Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why I Prefer Debian to RHEL: Top 5 Reasons

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.


devnet said...

not sure if you knew this...but PCLinuxOS is RHEL compliant...not Debian. PCLOS is loosely based on Mandriva which in turn is loosely based on Red Hat Linux.

So, really, if PCLinuxOS is your distribution you prefer RHEL distros to Debian ones.

manmath sahu said...

hi devnet,
thanks for dropping by!
i know pclinuxos is rpm-based.... but pclinuxos is also apt-based, it is also drake-tools based... in short pclinuxos takes the best of all worlds. i like it very much...
but here, in this blog, the choice was between pure rhel and debian, for desktop... and i felt rhel is a resource-hog and enterprise crap-ridden distro...

Anonymous said...

im not sure why redhat would compite with debian... RHEL is enterprise class, Debian is built by users world wide. That is two diferent things! There is no influence between rhel and debian, so there is no competetive stuffs or something like that. RHEL is power of enterprise class computing, and Debian is user oriented. As always, there is option. Would i take Debian or RHEL? Well, that depend on your need and your money balance. If you want stable and supported environment and you also have money to pay that you will use RHEL for sure. If you are just hobbyist or whatever, use Debian. But if you want to deploy Debian on critical infrastructure in that case it might be more expensive than official rhel support. Try to think why!

Second thing, it is non sense to compare rmp and deb. Rpm and deb are equal good! If you dont know how to use rpm than dont say it is not good or whatever. You was enough smart to learn linux basic but not how to deal with rpm? :)

Best wishes!

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