Uncompatible Linux

october 26, 2006

Ok, I downloaded Oracle's Unbreakable Linux to give it a spin in VMware. Initial thoughts: It's broken, I call bullshit, Larry Ellison! I downloaded the four CDs from Oracle, they were in zip format. The CD ISOs are about the same size as CentOS CDs. (And for those of you curious, Oracle does not make Breakable Linux available on a single DVD like CentOS.) I unzipped all four files and fired up VMware. In VMware, I created a VM for Breakable Linux:

The installation was just like CentOS installation. It went by without incident. After I rebooted, I went through the same initial boot configuration. And then I was dropped onto a Gnome desktop, where things got bad: Out of the box, those two are already show stoppers. So much for "unbreakable". I question the reliability of Oracle's QA department over this. Out-of-box experience should not be this horrendous. But, it gets even worse. Ellison and his FUD factory promised "compatibility with Red Hat Linux". Not even true. I ran an up2date in Breakable Linux and the little up2date icon turned green -- telling me that everything is up-to-date. So: That shows that first: Oracle has already broken from binary compatibility with RHEL because the kernel version is completely off (and who the hell got decimal happy?). Second, it shows that Oracle is already behind in putting out bugfixes when you look at the Firefox version. Lastly, Thunderbird being missing from the custom installer really proves that Oracle is not putting together a true RHEL rebuild. At least with CentOS: What is in RHEL is in CentOS (other than logos and trademarked materials). The CentOS team strives to be as binary compatible with RHEL as possible (even with bugs!) And, the slowest bug fix release from CentOS is measured in hours. Not the same with Breakable Linux... So, to recap: You get what you pay for with Unbreakable Linux. Update: One thing that I was thinking about but forgot to write was a true test of binary compatibility. CentOS is binary compatible with RHEL, the best way to illustrate this is to try to setup WPA-PSK with CentOS and RHEL. The procedures are the same because the kernel revision is the same. The same cannot be said about Oracle's Enterprise Linux. Any el4 packages out there for RHEL4 which are built against the RHEL4 kernel will not work with Oracle's Enterprise Linux. Oracle Enterprise Linux is a fork. Another Update: Here is my follow-up posting with advice for Larry Ellison. Yea, like he will listen...But, hey it is worth a try.