Wikimedia helpfully posted a FAQ to set the record straight about their recent server standardization. This is helpful, since a lot of people (including overzealous joinalists) were somehow under the impression that this was a sudden move that involved ripping out hundreds of installed Red Hat Enterprise Linux or CentOS boxes.
However, the FAQ also introduces some unnecessary confusion about the performance of yum, and I figured that needed to be set straight. Readers might take away from this article that current yum was somehow “performance-challenged,” when nothing could be further from the truth.
True, in the days of Fedora Core 3 and 4, i.e. about three years ago or so, it’s true that yum didn’t perform as well as it does today. A metadata parser rewrite, along with a metric boatload of other optimizations and intelligent code straightening done by the yum team, has resulted in a snappy, flexible, and incredibly useful dependency solver. In short, modern yum makes software management on Fedora systems fast and easy. The performance nowadays is probably close to two orders of magnitude improved over the FC 3/4 timeframe.
To make the situation clear to readers about how yum works on systems like Fedora 9, while acknowledging that it’s completely up to the Wikimedia folks what they do with their servers, I wrote this clarification. I included links to some helpful information posted by James Antill regarding yum benchmarks, and information on what makes yum unique.