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A brief history: started my Linux experience using Mandrake 8.0, updated to Mandy 8.1 then switched to Lycoris 43/44/45/46. Now using SuSE 8.0 Pro. I flirted with Red Hat 7.2/7.3 and Libranet 2.0/2.7beta. I also beta test for Xandros.
Overall I have found SuSE to be a well supported distro both by the user community and developers. However, here in the US it's not exactly the most popular to deploy in the enterprise (or at home). My several installs have been very stable and easy to configure. It's my favorite so far.
Here is the rub: I recently started to work for an IT solutions company that is heavily Microsoft focused....until they hired me. They want me to get RHCE or LPI certified quickly and help to design Linux/open source solutions for new/existing clients. Both for servers and desktops. Thus far RH has not been my favorite distro, but in the US...it's pretty much king and the Null beta with Gnome2 looks very nice.
With the recent beta releases from "older" providers (Red Hat Null, Mandy 9.0rc1, and IMO SuSE 8.0 Pro), the news from SUN who will design thier own Linux distro, and now United Linux, how the hell am I supposed to nail-down the "best" Linux solution?
Here is what I'm asking: how do you knowledgable folks feel the future landscape of "business Linux" will pan out? Will Red Hat remain King...SUN (very strong in their own right) charge to the fore...Mandy's huge user base continue to grow and businesses start to deply it more often...or...United LInux (I don't know what will occure with that thing).
We will be focusing on small to medium sized businesses, so huge enterprise solutions are not in the mix. Cost savings and reliability are key components for clients. And I don't want to learn the hundred little unique things each distro has...learning one is enough.
So....any recomendations or comments? BTW: has anyone used the Samsung Contact application (the old HP Openmail)?
First, do what your company asked you to do and get certified. I believe you will be well served with an LPI certification rather than a product-focused cert like RHCE. There's nothing wrong with RHCE and RedHat has a proven record in commerce. Later, if your company decides on a RedHat-cntris approach, you can always jump into the RHCE thing.
Your next step is to understand what your customers consider to be important, or what your company wants to focus on. Some distros are better at certain things -- perhaps because of a cutomized version of a current kernel, or what is bundled (or NOT bundled) in the distro.
So you need to prepare yourself first, then you and your employer need to determine a focus, so you can continue in proper analyses and customer solutions.
As with everything jobrelated:If you want to be on the safe side go with RH.You can always point to "Everybody else is useing it" Plus there are a lot of companies that wouldn't even consider a OS without manufacturer support.
Mandy is nice but always close to Chapter 11.Suse (or United Linux) is nice,too but probably not going anywhere..
But if you decide not to run with the herd (RH that is) you better be prepared to have a good set of solutions or answers if anything goes wrong and your client goes like "Why are we not with RH like everybody else?"
I wouldn't put any of those on my box - but I don't have to answer to anybody.