So I have a Web server running Fedora Core 4. That was the latest and greatest Fedora when I opened my hosting account, but now it’s slightly out of date. The Fedora project is up to version 6, and the stuff installed on my server no longer really gets updated. I’m not a systems administrator, and I’m not even qualified to pretend to be one in meetings, so I’m at a bit of a loss when it comes to dealing with this situation.
I like having more recent software packages, but I don’t want to have to reload the OS on the server box frequently, both because it’s a huge pain and because I have to pay to have it done. Plus it causes a painful email outage.
It seems to me that my options are:
Keep Fedora Core 4, and when I want new stuff compile and install it myself, outside the OS packaging system. The problem is that I’m not going to maintain everything myself like that, and all of the packages that I don’t override will just get older. Also, then I’ll be in charge of keeping up with security updates for all of the packages that I compile and install on my own.
Have the box reloaded with CentOS. I’ll still have lots of old packages, but at least I’ll be using a distribution that is built around the idea of keeping old, stable packages around for a long time. I’ll still get security updates and so forth, but I’ll hardly be on the cutting edge.
Have the box reloaded with the stable version of Ubuntu (or Debian). I should then be able to keep up with the latest and greatest packages, and keep upgrading the distribution without dealing with OS reloads. The only downside here is that I’m not a Debian expert, nor do I know any Debian experts.
How do real systems administrators handle this problem?
Update: I think I’m going to have the server reloaded with FreeBSD. I’ve always liked the FreeBSD ports better than any Linux package management scheme.