The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003


Now I remember what I hate about system administration—taking over an existing setup. It's never how I would set up the system and there are always gotchas hiding away in some dusty corner of the system.

It's been an interesting couple of days as I get up to speed on the four systems I've been hired to run. The fact that they're running RedHat (three are 7.2, one is 9.0) didn't upset me that much.

Never mind the extraneous packages that have been installed (X? On a server?), what has me upset is the overreliance on RPMs.

Perhaps I'm old school, but I prefer to download the tarballs and compile from source. That way I know what I'm getting and patching is so much easier when you have the source (plus not having to wait around for a “official” patch from whatever vendor you use). Already I'm running into problems with these systems. Mainly with an incomplete development system (you have X, but skipped Flex?) and dependancy hell with RPMs (can't install foo because it depends upon bar 1.7 but bar 2.1 is istalled, but it's not in the RPM database, and doing a rpm -i --force foo.rpm fails … ).

Given a complete development system, I can live with RedHat, skipping the use of RPMs entirely (I'm still creaking along with a few installations of RedHat 5.2 and I'm not counting on there being RPMs of Bind 9 for RedHat 5.2) but a partial development system?

Annoying, but something I can work around.


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