CentOS stands for Community ENTerprise Operating System. As a group, CentOS is a community of open source contributors and users. Typical CentOS users are organizations and individuals that do not need strong commercial support in order to achieve successful operation. CentOS is 100% compatible rebuild of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux, in full compliance with Red Hat's redistribution requirements. CentOS is for people who need an enterprise class operating system stability without the cost of certification and support. CentOS is currently ranked #12 at distrowatch
Pentium D 3.4 GHz with 2 gig of RAM, Nvidia 7300GS with 256 meg RAM and 19" wide screen monitor. For this review I am using 64 bit edition.
The installation DVD does not come with a Live environment. A separate Live CD is available for people interested in checking the environment first.
Fedora and CentOS are amongst the earliest distributions to correctly bring 1440x900@75Hz desktop resolution.
CentOS uses Anaconda as the system installer. As with the other distributions that use Anaconda; it is really simple to install CentOS without actually burning a DVD. User can install the system from the hard disk containing the ISO image. For detailed description see the installation section in my earlier post.
Anaconda asks for the language, keyboard and allows you to configure partitions. The network configuration tool has been updated and user can separately configure IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. Earlier it was not possible to assign static IP to one and leave the other one on DHCP, but thats not the case now. Anaconda then asks for time zone, root password and the packages to be installed.
User can select additional repositories during package selection, but I did not try that out. The package selection categories made me laugh. Emacs and Editors are different categories :). Seems like Emacs is not an editor any more, but far more better/superior than editors. And even though the fact that Emacs is not in the latest 22 version.
CentOS comes with a light blue theme and the theme is very well integrated(even with Compiz). The default font set was "Sans" (I personally do not like Sans), which I changed to "Dejavu Sans". For a Sever/Workspace oriented distribution, the look and feel is nice.
Being a DVD install there are a huge number of applications. I would say that I was really disappointed by version of applications used by CentOS (Red Hat). Firefox is in version 220.127.116.11 and Open Office is in a really old version 2.0.4. But this rant is more appropriate for Red Hat. Pirut is again disappointing as it fails/hangs a lot.
Additional applications can be downloaded from the repository. But the repository seems to be stagnant. There is not even a single application in the main extra repository. Some applications are present in extra testing repository but they are not sufficient. The repository for CentOS 4 is full of all kinds of useful applications.
There is no out-of-box multimedia support in CentOS, and hopelessly the official repository lacks the required binary packages. So if you are looking for multimedia functionality, you have to look of other unofficial repositories or compile the applications/codecs from source.
Compiz is installed by default and provides basic eye-candy. But for enabling it, proprietary graphics card drivers need to be installed and /etc/X11/xorg.conf needs to be tweaked.
CentOS is just a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and really a good clone. But it seems to be going into dangerous waters. The most disappointing aspect was the lack of good and complete official repository(which is not the case with CentOS 4). It is a really good distribution for server/workstation users who do not want to pay extortion money to Red Hat. But for casual desktop user, I advise to stay clear.