Once again, I am using my venerable Dell D630 laptop with 2GB RAM, a dual core Intel T7500 and dedicated nVidia G86M Quadro NVS 135M video card. WIFI is handled by the Broadcom BCM4312 802.11a/b/g chipset. Modest by today's standards. It's the same laptop I have used for my Fedora 15 beta review. I can say with certainty that both this laptop and I are very grateful to be running Gnome 2.x instead of 3.x!
When I first went to burn the i386 .iso file, k3b greeted me with an interesting, "your image will not fit on your disk" kinda message. I was puzzled and then discovered the issue noted in the CentOS 6.0 release notes about the DVD+R media creation issue. Fair enough, I did not have at the time any other media, so I just overburned past the disk and tried to boot from the media anyway (which worked fine for *my* install). Just don't try to validate the disk ;)
Next, my default DVD install attempt was met with a very disappointing blank/black screen with the onboard Nvidia NVS 135M quadro video card. My good buddy google quickly lead me to some information that either "nomodeset" kernel option or install with the "basic video driver" would be needed. And either of those allowed me to move on through the install.
The rest of the install proceeded without issues. After the reboot, I was glad to see the nouveau driver seems to work well enough after the initial install problem. I was even more happy to see my wifi (Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 802.11a/b/g) installed with *no* intervention. And by this time, I always expect the onboard ethernet of (Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5755M Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express) to work without issues or intervention. Thankfully, I was not disappointed with any networking issues. Sorry to say that this laptop does not have bluetooth onboard, so I can't test that.
I was greeted with good old Gnome 2 running after login. Everything looked fine at 1440x900 resolution without messing with any xorg.conf file! I do not yet see a reason to blacklist nouveau. I expect even less to use the a downloaded NVIDIA-Linux-*.run file as the elrepo binary kmod-nvidia* version will end up being no additional work after a kernel upgrade.
Laptop is running very stable, dynamic CPU fan control functions as expected. Suspend and resume has not had any issue at all with the nouveau driver. Nice to have it all just work (minus the install quirk).
More updated versions of most major apps would be better. OpenOffice 3.2 is included rather than 3.3 or even better now, the Libreoffice version that Fedora 15 has.
In the end, I would have to say that for a good solid Linux OS experience, I would suggest CentOS 6 as a good option to any current distribution. You will have a long support cycle and a very stable base.
I have a very minor annoyance that seems to be shared now with all the recent Fedora versions; resuming the laptop shows an initial screen that is your session even with the screen lock applied. This running session screen last only a second or two, but kinda odd that it shows at all.
As a note, I have added the "xdriver=vesa nomodeset" options to my PXE install for this class of device to get past the video driver issue on install.
For completeness, here is the lspci for this Dell D630:
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile PM965/GM965/GL960 Memory Controller Hub (rev 0c) 00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile PM965/GM965/GL960 PCI Express Root Port (rev 0c) 00:1a.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #4 (rev 02) 00:1a.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #5 (rev 02) 00:1a.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #2 (rev 02) 00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 02) 00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 02) 00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) PCI Express Port 2 (rev 02) 00:1c.5 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) PCI Express Port 6 (rev 02) 00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 02) 00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 02) 00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 02) 00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #1 (rev 02) 00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev f2) 00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 82801HEM (ICH8M) LPC Interface Controller (rev 02) 00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801HBM/HEM (ICH8M/ICH8M-E) IDE Controller (rev 02) 00:1f.2 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801HBM/HEM (ICH8M/ICH8M-E) SATA IDE Controller (rev 02) 00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) SMBus Controller (rev 02) 01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation G86M [Quadro NVS 135M] (rev a1) 03:01.0 CardBus bridge: O2 Micro, Inc. Cardbus bridge (rev 21) 03:01.4 FireWire (IEEE 1394): O2 Micro, Inc. Firewire (IEEE 1394) (rev 02) 09:00.0 Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5755M Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express (rev 02) 0c:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 802.11a/b/g (rev 01)
My intent is to soon publish a server based CentOS 5.6 -vs- CentOS 6.0 competition review using the same hardware. Stay tuned.