Monday, October 8, 2007

Enterprise ready

Today I had to work on a not-so-new Red hat Enterprise Linux and some old version of an Oracle product. I must say how disappointed I am. The web is full of discussions and debates whether Linux is ready or not for desktop computing. After today's experience I think that all these debates are aimed at the wrong direction. Linux is ready for your desktop for couple of years now. As for the enterprise, it might be far from ready. Some issues that troubles modern system administrators and application developers:
  • X stability. Enterprise releases still use X11R6 of some version. It's not nice when X goes down along with everything you had open.
  • Awful user interfaces. Oracle is not the only one that lacks a decent GUI. I recently seen the latest version of Rational ClearCase for Linux. The motif interface looks like it's still 1992. Serious developers that use ClearCase demands much better interface.
  • Non uniform configuration. It is used to think that all configuration is stored in the same manner under /etc and in private '.' files. Not all vendors seem to follow the convention, a thing that makes control of multiple machines, not an easy task.
  • No standard package management. Some vendors supply their product in a specific package format (such as RPM). These packages are not suitable for use on different distributions, and sometimes are not usable on distributions that support the same format (eg. Mandriva and Fedora). Eventually, almost every product requires gcc/g++ to be installed, and a Makefile to be run.
  • Slower adaptation of newer technologies. This is quite understandable but still annoying. Since enterprise distribution are supposed to work for a longer time without being upgraded or patched, they sometime use obsolete kernel or some other components.
  • etc.
So, even though I consider myself as one who masters Linux for desktop use, I find it quite difficult to adapt it in the enterprise. I guess the future is brighter with the latest competition between enterprise distributions, and Linux would become as useful for mixed-OS-enterprise-environments as much as it is for the desktop.

1 comment:

  1. sorry for my English but ..

    actually i will disagree about few things with you since some enterprises use linux based distros without very much problems and the end line users was tolled that "just use this application".

    Im familiar only with two major organizations that use linux based distribution (Debian and RH).

    since i can't tell nada about the RH (since i didn't supported them and wasn't in the progress).

    Debian based system (Sarge and Etch) didn't suffer much with X crashes.

    some local firms started to use some terminal connection system that start X inside a window (X forwarding ?)