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Daniel Nashed

Picking the right Linux Distribution

Daniel Nashed – 5 April 2023 07:13:11

There isn't one best or right distribution in general. There are many variations. For example Redhat/CentOS based platforms have flavors like Rocky and Alma Linux.
The HCL Domino community project looks into many possible combinations as the base image -->

There are basically three different main flavors with different toppings:

- Redhat/CentOS based (with yum and dnf in later versions to manage packages)
- Ubuntu/Debian (with apt to manage packages)
- SUSE Enterprise/Leap etc. (with zypper to manage packages)

There are variations and some special distributions like VMware Photon OS I blogged about earlier -->

Depends on your needs and strategy

The right distribution is really depending on your needs.
Some platforms linke Ubuntu support ZFS out of the box.
A very powerful enterprise file system with snapshot, compression, deduplication, encryption, integrated pool management.
SUSE uses btrfs, which supports snapshots compression, deduplication.

Take care of dependencies

But this post is mainly to look into aspects like glibc, OpenSSL and Curl versions -- which are very important components for Linux.
glibc is the standard C run-time used by Linux and all packages and needs to be aligned with the software you run.

For example you can't run software compiled on Redhat Linux 9 with glibc 2.34 on earlier Linux versions or platforms which don't yet support this version.

Applications have different strategies for OpenSSL and Curl. Some rely on the OS to have the right version.
Some include OpenSSL and Curl .so files even dynamically linked.

Domino 12.0.2+ statically links very current OpenSSL and LibCurl versions as blogged earlier (see linked post).

Those versions are still important for other software you run on your Linux machines.
I listed the current state for some distributions and their current releases.
This might help you to find out which platform to pick for your Linux environment.

I created this list using the corresponding container images -- not the native OS. That's why I did not list the kernel version. The kernel is provided by your base OS running your docker/podman host.
But for curiosity I installed the latest Ubuntu  23.04 Luna Lobster version to check out where the journey is going also from kernel version.

There are many factors to select your Linux platform. I am currently thinking about the next step for the base image for the Domino community image.
The next logical step would be to switch to CentOS 9 Stream. But as you can se the OpenSSL and Curl version is pretty old.
A better choice would be the latest Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release or the new VMware Photon 5.0 OS.

Domino Container Image

The official HCL image will stay on Redhat UBI and switches to the latest version.
But the community image supports many different variations based on your requirements.

UBI is a quite limited base, not providing all add-ons and has limited language support if your docker/podman host is not based on RHEL.

If you are running on a VMware hypervisor Photon OS would be a very good choice for the Linux base OS and also the container image.
If you are running on AWS, you might want to use Amazon Linux as your base.

There are many different strategies which Linux to pick for different reasons.

I would be interested to hear which distribution and version you are running and why.

HCL is switching to a newer build platform for Windows and Linux for the next major release and we need to get prepared.

We will probably get the first official statements from HCL at Engage this month.
If you are attending Engage and you are running Domino on Linux, you should join us at the Linux round table.

Feedback to this post, might be also food for discussions at the round table.

Product glibc Version OpenSSL Version Curl Version
openSUSE Leap 15.4 2.31 1.1.1l / 3.0.1 7.79.1
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 / UBI 9 2.34 3.0.1 7.76.1
VMware Photon OS/Linux 5.0 2.36 3.0.7 7.83.1
Ubuntu 22.04.1 LTS (Jammy Jellyfish) 2.35 3.0.2 7.81
Ubuntu 22.10 (Kinetic Kudu) rolling *) 2.36 3.0.5 7.85
Ubuntu 23.04 (Lunar Lobster) develop *) 2.37 3.0.8 7.88.1

*) Ubuntu rolling and develop release are not recommended for Domino production use. They are listed for reference



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