Wikipedia Moving 400 Servers To Ubuntu Linux From Red Hat Linux

by on October 10, 2008 · 23 comments· LAST UPDATED October 10, 2008

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Wikipedia is ditching out a mix of Red Hat and Fedora for Ubuntu Linux. Wikipedia has 10 million articles in 250 languages and it is one of the 10 most visited websites in the world.

One of the reasons for this switch was that they did not want to pay Red Hat for support on their provided software solutions. Ubuntu Linux get updated frequently and nothing can beat apt package manger.

According to Vibber, CTO of the Wikimedia Foundation:

We had a mix of things: some Red Hat 9, some Fedora -- several different versions. The group used a custom-scripted installation procedure, but found that having a multitude of versions was more difficult to maintain for its small five-person IT staff around the world. The move to all-Ubuntu was primarily done with the goal of "making our own administration and maintenance simpler. We decided that we want to standardize on something.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Leszek October 10, 2008 at 8:09 pm

I hope everything will go fine.
Ubuntu is ok to.I prefer it (and offcourse Debian) over Red Hat’s distributions.

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2 Sweta October 10, 2008 at 10:45 pm

You are giving out bad publicity to Red hat.

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3 Rodrigo October 10, 2008 at 11:26 pm

I think this is great for Ubuntu, it will ensure that the distro is used in large environments, and I can only hope that Canonical gets together with WikiMedia to further assist and develop each other.

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4 Nathan October 11, 2008 at 12:23 am

Ubuntu Linux for a server? Couldn’t they decide on something better? I had a Ubuntu Linux server… its now a FreeBSD server and is much better.

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5 David October 11, 2008 at 1:21 am

Ubuntu does have versions that are less often updated (Long Term Support versions or LTS).

Apt is also not unique to Debian; apt-rpm is phenomenal and one of the first things that go on my Red Hat boxes. Now dpkg – ugh.

I love my Kubuntu (and apt) but dpkg can take a flying leap…. :)

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6 soundar October 11, 2008 at 12:14 pm

is administrative over head is only fact to kick out redhat?

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7 Troy W. Banther October 11, 2008 at 3:31 pm

I agree with them going to a single platform if they need it to manage their servers easier and a small IT staff.

My job is to manage Red Hat and OS X servers at work and I don’t find the Red Hat servers difficult. It could be that version 9 was a little dated for support.

My home operating system is Debian Etch and it is solid. Easy to update, manage, etc. I’ve installed FreeBSD as well but found some older servers have parts that it does not recognize.

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8 smooth October 11, 2008 at 4:03 pm

i agree with Nathan
its like going from bad 2 worst :S

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9 Leopoldo Maestro October 12, 2008 at 1:26 am

I can imagine it like a problem with the “professional” Debian support. Ubuntu and Redhat give support professional for his distributions.

At this moment, i think the best option could be Redhat Enterprise, but with the price of licenses, it is a bit hard for a non profit organization.

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10 Trey Blancher October 12, 2008 at 4:23 am

To David, who says,”ugh,” about dpkg… You do realize that on Debian and derivatives apt is a frontend to dpkg?

It’s good that they’re standardizing on something. Red Hat, in all its incarnations has never sat well with me. I’ve used it quite a bit, and it’s always seemed ugly to me. Hopefully this push towards standardization on Ubuntu will be good for it.

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11 Cosmix October 12, 2008 at 8:53 am

“used a custom-scripted installation procedure”
>> use a well done kickstart script
>> built one sistem … make a clone and deploy

“mix of things: some Red Hat 9, some Fedora”
>> so why did not you make (yet) a transition to newer fedora ?

“they did not want to pay Red Hat”
>> ok , that’s why Centos is out there ..

>> standardize on something.
so … why not Centos ? Free BSD ? or even Solaris ?

and nothing can beat apt package manger.
>> have you ever tried yum ?

anyway , wish you luck !!

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12 Daniel Kühl October 13, 2008 at 11:59 am

Ubuntu de cú é rola!

Oh come on! It isn’t April 1st! Not time to joke people!
Ubuntu? Ubuntu? Oh…

As another post said: “wish you luck”

Ubuntu?

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13 Planet Malaysia October 14, 2008 at 3:26 pm

I’m support SuSE Linux!

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14 Adam October 15, 2008 at 1:32 am

I tried to install ubuntu on some servers because of the Ubuntu hype but after 3 weeks I went back to centos. Their updates will brake your system and and ubuntu server is not stable. How about some lvm2 support, acl not to get corrupted after updating. Their lead is desktop computing but not servers. Their server documentation is outdated – they cant even get close to redhat’s documentation.
So many more things to mention. I hate ubuntu server!
CentOS FTMFW

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15 Zach October 15, 2008 at 9:50 pm

I can understand unifying server environs, but Ubuntu? Isn’t Ubuntu made for desktop environments?

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16 James October 16, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Why not just Debian “Stable” or standardize on 1 RHEL or CENTOS version

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17 Daniel Kühl October 17, 2008 at 3:53 am

It’s look like an amateur solution.

Seriously, Wikipedia it’s being an important website, why do not use a professional solution?

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18 cosminus October 17, 2008 at 8:57 am

I use both Ubuntu and Fedora as desktops workstations at home and at work, both with Gnome.
Personally I like more Fedora 9 than Ubuntu 8.04 and I find that yum/Yumex are more user friendly and more flexible/powerful than apt-get/synaptic. Even more I prefer yum and not apt-get (from console).
As for a server, I will stick with Red Hat, or otherwise I will go to something Unix (FreeBSD, Solaris) for improved performance.

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19 Ed Lyon October 17, 2008 at 10:36 pm

I’ve worked with Ubuntu, CentOS, Redhat, HPUX, Gentoo, OSX etc. Ubuntu isn’t a bad choice, less bloat, nice package management system, and lower support cost, but timely updates etc. My own company switched from Redhat to CentOS and are now switching to Ubuntu. A lot of it is because Ubuntu is a more easy for the admins less experienced with Linux/Unix to support.

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20 bayu October 18, 2008 at 11:03 am

what about mandriva ??

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21 Daniel Kühl October 18, 2008 at 11:48 am

“… admins less experienced with Linux/Unix to support.”

Amateurs.

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22 Gagan Brahmi October 19, 2008 at 2:03 am

I have been a fan on redhat distro for some time now, but I have been using Ubuntu for past couple of month as my desktop. And believe me, nothing can beat Ubuntu. A perfect solution for desktop linux. But when it comes to servers, I still consider that redhat has an edge over Ubuntu or Debian in that case.

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23 Gagan Brahmi October 19, 2008 at 2:06 am

…Also, yes yum has yet to improve a lot to beat apt-get. A nice package management tool, for those who says yum is good.. my advise will be to try apt-get, you’ll love it..

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