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Old 01-14-2004, 10:43 PM   #1
Registered: Jan 2003
Location: DC area
Distribution: opensuse, centos, rhel4
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Is Redhat really the best distro choice for a unix/linux admin course?

I'm going to be taking a college junior/senior level course this semester. Rumor has it that the instructor (who was pulled in last minute and more than likely isn't qualified to teach the course) is going to use RedHat Linux as the in-class lab OS.

Is this the best choice for a course which has pre-reqs of linux familiarity?

Why is RedHat always dogged on as not a "real" distrobution?

Is there another distro which would be better for this course?

Old 01-14-2004, 11:04 PM   #2
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Brighton, Michigan, USA
Distribution: Lots of distros in the past, now Linux Mint
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Of course. Unfortunately, schools tend to see RH as the only "real" business Linux option. That's partially because for many businesses, it was for a long time. There is a fairly large corporate RH user base, as well. Lastly, there is a certification with RH's name on it, and for schools, this is probably the clincher, as schools are big fans of certs. (For no other reason, this can allow them to judge the effectiveness of their teaching methods. The more students that pass the cert, the "better" the class, meaning that the teacher can use it to argue for more responsibility (er, money) pointinf to the results as proof of their skill.

Lastly, they have to teach you on something, and no matter what they pick, somebody's going to complain. In this respect, they can use the above reasons and others as excuses. And, lest I forget, RH has some pretty impressive discounts to schools, which is probably as important as any other reason.
Old 01-14-2004, 11:24 PM   #3
Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Slack Puppy Debian DSL--at the moment.
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RE: Why RH ?

RH is mostly posix, (you have a choice to go strictly posix with one install choice) so it doesn't take a lot of to and fro-ing to discuss file and directory layout differences between traditional Unix and RH. You will also go into some depth involving the differences between Sun products and Unix.

If you are going to be running a Linux system in the real world, in the U.S., nine times out of ten, it will be RH.

The RH install is from CD's burnt from iso files, or purchased as a set of education packs of CD's. The default install does not create network traffic. Could you even remotely imagine what would happen to a computer-lab network with an install of Debian?

Most of the Unix Administration books have a RH specific section--others aren't as well supported by US text-books.

RedHat installs on Dell products rather painlessly. Many labs use the Dell line of computers.

An installation of RH comes with all of the advanced networking stuff, is intensive enough to learn about the process, yet still short enough to get an entire class installed in one class period. (Hence, the "training wheels" attitude from slack and debian users.) You don't get "bleeding edge" or unstable versions of software with it, either.

RedHat has the most printed documentation, and non-cutting edge documentation still applies to it.

RH has all of the command-line tools for administrative tasks by default, not all of the others do. There will be times when the best you can get is the command-line--dedicated servers (if set up tight and clean) will not have a gui even installed. Yet, it also has many gui-based tools to get it up and running. This give an instructor more time to teach instead of spending alot of time just getting everybodies' system up and running.


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