Thursday, November 4, 2010
RHEL still remains the fodder for all those academicians and enterprises. For example, if you want pursue a course in Linux you are advised to do RHEL cos that's what enterprises care. Gradually they advise others to learn/use RHEL even for home desktops. Perhaps, that's why RHEL was synonymous with Linux some years back till Ubuntu made inroads with a bang.
Given desktop usage, I'd choose Debian over RHEL (I'd play dumb if you ask me about servers, I'm still learning), anytime. Why?
#1 Debian does not have those enterprise crap
Install any version of RHEL and it's contemporary Debian counterpart on dual-booted desktop. Maintain a comparable set of applications. Compare both the installations. You will wonder why RHEL includes those enterprise crap on a desktop installation.
#2 Debian cares for desktop users
Server people once make an installation and forget for years. But the story is different on desktops. It shows RHEL never really cared for desktops. It never makes any significant work to improve boot and performance of a desktop system. Generally, the bugs that matters to a home desktop is pushed down the priority list for years and years. Here is one such case.
#3 Debian though cares stability pushes updates more quickly than Red Hat
Most often Debian and RHEL will end up in a tie if they battle for stability. But Debian is very prompt when it comes to major releases. Look back, RHEL 5 was released in March 2007 around the same time of Debian 4 (Etch). Meanwhile, Debian has released Debian 5 (Lenny) and frozen Debian 6 (Squeeze) which may go gold later this year. Any answer from RHEL? It may take almost 4 years for RHEL to release the next major version. Though RHEL frequently churns point releases it shows enough aging compared to Debian.
#4 Package management is lot easier on Debian
Compare yum, pirut or yumex with aptitude, apt-get or synaptic, you will always find *apt* a lot faster/simpler and superior to the *yum*y stuff. Besides, kernel recompiling and compiling packages from source are a lot easier in Debian than in RHEL, though, with 30000 packages in debian repo you will probably never require it. RHEL is more of a closed source OS in an opensource ecosystem. Taming it to make desktop-friendly will force you to an error-land.
#5 Debian is definitely less of a resource-hog and much snappier than RHEL
I've tested the 2nd Beta of RHEL6 and compared it with the Debian testing (squeeze). Those looking for a proof can compare RHEL with Mintified Debian Squeeze. Needless to say, Debian revolves circles around RHEL when it comes to boot speed and system responsiveness, with less memory footprint.