Updated: March 31, 2012
CentOS 6 is arguably one of the least expected best distributions for your desktop. While it is intended for servers, it does a splendid job at home, too. It's fast, light, stable, robust, and supported unto eternity. And with some medium-hard work, you can significantly improve the overall look & feel and productivity. I have elaborate on these so-called pimping efforts in a series of three articles, all of which introduce a new range of programs and tools that are not included by default. To name a few, Java, Flash, LibreOffice, Chrome, newer versions of Firefox.
Firefox. Indeed, in my first pimping article, I explained how you can install Firefox 4 and higher on CentOS. Since then, a handful of repositories came to life, also offering binary builds of modern versions of Firefox. But recently, none of that is necessary. With the release of Firefox 10, the browser is available in the official CentOS repository as a standard part of the software update process.
I learned this most pleasant truth over one of the weekends when I performed a standard, if somewhat belated software update. CentOS 6 refreshed its install base and offered Firefox 10 Extended Support Release, specifically designed for businesses and large organizations that cannot afford to undergo the rapid six-week update cycle. In addition to all the fancy things introduced in this version, Firefox 10 will be supported for about a year, which should offer sufficient time for system administrators to prepare for the next major upgrade.
As a home user, this means that you benefit from yet another fruit of the corporate tree not cultivated for you. Firefox 10 is a rather modern version, so it comes with a lot of improvements and bugfixes and new features that might excite you. It also resolves the dilemma you might have had, whether RedHat would maintain the older 3.6 release frozen until the end of its support, which is still some eight years away. For most people, that would not quite do.
Bottom line, your box is now modern and stable, the best of both worlds. You can run a new, competitive version of Firefox, which introduces speed and elegance, supposedly, but also have the peace of mind knowing that things will be updated slowly and with care, as this release caters to businesses, which do not like when stuff breaks without a notice in advance.
There you go. Now your CentOS 6 is even cooler than it was before, as if that were possible. All in all, Firefox 10 ESR update is one of the more important piece of software that you can have on your distro. Browser usage tends to represent a major portion of overall computing usage at home, and the relevance of having a modern and secure browser is even more visibility crucial than hardware or security support.
Now, you have it, plus the official support, plus the long-term release, so if you hate changes, you gain that, too. And this is an enterprise-quality edition, therefore you are bound to have a smooth and pleasant ride exploring the Internets. And if you're asking me, the same thing might happen with LibreOffice. Maybe not this year, but down the road, it might gently but surely creep into the official repositories. Enjoy.