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Thread: cga's Excellent CentOS Adventure

  1. #1
    Mentor cga's Avatar
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    May 2001

    cga's Excellent CentOS Adventure

    I thought I would share my recent experiences setting up a CentOS ( workstation to do Web design and development work along with handing the office needs of my small business. Perhaps some of the items below will be of help to someone.

    First off, yes, this includes the installation of third party, proprietary software such as Acrobat Reader, RealPlayer 10, msttcorefonts, and IE 6 (under Wine). I need these things to earn a living and to access certain content that I want on the Web.

    The current version of CentOS is 4.2. There are four ISOs for the whole thing; however, everything I require is on ISO 1 and ISO 2. I downloaded these from one of the various mirrors available (

    CentOS uses the Red Hat Anaconda Installer and the entire process is quite simple. I chose to do a clean install and use my entire hard drive. I chose the “Desktop” configuration option (which defaults to Gnome) for installation and, when prompted, chose to customize my package selection.

    I made the following changes to the default package selections:

    Deselect : OpenOffice, Evolution and their associated packages, Gnomemeeting, Dia, Rythymbox and Totem. I also chose not to install Fetchmail and Mutt. These are programs that I don’t use, with the exception of OpenOffice. I will be installing the newer OpenOffice 2.0.1 later.

    Select: Xmms, Thunderbird and Emacs, which are not in the default installation. I also select the "Development" group. This gives me all the compilers and oter goodies-- more than I really need, but what the heck- I have a big hard drive.

    Next I Ran the installation and completed it. Then I ran Up2Date.

    Once the system is installed and updated, I begin adding the third part software I require. The first of these is OpenOffice 2.01. I downloaded the RPM installer (with JRE) from onto the desktop and unpacked it. In the unpacked directory, the is a subdirectory called RPMs. Within this subdirectory is a subdirectory called Desktop. I cd’d to this subdirectory and deleted all the stuff but the Freedesktop integration and the Red Hat menus (stuff like Debian, Suse and Mandriva menus). I then moved the Freedesktop integration RPM and Red Hat Menu RPM up into the main RPM directory.

    Then, as root, I ran “rpm -Uvih *rpm”. This results in a complete install of OpenOffice 2.0.1 with JRE and complete integration into the Gnome Office menu. The default toolbar launch icons, however, won’t work with this. That’s OK, as I delete them anyway.

    Next we grab the RPM installer for Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Web site ( Nothing special here – just download it to the desktop and install it by clicking on the icon.

    RealPlayer 10 is available for Linux. While I much prefer OGG and other Free formats, there is a lot of content on the web that I wish to access and it is available in Real format. Head on over to

    and download the installer. They have excellent instructions on the site for installing the player. I’ll repeat them here for you:

    Ensure that the .bin file you downloaded is executable. You can make the .bin file executable by running the "chmod a+x RealPlayer10GOLD.bin" command from a terminal window.

    Run the .bin file by typing "./RealPlayer10GOLD.bin". Follow the prompts provided to finish installing the player.

    When you launch the player for the first time, a set-up assistant will take you through configuring your player.

    Enjoy your RealPlayer10 for Linux!

    OK, next up are the msttcore fonts. I do Web design work. These fonts are a requirement. They can be obtained any number of ways, but I tend to grab the RPM from . No problems.

    We are almost there folks. Next I head on over to WineHQ ( and grab the Red Hat RPM for the newest version. Again, easy to install by downloading to the desktop and clicking on it.

    Now I need Internet Explorer 6 for compatibility testing of my work. The easiest and quickest way to do this is to grab IEs4Linux ( I first need to grab the RPM for cabextract at After installing cabextract, I ran the ies4linux script and follow the prompts. I only install IE 6 as 5.0 is obscenely obsolete and 5.5 vomits so badly on css that I refuse to mess with it.

    Now I head on over to and grab an HTML-tidy binary executable. This goes in the ~/bin folder created when I installed ies4linux.

    One more trip to the Web. I have an Nvidia card, so I hop on over to the nvidia Web site ( and grab the driver installer. This is a script that will install the driver and compile a kernel module for you, if needed. You have to drop to Run Level 3 (no X) to do this. As root, issue the command /sbin/telinit 3 to kill X. Now run the script as root and follow the instructions. You should be able to restart X with /sbin/telinit 4; however, I prefer to reboot at this point, what with all we have done here.

    Whew! That’s a lot of stuff, but it really only takes about an hour from first boot and the result is a rock solid, production grade workstation OS with a nice suite of software to use for SOHO business functions and Web development.

    All that is left to do is setup Emacs – but that’s another thread.
    Last edited by cga; 03-24-2006 at 09:18 PM.

  2. #2
    That's an awesome review/guide, CGA. Thanks! When you are loading apps, can you use Red Hat/Fedora rpm's?
    My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Near Cincinnati, OH
    Sweet guide/review, makes me think I need to switch distros . Too many choices for newbs like me, with people like you making them all sound good.
    Last edited by zenmatt; 03-09-2006 at 03:00 AM.

  4. #4
    Mentor cga's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Quote Originally Posted by trickster
    That's an awesome review/guide, CGA. Thanks! When you are loading apps, can you use Red Hat/Fedora rpm's?
    CentOS is the same thing as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, so it is 100% compatible with RPMs for Red Hat Enterprise -- just match the version number (ie CentOS 4 matches to RHEL 4, CentOS 3 to RHEL 3, etc).

  5. #5
    Mentor cga's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    I have added instructions for installing the Nvidia drivers. Also, I forgot to mention the Development packages, so I added them. Also I removed a few comments that were purely subjective.


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