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What operating system is better? I understand there are some advantages/disadvantages to both.
Red Hat is a server class distribution for the enterprise. Red Hat is not free; you have to purchase a contract/subscription.
Red Hat has a entirely different package management (yum) system that Ubuntu.
The people that I conduct professional business with are very pleased with RH and it is stable & secure. Here the disadvantage is if your enterprise isn't returning a profit that the subscription fee would be more of a burdened expense.
-:CentOS is the free version of Red Hat:- http://www.redhat.com/en/services/support
Ubuntu is a distribution that you can use for home use but you can also set it up for a server.
Ubuntu has it's own package management system (Ubuntu Software Center) or you can use the commandline utility (apt) that comes with Ubuntu to install software. http://www.ubuntu.com/server
Big companies like to pay for things, and since Open Source is free, they tend to shun it for proprietary offerings. Lawyers tell them this is the correct thing to do. But since Linux itself is free, that doesn't work out so well. So they do the next best thing - they pay for RedHat. What you're buying there is paid support for a free OS. But it meets their needs to "pay for something". Nothing wrong with RedHat. It's the bee's knee's if you want to pay money. It's not really any better or more robust than most other flavors of Linux. But if you want to pay, it's one of the few options that allows you to do that. That's why you see it more in the corporate world than in the home user world. "People in groups tend to make decisions that, as individuals, they know are stupid." But that describes big corporations to a tee. Hence the dominance of Red Hat in the corporate world. Also, if your companies sysadmins are morons (unfortunately, this can be common), Red Hat is very good for your business. You can call Red Hat for support when your sysadmins forget, for example, how to delete a file.
Don't think that I'm against Red Hat. It is a very good distro of Linux. It is in use by my company. I just personally don't see a need to pay for something when you can get equivalent things that are just as good for free. Many people here on LQ.org have every bit as much experience and knowledge as RedHat support people. And they will help you for free.
If you're talking about setting up a server in a business, both Ubuntu and Red Hat are used by many companies: the New York Stock Exchange has Red Hat, Google has Ubuntu. Both offer a paid-for support service: with Ubuntu it's optional, with Red Hat the free one is called CentOS.
For a desktop computer, the differences are
1. support period: 10 years for Red Hat, 5 for Ubuntu long-term support
2. available software: lots of programs for Ubuntu, but the tiny repositories for Red Hat/CentOS generally need to supplemented from repositories like EPEL, rpmfusion, etc
3. gui: Red Hat/CentOS has Gnome or KDE, Ubuntu has Unity, Gnome, KDE, Xfce, or LXDE. (Before anyone says you can install Xfce on Red Hat/CentOS, they should try it and discover the consequences!)
4. the configuration tools in a graphical environment are better in Red Hat.
Many people here on LQ.org have every bit as much experience and knowledge as RedHat support people. And they will help you for free.
While that is certainly true none of them will promise you to fix your problem in a previously defined time frame. In a support contract you can include things like that. If you are in a business where server down times are *really* expensive or even worse, put peoples' lifes at risk, you cannot afford depending on LQ.org members' good will to help you when it suits them. You need someone that you can sue because he did fix your issue on time.
You need someone that you can sue because he did fix your issue on time.
Even better is to design your critical systems around redundancy/failover/fallback/recovery. Putting all your eggs in one basket, and planning to sue if your service contract can't get that basket running in a timely manner, is very poor business management. Bordering on "felony stupid", IMHO.
Putting all your eggs in one basket, and planning to sue if your service contract can't get that basket running in a timely manner, is very poor business management. Bordering on "felony stupid", IMHO.
Agreed. However, to use your terms, I would consider the fallback plan to have someone you can sue as one basket more that you put your eggs in.