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Old 12-03-2010, 11:45 AM   #1
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Experienced Users Choice for Linux in the Office?

Hi, what is the Linux distro of choice for office use and in the use which software?

Using both desktop and laptop, desktop Asus dual core, 3 GB RAM.

Using a Dell Pentium 4 laptop 1 GB RAM. Looking to upgrade to a newer Chinese one, not yet chosen.
Old 12-03-2010, 01:02 PM   #2
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Centos is RHEL(Red Hat Enterprise Linux) with the logos removed. It is free (no $) to install and update, unlike RHEL. It has a five year (plus) support life. It is extremely stable and thoroughly tested(just like RHEL). However there is a price for this, The packages are, relaitive to Fedora etc, fairly date(Centos 5.5 uses thunderbird 2). Whatever base kernel(and most other software) a particular major release is released with is the BASE kernel for the entire life of the major rlease(Centos5.0 has a 2.6.18 based kernel and all 5.X versions will have a 2.6.18 based kernel). What RHEL/Centos does is backport all security patches and most (where possible) new features into the older versions. For instance C5.5 current kernel(2.6.18-194.26.1) is far closer to a .32 kernel than it is to a vanilla .18 kernel. Most other packages run a path concsistant with the kernel.

Many will scream and yell that Centos/RHEL is just for servers, pure BS. Any version of Linux can be used for a server or a desktop as long as the required applications are available via the package management system.
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:08 PM   #3
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i agree with lazlow, CentOS is a stable environment for daily office work.
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:58 PM   #4
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For software, use gnumeric if you want a spreadsheet app.
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:36 PM   #5
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So CentOS for stability and support duration, so it is better than Mint or Debian... Is it good for hardware detection on newer devices? I like four screens for writing documents, may need skype and use of a web cam.
Old 12-03-2010, 03:32 PM   #6
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I use CentOS and Debian on my 2 office computers. Both are rock solid and fast for my needs.

As far as "hardware detection on newer devices" that would depend on the specific device, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The distro's Wiki is a good source of information. Both Debian and CentOS use older kernels (2.6.26 and 2.6.18 respectively) that may not be "plug and play" with the latest hardware. Fedora and Ubuntu/Mint are more "bleeding edge" variations (of RHEL/CentOS and Debian, respectively) that are very popular with desktop users due to the latest kernels and end-user applications.

Red Hat publishes a list of certified hardware that may help you decide whether CentOS will run on your hardware:
Old 12-03-2010, 06:08 PM   #7
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CentOS 5.5 is quite out of date in terms of desktop type applications, this is to be expected considering CentOS 5 was released circa 2007. This may be fine for large enterprises deploying CentOS on hundreds of machines. They can build and maintain local yum repositories containing custom built rpms of newer software applications where it fits and still maintain the solid stable base CentOS.

However in small/medium businesses and SOHO environments, it is unlikely your able to commit the same sort of effort into just maintaining your OS.

I use a multitude of distros in my office, Ubuntu (without gnome, xfce but not XUbuntu), I find it to be a nice balance between Debian Testing and Debian Stable, and the partner repos make keeping skype and acroread uptodate convenient. I use Debian stable or CentOS for server applications, and ArchLinux for software development.

They all have their pros and cons, you need to weigh them up yourself. You're the one that knows your own needs the best
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