A few months ago I wrote about my plan to switch from Fedora to CentOS on the desktop. This is turning out to be a great move and I'm finding that CentOS is so widely supported that I'm converting others from Fedora to CentOS as well.
Recently I replaced an older Pentium 4 computer running Fedora 14 (Gnome 2 based) with CentOS 6.4 on a Dell Inspiron 530 quad processor desktop for some close friends. Needless to say, it's blazing fast compared to the Pentium 4 — even though that computer was capable of running the latest applications, just slower.
They had been converted from Windows XP about 5 years ago to Fedora 14 so that computer had been running fine since then. But it was time for a speed boost.
Moving from Fedora 14 to CentOS 6 has been a seamless process since both use Gnome 2 and the user experience is identical. It's as simple as installing CentOS 6 operating system, then moving the user folder (on the /home filesystem) to the new computer and logging in as that user.
As I have pointed out in the past, moving a user folder in Linux is very easy and in most cases all applications will open up and have all of the same settings, files, and everything in place. Those that have used Windows know the pains in moving or copying user profiles, however with GNU/Linux this process is greatly simplified with far less work and problems.
While building this latest CentOS desktop, I found another repository which expands CentOS on the desktop even further. It's called Nux Dextop — and contains a lot of updated software commonly used on the desktop, for CentOS 6/Red Had Enterprise Linux 6/Scientific Linux.
For example, it includes GIMP 2.8 which is a big release and update from the previous version, and is one of the only places to get the Clementine media player for CentOS (which I think is one of the best media players available — very stable and clean). Many other desktop applications are also included.
As mentioned previously, I also use these repositories:
Having this platform with the long-term support (10 years) for me is a step in a positive direction for desktop Linux. Not only is the base operating system good for the 10-year period, but I'm also able to find updated applications that keep in line with some of the latest Fedora versions, without having to upgrade the entire operating system at one time. Plus, the recent adoption of CentOS by Red Hat will only make this GNU/Linux distribution even stronger.
The upgrade process with Fedora is fine for some and is an easy way to refresh the entire system at once, but for remote computers that I support it just makes sense to go with an operating system with long-term support so that the base will stay static for many years to come and packages on that base can be updated remotely. I'll definitely be doing more work with CentOS 6, while we wait for the release of CentOS 7 later this year.