Which CentOS Alternative Distro Should You Choose?

In January 2014, CentOS announced that it was officially joining Red Hat under a new CentOS Governing Board, independent of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

However, in December 2020, Red Hat demanded that CentOS End Development of CentOS 8. they too announced That support will be transferred to the CentOS alternative rolling-release Linux distribution, which is in the midst of upstream development. fedora and for downstream development Rayleigh,

CentOS Post-termination Fallout

CentOS was and still is a very commonly used production-ready Linux server distribution. With the move to Red Hat, CentOS has grown from a highly stable, community-supported and RHEL compatible distro to an early rolling-release distro for RHEL, namely Centos Stream,

As such, many users, myself included, are looking for CentOS alternatives. A CentOS alternative should provide long-term support, and of equal importance, it should very Stable.

In response to the termination of CentOS, as we know, the founders of CentOS, Gregory Kurtzer, a successor to the original mission of CentOS, then shortly afterwards, CloudLinux also announced a new CentOS clone. In addition, there are additional options.

As such, let’s take a look at viable CentOS alternatives and start our research, discussion, and decision-making before we go. Deadline of December 31, 2021,

CentOS Alternative Distribution

Rocky Linux

Rocky Linux is a fork of CentOS led by the founder of the CentOS project. It is a community-enterprise operating system designed to be 100% compatible with RHEL. Rocky Linux aims to serve as a downstream build as CentOS did before, a release build after the upstream vendor has added, not before. The current ETA for the initial release is March 31, 2021.

Website: Rockylinux.org – research: GitHub , reddit

Pros: Led by the founder of the CentOS project, it has the most discussion and community support ever.

Shortcoming: March 31st, 2021 ETA for initial release, will this new distro last the next ten years?


Almalinux is the latest RHEL clone made by cloudlinux, This distro is another free OS, with $1M in annual sponsorship from CloudLinux, which has promised to “support future RHEL releases by updating to AlmaLinux”. The expected release date is Q1, 2021.

Website: almalinux.org – research: Github , reddit

Pros: Led by CloudLinux, whose distribution is widely used by shared hosting providers. famous cPanel and WHM Supports installation on CentOS, RHEL and CloudLinux OS. So if you run cPanel on CentOS, it might be of interest to you. cPanel recently made this statement: “We have committed to supporting RHEL Fork by CloudLinux,

Shortcoming: Not a pioneer of free software. Hopefully, they will keep the promise on their homepage- “Always free, always open source.” – And it doesn’t develop into a bunch of paid addons.

oracle linux

Oracle’s Linux Distro Is Available For Free, And They’ve Made One conversion script To switch your CentOS Linux server to Oracle Linux. Oracle Linux claims to be 100% compatible with the existing applications on your CentOS server. This Linux distribution also closely follows the RHEL release cycle, using the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) produced by Oracle.

Websites: oracle.com/linux/ , linux.oracle.com/switch/centos/ , research: Github , Community

Pros: It is stable from Oracle. Features a custom-built and rigorously tested Linux kernel. Tight integration with Oracle’s hardware and software products, including most database applications.

Shortcoming: This is from Oracle. Many in the industry still feel that Oracle has been infamous for its bait-and-switch strategy. (for example, of oracle Handling Of Java,

Springdale Linux

Springdale Linux is another Linux distribution based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This distribution is developed by institute of advanced studies And Princeton University, This project was started long before CentOS, or other projects were available. The latest version is 8.3, which was launched on 20 November 2020.

Website: springdale.math.ias.edu , migrate , google groups

Pros: Version 8 has already been released, the time-tested free RHEL clone, older than CentOS.

Shortcoming: Limited support, small niche community.

ClearOS Linux

ClearOS Linux is based on CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Designed for use in small and medium enterprises. It is an open-source Linux distribution that is available for free to the community.

Website: clearos.com , research: Github , support forum

Pros: a. can be managed through Web interfaceThe Market,

Shortcoming: cloud version 8 timelineBetter documentation is needed.

Amazon Linux 2

Amazon Linux 2 (AL2) is also a CentOS-based RHEL clone. Amazon Linux 2 AMI is provided to Amazon EC2 users at no extra charge. As such, if you have CentOS servers on AWS, Amazon Linux 2 is worth a look. AL2 provides long-term support and many virtual machine Images for KVM, Microsoft Hyper-V, Oracle VM VirtualBox and VMware ESXi virtualization platforms.

Website: aws.amazon.com/amazon-linux-2/ , research: Github , reddit

Pros: Better support and integration can be run with AWS on-premises,

Shortcoming: Good outlook / long term support.

Centos Stream

The official alternative to CentOS 8 is CentOS Stream. Reading: Converting from CentOS Linux to CentOS Streams, according to this Chris WrightRed Hat’s CTO Provides CentOS Stream Project”A rolling preview of future RHEL kernels and features.

Website: centos.org , research: Github , reddit

Pros: Officially supported options, simple migration process.

Shortcoming: Unproven consistency, rolling release.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux

As of February 1, 2021, Red Hat has made RHEL available at no cost for small-production workloads (16 systems or less). Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (code name: Ootpa) is based on Fedora 28, upstream Linux kernel 4.18, GCC 8.2, Glibc 2.28, systemd 239, GNOME 3.28, and Switch to Wayland. RHEL 8 was officially released on May 7, 2019.

Website: redhat.com , research: reddit , KB

Pros: The crme de la crme of Linux enterprise distros. The source of all the above clones.

Shortcoming: Not free, not cheap, from the same company that pulled the rug out from under CentOS.

Non-CentOS/RHEL based alternatives

Debian – 20+ years of experience with over 60,000 packages. Ubuntu LTS Server is based on Debian SID.
openSUSE Leap – Focuses on creating usable open-source tools.
SUSE Linux Enterprise – Provides interoperability with Windows and other platforms.
ubuntu server – Exclusive server version, extremely popular with commercial support available,
See more – Choosing the Best Linux Server Distro.


Okay, So Which CentOS Alternative Distro Should You Choose? So far, I’m hooking Rocky Linux For CentOS-only servers, to almalinux for CentOS with cPanel/WHM, and to Amazon Linux 2 on AWS. However, I wanted to share these options with you guys as a lot can change before December 31, 2021.

So, with that in mind, which CentOS alternative distro are you currently eyeing? Have you already locked out? No additional suggestions listed. You can add your feedback in the comment section below or send me an email.

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