26 Nov 2010

Old Good(?) Style

I recently wrote about Linux distributive which was derived from Red Hat once Red Hat became commercial. But Fedora is not the only derivative in there!
As long as Red Hat is still open source software, anyone can use their source code for own purposes. That's the way how CentOS was born.
Selection of available versions for CentOS is not massive. If you want to have Live system, you have a choice of only one variety. Practically, this is GNOME-embedded system. No choice between KDE, LXDE or any other windows manager. At least, for CentOS 5.5, which I used.
Anyway. Following procedure is standard.
Download CD image. Burn it onto CD-RW disk. Reboot. Choose to boot from CD.
Let's go!

  • Boot time. Booting CentOS from CD is not so painless. You can have a cup of tea or something else before loading finishes. There are some questions you need to answer. To be honest, they are not the most difficult ones, and you are most likely just to press Enter to confirm proposed variant. But booting time is just under 4 minutes(!) is not good enough for any system, even being run from CD. I think the reason for this is number of files which are located on different parts of CD. These files are being read and noise coming from CD reading head can just be a background music in drum&bass style.
  • Network. Once booted on my Compaq laptop, CentOS could not find my WiFi network drive. That is disappointing. It should be disappointing for any distributive which is released in last 2-3 years. This laptop is good 4 years old, and distributive authors had more than enough time to include drivers for Broadcom 4311 into distro!
  • Keyboard. Surprisingly, multi-language keyboard configuration was easier than in most of Linux distributives I tried so far. There is an icon on desktop which launches keyboard configuration. Adding Russian layout was just a question of seconds. Though, I did not get any language indicator on task bar when additional language was added. And no checkbox in configuration window to activate the indicator. Small defect, but still worth mentioning.
  • Software package. CentOS comes well packed with software. I was surprised when Live Fedora came without any Office application. CentOS is not that bad. You have OpenOffice included.
  • Design. My general feeling of CentOS was not an easy one. Something is wrong here. Most likely it is design. Of course, many Linux fans can tell me that design is not the first priority in Operation system. But getting icons from previous century in distributive which was released in May 2010... That is something strange. Definitely worth re-thinking and updating.

But, as any system, CentOS has full right to exist and get its fans. Just not me for now.
If you want to try CentOS yourself, why not buy it via Buy Linux CDs page?

Useful links:
Official CentOS site
CentOS forum
Official CentOS blog


  1. Nothing is wrong with CentOS, as You imply. There is nothing strange there either.

    What I find strange, is that you have not bothered to mention that CentOS is compiled from RedHat sources with as little changes as possible.

    Your dislikes would also apply to RedHat Enterprise Linux. You should download a demo and try it out.

  2. @Anonymous:
    I have mentioned that CentOS is based on RedHat source code. You're right I have not mentioned that changes are minimal.
    I did not tell I dislike CentOS. I just wrote that design was outdated. But this is minor compared to stability.