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Is Red Hat Professional 7.3 a One-Size-Fits-All Linux Solution?

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Sep 5, 2002


Linux distributions range from the free downloadable versions to the $700 secured "locked down" server versions that come with a full set of server applications. The Red Hat Professional 7.3 distribution lies squarely in the middle, with an excellent installer, good server applications including the 2.4.18 kernel, Apache 1.3.23-9, glibc 2.2.4 C language library, the Cups print server, and some great productivity software, including the KDE version 3.0 application suite, and StarOffice.

Red Hat Professional 7.3 is packaged on nine CD ROMs and comes with a system administrator's survival CD. Linux distributions range from the free downloadable versions to the $700 secured 'locked down' server versions that come with a full set of server applications. Red Hat Professional 7.3 lies squarely in the middle, offering installation and management tools that make it a good choice for enterprises and Linux pros alike.

We tried installing Red Hat Pro 7.3 on several systems, and it installed without problems every time. The installer lets you select a version for a workstation, laptop, server or a custom installation. The installer detected a portable on the two portables we installed it on, and it didn't have problems with any of the video cards, NICs, or storage subsystems in the other three systems.

The installer gives you the choice of the KDE 3.0 and Gnome 1.4 interfaces. The KDE 3.0 interface is nicely polished and should have a comfortable feel for most Windows users. The Gnome 1.4 interface has some nice features, but users may want to wait for the 2.0 version. Server applications include sendmail and Postfix e-mail servers, the Apache 1.3.23-9 Web server, the Cups print server, and the PostgreSql SQL server.

The recommended minimum hardware configuration is a 200 MHz Pentium-class or better system with 32 MB of RAM, and 650 MB of hard disk space (for a text-only server). The generally recommended configuration for a server is 96 MB of RAM and 2.1 GB of hard disk space. A full installation requires 4.5 GB of hard disk space and 96 MB of RAM.

The nice printed manual set that accompanies Red Hat Professional 7.3 is a step up from the more common disk-based documentation included with many Linux distributions.

The Red Hat Network Basic Service offers notification of errata and patches by e-mail, an instant update application, an application that creates a summary of installed applications as well as a detailed list, and a network package designed help ensure that all the systems on the network have the same configuration and patch level. To be notified of patches via e-mail, you must register with Red Hat and, after the 90-day trial runs out, pay $60 per year for the subscription -- a good idea for keeping servers up to date.

Red Hat Professional 7.3 is an excellent choice for either a basic server or a workstation. Its installation and management tools make it a good choice for enterprises and Linux pros alike.

Pros: Excellent documentation; Lots of server and workstation applications included; Updated with the 2.4.18 Kernel and the latest versions of some critical libraries Very simple installation process;
Cons: More expensive than basic distributions, but with lots of added value

Version Reviewed: 7.3 Professional
Reviewed by: Logan Harbaugh
Date of Original Review: 9/5/02

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