|Running outdated Linux distributions|
How bad an idea is this?
I'm still running Mandrake 9.1 on my desktop/development machine. I want to move to Debian eventually, but I don't have the time to do the reinstall at the moment - what's more, my setup is just perfect for my needs after a lot of tweaking, and I'm not looking forward to starting again. Trouble is, support for Mandrake 9.1 runs out on September 24th - in 4 days, and unlike more popular distros like RedHat 7.3, there's no third-party support around.
I'm usually very concientious when it comes to updating for security-related issues and such (I've spent too long using Windows!). I have a hardware firewall/router through which I connect, and I have no services other than sshd accessible from outside the network.
Should I quit worrying and just run the old distro without updates, or should I really find the time to move to a properly-supported distro as soon as possible? Are there any real-world risks running such older software?
I've just installed Yoper on two machines, one at work, one for development, won't have the big league security patches, but comes with the 2.6 kernel and the reiser4 filesystem, if you so choose, it's fast, pretty much like Windows, which I'd never thought I'd be able to say with a Linux distro, it's very cool, though has some bugs, runs as fast as gentoo apparently more or less, but without the nightmare 'bonding experience' with your pc and os that those build it yourself distros offer you. Just my two cents, too early to tell yet if this thing will die suddenly, but so far so good. This is the first linux stuff I've had where I actually feel like running it because it's cool and good rather than out of curiousity.
That's enough for me to run away in itself! ;) I like my Linux like Linux, and anyway KDE is way too slow on my machine...
I'm decided on Debian after trying a dozen distros on a secondary machine. I don't want the flashy stuff, I just need a very stable base system which will run and run. Thing is, I just can't down tools for a day or three to spend installing and tweaking everything. I think I'm going to wait, and check the security mailing list advisories against the versions of my base system.
Of course, Yoper is based on Debian, but I much prefer stability over the latest features.
I didn't mean 'like windows', I meant that it runs as fast as windows does, app opening times, bootup times [takes about as long as a pc that's 50% faster with ddr2700 ram on my windows box] etc, the good parts of windows that is, the parts that all my earlier attempts at linux were totally lacking [redhat 7,8, mandrake 8 I think,suse 9 recently]. The rest is thoroughly 'like linux', the good parts that is. Like firefox, I want to switch to something better than what I'm replacing, that won't annoy me, and that will just get better with time, unlike windows, which seems to have peaked with windows 2000.
I was thinking about debian too, that was tempting, but I just don't have the time to deal with it, yoper is fast to install, 15 minutes or so, though the glitches ate up some time, but glitches ate up a lot of my time learning windows too so there's not much difference [only a few weeks ago I lost an entire weekend trying to fix a failed modem driver on w2k, I think that was what prompted me to start switching, if I'm going to lose a few days, I want to come out of knowing more than I did before.
Can't beat the debian developer community though I think.
well my opinon is i don't know why to worry so much :) but then don't we all.
If you keep your comp up to date with patches and software up dates then you dont even really need to re-install a base system. You should be able to just add the new bits if and when you want them.
But if you really feel that you need to re-install the comp why not try something like slack?
stable and secure and proberbly more so out of the box that say debian.
On the other note you'll never be complety safe once that box is connected to the web your vunerable.
Say you close all your ports other an 80 and sit behind a router with a firewall as well.
all with port 80 open serving a web site and say that site runs on PHP someone could use your PHP modules against you!
All things to think about.
But i much prefere the over-wrighting method myself because it causeds less disruption to my system.
This way i just have to configure one thing at a time as and when its needed and when i'm confendnt its secure
Encyclo, if you go Debian, I'm guessing you'll want to go 'sid' (unstable). Stable (woody) has mostly pretty old stuff in it - php version, for example, is still in the 4.1's. Don't go 'testing' - it's the branch attempting to get at the rock-solid stability of stable, and does lots of these dependency checks so your system can easily get jammed up and won't install anything any more. Debian testing is basically, well, just for testing. Most desktop users use sid. I'm very happy with debian. Whatever you pick, happy new distro!
I want to go to Debian "Sarge" - which is currently the "testing" branch, but is due to become the stable branch within the next month or two.
Because I have a strong preference for stability over features, but Woody is just too old (as you mentioned), I'm going to wait until Sarge is officially launched before switching to ensure I don't get any problems.
Sid has been doing me wonderful for more than a year now. Almost 0 when it comes to issues - only issues are with installations of new software, very very occasionally there's a glitch, and typing in a couple of apt-get commands gets things sorted. 'Stability' in Debian also means dependency conflicts, and problems installing. Only lately have I come across a dependency issue which has sort of hung me up. Everything works fine - I just can't install or update anything via apt. I know I'll be able to get this sorted once I feel like trying to work it all out (I'm definitely not an os tweaker, and know little about the linux innards), but since I already have everything I need, I've put this off for a long time. I understand wanting rock-solid stability, but 'unstable' really has been the most stable operating system I've used to date, including RH.
That said, Sarge has a pretty recent version of php, and it might have all the goodies you want. If you don't like it, you can always go sid. Quite possibly a lot of the current sid users, then, will also switch to sarge - I don't think I've met anyone on debian yet who uses a version other than sid.
mincklerstraat, I just tried the sarge version, what a pain, I'm going to wipe that one out and follow your advice, the problems I had are exactly the problems you predicted, I thought it was just debian being a pain, good to hear I just made the wrong choice.
I've read many times that debian unstable is more stable than windows : ), time to see if that's true, maybe go multi boot, throw in freebsd and suse, just to see what they look like.
One thing I should add - with Sarge struggling to get out of the starting blocks (the original proposed release date has passed, and it will still be at least a month before there is any chance of release) - I'm still keeping half an eye out for alternatives.
One possibility that has come into mind today is Slackware. After trying out DeLi Linux [delilinux.berlios.de] on an older machine (DeLi Linux is based on Slackware 7.1), I was very pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of the install process and, for example, I discovered that Slackware uses BSD-style init scripts which are beautifully easy to understand, unlike the unfathomable Sys V stuff that goes on when most other distros boot. DeLi is just too lightweight for my primary machine, but Slackware 10.0 looks good, it should run well on my hardware (a 500MHz Celeron and 128Mb RAM). It has got all the latest stuff, too...
The one thing about it, though, is that unlike the heavy-handed dependency checking of Debian, the basic Slackware has no checking at all. This appears to be a disadvantage, but assuming that I do little other than update packages from time to time, and not add new ones very often, it might not be an insurmountable handicap. Also, I like my Linux to be UNIXy (if that's a word) rather than trying to be a Windows clone - simple text files for configuration are what I like best, and speed and simplicity are paramount.
So, does anyone have any feedback on using Slackware?
Why don't you give freeBSD a try, I asked about this on this forum a while ago, that was the recommendation I got [webmasterworld.com] from several people, including bakedjake if I remember right, a pretty enthusiastic one too, I'm going to give it a try, dual boot yoper and freebsd, maybe also suse 9.1, but yoper is rapidly winning my heart and mind I have to say, it just outperforms the other distros by quite a wide measure.
Whatever you do, go for the 2.6 kernel if you do linux, that's majorly optimized for the desktop environment, kde 3.3 is much much better than the earlier versions, I don't know which desktop you use, but there's a very large difference in quality, and that difference is going to get much more noticeable in all the distros very soon, they are all pushing pretty hard at the desktop doorstep, especially the novell owned suse systems.
|Why don't you give freeBSD a try |
FreeBSD would be good, but the trouble is I want to run CrossOver Office so I can run IE6 (and perhaps Word) - and the only way to do that in FreeBSD is to try it in Linux emulation mode and hope for the best. That's why I really need Linux in my case (cxoffice is Linux-only, and you get no support for FreeBSD).
I have to admit I'm pretty tempted by Slackware as a BSD-like Linux distro that is simple and fast - it's got the 2.6 kernel too.
I talked to some of our Linux geeks at work, network admins, they were very down on using debian as a desktop, or a server, I'd have to agree with that from what I've seen.
The 2.6 kernel is so much better for desktops, for example yesterday I needed to mount a usb flash memory drive, plugged it in, mounted it, got the data.
I'm starting learn this Linux stuff, still raw newbie level, although with some background of course from dealing with bsd servers for years, but Yoper is starting to really convince me, the optimizations done on this package are very impressive, it's a little shaky right now because the main project developer is basically doing it alone, but he's got a winning package, support community is growing, I think he'll be quitting his day job at IBM soon, this is definitely the desktop I was waiting for, every single test I've been running on linux for the last 3 years that other distros failed, it's passing. Plus he's aiming for a commercial package, that means income, which is a good business plan as far as I'm concerned.
bakedjake recommended linspire, can't say I agree, there's no need to sacrifice I think anymore, this stuff is moving very very fast. KDE 3.3 is very good, KDE 3.4/4.0 is going to be even better, things that didn't used to work, or worked erratically, are now working more or less fine. Also curious about running a light windows manager like icewm, I have to learn how to get that configured and running..
More recommendations from my network admin buddies, install apache/php/mysql from source, dont' use package managers.
Been running Ubuntu for about a week now.
It's Debian based and comes with a recent Kernel, Gnome, Gimp and Firefox. Opera can be installed from multi/universe.
I'm also finding it to be very quick.