Is CentOS ready for the Linux desktop?
Today in Open Source: Should you use CentOS on the desktop? Plus: Linux and the Nest Labs acquisition by Google, and the openSUSE forums are online again
CentOS on the desktop?
A ZDNet writer has moved from Fedora to CentOS as his preferred desktop distribution.
Recently, I decided to try CentOS on the desktop. Why? My first reason is its support life, which is 10 years from the initial release date. The other reason is that there are a handful of third party repositories for CentOS that have updated packages of software.
CentOS also has other advantages as well. It is not cutting edge, and that can be a good thing. It still uses the 2.6.x kernel, and its core packages are older which means that bugs have been worked out and the software should be relatively bug-free overall.
In addition, regular releases of CentOS do offer seamless upgrades in case you do want to do a complete refresh of a system.
Image credit: CentOS
CentOS is a very interesting and different choice for a desktop distribution. I haven't heard of many people using it that way. Whenever somebody brings it up it's usually within the context of running a server.
I can understand the desire of the writer for longer term support, and also his disenchantment with GNOME 3. Both things can be a problem for certain kinds of users. GNOME 3 has caused quite a bit of controversy and...er...robust debate among many Linux users.
But I think Linux Mint Debian might have been a better bet for him. The Linux Mint developers provide some useful tools for desktop users that improve the overall experience, and Debian works extremely well as the base for LMDE. Plus, it is a rolling distribution so you don't need to reinstall the system to upgrade it.
On the other hand, if CentOS is working well for him then more power to him. Choice is one of the best things about Linux. Nobody is stuck using a desktop distro that they don't like or that doesn't work well for them. So maybe CentOS' time on the desktop has finally arrived for some users.
LinuxBSDos did a review of CentOS 6, trying to assess its suitability as a desktop distribution. Their conclusions about it seemed a bit mixed though.
This was just an excursion to determine whether CentOS 6 could be a good candidate as a desktop distribution for non-experts, or new users. The verdict: Unless you do not mind getting digital grease on your hands, there are better RPM-based distributions available. Fedora or any Fedora Spin, makes a better desktop distribution than CentOS 6.
Linux User had a more upbeat take on CentOS on the desktop.
CentOS 6.3 isn’t fancy, it doesn’t come with crazy Compiz effects on by default, it has a very solid and classic package list, and GNOME 2 is the standard interface. For some people, though, this is all that they require. CentOS is as stable as you could need, yet offers a very workable experience for desktops without the fear of running into some of the more exotic problems associated with Linux use. Of course, this translates extremely well to server and enterprise use if you don’t fancy spending the support money just yet on Red Hat.
What's your take on CentOS on the desktop? Are you using it? Please share your thoughts in the comments. It will be very interesting to see if there's a larger community of CentOS desktop users out there than I thought.
Linux and the Nest Labs acquisition by Google
Linux.com points out that that the Nest thermostat is powered by Linux, and that the value of Linux has gone far beyond desktop distributions.
Google this week announced it would acquire Nest Labs, which makes the wildly popular Linux-based, Wi-fi enabled and programmable Nest thermostat and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. A $3.2 billion deal, this acquisition demonstrates how hot the connected home market is becoming and how big the promise is of the Internet of Things. It also demonstrates the value of Linux and how open source impacts the biggest business decisions being made today.
By using Linux as the foundation for its products, the Nest Labs founders were able to innovate faster, build better and deliver better value for its customers. Google, among other big technology companies, know the value of Linux and open source development and are taking notice of the work entrepreneurs are doing with Linux.
Over the last few weeks I've noted how Linux powers a crock-pot and an AR-15 rifle's targeting system. And now we see it again in the Nest thermostat product. Make no mistake about it, Linux is becoming ubiquitous as it appears in more and more products around the world.
I still think we're in the early days of the proliferation of Linux. It will become more and more apparent in the years ahead just how valuable it has become to so many different industries. It's really amazing how far Linux has come from where it started.
openSUSE forums online again
The openSUSE forums are back online again, and openSUSE provides some details about what might have happened when the forums were recently hacked.
As we reported last week, our public forums have been compromised and defaced. Passwords were safe but the cracker did manage to get access to the database with our forum posts as well as email addresses.
...in the long run, working around the security problems of proprietary software is not the ideal solution. The team is thus looking at other solutions. bbPress and PHPbb are on the top of the list and people experienced with these solutions (and especially migrating to them from vBullentin) would be very welcome. Another piece of work needed is to move the NNTP gateway script to whatever the new solution will be – a PHP developer could be a great help. The team is working on a list of features that are required (and nice to have) and suggestions for other solutions can be ran by this.
I think it's a very good idea to get the openSUSE forums off of VBulletin. I experimented with that software a while back on one of my blogs and it seemed to be more of a spam magnet than anything else. I ended up switching back to Beehive, a frames-based forum software solution.
Hopefully the openSUSE site administrators will move quickly in changing the software. There's no lack of good forum software so it shouldn't take them too long to find an alternative to VBulletin.
What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.