CentOS is one project running from the community and supported by its source code Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The goal of the project is to provide a distribution, with almost identical experience to Enterprise Linux, but without the commercial support provided by Red Hat.
This makes CentOS a very attractive choice for those who want credibility with the same technology that Red Hat provides.
I tried CentOS, as it is one of the systems I have been using for years, on servers, workstations and desktops.
But before we describe my experience with new functional CentOS 8.0.1905, we should say that CentOS is now available in two different ISOs: the well-known CentOS Linux, the traditional, stable operating system based on RHEL. and CentOS Stream. According to developers, the new CentOS Stream is described as a platform between Fedora and RHEL.
Installing CentOS is simple for anyone who knows it and hassle-free. As with the RHEL distribution after the first reboot, the driver asks us to accept a license. In CentOS, however, the license is only a disclaimer and a notice that CentOS uses the GNU General Public License.
CentOS offers the same desktop options as with Red Hat: the GNOME Shell and the GNOME Classic. Both options can run via X.Org and Wayland.
CentOS worked almost perfectly from the beginning. The desktop, sound and wired connection worked correctly. CentOS found and installed almost all the drivers that my computer needed. Everything except drivers for bluetooth, and wireless.
The surprise came when I tried to install various software packages.
CentOS currently has fewer packages compared to Fedora repositories. I couldn't find important packages from applications I use on a daily basis: GIMP, VLC, Filezilla, Geany, Pinta Chromium browser or multimedia encoders.
Then I thought about adding third party repos such as RPMFusion, ELrepo and Fedora's EPEL repository. Within these repositories I was able to find the VLC application and some codecs, but the rest of the packages simply do not exist.
Luckily there is Flatpak, installed by default, but no repos enabled. I went to Flathub and the instructions for activating the repository in CentOS say "download a file and install it". It sounds simple, but CentOS doesn't recognize the file type, so it can't install it or start it automatically. Then I tried to enable the file manually, but its digital signature didn't work for CentOS. Eventually I activated the Flatpak repository using the command line.
The Snapd package could not be installed by Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL repo).
Like many other packages as mentioned above:
I was not happy with the new CentOS distribution. Installing packages was disappointing, as was Red Hat's decision to stop supporting KDE Plasma.
As for the limited software options, this is probably a matter of time. The repositories will be updated in time so we can have whatever package we want. Until then patience…