Wikipedia Moving 400 Servers To Ubuntu Linux From Red Hat Linux

last updated in Categories Debian Linux, GNU/Open source, Hardware, High performance computing, Linux distribution, News, package management, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Ubuntu Linux

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.


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

23 comment

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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…. 🙂

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. “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 !!

  9. 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”


  10. 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

  11. It’s look like an amateur solution.

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. …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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