Last week I took the Red Hat Certified Engineer "Crash Course", a five day marathon that resulted in my receiving the lesser Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT) credential after the hardest test I've ever taken (including the NY Bar Exam). Given the time and pain invested in both the course and the test, I've decided to go the total immersion route with things Red Hat for awhile. That's already resulted in wiping the disks of my primary desktops at home and work, and installing Fedora Core 3 on them. I've also put up a Red Hat Enterprise Server 3 box at each location for further practice. For now, the main file server at home remains on FreeBSD 5.2.1, but will probably get reinstalled at a Red Hat box as well. My original foray into UNIX systems was on Red Hat Linux 5.1 (Manhatten), and I was a die hard devotee of Red Hat 6.2 (Apollo) long after most of the world moved on to the 2.4 kernel. The last Linux I ran before switching to BSD was Red Hat 7.3 (Valhalla), which would become the basis for Red Hat Enterprise 2.1 Advanced Server (I'm not counting the brief experience I had with the Marist College distribution of Linux for S/390 I installed as a POC for work).
One thing I learned a few months ago when I started working with Red Hat Enterprise 3 was that in many cases compiling from source yielded better results than using an rpm. This turned out to be especially true for multimedia apps on both Workstation and Fedora Core. Mplayer, an app I've grown fond of because of its uncanny ability to do everything that the Quicktime and Windows Media players can do, is a case in point. Another app I'll probably be building from source is OpenLDAP, since even the latest rpm was compiled in such a way that most of the "good stuff" is not enabled. My instructor for the RHCE class suggested I try building my own rpm for OpenLDAP, something I'm now researching as a way to make possible future maintenance easier.