July 5, 2008 2 Comments
I am looking at various options for a Linux distribution these days. Some of them I discussed in my previous post on how to choose a Linux distribution. Here I would like to point out some factors why I am leaning toward CentOS.
Repackaged Red Hat Enterprise Linux
The biggest benefit of CentOS is that it has all the benefits of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). You get support from many independent and third-party entities, such as hardware and software vendors. If it says it support RHEL, you can be pretty sure it supports CentOS. This is a big deal in the business world. If you need to have a certain application and it only officially supports RHEL, CentOS gives you the option to use it without too much trouble. Of course, the reason you would use CentOS instead of RHEL is to save on support subscription offered by Red Hat.
We all can see how much good work Red Hat is doing. I would like to support it with my (or my company’s) money. On the other hand, CentOS is doing some good work of making Red Hat’s work available to the masses. They also deserve our support. My compromise, to keep me and the bigwigs happy would be to use CentOS on development and testing servers. Then move to RHEL for production. The boss is happy to pay someone (Red Hat) for production support and you can maybe provide some of that support money to CentOS. Such workflow could keep most people happy.
I am interested in learning more about SELinux and how to best use it to secure computers. CentOS comes with it and gives everyone a chance to utilize its benefits. But why choose SELinux? Well, if it helps me learn more about security while also keeping my computers secure, I am all for it. I am not such a philosophical freak to take sides. Best tool for the job, is what I believe in.
Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) is a repository of software for RHEL which is not “officially” included in RHEL. It gives CentOS the best of both worlds: officially supported packages along with some other packages you may need to get your job done.
If you are running CentOS, then Fedora compliments your choice on the desktop. So if in my ideal compromise you have CentOS running on development and testing servers, then maybe your desktops could be running Fedora. According to Fedora website, “Fedora now forms the basis for derivative distributions such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux”. In effect, you are trying out a possibly future version of CentOS before it even comes out.
Fedora on its own is a very good distribution. It has quick releases and the newest technology around. What more could you want from a Linux distribution?
If you are in a business environment where you need RHEL, CentOS can be a great resource. If you are not, then CentOS gives you all the benefit of RHEL without the cost. It is a great distribution for different purposes. Combine it with the RHEL-environment, such as Fedora, and you may not need another Linux distribution. Of course, if CentOS is your choice, maybe Scientific Linux deserves some love as well.