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I'm new to Linux and was looking for some advice. I just installed Red Hat 9.0 Server and now I'm wondering what I should do next. I know I'm using an older kernel and want to know if I should install a new kernel or leave it as is. Also any other advice in regards to keeping system files up to date. I'm a Windows user and this is my first try at linux so any help would be appreciated.
Saying RH9 is not supported anymore is not exactly true. I would agree that it is not supported by RedHat, but you should check out the Fedora Legacy Project. This is a community supported group working to keep several end of life products up to date with security and bug fixes.
As far as advice goes, since you are just starting out you may want to consider getting a more recent distribution. If you want to keep RH9 start by using up2date and the Red Hat Network to get the final set of updates from Red Hat. up2date is an agent that will connect to the Red Hat Network and tell you there is a newer version of a particular package available. You can then download and install those packages. Once you get everything updated from Red Hat you can turn off up2date since they are not releasing anymore updates for RH9. Then you can hook up with the Fedora Legacy Project and install yum to get updates from them.
ps - It's a good idea to use a decent subject line when posting to LinuxQuestions.
I really wanted to give Gentoo a try but I was unsuccessfull tyring to install it 2x so I gave up and decided to use the old Red Hat CD's i had. Since there is no point in using an obsolete product seems like I may try once again to get Gentoo up and running or just use Fedora. What about the other distros available? Would something like Mandrake or Debian be a good choice?
There are a lot of opinions out there on what is the best distribution, but what it comes down to is a willingness to pick one and learn about it. Obviously this is a decision you will have to make on your own. I would take a look at two things. First, what kind of features does this distribution have that I am interested in. Second would be the support network behind it, both official and unofficial.
I chose Red Hat 4.2 over eight years ago because of the good press it received in the tech journals. They had good documentation and an easy install process. It worked well for me and I have upgraded to new releases several times. They seem to have a good foothold in the corporate world as well.
I can't comment on Debian or Gentoo since I have not tried them. I loaded Mandrake 10.1 and felt overwhelmed by how many packages it had. It didn't help that most of my hardware is older. I've tried SUSE 9.1 and the SUSE 9.2 Live CD. So far I really like what I see. You might want to consider getting one of the Live CD's just to give it a test drive. Other distributions have Live CD's that you can fire up and review.
I also started off with RedHat and still have some installations around, but don't like that I cannot get automatic updates for them.
Also, it is likely that these old "free" redhat installs are going to fade away and a very small user base will probably insue.
I took a look at Fedora and was not so satisfied as could be, this could also be due to it's brand new nature and of course the fact that many people (especially the scotish cheap-skates like me) are turning away from redhat because they don't think linux should be payed for and find (like me) fedora a unmature distro.
Now I have come across debian and although I used to think that this is a hard core, no compromises, very technical distro, I revised this opinion and found that it is actually much easier in some aspects than red hat / suse / and a lot of other distros.
The thing that rang my bell was the debian package system, which does away with dependencies.
A short example of my former redhat life some years ago:
1. download package xzy-supertool-blast.188.8.131.52.rpm
2. install it: rpm -ivh xzy-supertool-blast.184.108.40.206.rpm
3. Error: this tool needs
4. I download xzy-lib-blast-220.127.116.11.5.rpm
5. rpm -ivh xzy-lib-blast-18.104.22.168.5.rpm
6. and bang, this thing still needs other things.
In the end, I download more things, am not sure of which version will work and many time I have come accross the point where it will tell me a version conflict, game over.
I spent hours satisfying dependencies, strugling and swearing at all the libs I do not have installed.
Now with Debian, the list of 6 shrinks to 1:
1. apt-get install package xzy-supertool-blast
and bang, it downloads it from the internet, newest version, tells me WHAT ELSE it would need to download and install and prompts:
and all is automatic. You tend to install too much, if you are not carefull, but it works like a charm.
The power of this system becomes clear when one considers how large the repository for debian packages is. There is virtually no program that you cannot get this way.
I used to grind my nerves when setting up a suse or redhat system, what to install (after downloading .iso images), because I knew:
Whenever I don't have an application installed, its shoving the CD in the CD-ROM again and install and dependency nightmare.
Now I just apt-get install and install the program on the fly. I tend to install systems much lighter, with just the minimum because I know that installing more is jsut a commandline away.
Alright, there is no official support by many software makers for debian, just for RedHat and SuSE, but there, like often, it comes down to this equation:
Either you got it in the head or in the wallet.
I found Debian to be not much different from RedHat, since Linux is pretty much Linux, very little differences exist.
I will very soon migrate my remaining RedHat systems to Debian, because I want updates again (at least security ones) and in debian getting the system up to date is as simple as this:
1. apt-get update (get the list of newest packages from the web)
2. apt-get upgrade (see which applications have a newer version, get them and install these)
I have to say I am amazed how well thought out debian is and have to admit that although I started with RPM, now it seems to be a copy of the dpk