Despite my misgivings about offering Red Hat (or its clones) to my clients for use on the desktop, I still need to have something to offer for churches and other organizations. That means I need to know a lot more about systems administration, networking and webmaster tasks. The only way to do any of that is hands-on, so I’m planning to turn my aging desktop into a server.
In my experience, not a single Linux distro can match Red Hat (and clones) for this mission. In particular, the latest RHEL 6.0 release is the best way to go, though for older machines I still know a lot about RHEL 5.x already (and 4.x for the really old machines, and so forth, since I’ve even used the 3.x and 2.x series). Chances are, I won’t be able to afford the actual Red Hat product, so I’m still waiting for CentOS to grind out their excellent work.
I’ve been reading the CentOS developer email list chatter and Red Hat has not made it easy for them. The actual release ISO images are lacking certain essential packages for building everything. Since the CentOS build is scripted differently than the way Red Hat does things, this means errors have to be fixed so that the whole thing can be done in one pass, if I understand correctly. It would surprise me if they weren’t the most eager of all folks to have gotten this done before today, but it didn’t happen. That means I’ll have to wait.
Although I have a version of Red Hat Beta modified and updated, this is not the way it will be done for any prospective clients. I need the experience of walking through the whole thing from scratch. This way I’ll be able to write it up in short tutorials, which can be posted here, posted at Open for Business and archived on my ministry site. These tutorials will be targeted at a very low technical level of folks who need lots of hand-holding. This is most of what I deal with every day, and I truly enjoy working with them.
That also means there will be fewer options up front. It’s pretty much: “Here; do this. Here’s why.” In the process, I’ll give them enough to build on so they can learn and customize to their heart’s contentment. For those of you with little Linux experience, determined to make RHEL/CentOS 6.0 your desktop, I’ll try to spin off a few ideas for you, as well.