and variations into the package manager, enabling individual users to change their whole OS in significant ways with minimal effort. gentoo is a superb OS: its only major technical weakness is the fact that there are only ever likely to be a small handful of users testing the same package sets compiled the same way, so it's completely unrealistic to deploy gentoo and expect it to work as reliably as debian or redhat, which makes the choice a no-brainer when bugs are going to be really costly.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

forrestfunk81 wrote:
I know these statistics should be taken with a pinch of salt, but I would like to know how they extract the operating system information. Does somebody knows this?


Don't know that they would specifically use this kind of info;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TCP/IP_stack_fingerprinting


Not sure if that kind of information is still relevant. I see there are links to a couple of different TCP/IP fingerprint obfuscators, but that would seem to be a fairly limited kind of protection.

joe
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

psycho wrote:
[...] wall of text summary: Gentoo cannot and will not be considered stable/reliable/xyz as Debian... and the blessed enterprise money circled Redhat, et al.


Gimme a break. Really? My gut tells me you're just trolling and perhaps should be ignored... oh well, opinions be damned, game on.

There are a tremendous amount of holes in your arguments. Your generalizations don't narrow whether you're focused at releases for servers or desktop orientation.

If they really had their act together as you state, not only would they take forever and a day to commit to a newer full release of x packages for their particular release build, it might actually have had the resources spent over all that time to show it was proven against a large range of hardware setups. Instead, it's all the same damned lie these kind of vendors like M$ and Novell have done forever and a day; charge you additional for 'support' to make it work as claimed. Any admins counting on systems have test builds that are utilized for a substantial period of time before committing over their trust in full on whatever Redhat claimed would work as claimed in the next release. And you're basing this on whatever Redhat or Canonical tell you. You may as well be here singing Redmond's praises--it'd have the same effect.

As has been said many times, Gentoo is a rolling release, mixed of stable, unstable (in testing) and bandaids (bug/security revisions). At any point in time you've got your frozen release you're going on about. Just sit on your ass, maybe do an odd sync every so many months and ponder the meaning of life while it continues to go. Short of applying a rare security revision here and there, you can have a system sit on that as long as you want, just like these distros you tout--and some people do. Most of those same distros usually strongly recommend a fresh install over any kind of 'upgrade' from a prior release because their actual upgrade process is heavily flawed--frankly not dependable. The testers remain you. Gee, I wonder why. Gentoo actually offers less hoop jumping and often far less headaches, not more.

The others you describe are primarily frozen releases with constant bandaids for the same reasons against frozen targets. This actually tends to suck for any client who is counting on any newer functionality from package x. Or even to have package x available. If you want to go outside their boxed boundaries, you're well outside any listening ears they ever gave you for perceived 'support'. From a server side, I would actually feel far more confident in a Gentoo build I did and had entire control over to know and limit my exposures versus anything Redhat, et al. claim. The only exception would be specific exact certified hardware with actual full warranties guarenteeing all the claims made, security, reliability and all--at their cost. Put money where mouth is. Name the vendor who will.

Neither equates in any proven and definable way to being more reliable or compatible.

If you want your argument that Gentoo allows too much flexibility to shoot yourself in the foot because you cannot follow well intentioned best practice guidelines given in documentation, then your argument is that a user should never be provided a toolchain to build with. A toolchain that already comes with a lot of safety guards. Portage practically holds your hand. Not only that, but any customization ability should be well hidden and removed from the users. All under some guise of claimed 'reliable', 'dependable'... 'secure'. More like obscure ad infinitum. Yeah, some very large high resource companies haven't been playing that game for a long time now. :roll: Things tend to suck under corporate guildelines and control when viewed as mainstream. Gentoo is hardly about the individual--that's where your confusion starts. You're confusing given a choice of control versus none at all as the basis of individuality. It's probably best Gentoo never becomes fully mainstream, be it due to time/effort involved, or just so the devs who volunteer their efforts here can manage to keep their heads clearer from tunnel vision.

Your arguments on lack of stability/reliability/etc. in Gentoo are ambiguous at best and nefarious at worst. Where is proof of your claims? If people follow the instructions, you can have just as generic and safe compile options building packages as these other distros you list. And large changes in upstream packages affect all distributions eventually, it's just a matter of when. At this point I'm left guessing and grabbing at straws what the basis of your specific argument is. And the amount of testing you continue to perceive and claim others are doing doesn't follow years, hell, decades, of evidence to the contrary.

Debian? Come on, know your history and precedents. Debian is as much a hobbyist release distro of volunteers as Gentoo and with a zillion pre-built packages you assert they don't have problems? What happened to your implied less is more theory? First you're comparing apples to oranges in philosophy then claiming that an older and more popular orange isn't also an orange. Do you ever wonder why there are so many offshoots based on Debian? People just love re-inventing the wheel and perceived better mouse trap? Package management, being among the first, was what made Debian gain its huge following and the plethora of distributions based off of it. Because before that it was a convoluted headache (and that's small time compared to now). You're comparing and confusing flexibility and ease for gaining popularity over the course of 20 years versus any claims that it was the most robust in reliability, security, etc.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Navar,

Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM, or Red Hat.
When it breaks, you get support or there is someone you can sue to cover your losses. That makes accountants sleep soundly at night.

Gentoo is a volunteer distro, you might not support when it breaks. You won't get much more than loose change if you try to sue Gentoo either.
Thats the stuff of accountants nightmares.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon,

I'm familiar with FUD.

The old IBM adage was hardly true in the OS/2 debacle or when IBM's profits spiraled from lowered demand in costs of paying for big iron. How about Sun in mid-90s? And after 2001? Pretty sure lots of people got fired/laid off especially if they continued to trust buying products from those going bankrupt. It's all smoke and mirrors.

How about who has been successful suing against their contracts with same above? I don't remember hearing of any.

What was really going on with my response was against the completely biased arguments regarding merit for a popularity contest. With the OP eventually leading into a wall of text rant like Gentoo didn't 'deserve' where it's currently positioned once this thread was noticed. I believe Gentoo has rightly earned some respect over a decade instead of being viewed as a hobbyist/'ricer' toy. I think it's silly to make repeated unfounded claims that Debian/RHEL/*buntu/etc. is somehow subjectively 'better' in some perceived/claimed way (particularly via marketing departments) than Gentoo without any actual proof. Especially when the vast majority of these are still community based, upstream and otherwise. Because you throw money marketing/packaging to sell something and certifications for same doesn't equate to reliability or security. To even assert the claims, one has to at least prove by showing how much less reliable/secure Gentoo is than xyz.

It's troll bait. E.g., see post #18 recently here https://devtalk.nvidia.com/default/topic/528786/linux/linux-3-8-incompatibility/2/ against Gentoo. The claim isn't even true in their generalized assertion, yet somehow someone who obviously has 'issues' against this distribution versus their particular favorite has it in their mindset to express 'FUD'. Usually that is done because we're perceived as an annoyance or worse, a threat.

Cheers,
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Navar,

I was trying to summarise key differences using IBM in their heyday as an example.

Keep in mind that the accountants have ultimate veto over buying decisions.
Its difficult to convince them of the value of something that has a zero aquisition cost.

Its often said that accountants know the price of everything but the value of nothing.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:38 pm    Post subject: Re: W3Tech reports Gentoo's slow but steady growth Reply with quote

psycho wrote:
Interesting: Distrowatch is notorious for trumpeting Gentoo's doom in various ways (articles, plus the uber-reliable Distrowatch-visitors'-clicks-on-distro-pages showing Gentoo's steady decline over the years); but this week they've reported W3Tech's research on actual distro usage for hosting websites. Whereas Gentoo is number 29 on Distrowatch's list, it's number 7 in terms of actual web presence (hosts, not visitors to sites), with a slow but steady increase in usage from 1.2% at the beginning of last year to 1.5% now. This is (of course) way behind the three hugely popular stable server distros Debian, CentOS and RedHat...but it's interesting that only the (also huge) Ubuntu, Fedora and SUSE distros top Gentoo after that. Even some fairly obvious server distros like Slackware and Scientific Linux and some popular distros like Mandriva are used less than Gentoo. So...despite almost zero "marketing" of Gentoo, it remains very much a major distro (only around half the presence of Fedora, for example, the usage of which has been declining as steadily as Gentoo's has been growing over the last couple of years), at least among users with the competence and enthusiasm to host sites.


Would you provide a link to the W3Tech research for those of us that are too lazy to use Google?
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:06 pm    Post subject: Re: W3Tech reports Gentoo's slow but steady growth Reply with quote

ryao wrote:
Would you provide a link to the W3Tech research for those of us that are too lazy to use Google?

Very tempting to reply, "nah, too lazy" :)

Here it is though...or at least I think this was it:

http://w3techs.com/technologies/details/os-linux/all/all
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Navar wrote:
How about who has been successful suing against their contracts with same above? I don't remember hearing of any.


Exactly!

Expectation:
- If they don't deliver, we'll sue the hell out of them
- Big company means good support

Reality:
- You don't win lawsuits from big companies. It's their core business
- The support from the big companies is often 16- year olds who tell you to 'Reboot your machine'
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
Navar,

Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM, or Red Hat.
When it breaks, you get support or there is someone you can sue to cover your losses. That makes accountants sleep soundly at night.

Gentoo is a volunteer distro, you might not support when it breaks. You won't get much more than loose change if you try to sue Gentoo either.
Thats the stuff of accountants nightmares.


Neddy,

While I regard you as an inspiration, your reasoning is more than a bit muddled. Not even stripe-tied accountants circulate these sorts of adages any more. I have personally met two people who were fired for choosing IBM.

I work at a company who is a (successful) competitor to IBM and we use gentoo in production. Handling customer data. Thousands of transactions per second.

And no, I didn't use genkernel.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While gentoo is my first choice for operating system, I tend to have a warm view of Red Hat and Canonical. These companies commercially produce decent, usable FOSS. They're not so bad.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

windex wrote:
While gentoo is my first choice for operating system, I tend to have a warm view of Red Hat and Canonical. These companies commercially produce decent, usable FOSS. They're not so bad.

Yes, Red Hat makes huge contributions to the linux kernel, and whereas I didn't have many "warm views" of Canonical while they were busily wrecking GNU/Linux by making it more complex and less usable in order to woo Windows users, they're finally doing some useful and interesting stuff, with arm smartphones. It looks as though some time within the next year or two, Ubuntu users will not only be able to run their familiar desktop OS in full-featured Linux virtual environments on android phones, but they'll even be able to run Ubuntu as a pure Linux smartphone OS, either by purchasing an Ubuntu phone or by rooting an android smartphone and replacing android with Ubuntu Linux. With Canonical blazing the trail here, other distros should benefit from the available code. So, we can hope that in a few years, whatever distro we're running on our desktops, we'll be able to install it on a smartphone and take our favourite GNU/Linux apps with us in our pockets.

I noticed a recent Gentoo blog post in which someone was saying Gentoo could shift some attention to the mobile stuff. I agree: the endless "when will Linux finally win the desktop?" questions are becoming less and less relevant, because "Linux" (as its android fork) is kicking ass on mobile devices, and the imaginary everyone-needs-a-PC-to-participate-in-society (LOL) scenario is rapidly shifting into one of everyone-needs-a-smartphone/tablet. If I were a developer, I'd be focusing on mobile/wireless security, small/touch screen GUI's, optimising for arm processors, etc., etc. It may wind up that people opt for the OS/distro that does these things best, and then install that familiar environment on their desktops, rather than the other way around.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, follow-up question. What is people's aversion to reviving a zombie thread? I'm curious why people think it's better for me to start a new thread than to reply to a zombie thread. I'd be happy to comply if I could better understand their motive.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

windex wrote:
I work at a company who is a (successful) competitor to IBM and we use gentoo in production. Handling customer data. Thousands of transactions per second.

Which company, and what Gentoo software is handling "thousands of transactions per second?". What you're doing there is an interesting case study. What led you to select Gentoo as the most appropriate distro for your purpose, given that you don't have the external support options, your packages aren't as well tested as they are in popular server distros, and you can't avoid server downtime by keeping your system updated without running the risk of breaking something? Do you rely on glsa-check? I love Gentoo, so I'd love to know what advantages you identified that outweighed all those disadvantages, when you planned your transaction processing systems.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

psycho wrote:

Which company, and what Gentoo software is handling "thousands of transactions per second?". What you're doing there is an interesting case study. What led you to select Gentoo as the most appropriate distro for your purpose, given that you don't have the external support options, your packages aren't as well tested as they are in popular server distros, and you can't avoid server downtime by keeping your system updated without running the risk of breaking something? Do you rely on glsa-check? I love Gentoo, so I'd love to know what advantages you identified that outweighed all those disadvantages, when you planned your transaction processing systems.


Thank you for your inquiry, Mr. Psycho. Our company is a small (less than fifty employees) IT consulting company that provides auditing, diagnostic and application engineering services for large (layer 2/3) networks. At this point our company standard operating system is gentoo, which means that we'd have to seek managerial approval to use something other than gentoo. Our official alternative OS is Linux Mint, which is what we would turn to in the event that gentoo were found to be non-ideal for a particular purpose.

At the time when gentoo was selected as our standard, it was brought in to replace ubuntu, our previous standard. Ubuntu was dropped when they made the switch to the Unity desktop, which was found unusable by our engineering department. No one had anything bad to say about Mr. Shuttleworth's decision to adopt Unity but it was clearly not for us. We next attempted various modifications to install KDE, or Fluxbox or Gnome over the Ubuntu framework but quickly realized that if we were going to spend that level of effort customizing our systems, we were better off adopting a more robust system. Gentoo won the bake-off (against rivals arch and slackware).

You might be wondering how we were acquainted with gentoo in the first place? It surprises me how many people aren't familiar with gentoo given that it is the Go-To operating system for Computational Computing (which used to just be called computing), software that you don't feel like maintaining (like maybe a DHCP server) because it does something so simple, or systems that require high up-times. We build applications that fall into all three of those categories so we already had considerable cultural experience with gentoo by the time it had candidacy for our standard OS.

External Support, while probably a well-intentioned question, is a bit silly if you think about it. For example, when was the last time that you had a MS Windows bug and then picked up the phone to call Microsoft for tech support? For most readers much younger than about fifty, the answer will be never. I've never had any luck getting Solaris technical support from Sun, either, back when they were a going concern. That means in both cases that anyone buying technology from either company because they expect the vendor to come charging in to save the day in the event of a problem is essentially buying snake-oil. What happens when you have a Windows bug? You go to a chat room or a forum or something and try to get advice from someone with a similar problem, right? Same thing that I do for gentoo. Since linux forums are better than Windows forums, it's not unfair to say that gentoo is one of the better-supported platforms available.

Next you mentioned testing. Here is an area where another series of myths has propagated. Before we install any new technology at a customer site, it's because someone has been running something comparable at home for a month (or so) before it's gone to the lab, and then it's run for a couple of months or so in our lab even before we do a pilot project for our customer. Please understand that this software is highly tested. Most software comes from projects like Apache or Postgres, where the developers benefit from bug reports coming in from thousands of users. Now that's what I call testing. By contrast, even a company that tests stuff internally (like Red Hat) hasn't tested your particular build, on your particular operating system, with your particular configuration before. Despite their best intentions, they are releasing what is essentially experimental software as well. In my experience conducting in-house testing is far more relevant.

Your next question involves system updates? Updates are pretty rare for us. A typical server for us will have two external services running - an application service and a management service. Management services (like sshd) need patching at most annually, and application services (like apache) require patching no more than quarterly, barring emergencies. There are tons of work-arounds for this, which essentially involve having back-out plans, failover plans and redundancy. Those sorts of measures are much more effective at preventing downtime than anything else. A Red Hat patch is going to fail something like 4% of the time, and a Microsoft patch is going to fail (and crash) something like 12%. With odds like those, you should probably be doing failover and continuity planning anyway.

And no, I do not make heavy use of glsa-check. Don't have much of a back-ground on this, really.

I guess it's more than a little ironic that most of the reasons that we've chosen Gentoo relate to it's stability, ease of system-administration, and community support. I'll admit that there is certainly a barrier to entry and that most IT professionals, who have more of a background in what I'd call "patch management" rather than system administration, may find it a bit daunting. But for ease of management and total cost of ownership, it's been a huge win.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any more questions.
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