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This is my only simple innocent quest. Gnome 2.3 seems to be absent from CentOs repos and gnome devs say it would be one royal pain in the a$$ if i tried to build it from source. any suggestions ?

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I think you mean Gnome 2.30 (just released).

Installing the latest and greatest version of Gnome on Centos would be a massive undertaking and really defeats the purpose of running Centos to begin with. Centos (and Red Hat Enterprise Linux) is focused on a stable, predictable set of packages that will be supported long term. It is absolutely not focused on having the latest and greatest software and being a hotbed of innovation (Fedora serves that purpose in the Red Hat ecosystem).

In fact, as of this writing I do not believe any distro is shipping the final release of 2.30. If you must have it right now, then you probably want to look into Foresight Linux (it is usually the first to push Gnome updates to stable). Barring that, you could look at the Beta releases of Ubuntu and Fedora as both are expected to ship the latest Gnome in their next release.

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As much as I agree with the part that CentOs is not targeted mainly for the end user and its major concern is stability and performance not the looks, I still want to enhance my user experience with it. I need to plug it on for practice but I don't want to login back to windows every time i need to hear a song or watch a movie. that sucks maximus a$$! so I don't know where does that make me now?! –  Anonymous Apr 12 '10 at 14:56
    
You don't need Gnome 2.30 to watch a movie or listen to music. If you need codecs, take a look at the rpmfusion.org repositories for EL5. If you need a wider variety of applications, take a look at EPEL. –  Ophidian Apr 12 '10 at 19:30

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