Old and Stable is the New Hotness
After trying unsuccessfully to install Fedora Core 3 and 4 on my Emachine, I tried Ubuntu. It seems like a nice enough OS but I really didn't care for it for a number of reasons listed below.
1) Even after installing every VI(M) program I could think to use, I still didn't have color syntax highlighting.
2) I was unfamiliar with apt-get and some packages were named different then they were using yum.
3) Synaptic, the GUI front end to apt-get, did not resolve the dependancies of Octave correctly and I had to manually install GNUPlot.
4) I could use Gnome or KDE only as my desktop. I personally prefer KDE for administration and XFCE for normal use.
Not wanting to have to teach myself how to get around all of these hurdles, I went in search of a solution. I found one in CentOS. CentOS is an exact copy of Red Hat Enterprise Linux without the Red Hat trademarks everywhere. It is 100% compatible with Red Hat and all software that was designed for Red Hat. Therefore when I installed CentOS it was functionally equivalent to Fedora Core and I did not have to relearn anything. All four problems listed above were immediately solved.
In addition to actually installing on my computer while Fedora Core would not, I believe it has other advantages. Mainly, because this is a copy of an enterprise distribution, most Linux software should be written to operate on it. Also, I just want my OS so I can get work done, not tinker around with it. Because Red Hat has service contracts to support RHEL for multiple years, I feel confident that I will be able to get updates for long after the six month cycle of Fedora Core. Also, Fedora Core is meant to test new features and might be unstable. It costs Red Hat money in service if RHEL is unstable. Therefore I expect RHEL to be even more stable then FC. Although, my Mattern PC has an uptime of around 70 days currently so I am pretty pleased with the stability of FC as it is. However, I have had significant trouble getting it installed so CentOS is my OS of choice until I find a reason not to use it.