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
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.