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Friday Sep 03, 2010

Why CentOS is evil

Recently, I discovered that CentOS is in fact evil. Why?

  • Their current kernel version is ... 2.6.18. This kernel was released in ... September 2006!
  • The old 2006 kernel is patched with hundreds of RedHat patches. Consequence: when running Selenium with Java and Firefox, FireFox processes aren't properly closed, eventually clogging up all system resources and the machine starts trashing.
  • Trying to install a plain recent Linux kernel turns out to be (close to) impossible (actually, it is strongly advised against, what the heck??).
  • The CentOS installer "yum" has a (very) outdated notion of the versions of most software packages that can be installed.
  • Last but not least, you are stuck with the horrible RPM package format: installing a custom (i.e. out of "yum's" scope) RPM often requires four additional other RPMs it is dependent on, each of which in turn requires four more RPMs, leading to an combinatorial explosion of dependencies.
Basically, the whole CentOS distribution consists entirely of out of date software, which is at best almost impossible to upgrade. I'm really wondering why anyone would actually be inclined to prefer this distribution above e.g. Ubuntu or Gentoo Linux.

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