What do you do when you want to use Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) without paying for it? The answer is simple, you use CentOS. This is a Linux distribution that is derived from RHEL, but is available for free. But, while this distro is available for free, you have to sacrifice on some aspects. One of these is the fact that the CentOS team doesn’t offer any support services. Still, CentOS is amongst the most popular Linux distros today, which makes these facts about the OS all that more important to know. If you’re going to choose a distro for your projects, then you might as well know as much as possible about it.
- The CentOS team, which makes this repackaged version of RHEL, is a volunteer group. The team takes the source packages from RHEL that are publicly available and repackages them into binaries. They distribute this software through public mirrors and Red Hat itself has no partnership with CentOS.
- No Support: This is actually quite surprising for a popular Linux distro. While CentOS has been used commercially by many companies, no support is provided by the team yet. So, you’re basically depending on IT consultants for support purposes.
- Major releases come a little later: The time difference between the release of a major version for RHEL and CentOS has been increased considerably over the years.
- Catching up to Red Hat: Being what it is, CentOS can not overtake Red Hat. This is because the team always has to wait for the company to release the packages before it can repackage them. So, if there is a critical security issue that has been discovered, RHEL will get the solution much faster than CentOS.
- No certification: An RHEL certification is often considered to be a very useful addition to a person’s resume. In fact, Red Hat itself provides for training and certification for it. This creates more professionals who can provide support for the distro. CentOS on the other hand, has no such certifications or training available for it.
- Small team: Being a volunteer group, the CentOS team can easily face hiccups. So, fixing a bug in the distro doesn’t always take precedence over a personal matter. Moreover, they aren’t paid, which makes other more profitable obligations take precedence easily.
With all this being said, no one can deny the popularity of CentOS. In fact, many have spoken and written about how functional this operating system can be. Moreover, the unavailability of alternatives for RHEL makes CentOS all the more attractive. Most who choose not to use CentOS instead choose to subscribe for RHEL instead.