This all started Friday, I’m an Ubuntu user, it works out of the box, well most of the time it does. However just recently with updates small things just don’t seem to work properly. So I had a chat with one of our consultants and CentOS 7 came up. I love CentOS as a server, its basically Red-Hat after all, so there is great support, stability and it just works (once you get the NIC working) I’d never even considered CentOS as a Desktop.
What is it that CentOS is doing well that pulled me down this path of reinstalling my OS on the work laptop this weekend?
First, lets just say while looks are not everything, it’s hard not to judge this book by it’s cover
Now I’m not going to get into a debate with anyone over Gnome3, CentOS7 is just the first time I’ve seen it done this well out of the box. Someone has taken the time and the effort to make the desktop look Like Gnome2 by using Gnome3 Extensions, which means its highly intuitive out of the box. This is just a themed Gnome3 however because pressing the Windows key gives you the nice Gnome3 Application view
It looks and feels nice from the get go.
While doing what they have done here, they also managed to do something no other current Gnome3 desktop i’ve used has managed to do. Make Network Manager’s interface usable. Setting up Multiple Wired LAN’s for 802.1x and Standard LAN’s is simple and easy..
As I said you don’t judge a book by its cover, the prettiest of distros out there quickly descend into a whole world of pain very quickly if certain things don’t work.
Speed Wise on a 32Gb machine with a 512Gb SSD this distro is noticably faster at both booting and while being used, things feel snappier than on Ubuntu 14.04 or OpenSuse 13.1 which I have had installed on this PC in the last 10 days.
Apps wise my usual mantra is Deb for Desktop RPM for servers, history taught me that you can very quickly get into the sort of dependency hell with an RPM based system which can resort to grabbing install media and starting again. Time however seem to have changed and i’ve been installing Chrome, Virtualbox, Skype etc and all has gone in and not caused me much of a nightmare. LEts be honest if your package management causes you issues in this day and age change it.
I’ve added the EPEL and Fedora Repos as well and seem to work ok..
Stability, now i’ve only been using this for a few days, however the consultant I was speaking to on friday has had CentOS7 on his laptop (similar spec) for 2 weeks, I know him, I know how he hammers his laptop, he’s a pen tester so has tools coming out of the wazoo.. I quote “most stable OS i’ve ever used”
What about hardware support? Well this laptop has an Intel graphics card, works well out of the box, webcam fires up and displays out of the box, sound works and even the touchpad a device which drives me insane on Ubuntu for the default speed of the setup works as you’d expect. my only concern is the battery life.. this needs some tweaking.
So in summery while i’m an early adoptor of this version of the CentOS desktop it is obvious the old style Red Hat Gnome2 this isn’t. Its got decent driver support, its snappy, some attention to detail has been made to the aesthetics, decent out of the box hardware support is welcomed too. I’ll admit these are things i can get from Ubuntu, what i’m hoping CentOS 7 can give me is stability and reliability.
I’ll report back in a few weeks with any updates..