CentOS 7 As A Desktop

CentOS (Community Enterprise Operating System) is a clone of RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux). The design focus of both distros is embedded in the names: the enterprise. That is too bad because both have two significant features that are appealing to non enterprise and home users: strong corporate backing and a 10-year life cycle. Ignoring the abnormal Windows XP life cycle, nothing comes close to that kind of long term support.

This kind of lengthy support is exactly what non technical users seek. They were spoiled by XP and now expect the same for any computer device. Most non technical users are not inclined to care about having the latest features of any software. To many of these users, boring is just fine, thank you.

I invested significant time and sweat equity to massage CentOS 7 into a nice non enterprise desktop. I started with the original CentOS 7 Live CD, which installed GNOME 3.8. I installed the MATE desktop packages, which are now updated to the latest 1.10 series. Later I deleted as much of the original GNOME as possible. I use Light DM rather than GDM.

I do not have any guide or tutorial to share. Before offering such help, I would like to repeat my efforts by starting from scratch with the minimal ISO or net install.

With additional repos adding software has been straightforward. There are notable missing packages, such as calibre, fbreader, unison, multimedia support, and games.

Multimedia support is available with additional repos.

Games are important to non enterprise and home users. I am discussing traditional desktop games, not Steam. Steam is too geeky and cumbersome for many home users and requires an online connection.

If EPEL was better populated or rpmfusion was available, CentOS easily could be a great distro for non enterprise and home users.

RHHL: Red Hat Home Linux

CHOS: Community Home Operating System

While they could do so through a community project much like CentOS or Fedora, I do not expect the Red Hat folks to support home users in such a direct manner. Ignoring that support I envision a community effort to populate EPEL to fill the holes. Thereafter support is needed to create and maintain CHOS.

CHOS would be needed to distinguish the focus. Enterprise users want locked and limited systems. Home users just want to add printers and use the computer without impedance.

Is CentOS usable as a desktop for home and non enterprise users? Yes, even after ignoring the missing apps.

I hope to continue this topic with additional articles.

The lack of a Red Hat based distro for home and non enterprise users is noticeable. I believe a significant number of people would embrace a Red Hat based distro targeting home and non enterprise users.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: CentOS, General

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