I've been thinking for a while... I've never used anything but RedHat, and I'd _really_ like to broaden my experiences. I feel that it's quite embarressing to only have tried one of these more user-friendly distros when there are so many others, more aimed at developers, out there. I've had my eyes set on several distributions for a while now, among these the highly spoken of LFS, Gentoo and Debian.
However, I've customized by system so much that it hardly is RedHat anymore, and many of these things I would not want to lose.
Would any of you that have cross-distro experiences recommend me to go through the trouble of redoing all of this just to be able to try a new distro? Or are they same enough that it's not worth it? All even remotely related input is, as always, welcome.
Short answer - don't bother changing.
I have used a few different ones. Namely different versions of red hat and mdk as well as suse.
I don't see a huge difference between them really. I prefer red hat over all else right now. I have seen gentoo in action and it looks pretty cool, but no better than rh in my opinion.
I think what you say is very true - you have customized your red hat to look how you want it. That's what I have done too and you would hardly even recognize it anymore. If you have an older box around or a backup system, then if you really wanna have some fun and a learning experience, then try something like gentoo. It is the most pure of all distros from what I hear from people who use it. Pure, meaning that it comes with hardly anything - you have to compile everything yourself basically.
I loaned out an older box of mine (P166 with 48mb ram and 1 G hd) that I will be getting back soon when my friend gets a new system. I plan to mess around with it and put on a very base distros and run it in text mode will absolutely no Gui mode at all. I will use some front end stuff just so I can play music and do some basic stuff. Mostly I wanna just play with it and see what it's like.
If you only have one box to work with, I would recommend that you just stick with what you have. Red Hat is a great distro IMHO and there is lots of support for it as well as drivers and software. It's not worth getting rid of it just to try something different.
I have two systems (soon to be three when my old box returns) and I would not dare mess with my red hat 7.3 install on my main system - it works great, is reliable and I have customized it in so many ways that it runs great and looks great.
When I get my old box back, if you have a back up or an older box, let me know and maybe we can pick a text distro or something and work on our own simultaneously to see what it can do.
I would tend to agree with yowww, I am by no stretch an expert with linux. Although I have installed and played with every major distro out there to one extent or another, (and some not so major) :) . But from what I have read in these forums Dolda you are no newbie, so switching to another distro like Mandrake or Suse (rpm based) probabaly wouldn't bring enough of a change for you to gain anything from it. If you were going to try something new then I would highly recommend Gentoo, or Slackware. From the sound of your Linux experience I think you would really enjoy these 2 distro's. Slackware for it's pure simplicity and configurability (and on the gui side Dropline Gnome is beauty on Slack) and Gentoo is just plain incredible, from compile it yourself to a fantastic port based package system. :D
ps: and speaking of port based packed systems, ever thought FreeBSD!....openBSD!....NetBSD!
I don't know Dolda, I would reccomend you make the switch just for the experience. You never know what could go wrong till it actually does. Plus you have the skills to run an LFS system rather easily. If you are worried about "look and feel" just copy over your .muttrc/.vimrc/.fetchmailrc/.bashrc files over, that should take care of a lot of it. The hardest part about LFS is the dependencies. When things fail to build it will sometimes give the craziest error messages. Instead of something sane (ogg-tools >= 1.0 needed) you will get something weird (SND_PCM_OGG_SOMETHING undefined). This was a while ago that I got this error, and it was because I had .99pre3, and the configure script didn't check for 1.0. Or something like that. The other thing I suggest is to get some semblance of package management with installwatch. I use that exclusively. I have an "/etc/base_packages" that just contains a list of files installed by the LFS base, and then /var/install/$package-name to show which versions of what have which files installed where.
I've been thinking precisely the same. It's so annoying when people ask questions and are running slack/mdk/debian or anything other than RedHat, and I hardly even know if that distro is SysV-init compatible. Not to speak about the guts of their respective config layout. And I have no idea at all what can go wrong with them.
LFS also beckons, since I, for once, would be forced to write that config layout myself.
I'd like to try them all, but I don't want to reset my system to scratch that ofter, on the other hand.
Anyway, I would like to thank everyone for their input, and I'll consider it seriously.
Hi everyone - just a quick question.
What is LFS?
I have little knowledge or skill when it comes to linux and have played with mandrake and redhat. Am now considering installing gentoo just for a laugh. But what i am really looking for is a distro that I am completely happy with. I have found redhat lacking in certain areas. Mainly package upgrade and installation. Mandrake has an excellent package manager but i have found it very slow on boot. Not the black screen bit but rather the x launch. Also a little buggy in how it feels but it runs much faster than RH8. Never mind.
Join the darkside, install gentoo.
RH9 is very good, but you might wanna try slackware from the sounds of it. It is highly configurable and offers some of the challenges of gentoo, but not quite the same.
RH 8.0 was glitchy as hell and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
I still use RH 7.3 but have RH9 on my backup and it is solid so far. It might not be as fast as you want though, that's why you might wanna try slack. You can visit linuxiso.org and go to each distros site and read more on them before you make a choice. I might try slack soon myself. I won't get rid of RH 7.3 though on my main system - that thing runs like a dream :D
I prefer distros that have small/basic installers and then install the latest versions available on the the internet.
I cant really see the point in downloading 3 iso images just to upgrade all my software once I my system is up. I use debian and all I need to download is a 38MB iso and then use apt-get to install all my software and security updates.
Gentoo is ok, I like the portage system its just that I dont want to wait all day to compile my software. I use debian (mostly) and when I tried gentoo I did not see any noticeable performance increase.
btw - Does anyone know if security patches are made available via gentoos portage ?
All security patches are added to gentoo's portage. You won't notice much of difference between debian and gentoo unless you run cpu intensive software. Then all the gcc optimizations will show.