Well, its a couple of days into my trial and I’ve settled into Centos. (I went with Centos instead of Fedora, as its closer to RedHat according to the #ubuntu-uk guys andylockran & popey [Thanks!], which is the OS I really was aiming to play with.)
I’ve had a couple of niggles, like the old version of Firefox (1.5x series instead of 2x) on Centos, the ease of installing java etc… Its only when you step away from Ubuntu that you realize just how advanced it actually is!
So far, I’ve installed 4 rpm packages manually, and compiled one successfully. (I tried to compile the last.fm client, but it wasn’t playing ball. I’ll get it working eventually…)
The package I compiled was pamusb, a really cool utility to allow you to use a USB key for authentication on your system, literally, you can use it to login with, use sudo commands without passwords, etc. I’ll probably post a guide at some point. From looking around on the web, it works better with Ubuntu than Centos as the packages you need are in Ubuntu’s repos. I’m not sure whether that includes the pam configuration you have to do, but I’d expect so.
You can get pamusb here: http://www.pamusb.org/ (or as mentioned, in the Ubuntu Repositories) [Update: Don't use the Ubuntu Repository version: its out of date]
Centos’s graphical package manager isn’t anything as nice as Ubuntu’s, but the command line “yum” is certainly better, giving more information in “yum search <package or purpose>” than a “apt-cache search <package>” would.
With this reinstall I put /home/ on a separate partition, so that should make jumping easier. I’ll probably try Fedora at some point… and Debian….