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NTU
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:22 pm    Post subject: Why don't businesses use Gentoo? Reply with quote

Seriously, I don't get it. Gentoo is great. People talk about compiling times but if you're a multi-million dollar corporation, you lose the cost of a Threadripper in the couch. The Gentoo systems I build are sure as hell more stable than the guys at Red Hat and Debian come up with.
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Jaglover
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why you think they don't.
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NTU
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jaglover wrote:
Why you think they don't.

Because it'd be too good to be true. Nice things can't happen in this world. I love jags too! I want a Project 8 so freaking bad!
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NTU,

Businesses do use Gentoo.

Google built ChromeOS using portage. Thats one major publicly known one.
There have been a few write ups over the years from businesses with major Gentoo deployments.
One famous one was the New York stock exchange share dealing system.

I'm sure that there are others who don't want it to be public too.
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szatox
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NTU, there is a balance between "do it right" and "do it right now".
Gentoo has a steep learning curve and maintaining it efficiently would require doing some research and developing proper tools and processes, and managers and accountants don't like investments. AFAIK the industry standard is 500 linux machines per 1 administrator, which translates to ~20 minutes per server, monthly.

Now, any "standard" distro does a pretty good job when it comes to "standard" tasks like hosting websites and applications.
Gentoo trully shines when you're going for something really fancy... And once you have a bunch of gentoos around, you actually need people able to handle this creature. So you actually need people with deeper knowledge than more standard (less flexible) distros. So, basically you need expensive people who will build tools cutting costs on expensive maintenance, and then you have to maintain both, your servers and your tools, which again requires manpower and specific skills.

So... Being great from technical point of view is one thing, being a nightmare from business's perspective is another (complexity/cost and continuity/risk).
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another thing to consider is the level of support that is available. Many enterprise systems have tech support that will push a hot update for security fixes hourly if needed. Gentoo simply can't compete since we don't spend thousands of dollars for that level of support. If your a small company your probably most concerned with "it just works" rather than "it works perfectly." I knew a guy that did that for a living, although he was the guy who would drive out and do technical things, like plug the computer back in after the vacuum ran over the cord.

One could consider that my install is a commercial one with some personal use. I use it to write some documents and track business related stuff. I bet many forum members could make similar claims.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
One famous one was the New York stock exchange share dealing system.
This was news to me. 8O
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Jaglover
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They dropped Windows because of latency. The transfer done one millisecond earlier beats the next one. And everything that comes after. ;) They wanted the least latency possible - Gentoo is the winner.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I'm 100% positive that Gentoo has a significant place in business applications, I can think of some scenarios where Gentoo would be more difficult.

Systems which must be certified free of known vulnerabilities would be one such scenario. For example, systems which handle bank transactions or process credit cards.

Those systems are generally built on some "long-term support" model, meaning old kernels and old versions of software with only bug and vulnerability patches applied. Having dealt with those systems, it seems that common sense is sometimes lost in favor of ass covering. RHEL or Ubuntu LTS or Suse are known quantities with lots of organized testing, and that sort of thing is hard to duplicate on your custom-for-the-purpose Gentoo system.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zucca wrote:
NeddySeagoon wrote:
One famous one was the New York stock exchange share dealing system.
This was news to me. 8O


https://dberkholz.com/2006/02/02/gentoo-e-trade-and-gentoo/
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Muso wrote:
Zucca wrote:
NeddySeagoon wrote:
One famous one was the New York stock exchange share dealing system.
This was news to me. 8O


https://dberkholz.com/2006/02/02/gentoo-e-trade-and-gentoo/
Doesn't sound like they were using it for anything "significant."
Quote:
[...] my Gentoo laptop or your Gentoo machine.

[...] trying to push change. I work on a Gentoo box, while our production system is Red Hat AS 3.4, which is very stable. And so that’s kind of a good way of balancing aggressive change and stability, in our mind.


Quote:
If you can sustain change faster than somebody else, you’re going to survive, and the person who can’t sustain the change is not going to evolve, and they’re going to die off.
Which depends heavily on an organizations tolerance of maintenance downtime and the organization's need for and ability to chase 9's.

An update would be interesting.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can think of two use cases:

a) A build for a generic (say) AMD-64 architecture machine, with a pretty inclusive range of USE flags, and a supporting BINHOST setup. That would build a system that could work on a variety of common hardware and offer a wide range of software for different applications. But, hang on, that's just another Linux distro like Ubuntu or whatever. I would thing the main advantage is you could eliminate certain packages (say Adobe Flash) for security or "corporate" reasons.

b) A build tailored for more specific hardware and with stripped-down USE flags to get performance/smaller attack surface/more stable environment for a particular application area. I'd guess that's why Google use Gentoo - a good platform for something like search engines.

I'd guess (a) corresponds to most businesses, who view IT support as an overhead to be minimized, and buying a RedHat licence makes sense.

(b) is for businesses who view IT as a competitive advantage to be maximised and exploited.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I assume to use Gentoo in my сompany (Food industry, ~600 employees, ~250 computers), I know that I will receive such an answer: the advantages of this distribution will not fit the effort and cost of its use. Therefore, in my case - for personal use only ...
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello.

I suppose the main concern is what people in business call ROI (return on investment):
Gentoo is a big investment to begin with and may offer benefit on the long term for sure, while a mainstream distro means faster ROI, lesser "risk", and so on... In an business context, short term considerations almost always prevail.
And there is a matter of "gregariousness" too: as mostly used distros will be Debian (for robustness) or Red Hat (for support), most of the choices to be made will simply avoid considering any other solution.

Even I, despite my love for Gentoo, did install Debian on my latest (and current computer), because I use it for work and happened to work in a Debian environment.

++
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My workplace (a university) has an NTP and a database server running Gentoo. I was shocked when I found out. :lol:
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
One famous one was the New York stock exchange share dealing system.


https://lwn.net/Articles/282588/

Maybe you mean NASDAQ did for some time:
https://www.itworld.com/article/2738325/how-linux-mastered-wall-street.html
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.itworld.com/article/2738325/how-linux-mastered-wall-street.html wrote:
NASDAQ uses a modified version of the Gentoo Linux distribution.
Hmmm... :P
I think the only thing you can call modifying in Gentoo is to modify Portage or its tools.
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Jaglover
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Custom kernel patches are modification to any OS.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zucca wrote:
I think the only thing you can call modifying in Gentoo is to modify Portage or its tools.

Or remove them, to make a light/embedded/read-only/black-box system.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I work in a mission-critical production environment. The client expects, nay, demands, 99% (I think it's 99.7%) system availability because their revenue is derived from the system being up and available to clients 24x7x365.

The client does not want to hear, "Several hundred thousand dollars in revenue was lost because...well, we had to compile an emergency patch and there was a missing dependency...uh....sorry?" No, they do not want that under any circumstance. They do not want bleeding edge, they want a super-stable system while at the same time expending the least amount of revenue to maintain the "golden goose laying golden eggs". Their optimum situation: 100% system availability with zero money spent on computing costs in order to obtain 100% system availability. If slavery were legal they would not hesitate to use slave labor, but they would not call it that, they would call it 'enforced anti-laziness work-ethic motivational system' or some other vague term to make people feel like they have worth when the client sees them as nothing more than a necessary component to doing business.

Since a free computing platform is not possible, the client retains a minimum but highly paid staff to maintain the computer system. There is Unix for legacy servers and some others as well, and there are Red Hat servers although they are the minority but seem to be on the increase as legacy is slowly rolled over to newer platforms. All of these OS vendors, including Oracle for the databases, provide a level of paid support so if there is a problem with the OS or other software, the vendor is on the hook, via contract, to fix that problem within a certain amount of time or financial penalties apply and heads start rolling.

Because Gentoo requires an extra layer of expertise (ebuilds, portage etc) beyond normal system administrator skills, as well as requiring extra computing resources to compile and distribute software, Gentoo is not viable for such an environment because Gentoo, nor any company using Gentoo that I know, has a support contract to guarantee system availability. There may be some out there, quietly doing their thing, I don't know.

The only way I can see Gentoo being more prolific commercially is for a company to hire and train a dedicated support staff of Gentoo-centric developers, software engineers, and administrators to farm out their expertise at nearly the same cost or cheaper than what Red Hat or other vendors can provide.

I would love to see that but "cheap and quick and proven reliability" is the norm in business so that is what is used. A "Great Gentoo Leader" will need to step forth and provide sound reasons why using Gentoo is the way to go.

This is just my opinion, but I cannot see myself standing before the IT Overlord saying, "You should use Gentoo instead of Red Hat, but we'd have to hire extra people to do so and it would be cool and we might even see some performance gain...." No, I cannot see it.

In summary: Gentoo would have to be like Red Hat with paid, on-demand support at the snap of the fingers, with secure repositories where all code is screened and passed on as "clean".

This is just my opinion, of course.
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Ant P.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bghoons wrote:
The only way I can see Gentoo being more prolific commercially is for a company to hire and train a dedicated support staff of Gentoo-centric developers, software engineers, and administrators to farm out their expertise at nearly the same cost or cheaper than what Red Hat or other vendors can provide.

We already give out our expertise for free. What you're looking for is not experts on retainer, it's a written contract to have a human sacrifice to hurl abuse at over the phone at 3am when it breaks. RedHat will sell you that, but at the end of the day they're still only giving you software built from exactly the same source code Gentoo also uses. And with Debian's reproducible builds initiative, that will even be provable in the future.

Basically, we value our own dignity a little more than they do.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ant P. wrote:
bghoons wrote:
The only way I can see Gentoo being more prolific commercially is for a company to hire and train a dedicated support staff of Gentoo-centric developers, software engineers, and administrators to farm out their expertise at nearly the same cost or cheaper than what Red Hat or other vendors can provide.

We already give out our expertise for free. What you're looking for is not experts on retainer, it's a written contract to have a human sacrifice to hurl abuse at over the phone at 3am when it breaks. RedHat will sell you that, but at the end of the day they're still only giving you software built from exactly the same source code Gentoo also uses. And with Debian's reproducible builds initiative, that will even be provable in the future.

Basically, we value our own dignity a little more than they do.


I agree, but dignity does not put food on the table, sadly, nor does giving away your talent for free. And yeah, I've been up at 3 AM responding to a call-out to fix something. It isn't fun, but it puts food on the table. Unfortunately, it sucks the life out of your heart leaving you like a zombie. I'm done with those days, hopefully.

There is a saying, "You get what you pay for." Things that are free are not valued as much as things that cost money, for it were valuable it would not be free. That isn't my thinking but the consensus of the money-grubbers. Sunshine is free (for now; who knows when a sun tax will come?) and I value that very much, as I do Gentoo which is free. Should I ever start a company based on Gentoo I would certainly donate a hefty sum to Gentoo.org to keep it going and to show my appreciation for their selfless work.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ant P. wrote:
We already give out our expertise for free. What you're looking for is not experts on retainer, it's a written contract to have a human sacrifice to hurl abuse at over the phone at 3am when it breaks. RedHat will sell you that, but at the end of the day they're still only giving you software built from exactly the same source code Gentoo also uses.
True, but the other issue is that we don't offer any sort of Service Level Agreement. We answer when - or if - we choose to. If the problem is obscure and none of the regular readers is interested in solving it, it just sits unanswered. If the poster is rude (including obvious laziness, asking about things that they should know if they put in any effort), they may not get an answer even if the question is easy. Some companies are very attached to the idea that they can assign IT roles to people whose low subject matter knowledge and lack of initiative would alienate them from timely free support, because these people are cheap to employ. The only way to use such people for IT is to support them with a contractually-guaranteed target like the one you mention.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A better question "Why do business users use Windows, even demand nothing but Windows?"
Why does the US Postal Service beg and plead with Microsoft to sell them NT 4.0 licenses?
I can answer that last question: Because they have machine control systems that are tied into NT. I'm sure if I had the Source code, I could upgrade it to Win 2000 or XP.
The whole system could be switched from Windoze running on two ancient computers with mobos no longer supported using Western Digital 40G IDE hard drives to a single modern platform running Linux but they don't think employees know anything.

Desktops just moved a few years ago from 2000 to Win 7.

They do use Linux for the intranet and servers - Fedora. Not RHEL, but Fedora.
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