What are CentOS Linux replacements?

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On June 30, 2024, CentOS Linux® 7 will reach end of life (EOL), and the CentOS Project will discontinue updates and releases at that time. While there are many CentOS replacements available—including Red Hat® Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu, Rocky Linux, AlmaLinux, Oracle Linux, and CloudLinux—those most closely related to CentOS Linux provide the most straightforward transition for desktops, servers, and virtual machines.

Because CentOS Linux was derived from source code that Red Hat posted publicly, migrating from CentOS Linux to Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the most straightforward CentOS alternative. CentOS users can continue using many of the same user-friendly techniques and elements of CentOS 7 and CentOS 8 by migrating to Red Hat Enterprise Linux—minimizing the amount of retraining needed after migrating.

You may also be able to migrate to other Linux distributions derived from publicly provided, community-driven source code. But if you migrate to Linux distros derived from open source projects that aren’t based on Fedora—like Debian or openSUSE—you’ll need to consider additional changes to apps and processes. You might need to modify your installation and configuration processes or adopt new management and security tools.

Derivatives of Red Hat Enterprise Linux may seem like the same operating system—perhaps even Red Hat Enterprise Linux clones. But those derivatives are based on very different delivery approaches that result in less certainty and stability for enterprises. The best CentOS replacement for you depends on variables like pricing, use cases, and commercial support.

Choosing a new OS requires considering both your short-term and long-term organizational goals. For example, many organizations are standardizing their operating environments across cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Service (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and IBM Cloud. Other considerations may include ease of virtualization, Internet of Things (IoT) integration, web-hosting capabilities, and software development tools.

  • To support critical business functions and production environments, most organizations need:
  • Tested, validated, and commercially hardened software.
  • Enterprise-grade support offerings that provide patches and updates.
  • Certification for their preferred applications, hardware, and cloud providers.
  • Streamlined, intuitive management and automation capabilities.
  • Long-term, predictable software life cycles.
  • Compliance with all applicable vulnerability standards and regulations.

CentOS Stream

CentOS Stream isn’t a replacement for CentOS Linux. CentOS Stream is the platform to collaborate and contribute to future versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It exists between Fedora Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux in the open source development cycle. It’s an upstream, rolling release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

CentOS Stream isn’t intended to support production environments. Instead, it’s an open source project where developers, sysadmins, and community members can develop, test, and contribute to a cutting-edge Linux distro alongside Red Hat developers.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the world’s leading enterprise Linux server operating system, developed by the world’s largest open-source software company. Based on more than 25 years of experience in open source development models, Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the core of our integrated portfolio and solutions.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux comes with managed services, developer resources, high-performance variants, long-term support (LTS) subscriptions, access to an extensive partner ecosystem, stringent security certifications, and integrations with new technologies. We also provide upstream advocacy for our customers’ business requirements, and contribute all work back to the community to promote interoperability and innovation beyond Red Hat.

Additionally, Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Third Party Linux Migration with Extended Life Cycle Support is designed to make our enterprise Linux platform more accessible to CentOS Linux users, with competitive pricing and a simplified conversion process.

Discover 5 top reasons to choose Red Hat Enterprise Linux as your Linux solution

Derivatives of Red Hat Enterprise Linux

While they may seem similar, derivative distributions are fundamentally different from Red Hat Enterprise Linux. These alternatives are tested and built in different environments, using different processes and standards. They are patched, updated, and supported by organizations that are not certified by Red Hat. As a result, binary compatibility (sometimes referred to as bug-for-bug compatibility) with Red Hat Enterprise Linux cannot be guaranteed, nor are there any accepted tests for binary compatibility.

Because we offer flexibility, leadership, and a strategic approach with enterprise-grade open source solutions and services to support your preferred applications and workloads. We have delivered enterprise-grade Linux for more than 25 years and are a leading contributor to the Linux kernel. We also contribute to numerous other emerging technologies and community projects like Kubernetes, both independently and working with organizations like the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). We build collaborative relationships with our customers to give you advanced visibility into new features and influence over development, so you can plan ahead for new technology investments and adoption.

A consistent, intelligent operating foundation for innovating across hybrid cloud deployments, Red Hat Enterprise Linux delivers optimal benefits for your organization. A Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription gives you direct access to the latest Linux innovation certified for use with our software, automation, and management services and technologies as well as a large ecosystem of partner products. Production-grade life cycles—up to 10 years of updates and support for major releases and two years of updates and support for minor releases—let you plan for long-term success. Finally, Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides built-in security features, security certifications, and simpler ways to maintain compliance, so you can focus on driving your business forward.

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