CentOS Strikes Again

CentOS kicked me again.

At work I was asked by the owner to install CentOS 7 on a retired CentOS 6 system. A short 2U rack with an AMD 4000+, 2 GB of RAM, and a single 250 GB hard drive. Hardly shiny but good enough for tinkering, which is all the owner wants with this system.

I soon discovered the Anaconda installer did not support the Nvidia MC73 network controller. Just one big white space in the installer. Apparently the Red Hat folks do not support drivers beyond a certain age. How nice and thoughtful, especially since the kernel itself is relatively old.

Some leg work on the web indicated I had to use the Elrepo repository to download the respective RPM package. I did that and copied the file to a USB flash drive.

Theoretically CentOS supports slip streaming drivers into the installation. I was unsuccessful.

I again tried the installation without concern for the network driver.

As this system was going to be used for limited tinkering, I decided to format the partitions with ext4. I am not sold on the idea that everything has to be LVM.

I started to create a 20 GB sda1 system partition, a 2 GB sda2 swap partition, and assign the remainder to sda3 /home. Every time I typed 20 GB the installer changed the size to about 18.8 GB. Finally I figured out I had to type 20 GiB.

No, really. Who stays up late at night thinking of this nonsense?

I proceeded with creating the partition layout I wanted. Every time I did this the installer wacked the partition order and moved /home sda3 to sda1 and the system sda1 partition to sda3.

No, really. This is one of those things that has to be seen to be believed.

I booted with an Ubuntu MATE live flash drive. For some wasted fun I installed the distro with the same partition layout. I was done installing in about 10 minutes. With a functional network connection. If I wanted I could watch a crisp professional slide show in the installer.

I rebooted with Ubuntu MATE live. I used gparted to wipe the partition map, then create and format the partitions in the order I wanted. This time with the Anaconda installer I would be using existing partitions rather than creating new. Despite having already formatted the partitions with gparted, the installer would not let me proceed until I enabled the Reformat check box.

No, really.

Otherwise the installer finally did not fight my partition order.

I installed CentOS 7. After rebooting I manually installed the Elrepo RPM and with modprobe I loaded the forcedeth module.

Of course, I then could install the net-tools package so I could use the low geek cred ifconfig command. I guess I like living in the past rather than use geek tools that are not yet fully compatible or replaceable.

There have been other irritating CentOS events. For example, CentOS 7 is 64-bit only and the WINE package is compiled 64-bit with no 32-bit support. Running 32-bit Windows apps in the CentOS 7 version of WINE is impossible. The Red Hat Bugzilla reveals that Red Hat developers are not going to support 32-bit. A great enterprise attitude.

Slowly I am losing patience with the Red Hat philosophy and design. Of course, at home I am free not to use CentOS. I do not have that option at work. Since all of our CentOS installs at work are servers, I might start tinkering on my own with some test migrations to Debian or Ubuntu Server. If successful then perhaps try to convince the owner at work to switch.

Then again, perhaps I just need more feathers on my back for the water to roll off.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: CentOS

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