Monday, July 12, 2010

Red Hat Ignores Desktops - Consumer or Enterprise Whatsoever

We had been running CentOS 5.2 on dozens of our office-desktops. They were boringly stable though little obsolete. Finally I wanted to upgrade my system to the latest v.5.5 so as to use some of the updated packages including Firefox 3.5 and OpenOffice 3. Skipping as much as 2 versions to CentOS 5.5 was smooth as a trademark of the enterprise desktop. There were some minor glitches pertaining to drivers which are documented earlier (CentOS 5.5 Left Me Clueless and CentOS 5.5 USB Device Mounting Annoyance). But there is a far more critical (purely on the basis of desktop experience) bug that's some way associated with nash and mkinitrd packages.

The latest and greatest CentOS 5.5 is a pig while it comes to booting on our office desktops. It stays almost 20 sec at "Red Hat nash version 5.1.96 starting". After booting the systems are very smooth and one could see the advancements of v. 5.5 over 5.2 in terms of updated applications, kernel and other goodies.

Around 20 sec wait is a definite annoyance for any desktop user. To get a fix or workaround I browsed through CentOS and Red Hat forums and bugzilla only to end up at nowherelands. I suspected that the problem was associated with raid or selinux but the problem persisted even after disabling them both. There is a thread in CentOS forum, the poster has exactly the same problem though in CentOS 5.3. Even the bug was there in RHEL 5.3 as reflected in RH bug ID 499955. Version 5.4 (of both CentOS and RHEL) retained the bug. Even, Red Hat did not bother to fix or suggest a workaround to stop this annoyance boot delay in its latest version. From the discussion at RH bug ID 499955 it's clear that the annoyance doesn't get any priority from Red Hat developers. Seems this open source giant ignores Desktops - consumer or enterprise whatsoever. The spotlight for RH has always been server where such delay doesn't make a huge difference... Who's going to boot a dedicated server everyday!


Anonymous said...

Ehm, this also counts for the ES versions (enterprise server).
Those are also very slow in booting up. So it's not only the desktop release, but all releases of Redhat (and thus the CentOS releases, since they use the exact sources as Redhat used)

Drew said...

Even 20 seconds is not all that bad. I have a work laptop that takes minutes (~7 now) to boot up!

It's an improvement over the 15 minutes it took before, and when it is not connected to the network it speeds up but is still way slow.

Wish they would do something in-between Red Hat and Fedora for the desktop; stable (RH) yet up-to-date and experimental (Fedora).

manmath sahu said...

Hi Drew,
Thanks for dropping by.
20 sec delay is an annoyance because CentOS (RHEL) 5.2 booted straight to the login screen. There was no such hiccup at "Red Had nash version... starting" line. User were expecting some enhancement in boot process in the later point releases. But after version 5.3 it's a regression upon which RH has no wish to work upon.

Anonymous said...

Redhat are all about the enterprise. There systems appear to be behind a wall garden of enterprise support. Search for solutions on the open internet will often point you to their "community" distro however this is usually so out of sync with their EL as to be non applicable. This would'nt be so bad if there enterprise support was good but it isn't. Their knowledge base is a joke. There support systems are often sluggish at best and RHN seems really clumsy in a web 1.0 zero sort of way. Cest la vie.

How about this