2010-07-17

Red Hat, Fedora, and Small Towns

I was visiting $relative's house in a small town, where access to the cutting edge in technology is not the easiest to come by. First, I was surprised to find a digital photo frame (and a big one, at that) hanging on the wall. Then, $relative asked me to turn on the computer so that I could show some recent family pictures to other relatives. I turned on the computer, expecting to find nothing more than the Microsoft Windows XP loading screen. To my shock (which quickly morphed into delight), I was greeted instead by this (note: not verbatim):
GNU GRUB Version 0.97
Please choose which operating system to start:
Fedora Core 6
Microsoft Windows XP
I wasn't sure if $relative used Fedora or Windows, so I left it at Fedora. It stopped at the login screen; by then, $relative came in and restarted the computer (to start with Windows) as $relative didn't know the login information for Fedora, so the question of how their Fedora installation was became moot.
(For those who don't know, up till version 7, the official Fedora releases were termed Fedora Core because the base installation only had the official Red Hat code, while the extra downloadables were community-supported extras.)
This leads me into my next point: RHEL 6 is coming out soon! The great site Dedoimedo has a nice review of a beta release of it (though this beta is fairly representative of the upcoming official release, as far as I know). The review also expresses excitement over the near-simultaneous release of CentOS 6, CentOS being the free-of-charge community version of RHEL, as it brings a stable yet modern operating system to the desktop once more. (Fedora was supposed to be the community version of RHEL when it started, but it decided to go for cutting-edge technologies while RHEL stayed with stability above all else.)
But, Dedoimedo, may I remind you of Scientific Linux. It has all of the stable goodness of CentOS with the added goodies of proprietary codecs preinstalled as well as some useful scientific tools preinstalled.
So let me say that while I am certainly excited about RHEL 6 and CentOS 6, I am really excited about Scientific Linux 6.

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