In ’93 or ’94, a friend began trying to interest me in Linux. At the time, my direct needs for UNIX(-like) systems were still satisfied by Dell SVR4. However, late in 1996 I needed to host a web server, needed it to be Linux-based, and the same friend recommended I try either Debian or Red Hat. Based on his comparison, I started with Red Hat 4.0. I continued to stay up with almost all of the Red Hat releases through Red Hat 9, and have continued with Fedora releases since then, putting almost all of the Red Hat & Fedora releases into some production use. From habit, history, and curiosity, I’ve felt compelled to continue evaluating new Fedora releases and (mostly) putting them into production for web/mail/name service once some minimal comfort level has been achieved.
I’ve been slower to adopt Fedora 11 and, now, Fedora 12. It took me almost 3 months, well into the Fedora 13 release cycle, to get comfortable enough with Fedora 12. Most of this was frustration with virtual machine options, either not ready for the latest kernels (2.6.31 in Fedora 12) as with VMware Server 1.0.10, or not supporting legacy Windows (my experience with KVM and VirtualBox). Virtual satisfaction with VMware Server and kernel 2.6.31 delves into some of the details and prognosis.
The frustration led to questioning whether or how to continue with Fedora. Maybe CentOS would meet my production needs? Or wait to understand/adopt Fedora releases until the VMware community caught up with them? I was thinking a much longer wait, but the three months seems just about right this time.
After finally finding the seeming solution for VMware Server a few weeks ago, I successfully put Fedora 12 on my primary internally facing machine last week, including VMware Server 1.0.10, and transitioned the main external facing web/mail/name server to Fedora 12 two nights ago.
Outside of the virtualization issues, there’s not much to say, except that Fedora 12 seems more ready for release than Fedora 11 did. Awkward aspects of 11, e.g., needing an ext3 boot partition separate from the ext4 file systems, are gone. So far, 12 seems more polished, pleasantly surprising, and ready for prime time.
I’ve still not gotten interested in Debian proper, barely trying new releases of Ubuntu. But the comparably aggressive release schedule of Ubuntu helps. I don’t know if the virtualization issues would have been resolved nearly so quickly by the VMware community if Ubuntu 9.10 were not also using the 2.6.31 kernel. My latest understandings and successes began with reading How to install VMware Server on Ubuntu and following links and comments there.