A journey through learning to live with CentOS desktop workstation

A journey through learning to live with a CentOS desktop workstation

I had a desktop where I was running Microsoft Windows 7 Professional, and was pretty happy of it’s usability and stability, but with recent chaotic decisions from Microsoft, especially concerning Microsoft Windows 8 and upcoming future of Microsoft Windows, I decided that it would be a good idea to test CentOS as a desktop replacement operating system. After choosing that it was time for a change, I though it would be a great idea and contribution to the Internet as to share my new experience with all of you, so I went on and installed CentOS 6.4 as a “Desktop”


Partition Layout

As most of the time, I simply select to wipe out all partition and all data on the disk completely and create a default layout which is usually fine. One side note on this is, that on a minimal server installation, which is off-topic from this desktop article by the way, when I did use the default layout on a 80 GB hard drive, I ended up with a 15 GB Home partition which was not enough, so I would recommend to review the partition layout, just for the sake of it and in case that something is not like you want, you could save time and headaches by spending a few extra seconds to review it.


Whole Disk Encryption

One of the new addition I noticed in Cent OS 6.4 during the installation is the option to enable the whole disk encryption using LUKS. This is actually a rather good idea if you use a mobile device such as a laptop, a root-able phone or even a USB key or thumb drive  If we sneak at Wikipedia for more information about LUKS, we see that :

” In computing, the Linux Unified Key Setup or LUKS is a disk-encryption specification created by Clemens Fruhwirth and originally intended for Linux. ”


Basically, when you install Cent OS 6.4 and choose during the installation to encrypt the drive, this will enable a whole disk encryption which will successfully encrypt all data. Security of Data always come with a price, in this case, you have to type your pass phrase every times you boot the computer otherwise the system wont be able to access the data. The other important thing is, if your system crash, and by that I mean, if your hard drive crash, and you do not make regulars backup of your data, even if it is some low level backup that would simply clone the encrypted disk, you might have serious hard time at recovering the data on a defective hard-drive that is, in addition, encrypted ! Also while it is important for you to remember the pass phrase  how about you never use it anywhere else, such as on Internet websites. You do backup often right ? :)


As for the rest of the installation, nothing was special here, default stuff, did not customize repository yet, will do that later.


Upcoming will be an article on Linux Software that can used to replace Microsoft Software, pretty much seamlessly as possible.