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.
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.
It uses the Debian package management system, which streamlines the process of installing, updating, and removing software packages.
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.
Built from the source code of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
Based on Debian
Longer release cycles focused on stability
More frequent releases, with new versions every six months
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.
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
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.
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 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:-
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.
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.
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
Linux is a multiuser operating system thus, multiple users can interact with the same computer at the same time using Linux. Being a multiuser operating system, it is important for Linux to guarantee the security and privacy of the files belonging to different users.