Centos, Ubuntu, McCondo, aren’t all supposed to be the same?

It took roughly five months to get the ball rolling on moving the web site to a new VPS and then it took about 30 man-hours to complete the project. Based on decades of experience (“nothing’s ever as simple as it seems”), it was obvious that it wouldn’t be a trivial thing, and I don’t know whether allĀ that could’ve gone wrong actually did, but the few bumps I hit were enough to make the Dalai Lama realize that, sometimes, life does suck.

Actually, there weren’t as many problems, just three: a strange DNS problem that baffled even our technicians at our new host (Dotster.com), an issue with WordPress (the engine behind this web site and blog – changing its directory structure and moving it at the same site wasn’t the wisest decision I’ve ever taken), and an Apache (web server) configuration setting that had me go to bed at 2am last night instead of midnight maybe: our old vps was running Ubuntu and our new one’s running Centos.

While the intelligentsia insist that there’s no functional difference between Linux distributions, and the main differences from one to another, if any, lies on the software that’s available for each, I found out the hard way that that’s not necessarily true for Apache: configuring the server in Ubuntu is different from doing so in Centos (the distribution our new VPS is running.

In order to have “pretty” links to all the pages on this web site (i.e. “tcs-usa.com/custom-software” instead of “tcs-usa.com/1332913209″) Apache needs to load a specific module (mod_rewrite). Under ubuntu, there are about a dozen different, task-specific, configuration files, while in Centos there is only one. This little, seemingly insignificant detail, ate up about two hours of potential sleep last night.

I guess this one’s just one more of about a dozen things to watch-out for when moving from one distribution to another.

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