As I use CentOS on my servers, I decided to give it a try on my workstations too. On my main desktop workstation I mainly use Fedora nowadays, but I frequently used openSUSE Leap and Debian Stable also. Nevertheless, a few weeks ago, on my office workstation which is a quite old HP USFF Destop from 10 years ago, I decided to switch from Debian 9.3 Stretch to CentOS 7 as a workstation distribution.
First, I thought that CentOS won’t be up to the task, but I must frank and admit that I was wrong. CentOS is a great Desktop distribution, especially in an environment where you don’t actually need the
leading-edge software the open-source has to offer.
While installing CentOS, the main thing you have to do is to select the
KDE Plasma Desktop or the
Developemnt and Creative Workstation. I would go with the last one, but for this example I would select the GNOME Desktop.
Before showing you more, I must admit that I find the CentOS/Fedora Anaconda installer the most advanced and user friendly installer available. Now, lets move on. First, you select the GNOME Desktop option, and then start selecting additional add-ons from the right panel.
The GNOME Desktop selection
In the end, this is how your installation window would look:
Next step would be to set your
user name and password and the
root password as well, and then let the installation process do its job.
As usual, after the first installation you should run a full system update, using the command
After that, you will have to enable additional repositories. Those extra repositories are not supported by the CentOS team, they are
third-party one supported by their respective maintainers.
The repositories that I would advice you to use are:
- EPEL (Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux)
- nux (desktop and multimedia)
- Remi (mostly for newer PHP)
EPEL use the command:
After installing EPEL, issue a update command too:
This will update the repositories and will ask you to accept the EPEL GPG key too.
nux (for multimedia) use the command:
Remi repository (for the latest PHP) use the command:
Remi repositories are dependent on the
EPEL repository, so make sure that you install that first.
ius repository (for the latest Python) use the command:
To list all the installed repositories, just use the command:
The easiest way is to download the 64bit rpm version of Chrome and install it. If you would try to do this the GUI way, you will get an error from the GNOME Software, saying that the package can not be installed. Nevertheless, if you already downloaded the rpm using the graphical interface, you can use that package by installing it with the command:
This would assume that your
pwd is the directory where the package was downloaded.
If you want to download the package using your command line, just use the following command:
To install Adobe Flash, you need to add an extra repository directly from Adobe. I did not include this in the first list of repos, as I do not consider this very essential, but some of you might need it, so here are the commands:
To add the repo:
To install flash-plugin:
To add MP3 support to your CentOS workstation, add the following packages:
To add extra multimedia players like VLC or SMPlayer, install the following packages:
MSCore TTF fonts
If you need Microsoft TTF fonts, you can install them using the commands:
You can use the
nix repository already installed and search for the package:
You can install HPLIP using the commands:
First you need to install a dependency using the following command:
Then you should download the rpm from the dropbox.com website. After you do that, you do the following:
Gnome Shell Extension
To install the GNOME extension shell in CentOS, you must run the command:
Now, you could install more software such as Gimp or Inkscape…or whatever that you feel you would need for your everyday use. You can thus issue the command:
To be honest, I really enjoy working with CentOS as my daily driver at the office. It is a reliable system that you can configure to be extremely secure. The packages available are not that old, but they are not as leading-edge as in Fedora also. CentOS gives you the right combination of configurability, security and pakage versioning.