My IT guy gave me a choice of Fedora or Red Hat for an operating system. Is there any advantages or disadvantages for either operating system when considering bioinformatics applications? They seem very similar. Thanks for the feedback.
What do you want to do on the system? Most commercial software is certified on RedHat for support etc. If this isn't a matter of concern, use whatever you're interested in.
If it's a desktop, I'd head towards Fedora. If it's a server, and you want to pay RedHat for the privilege, it's definitely more likely to be a better server platform (no I don't have experience of running Fedora on servers). But why not just use CentOS or Scientific Linux instead. They are free, RedHat derived, Linux OS's.
Your concerns with bioinformatics software will be a) will it be packaged for my system b) will it be in a repository my system can pull in c) is it 64bit compatible..
Additional relevant threads on Biostar here and here
I suspect you are just going to get people telling you what their favorite and most used OS is. I personally use Fedora because everyone else in my office does. Sounds like a weak reason, but it means problems can be solved easily. Who else uses these OSs in your area?
I have used both OSs and think Fedora is 'better' because it is consistently developing, there is a great open source community and i have not had any problems with any out of date libraries being for newly developed bioinformatics software. I did previously come across this problem with RH.
I am not using either one of those, but have experience with a lot of different OS
After a look here given only these choices, I would choose Red Hat Enterprise for a server and Fedora for a bioinformatician/scientific programmers workstation.
There are only very few differences between these linux distributions, so I wouldn't waste a lot of time arguing (even though I believe the debian package management system apt is superior to yum...).
Main aspects of OS that are relevant always (in my personal priority):
Compatibility with hardware
Ease of administration
Availability vs. stability of software packages
Fedora has more and newer packages and RHEL has commercial support and stability.
None of these points are likely to be relevant for you as a perl programmer, but go and check if the required software you use is available as a recent version packaged in the repo, that's a little advantage (and a reason why I wouldn't use CentOS because they always so much behind)
RadHat would be my choice as a lot of bioinformatics research groups (government,Industry,Academia) use CentOS which is very similar to RedHat. This will result in better chances in compatibility and support from user groups.