From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Server Migration From Ubuntu 8.04 To Debian 5.0?

I read every day, through my RSS reader. And I follow Aaron Toponce's blog posts regularly.

But his post today, Server Migration From Ubuntu 8.04 To Debian 5.0, makes me wonder..."wait a minute, huh?"

I should state up front that I'm a biased reader. I am employed by Canonical, on the Ubuntu Server Team. My daily job is to make the Ubuntu Server a rock-solid, secure, feature-ful, performant, enterprise-class operating system. So I can't even pretend that I'm not biased.

I do feel it's necessary, though, to challenge Aaron's opinion as stated in this blog entry. I very much believe that Ubuntu 8.04.2 LTS (aka Hardy Heron) is every bit as reliable and secure as the Debian Lenny release.

Aaron writes:
Another nice thing with Debian stable, is it releases when it’s ready. The Debian community has taken some flack for this, with 2-3 years at times between releases. However, Debian stable is the operating system that is high production quality. While most end users tend to run testing or unstable on their desktops or laptops, many prefer stable for their production server.
This is what the Ubuntu LTS release is. These are only released every 2 years, as opposed to our non-LTS releases which happen every 6 months. The LTS development cycle is handled differently than other development cycles. Many features are bypassed in the interest of additional testing and bug fixing. Packages contained in an LTS release are supported for security updates for 5+ years; thus, we are more conservative about what is acceptable in an LTS release.

Ubuntu LTS is absolutely a stable and secure server operating system, ideally suited for production purposes. My production website ( is running Ubuntu LTS 8.04.2 Server and will continue to do so until Ubuntu LTS 10.04 is released.

Aaron goes on to write:
Now, with that said, I personally have never had any problems with my LTS server, either Dapper 6.06 or Hardy 8.04. But do I want to risk it? Should I chance it? While nothing may ever happen that causes critical concern for me with an LTS release, I feel more comfortable putting my trust in Debian stable than I do Ubuntu LTS.
Multiple years running Ubuntu LTS releases, and no problems. That's great! Me too.

So why spread Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (tm) about the Ubuntu LTS Server on the aggregator, without concrete examples? That seems counterproductive. I don't get it...

I do not mean to attack Aaron personally. He's not the first person to tell me that they choose to run Debian on their server rather than Ubuntu. That's certainly their (your) right, and I'm all for choice.

If you know that there are concrete examples of things that we could do better on the Ubuntu Server, specific areas of improvement, particular cases where the Ubuntu Server did not meet your needs, by all means, we want this information! We're honestly trying to build the best enterprise class Linux server operating system on the market. We need to know from you where there is room for improvement.