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Switching from XP Pro 64 to CentOS 5.1

So this is a story of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”
After some time of using my new computer, I have found that running XP Pro x32 is unacceptable for memory limitations and wasting all that super-duper functionality of my Intel Q6600 CPU, so when I set it up, I used Windows XP Pro x64.

I decided that Win XP Pro x64 wasn’t stable enough to my liking, so I finally decided to get the time around to install something different. I chose to install CentOS 5.1 x86_64 because I am happy with its style and features, and doesn’t have some wierd name like “Fiesty Fawn”. Not to knock Ubuntu, it just seems that its more of a “Linux for non-linux users”. I was planning on installing Gentoo, since my previous favorite CentOS 4.3 was a bit out of date. I just pinged CentOS.org and found that 5.1 is released, so I downloaded it (at an amazing 16.8Mbit sustained from ANL.gov mirror)

On the Windows front, getting x64 support means installing Windows 2003 Server, Windows XP Pro x64, or Windows Vista 64Bit. 2k3 Server has some useability issues for normal desktop operation, as it is designed to run as a server.. they can be worked around, but inconvenient nonetheless. XP Pro x64 has a large array of software which cannot be installed and or certain apps randomly crash. Drivers were also a big issue here. Vista takes way to much resources to display all that eye candy, and generally, works like crap.

The Good: x64 support is superb in any linux flavor. There is wide driver support for most current hardware, both in x86_64 varieties as well as regular x86 support. CentOS 5.1 has dramatically updated their installation base from Fedora Core 5 and the installation was very painless and automatically detected all of my stuff properly (no making raid disks or anything). Since the Install ISO is now available for a DVD, its super nice because you don’t have to swap discs during the install.

The Bad: My favorite windows apps are no more. This isnt really all that bad, since there is open source equivilants for just about everything. I was a bit worried about World of Warcraft, but this too was easily remedied.

The Ugly: Microsoft Wireless Intellimouse Explorer 2.0. OMG! It took me forever to get my thumb buttons back. nVidia default drivers were a little sluggish.. Downloading the new drivers from nVidia cleared up most of the issue. Graphics still a little slow when scrolling in firefox in a graphics heavy website.

 

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