Well, I have to say that when Redhat thumbed its nose at Opensource, and mandated a fee or no up2date, I calmly kicked it’s ass out of my life.

I turned instead to debian. Tougher to install, sure, but do it via PXE over a network with straight up ASCII and a minimum package install, and its fast, lightweight, and damn near impossible to screw up. Oh yeah, it’s truly free.

Problem with this is most corporations are slow on the uptake, grounded in reality, a switch to another variant would do nothing but make their already taxed IT department collectively explode. This is old, old, news for a lot of you, but a frustrating reality for a select few.

So as I gravitate towards what might be a more rigid environment in the halls of buisnessdom, what are my solutions to familiarize if I don’t want to pay the Big Red One? Centos Baby.

Once again, you guys know this, I however am having to familiarize myself with a distribution I long since shelved, thinking its bloated inefficient carcass would do nothing more then weigh both me and my clients machines down.

On to the install

So I decided what the hell, why not dual boot my laptop so I can get a feel for what is really going on.

Lets install centos, but do I want to download 6 freakin cd’s? I mean really, install linux with a cd, what is this 2000?

I did find a boot.iso hidden, tucked away on the third shelf back in the corner under a couple issues of Boy’s life, what the hell is up with that? The netboot image is tough to find, and is not in your face like the iso’s that is for sure. They want you to download 6 cd’s, I ain’t havin it. So what’s a man to do, I just downloaded one cd, the first one, and booted that, why not.

From the boot prompt you can use linux askmethod, and I found a mirror that will point me to the source files. After the basic menu, I was whisked away to , gasp, an Xwindows session installer. Sure is perty, and very Redhatty if I do say so.
LVM by default, sheeeeeut

After the partition message it did indeed configure and install the OS to LVM, all by itself. Now, I have to say in debian, this can be a bit tricky. And if you were to hammer something and the LVM is on top of RAID, well thats two layers of crap you need to have to recover your data. Lucky for me, I had infact had to recover data that was RAID, and LVM before, so this is not an issue. I don’t know why I would need LVM on my laptop, but what the hell.

The gui install, it’s beautiful

Yup, It’s whirring away installing, nothing but net, a sweet sweet victory. And it does look pretty good. There is probably a way I could do this old-skool text style, in fact I saw it in the options, but it does give me a warm fuzzy feeling with a mouse. I feel, um, safe.

Wrap up

Ok windows and centos sitting side by side from scratch in under an hour, pretty freakin cool. Centos on boot, nice, and it looks like it detected my wireless, that’s probably going to be the hardpart, as broadcom to my knowledge still has no linux drivers for my wireless. But I have used the wrapper before, it works pretty good.

Upside? looks like it detected my sound card right off the bat, point for that for sure. Downside? It only plays on my headphone jack, I have solved this before, guess I need to look at my notes.

Package updater came online and started updating, nice. Looks like openoffice is installed by default, and a lot of other goodies.

All in all very easy, almost too easy for this type of convoluted install, I must say color me impressed.

Will I ditch debian, hell no, but for now I am digging centos, and if it continues to impress me, it might be a regular in my digital bed.

Time shall tell

EDIT: ok seems http://linuxwireless.org/en/users/Drivers/b43#devicefirmware contains the utility and the firmware source that you need to extract to /lib/firmware, please, do it from that directory!

once thats done, I cranked up the wireless, and it froze my system, sweet :<

Upon reboot, everything seems to check out however, I am testing now, none the less, pretty easy.

EDIT2: The make and model of the laptop is an Emachines m5405 with a broadcom bcm4306, and using the native bcm46xx drivers produced nothing but problems. However, I was able to install the ndiswrapper, works without a hitch. I actually redefined the device to wlan0 and left the eth1. Now this allows me to use Kismet and some other tools, I just need to bring down the ndiswrapper and load the bcm module. However, if I try to remove the bcm module and load back the ndiswrapper, it can no longer find the device without a reboot. I am in the process of communicating with the devs of this module trying to find an answer.

The sound was fixed with the asla mixer, first I choose the external amplifier option, then deselected it, sound now works perfectly.

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