View Full Version : Reasons to Upgrade Fedora?

29th October 2007, 06:20 PM

We are currently using Fedora 5 (64 bit) for our file server, web server, email etc.

Should I be upgrading with each new release?

Everything seems to be working great and I'm not a pro at this stuff so I have hesitated to throw in the new Fedora DVD with each new release.

I'm taking the "Why fix it is it isn't broke." approach.

Is this wrong?


29th October 2007, 06:29 PM
I think you are probably safe sticking with FC5, however once its hit end of life (if it hasn't already) there will be no bug fixes to the kernel or any other package for that matter.

I've successfully upgraded hundreds of systems running all what you mention via both the CD/DVD upgrade method and yum without any problems.

From what you say it seems the box will be sat on the internet so may come up against problems. From a security perspective its better to upgrade.

Just my opinion though.

29th October 2007, 06:34 PM

There's a lot to be said for that philosophy, but in the long run, remember fedora is a short lifespan product. (two releases plus one month= +/- 13 months) A better choice might be CentOS 5 or just biting the bullet and investing in RHEL.


29th October 2007, 06:37 PM
I'm taking the "Why fix it is it isn't broke." approach.
I prefer this idea....
If it ain't broke, tweak it! :)
But seriously, we still use Redhat 9 at work and the only reason I plan to upgrade that box is we want to put it on vmware and it's a pain to transfer it to a vm client from a hardware os.

29th October 2007, 06:40 PM
When Fedora dropped the Legacy project (support for older versions) I tried keeping up with installing new versions. Once a year installs on a server is just a big PITA, but any machine exposed to the internet should not exist without security updates. I switched my servers to Centos5 (RedHat el5 with logos removed). It has a 5 year support life and "feel" like FC6(free just like Fedora). All the binaries for RHel5 I have tried have worked without issue. It has been rock solid.

Good Luck

29th October 2007, 07:18 PM
I feel there are good arguments both ways.

A few years ago I was involved in a project that had an urgent need to set up some servers. I'm not an IT guy but I and another developer selected and installed the then-current FC3 as a quick-fix temporary solution. The guy hired to maintain those systems refused to upgrade and eventually switched one of the systems over to his pet distro (Suse9 IIRC) but never created a good solution. The software is stale and the libraries are ancient and the problems they they run into are mostly solved in later distros. It was a very bad idea to fixate on a multi-year old fedora release.

OTOH my home server still runs FC6, and prior to that FC4, and I will probably switch to F8 after it's stable; IOW switch every other release. I'm willing to accept some downtime and tweaking and instability on this one-off server. Fedora is NOT IMO a very good selection for a production server. It's meant to enjoy near-edge level of new software and that means instability. RHEL5 would undoubtedly be a better choice for a production or mission critical server.

Having said that - I was required to use RHEL4 Workstation early this year, just before it was replaced by RHEL5 and It really had an old crufty Fedora4/5, RedHat9 feel to it. Many of the base packages, the X11 (the very early Xorg stuff) and the Gnome for example were not upgraded past new major releases and they felt and looked bad. I imagine the typical server apps, apache and tools were upgraded more rigorously. I did not enjoy this step into the past when using the system as development station. I personally think RedHat does a spectacular job of keeping their server distro working for 5 years, OTOH it's a challenge and it implies some limitations as the base concept ages.

29th October 2007, 08:53 PM
My 2 cents. It's never a good idea to run on an unsupported/unmaintained OS unless you have a compelling reason to. ie, an app that isn't supported on a newer OS. Staying fairly current also generally makes it easier to upgrade various apps you are running that may need a more current OS/library/etc. I also don't like to upgrade at every release unless you need missing functionality. Typically I upgrade my personal servers/desktops every other major release. I'm running FC6 on my desktop, and once FC8 has gone through the initial shake down, I'll upgrade.

My work (and previous employers) tend to take slightly more conservative approach. Unless functionality is needed, they tend to stick with what works until it approaches end of life. At that point they will upgrade all the servers to the most current OS available. New servers get the same OS as existing servers, not necessarily the latest and greatest, unless it's required for the harware going in or a specific app. This tends to keep as many servers as possible on the same OS (a real lifesaver for large environments), while minimizing the pain from upgrades.

Both approaches are worth while, the best approach, IMHO, is dependent on the size of the organization and how tolerant they are with downtime.

I'll also agree with stevea, go with one of the RH editions for corporate servers. The cost is reasonable, and having phone support for the rare times you really need it can be a life saver.