Last month I was asked to put together a simple proof-of-concept web application and needed to connect to a Microsoft SQL database from a linux system. I prototyped it on my laptop running Debian/sarge -- all the needed packages where easy to install:
apt-get install sqsh libdbd-sybase-perl freetds0
Then I went off and wrote a perl script that connected to a remote database and displayed the data. Straight forward.
Yesterday I was asked to stage it on a demo system running Red Hat 7.3. I spent a good part of the day trying to find prebuilt RPMs to install those packages and not finding them started to build from sources. The sybase perl modules from cpan assume you are using the SYBASE libraries and not freetds and a little cryptic on how to use them. I eventually punted and installed debian on the demo system and was ready for a demo within a hour.