[colug-432] CentOS

R P Herrold herrold at owlriver.com
Sat Dec 17 22:18:06 EST 2011

On Sat, 17 Dec 2011, Steve VanSlyck wrote:

> I thought I would ask if anyone has any opinions about 
> CentOS desktop. It used to be pretty spare and utilitarian 
> and I want something friendlier

(rant alert)

And I'd like a good fifty cent cigar and shot of single malt, 
too, while we are at unlikely wishes

In my opinion, Red Hat is letting the UI Gnomes in Fedora 
drive them right into GUI irrelevance to the server room; As 
the CTO at Red Hat long ago discussed Red Hat's disinterest in 
the Desktop (X-top), one has to ask:

 	What is left?

CentOS is 'bound at the hip' to Red Hat's decisions, and will 
be pulled off that cliff as well, in due course [1].  EPEL, at 
best, can 'temper the blow' of unusability, and the insanity 
of 'latest is greatest' disease

I speak here of XFCE as a desktop, which was previously 
packaged in EPEL by Kevin Fenzi, [KRUD -- Kevin's Rad Uber 
Distribution, pre-dating Fedora, and discontinued in light of 
it] formerly of tummy.com in Colorado, but who recently hired 
on at Red Hat

EPEL is functionally enslaved and unwilling to do anything 
that adds a package which updates or conflicts with RHEL. 
Their project, their choices

Nothing I care for much -- Gnome is a bloated waddling pig, 
KDE in RHEL / CentOS is starved for development love and 
resources and partially stabilized at best ... Rex Dieter 
outside and three or four others inside the 'Hat, are about it 
for the vast majority of RH related KDE commits, and because 
of the way release cycles break, KDE always lags.  >shrug<

It might kill Fedora in their conflicted desires -- to have 
more live packages than Debian, and to out-kewl Ubuntu -- to 
abandon their chase of the latest and greatest bike-shed.  It 
surely would 'better the breed' to run one 6 month release 
cycle wholly devoted to writing the missing documentation, and 
handling bugs in a fashion other than auto-closing old and 
untouched ones. But that's not going to happen, because the 
Fedora lists resemble so much as a third-grade cafeteria food 
fight, conducted with all the social maturity of several rival 
competing cliques of high-school sophomore, teen-age girls

As to running a wholly owned subsidiary of crowd-source 
drones, Red Hat's management of Fedora has done a wonderful 
job sucking the air out of much of serious development talent 
from an architected design plan of a future for *nix

Perhaps fortunately, the era of the desktop as the principal 
venue for end users to do compute is winding down in favor of 
pads and mobile devices.  Tool builder cultures use TUI *nix; 
the next generation moved to GUI goop like Eclipse and other 
'visual' environments that just are not and cannot be as fast 
in producing crafted code;  a mass of code is pooped out, to 
be sure, but nothing a machine was not largely responsible for 
producing the boilerplate body of ... ick

All I really want in an X-top is lots of console windows, xpdf 
and xournal, a tab based browser, and miscellaneous short 
lived helper apps ... that I can navigate between without 
touching the mouse most of the time.  OS/X fails here; Windows 
too.  In taking a count, something over a third of the 
packages on my principal development box were locally 
produced, because the offerings of others stunk up the place 
so much

Apple did a great job productizing BSD and bringing 
graphically pleasing integration to that herd of GUI cats -- 
take a count the next time you are at a conference, and it is 
pretty clear that Linux is not where the mind-share is.  One 
sees corporate provided lappies with MSFT's latest, or for 
contractors who provide their own tools, Apple kit with a VM 
based Windows box inside to talk to the Exchange Server

But the future remains in the datacenter -- the cloud, as we 
can call it in the trend of the moment with an MVC-ish 
approach -- presentation and input logic close to the end 
user; business logic in the middle, and data-farms behind, and 
at the bottom, stuff is happening either in the command line, 
or in structured communication in the panels of a browser-like 
front end sending Remote Process Calls (possibly wrapped in 
XML, usually via the Universal Firewall Bypass and Transversal 
Protocol [HTTP/HTTPS]) back to 'machines of loving grace' 
ensconced in dimly lit rooms

Just my $0.02 ... sorry for the rant

-- Russ herrold

[1] the trade press shows RHEL 5.8, possibly 5.9, certainly 
6.3, 6.4, and 6.5 [3 in one year -- 2012 -- to respond to the 
'it is too stale' pressure that any Enterprise distribution 
ends up facing], as well as a new RHEL 7.  And that RHEL 7 
will need to finish solving stabilization of systemd as a 
replacement for init, and upstart ... and the author of 
systemd did SUCH a fine job on PulseAudio, that we trust him 
... why?

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