What is CentOS?


CentOS is used by numerous software vendors, serving as one of the most widely utilized web hosting platforms and serving as the underlying OS for some of the largest Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers worldwide.

The community is encouraged to explore ways of improving functionality via contrib, which makes packages that will eventually form part of a point release available for wide distribution.

What is CentOS?

CentOS is an open source Linux operating system created by its community, designed as an enterprise-class platform compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). As a free software distribution, it offers powerful development environments for most major open source and proprietary languages; additionally it boasts features that make it one of the best choices available for web hosting environments.

CentOS began as a downstream rebuild of RHEL. This means updates were implemented first on RHEL before being deployed to CentOS, unlike Red Hat which provides updates through their own code base to customers on an ongoing basis. CentOS has maintained its own update schedule from its inception allowing for more stable updates.

In 2014, CentOS and Red Hat formed a partnership to share technologies. As part of this relationship, a governing board and various working groups (SIGs) focusing on specific functional areas like infrastructure, documentation, and virtualization were formed. The governing board selects which SIGs may begin work and ensures all participating members are vetted to join.

CentOS community members have pledged their time, talent and resources to continually improving the operating system patch by patch. This dedication has contributed greatly to CentOS being so reliable and having such an overwhelming market presence. Furthermore, this community offers extensive forums and online resources dedicated to supporting CentOS users.

CentOS stands out by working smoothly with popular management systems such as cPanel and Plesk, making it the ideal solution for web hosts offering customers multiple control panel choices as well as developers looking to test applications across platforms.

Though some in the CentOS community may be dismayed at recent changes to CentOS, it’s important to remember that CentOS is a for-profit enterprise which must make decisions that support its commercial endeavors. Furthermore, discontinuing point releases likely won’t affect most users significantly.

Why CentOS?

Companies, especially large corporations, frequently opt for CentOS over RHEL due to its free nature and higher levels of support over RHEL. CentOS also boasts more stable software versions as it remains supported for longer. Finally, it supports more hardware types than RHEL.

CentOS stands out amongst its competition due to its security features. CentOS comes equipped with Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux), which protects systems from malware and other security risks that could otherwise lead to downtime and data loss. Furthermore, regular security updates from CentOS help keep systems current.

CentOS features an extensive array of software packages, but does not include cutting-edge technologies. This is because CentOS was designed to offer server administrators stability and reliability by employing software which has been rigorously tested before being considered production ready. Newer software can still be added through addons and repositories.

CentOS is often chosen because it is easy to install and configure, with a vast community of experts readily available to provide assistance if any problems arise. Other operating systems may require paid support teams in order for users to complete installation or troubleshooting processes properly.

CentOS may cause some instability for its users; some find it less reliable than other operating systems due to delays in pushing software updates out to users – potentially leading to issues like missing functionality or bugs in the system.

Critics of CentOS often point out that it is owned and controlled by RedHat, a company which profits from licensing RHEL licenses. Some users feel as if RedHat and IBM, particularly when combined, made the decision to discontinue CentOS Linux in favor of CentOS Stream in order to force people to purchase more costly product from them – an argument which is hard to substantiate but nevertheless a valid concern among some users.

What are the Pros of CentOS?

CentOS, as a free operating system derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux, offers stability and reliability – one reason server administrators and hosting companies often prefer it over its many alternatives. Furthermore, the operating system boasts an exceptional support community and documentation which can prove extremely valuable assets to businesses & web hosts alike.

CentOS also stands out with long-term support with updates & patches lasting up to 10 years, giving businesses peace of mind knowing their security is secure while helping them avoid expensive upgrade cycles associated with other commercial Linux OSes.

CentOS can be updated using the yum package manager, similar to Ubuntu’s apt-get, using RPM packages which makes CentOS compatible with many free and open source software tools and applications. Furthermore, its multitasking system enables multiple processes to run simultaneously on the processor with some scheduling schemes such as round robin or Shortest Remaining Time First being supported by this operating system.

CentOS stands out as an alternative among Linux distributions in that its updates do not come out as frequently, leading to issues with older applications and potentially leading to errors or other complications with your OS.

CentOS has implemented the CentOS Stream upstream platform as a solution to this issue, in order to take advantage of open-source innovation to shape future stable releases of RHEL. CentOS Stream is completely open source, and users may download, use, study, modify and redistribute it free of charge (excluding trademarks owned by Red Hat).

TuxCare AlmaLinux provides businesses that use CentOS with additional support for their workloads with several advantages that include automated non-disruptive patching & seamless FIPS compliance, pay-as-you-go hourly support to keep servers at peak performance, pay as you go hourly support plans and more! For more details on AlmaLinux check out our blog post about it.

What are the Cons of CentOS?

CentOS is widely recognized for its stability in enterprise environments and security features like SELinux. CentOS can be found hosting web servers, database servers and other mission critical applications – particularly older hardware with limited resources or resource-constrained environments. Furthermore, its free & open source status coupled with commercial support options through RHEL makes CentOS appealing to companies that want an Enterprise Linux OS without incurring excessive TCO expenses.

Since 2014, Red Hat has contributed a team of developers to CentOS project in order to assist developers integrate technologies into the distribution. As part of this collaboration, special interest groups (SIGs) devoted to improving specific functional aspects of Linux have also been established and are overseen by CentOS’ governing board.

CentOS stands out as an alternative Linux distribution by having an especially slow release cycle compared to others, due to the team behind it focusing on using established technologies rather than cutting-edge ones for its operating system. Users may discover that updated applications no longer run correctly with CentOS.

Red Hat decided to cease development of CentOS in 2020; however, its community continued to create Rocky Linux based on RHEL 7. Rocky Linux uses a modified kernel with advanced versions of SELinux that support MAC security architecture, and includes native packages for DRBD that makes it suitable for high availability clustering environments.

Rocky Linux may not offer as many features as CentOS, but it still comes equipped with tools for working with containers. One such tool is podman’s Docker management tool for command line image manipulation of container images; in addition, Rocky has its own graphical user interface built upon GNOME Shell 3.28 that supports multiple monitors.

At the core, the decision will boil down to your use cases, familiarity with various distributions and available commercial support options. CentOS traditionally had longer support lifecycles for major releases before transitioning to rolling releases with CentOS Stream; whether or not you migrate will depend on how your workloads are structured and whether you feel comfortable taking an unpredictable approach to updates.

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