Having spent some days with CentOS on my desktop and having tried several 3rd party RPM repositories, I’ve finally decided to mix the official repos (base, updates, addons, extras) with RPMforge and also make use of the priorities yum plugin. Read on if you care about the details…
My initial effort involved using EPEL and RPMfusion, which contains stuff that does not “fit” into EPEL and, of course, is built on top of EPEL. What I like about EPEL is the fact that RPMs are being built using Fedora’s RPM packaging standards, which I can say, from my 4 year experience with Fedora, results in very high quality RPMs. Currently, the problem with the EPEL+RPMfusion combination is that the number of the available packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and its compatible distributions CentOS and Scientific Linux (SL) is rather limited when compared to the number of the available RPMs in the RPMforge repository.
While using EPEL+RPMfusion I tried to rebuild several Fedora SRPMs for use in CentOS. Many of them were built without dependency issues, but soon I came to a dead-end with some packages (also known as Dependency Hell™) which required me to upgrade some core CentOS packages which in turn required the upgrade of some other core packages, which is generally considered a Very Bad Thing™ to do. This was an expected thing to happen, since Fedora uses newer versions of software than RHEL. Also, this somehow reminded me the reason why I had switched to CentOS; spending the least possible time hacking around the operating system, that is. So, I quickly abandoned EPEL and RPMfusion. I liked the idea behind that effort though, so it won’t be a surprise if you find me in #epel.
Having read the above two paragraphs, one might think that I somehow do not value RPMforge as much as EPEL. This is not correct. While EPEL sticks to the Fedora procedures, thus leaving almost no room for collaboration with other 3rd party repositories, RPMforge is the result of the collaborative work of some well-known RPM packagers for RHEL and compatible linux distributions and also provides high quality RPMs. BTW, there are times that I prefer projects driven by a small community rather than a very big one, such as the Fedora Community.
So, I’ve found myself happy with CentOS and I think I’ll stick with it for a while. Hopefully, not having to deal with so many bugs like it happened in Fedora will leave me with some more free time to get some things done in my own open-source projects or contribute to other projects.
The Sticking with CentOS, RPMforge and yum-priorities for now by George Notaras, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.