Sticking with CentOS, RPMforge and yum-priorities for now

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.

Apart from the above repositories, I also use Adobe‘s yum repository for the Flash plugin and the official Open Office RPM distribution (excluding JRE) from

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.

Sticking with CentOS, RPMforge and yum-priorities for now by George Notaras is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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About George Notaras

George Notaras is the editor of the G-Loaded Journal, a technical blog about Free and Open-Source Software. George, among other things, is an enthusiast self-taught GNU/Linux system administrator. He has created this web site to share the IT knowledge and experience he has gained over the years with other people. George primarily uses CentOS and Fedora. He has also developed some open-source software projects in his spare time.

2 responses on “Sticking with CentOS, RPMforge and yum-priorities for now

  1. Nick Permalink →

    How have you configured the yum priorities plugin? I’m forever enabling/disabling repo’s when doing updates/installs and struggle to work out a “good” final config :(

  2. George Notaras Post authorPermalink →

    @Nick: I had in mind to post my yum configuration and OpenOffice 3.x installation procedure in separate posts. Regarding the use of 3rd party repositories, the priorities plugin is very useful as it prevents core packages from being overridden by 3rd party ones, even if they are newer.

    Thanks for stopping by :)