Updated: November 2, 2011
By now, you are convinced that CentOS is everything you will ever need for happy computing, at least in the coming decade or so. Indeed, you've read my first pimping article as well as the story about the revolutionary inclusion of CentOS 6 into my production setup. Now, let's have another look at this brilliant distro and see how we can polish it even more.
As far as pimping goes, we discussed Firefox, Chrome, VLC, Java, Flash, LibreOffice, Skype, Google Earth, LyX, and a few other small details. I've also shown you Nvidia setup and Compiz effects. Now, let's try several more cool things, including NTFS support, docks, virtualization, games. And some more Nvidia, too.
Do you fancy a nice application dock at the bottom of your screen? No worries. You can have it too. The installation requires a manual installation of several RPM files. The best single resource for this would be a Wilders Security Forum thread, where several hardcore RedHat family users have discussed this topic at length.
I did provide you with a lengthy and detailed tutorial explaining how to install the graphics drivers using two methods - via the repositories, which is the easier method, and the manual installation old-school style. For the sake of pimping, we only want the first.
And then, you will get updates along with the rest of your system, plus you will not need recompile the driver whenever there's a kernel update, which saves quite a bit of hassle. The only thing you want to pay attention to is choosing the right version of the driver, which matches your kernel.
You can easily install VirtualBox in CentOS. What more, you can configure the Oracle repository so the product becomes a part of your normal update cycles. the repository file is available for download from the official site (direct link). Just import the signing key, which we learned about in the smart repository management tutorial, and you're all set.
Note: You might also need to install the dkms package, which allows building of third-party kernel modules, so if your installation fails, grab the other one and try again, you should be just fine.
You don't get a repository setup for VMware Player, but the installation is straightforward. Download the file, make it executable and run it. More information on how to work with manual installation is provided in my Linux commands article.
By default, you might not be able to access NTFS drives. You might get an error about an unsupported filesystem. You might recall encountering this problem during the RHEL6 beta testing No worries, just install the ntfs-3g package. After this stage, you will be able to work with your NTFS partitions.
If there's one thing that CentOS is seriously lacking in, it's the games. There are no games in any of the CentOS base or even third-party repositories, so you will need to look for games online and install them manually, sort of just like you would in Windows. So yes, there's quite a bit of effort involved, but eventually, you will be able to enjoy your popular titles. Demonstrating here with Urban Terror and openTTD with all-free graphics and sounds and whatnot.
There you go. Now, some of you might claim that all of this can be done automatically in some other distributions, with as little as two or three mouse clicks inside the package manager window. True, but some other distributions have the life cycle of a butterfly and will often break in between updates, while CentOS is rock solid. And it will stay around for a long, long while. Did I mention it is very simple and lightweight, too? Plus, if you pay attention, most of what we did is a three-minute job, possibly less than what it takes to achieve the same results in Windows.
All right, so now you truly have a perfect desktop, with pretty much anything and everything you could possibly need, including the latest software, games, virtualization products, eye-candy and bling-bing, cross-platform support, plugins, and more. Well, I hope you enjoyed this. See you around.