[ldm-users] Initial thoughts on CentOS 5.2

Hello all,

All of my servers are now on CentOS 5.2, including my NOAAport server.
For those who have used it or are thinking of getting it, here's what I think about it so far.

Installation: Centos 5.2 does NOT like some Viewsonic monitors for the graphical install. Once you got past the "Welcome to CentOS" page and it started X windows, I got an "Out of range" message on my monitor. Installing in text mode is much slower if you select packages you want, like I do. On one machine, it was the only way I could do it. On 2 others exhibiting the problem, I used a Dell monitor from a 3rd server. This was a problem in Fedora 6/7 that apparently wasn't fixed
for 5.2. I can understand it being there in 5.0, but 5.2...swat that bug!
Especially with a known fix out.

Second issue I had was not finding some packages I needed. After some pointing from a few of you and some old-fashioned Google hunting, I found the remainder of the packages I needed. That was frustrating. But, after the first test server got the installation completed and tweaked, the rest went pretty fast.

Gnome had a problem where autologin had an error. I log my office servers into LDM automagically after a boot; it would stop with an error that said the .dmrc file must be set to file permission 644. But that didn't fix it; setting the permissions variable did. Finally, on one of the servers, the keyboard simply stopped working. After finding the issue on the Ubuntu forums, removing the .gconf directory brought it back, and all was well. These were known issues in Fedora 6/7; wish they had gotten them fixed for CentOS.

Now, as for the OS itself: it seems to run fine. LDM, McIDAS and WXP all ran fine, although I had to recompile LDM because Centos still uses syslog, while Fedora 8 and later uses rsyslog. Need to try GEMPAK, haven't had the opportunity yet.

What about the packages? I was pleasantly surprised. I enabled the
updates-testing repository, and doing a large "yum update", I saw I had Apache 2.2.8, Postfix 2.3.3-2, and Firefox 3.0.5. My previous postfix config files were somewhat incompatible, but after a few tweaks, it was fine. I really like Postfix over Sendmail; UNIDATA sold me on it when they flipped their mailing lists over to it. Sometimes email had long delays, but now, I usually get any emails within a minute after its sent. Maybe exim is a bit faster, never tried it, and from what I've read, never want to...but Postfix is still screaming fast for me.

Anyway, everything has been switched over to Centos 5.2 here. Yesterday evening, at about 11 PM when I put the final touches on this server, I opened up a side drawer and saw DVD's for Fedora 8, 9, 10. I opened up the DVD cases and envelopes, took out the media, and after a pause, I threw them in the trash. 10 years with Redhat/Fedora, gone. OK, I know I am still with them, technically. And I'll have Fedora 8 back...when CentOS 6 comes out...in first quarter 2010. :-) But still, Fedora was really making things less flexible...no root login from GDM anymore, no SMTP connection allow to let WXP make its images...bad. If I wanted an OS that was inflexible, I'd choose Windows. I don't know what I'll do 2 or 3 years down the road when that garbage hits CentOS.

All that having been said, so far, everything is up and working that I had before. However, to make that happen, I had to do some serious hunting to get some packages I needed (like the latest versions of Icecast and Darkice). I don't know when they update their individual packages when a problem is found, but that will come in time. Now, back to work.

Oh, do I recommend Centos? Well, it's Fedora, isn't it? What's not to like? :-)

Gilbert Sebenste                                                     ********
(My opinions only!)                                                  ******
Staff Meteorologist, Northern Illinois University                      ****
E-mail: sebenste@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx                                  ***
web: http://weather.admin.niu.edu                                      **

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