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Choices: Why RedHat,... Fedora

Choice is always difficult and trying to be as democratic as possible is not an easy job. Fernando Lopez-Lezcano responds at the issue of linux distributions as follows:

There are several reasons, I guess mostly historical at this point. Please keep in mind that PlanetCCRMA as a project was not "designed" (ie: We did not say at some point "let's get a project started and let's base it on RedHat"). What you see now as "PlanetCCRMA" is just the result of initially making available to the world the custom-built packages that I was using to maintain a Linux based, music and audio-friendly environment at CCRMA. Through mostly user feedback the project has recently grown out of control, and now I can truly say: "I have created a monster" :-).

The Linux environment at CCRMA has been RedHat based for quite a while (I think the first version I installed was RedHat version 4 or something like that back in '97). At that time one of the appeals of RedHat was RPM (the package manager) and an easy to use installer (I was previously using Slackware, first Linux install was done some time in '96). At several points in time (even before what I was doing internally at CCRMA became available as "PlanetCCRMA") I considered switching to a different distro, and I really considered Debian (and others), but Debian was not (at that time) as easy to install as RedHat and the stable release was _too_ stable (for my taste). For good or bad, the choice was made a long time ago and each time I have again considered switching, there have not been enough incentives to do so(*).

Regarding ``apt'' (the almost automatic installer up-grader and updater), PlanetCCRMA originally did not use it, and, as you may guess, it was not very usable without it :-). Apt made a huge difference in making it easy to install and update for non-CCRMA users, but the choice of apt was not "to make the distro act more like Debian". I could have used another program other than apt, but at that time, apt was, I think, the best choice (for example, there was also a free implementation of the up2date server that I considered but it was too young in its development cycle and apt for rpm seemed like a better and potentially more stable choice that leveraged on Debian's experience with it). If I started from scratch today I could use yum, for example (and I will, when I have a slice of that mythical thing called "free time").

Anyway, sorry for the long post, but hope it clarifies _some_ of the reasons. This is not to say that CCRMA and (as a side effect) PlanetCCRMA will stay forever with RedHat - Fedora Core. Who knows what the future will bring(**)- Fernando(*) there has to be a considerable advantage, I maintain a customized environment of 40+ machines so switching involves learning all the quirks of a new distro, plus customizing it so that it behaves in pretty much the same way as before and creates the same environment. Not impossible, of course, but a lot of work. Even a version transition within the same distro involves a lot of work! And it is harder now because it is not just CCRMA anymore...(**) for example Progeny is porting the anaconda installer to Debian! So, Debian could, at some point, be as easy to install as RedHat-Fedora.


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