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In Linux Last updated: May 2, 2023
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CentOS and Ubuntu are the most popular choices for server & desktop environments.

Selecting the right Linux distribution from these two can be a challenging task.

While both distributions are based on the open-source Debian architecture, there are some key differences between the two that may make one a better choice for your needs.

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between CentOS and Ubuntu and help you decide which one is the right choice for you.

Let’s get started!

Overview of CentOS

The CentOS project mainly consists of two variants. CentOS Linux and CentOS Stream.


CentOS Linux is a stable distribution that is designed for production use. It is based on the upstream source code of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and provides a free, community-supported alternative to RHEL.

This distribution follows a fixed release schedule, with major releases typically supported for up to 10 years. This means that users can rely on CentOS Linux for stability and long-term support.

CentOS Stream, on the other hand, is a rolling-release distribution that provides a continuously updated stream of the latest features & bug fixes. It is based on the development branch of RHEL and provides a closer alignment with RHEL than CentOS Linux.

It is designed for developers who want to test new features & stay up-to-date with the latest upstream developments. It is also suitable for production environments that require more frequent updates than what CentOS Linux provides.

The main difference between CentOS Linux and CentOS Stream is their release model. CentOS Linux releases are based on stable and tested RHEL releases, while CentOS Stream provides a continuously updated stream of new bug fixes.

This makes CentOS Stream a good choice for developers who want to stay ahead of the curve & test new features before they are released in RHEL.

The CentOS Project has announced that they will be shifting their focus from CentOS Linux to CentOS Stream, which is a rolling release distribution.

As a result, CentOS Linux 7 will reach its end of life on Jun 30th, 2024, and will no longer receive any updates or support from the CentOS Project. This means that CentOS Linux 7 will no longer be a viable choice for production servers or any other mission-critical systems.

CentOS Stream 8 will reach its end of life on May 31, 2024. It will no longer receive any updates, including security patches from the CentOS Project, after this date.

Users who are currently using CentOS Stream 8 are encouraged to migrate to the latest version of CentOS Stream (i.e. version 9) or another supported distribution before this date.

However, CentOS Stream 9 will continue to receive updates & support, which provides users with a continuous stream of the latest features and bug fixes. While this shift in focus may be disappointing for some users, it presents an opportunity for the CentOS community to contribute to the development of CentOS Stream and shape its future.

And if you need more information on this, feel free to visit the official blog post by the CentOS developers.

Overview of Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a free & open-source Debian-based Linux distribution. Since its initial release in 2004, Ubuntu has undergone significant development, and it is currently maintained by Canonical Ltd.


One of the key features of Ubuntu is its user-friendliness. This operating system has a graphical user interface that is easy to use, even for those with limited technical knowledge.

Ubuntu also comes pre-installed with a range of software modules, including productivity tools, multimedia applications, and development tools which make it an ideal choice for both personal & professional use.

Ubuntu is also known for its versatility and adaptability to various use cases. The package manager allows for easy installation & removal of software packages, and the OS can be customized based on the user’s preferences.

The frequent security updates, mandatory access control system, and built-in firewall help protect the user’s data & privacy from external threats.

Benefits of CentOS


These two distributions have some differences in terms of their features, target audience, and applications. Here are some of the benefits of each:

Stability and security

CentOS is renowned for its stability and security, which makes it a popular choice for enterprise environments.

Thanks to its open-source nature, anyone can modify and distribute its source code. It also comes with built-in security features such as SELinux, firewalls, and encryption.

Long-term support

CentOS offers long-term support with updates & patches for up to 10 years. It gives a reliable platform for businesses.


It is also compatible with a wide array of software tools and applications, which is why it has gained a strong following among developers & IT professionals.


CentOS has a large community of users and developers who actively participate in its development and provide support to assist in need.

Benefits of Ubuntu


As we all know, Ubuntu is known for its user-friendliness. It provides a simple and powerful interface that makes it an excellent option for home users.


Ubuntu is highly customizable, with a wide range of themes, icons, and other customization options to suit your preferences.

Package management

It uses the Debian package management system, which streamlines the process of installing, updating, and removing software packages.

Multimedia support

Ubuntu includes built-in support for multimedia codecs & drivers, which makes it a good choice for users who want to use their computer for media playback or creation.

CentOS vs. Ubuntu

And here is a comparison table of CentOS and Ubuntu.

OriginBuilt from the source code of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)Based on Debian
Release CycleLonger release cycles focused on stabilityMore frequent releases, with new versions every six months
Package ManagementYUM package managerAPT (Advanced Package Tool) package manager
Default Desktop EnvironmentNo default desktop environment, but can install any desired DEUnity was the default until 2017 and now uses GNOME.
SecurityKnown for its robust security features with SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) enabled by defaultGenerally considered secure – AppArmor for additional security
Community SupportHas a large community of users, but not as large as Ubuntu’s.Large and active community with a strong focus on user-friendliness
UsageOften used for enterprise and server applicationsPopular among developers and desktop users
SystemdUses SysVinit as its default init systemUses systemd as its default init system
Cloud SupportCentOS has good support for cloud environments including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and OpenStackUbuntu is known for its strong support for cloud environments and is the most widely used OS on the cloud
System RequirementsNeed more system resources than Ubuntu, particularly for graphical interfacesIt requires fewer system resources than CentOS which makes it more suitable for older hardware or resource-limited environments.
Default File SystemUses the XFS file system by default, which is known for its reliabilityExt4 file system
PricingCentOS is free and open-sourceUbuntu is also free & open-source, but Canonical charges for commercial services and support.

It’s worth noting that both CentOS & Ubuntu are popular Linux distributions and are capable of handling a wide range of applications. Consider your use cases, familiarity with each distribution, and available commercial support options when making your decision.

Use Cases of CentOS

Enterprise server applications

CentOS is often used for its stability and security features in enterprise server environments. Its conservative release cycle and SELinux make it a popular choice for hosting web servers, database servers, and other critical applications.

Big data and analytics

CentOS has proven to be a valuable asset in the world of big data and analytics. It is compatible with frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark, which makes it an excellent option for building data-driven applications.

High-performance computing

CentOS is commonly used in high-performance computing (HPC) environments due to its compatibility with parallel computing libraries like MPI and OpenMP.

Use Cases of Ubuntu

Desktop computing

Ubuntu is popular among desktop users due to its user-friendly interface & ease of use. It comes pre-installed with many popular desktop applications like LibreOffice, Firefox, and the GIMP image editor.

Development and programming

Developers use Ubuntu due to its large community and support for popular programming languages like Python, Ruby, and Java. It also has a wide range of development tools & environments available.

Cloud computing

Ubuntu is also used in cloud computing environments due to its compatibility with popular cloud platforms like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. It is also the preferred operating system for the Ubuntu OpenStack distribution.

Limitations of CentOS

CentOS and Ubuntu are two top-notch Linux distributions widely used by IT folks worldwide. Despite their wide popularity, both have their own unique set of drawbacks.

Slower Release Cycles

CentOS has a relatively slower release cycle compared to other Linux distributions, which may lead to delayed access to the latest features or updates.

Limited Software Availability

While CentOS is recognized for its stability, it often lags in terms of having access to the newest software packages. It can be a frustrating experience for users seeking cutting-edge features.

Security Issues

Security issues are yet another limitation of CentOS. Although CentOS is known to be a secure operating system, it has suffered from certain vulnerabilities in the past. For example, it took longer for CentOS to address the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities compared to other distributions.

Limitations of Ubuntu

Some cons of the Ubuntu operating system are explained below:-

Frequent Updates

Ubuntu releases updates quite frequently, which can be both a boon and a bane. Frequent updates can be beneficial for some users. However, it can be disruptive for those who prefer a more stable environment.

Privacy Concerns

Additionally, Ubuntu has faced criticism over privacy concerns as it collects data from users, including search queries and application usage data. Although this data collection is supposed to be anonymous and opt-in, some users may still be concerned about privacy.

Author’s note ✍️

And finally, the choice of which Linux distribution to use will depend on specific needs and use cases.

CentOS is an excellent choice for enterprise environments that require long-term support and stability, while Ubuntu’s user-friendly interface & versatility make it a popular choice for personal and educational use.

Both distributions have their strengths and weaknesses, so it’s essential to consider requirements & goals when making a decision.

I hope you found this article helpful in learning about CentOS vs Ubuntu and their benefits. You may also be interested in learning about the best Linux partition managers to modify disk space.

  • Ashlin Jenifa
    Hey there, my name is Ashlin, and I’m a senior technical writer. I’ve been in the game for a while now, and I specialize in writing about all sorts of cool technology topics like Linux, Networking, Security, Dev Tools, Data Analytics, and Cloud… read more
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