[ESS] Installing ESS on CentOS?

Michael Hannon jm_hannon at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 27 19:15:30 CEST 2010

> In this case, the system admin duties are split between a friend, who is
> unavailable until this weekend, and me, who not sufficiently unixed to feel
> comfortable doing this.  He suggested CentOS, because I didn't want to mess
> with Linux problems.  He prefers Fedora, which we may migrate to after he
> returns.  (I also need Python 2.7.  CentOS has so many things that use
> Python 2.4.3 that the probability is very high that something will break if
> I upgrade to 2.7.)
>       Thanks,
>       Spencer

Greetings.  I have a few miscellaneous comments about this.

First, Redhat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and its source-code equivalents, CentOS
and Scientific Linux, are intended to have a consistent set of software and be
stable and predictable over the long term (typically several years).  These
distributions are ideal, IMHO, for servers and also for users that are
perfectly happy as long as they can still compile their Fortran 77 programs
(and there are many such users).

Second, Fedora is a sort of testbed (unofficial) for RHEL.  Fedora tends to
have packages that are pretty current.  Fedora 13 (the current version) has
Emacs 23.2.1, for instance.  But a given version of Fedora is supported for
only about a year, so it has to be updated at least once a year.  (This has
become less of an issue now that there is a way -- "preupgrade" -- that
updates the system "in place".)

Third, there is a project:


that provides some more-current software for RHEL and friends.

Fourth, you do NOT want to "upgrade" Python on any RHEL, Fedora, etc.,
distribution, if by upgrade you mean to replace the existing version of
Python.  RHEL, etc., use Python extensively in system-related activities, and
changing the version of Python mid-stream would wreak havoc.  OTOH, it's
relatively easy to install parallel versions of Python on a RHEL, etc.,
system.  In fact, Fedora 13 itself has an option to install Python 3 in
parallel with its standard Python 2.6.

Fifth, if you need Python 2.7, I suggest that you wait six more days until
Fedora 14 is released.  It will use 2.7 as the default.

-- Mike

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