CentOS – Linux Distribution

Red Hat is one of the oldest operating systems you can find out there, based on Linux Kernel. It can also be considered as one of the most widely respected operating systems. Since Red Hat has been there for more than two decades, it can be defined as a stable product. Red Hat created the platform for the development of CentOS as well.

CentOS is a Linux distribution run by the non-profit organization Red Hat.  CentOS is the second most popular Linux distribution on the web server market. It’s a freeware distribution that can be used as a server, desktop, or cloud computing software platform. It uses Fedora as its repository and packaging system. CentOS borrows from RPM to ease installing computer packages from physical media or other remote repositories as well as integrating native SELinux support with the use of YaST and dnf to search for computer packages. CentOS is a Linux distribution that runs on PC-compatible computers, based on the source code from RedHat Enterprise Linux. 

It includes a set of command-line utilities and support for a wide array of hardware architectures. It is one of the most reliable and stable operating systems available. CentOS can be used to either run or test any type of application, from web servers to high-end video games. Another benefit of using CentOS is that it comes with a robust package management system called YUM.  CentOS is easy to maintain. You can upgrade a running server to a newer version of CentOS within a few minutes, without having to reinstall the operating system. This is because the latest version of CentOS has been built from a common code base with minimal code changes.

What is CentOS?

CentOS is a beginner-friendly operating system that is based upon Linux. It is free and open-source. On the other hand, the functionality offered to you by CentOS is compatible with what you can get out of Red Hat Enterprise Linux as well. The initial version of the CentOS operating system was launched back in the year 2004. From the very first day, it has been a community-powered operating system. 

Linux is the most popular and best-known operating system that exists out there in the world. It comes along with all the features that an operating system should have. Therefore, people are provided with the opportunity to get their hands on Linux and go through a unique experience. 

When you take a look at the history of CentOS, you will figure out how it has strived hard to maintain its compatibility along with RHEL at all times. There isn’t a big development team behind CentOS. However, the resources working on the project are looking forward to contributing to it with their maximum potential. Due to the same reason, we can see how CentOS is offering some outstanding options to you as well. One of the most important things to keep in mind about CentOS is that it will be providing you with a 10-year guarantee period for the security updates.

Features of CentOS

Here are the main reasons that you can find in the latest version of CentOS. You can go through the features and determine whether it will be your next operating system.

  • CentOS is open-source and free

The most important thing to keep in mind about CentOS is that it is open source and free to use. People who are about to get CentOS will not have to worry about making any payments. On the other hand, they don’t have to worry about limitations as well. They can get hold of CentOS while keeping peace of mind and using the operating system. It is providing an excellent experience to all the developers out there as well. That’s because developers will be able to access the code and experiment with it.

  • CentOS is secure and stable

You will need to understand that CentOS is a secure and stable operating system available out there to consider. All the people who get hold of CentOS are impressed with the high security and stability offered out of it.

  • Excellent speed 

When getting an operating system, people are concerned about the speed that is available for them. You can get an excellent speed out of CentOS as well. That’s because the focus of CentOS is offering basic software variants. While maintaining simplicity, it is providing you the chance to secure a high speed at all times. You will never find yourself in situations of wasting time after getting hold of CentOS. This is another major reason why you should be taking a look at CentOS.

  • Modified default file system

The default file system that you can get along with CentOS has been modified. This modification is done to enhance the performance and speed that you can get out of it. On the other hand, it has been able to scale the overall file system to 500TB with it as well. If you are interested in storing large files on your computer, CentOS will be a good operating system to consider.

  • Convenient upgrade path 

Whenever a new update is available for CentOS, you will not have to go through the frustrating reinstallation process. That’s because the developers of CentOS are providing you with access to a convenient upgrade path. You can go through this upgrade path and upgrade the operating system. This can deliver a more convenient upgrade experience to you and help you with saving time.

How to Install CentOS?

As usual, the installation process is pretty much straightforward and can be completed with ease. Here is how you proceed to upgrade your CentOS 8 machine in the easiest way possible:

  • Download new ISO file

The first step is to download the CentOS 8 installation image from the official website. At the moment of this writing, there is no live media image available so you will have to download the ISO file and then burn it on CD/DVD for installation purposes. You can use any local burning tool like ImgBurn or similar for this purpose.

  • Bootup and installation

Once you have the image ISO file, boot it with the CD or DVD drive and then complete the installation process that will take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour depending upon your system configuration. The CentOS system will ask you for some options while it installs but most of these can be safely ignored.

  • Post-installation steps

Once completed, the system reboots automatically after installation is done and completes with all necessary updates to make your machine fully functional. The next step is to update your system’s packages using yum or dnf commands which you can find in CentOS documentation at https://access.redhat. 

If you want to install some other Gnome packages, just type:

#yum -y groupinstall ‘GNOME Desktop’

This should give you a fully functional GUI desktop and you can start using your CentOS system without any issues.

What is CentOS Project?

CentOS Project is a free, enterprise-class operating system that provides the foundation for modern computing. CentOS is widely used in private clouds, Internet of Things (IoT) deployments, supercomputers, universities and research institutions, and more.

CentOS Project is an enterprise-ready operating system built on top of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 which includes essential drivers for managing the types of workloads our customers use it for today. CentOS (Community Enterprise Operating System) is a Linux distribution that runs on PC-compatible IBM PC-compatible computers. CentOS is free and open-source software that is built by the community and made available for everyone to use.

How CentOS is different from Ubuntu?

CentOS is a clone of RHEL, but without any direct association with redhat. As far as I know, Ubuntu is not based on any other distribution. Of course, you can use packages from one distro to “build” another distro just as easily. So I do not see that there are any fundamental differences between the two projects. 

Benefits of using CentOS

  •  You get almost all the features and functionalities of RHEL for free. This includes Red Hat Network support and access to other Red Hat products such as JBoss middleware.
  •  You can use CentOS for any purpose, including mission-critical applications that must perform without any downtime or errors.
  •  You can stay up to date with all security and bug fixes by installing regular updates available from CentOS Project and you never need to reinstall the entire operating system, even it is already completely installed.
  • Supported by an active community that provides support to other CentOS users. You can ask them any question regarding CentOS or RHEL directly, including help with installation/configuration problems, configuration errors, setup issues, network configuration issues, etc.
  •  It is completely free to download, use and distribute.
  •  It provides the option to set up your repositories with packages you need for your business or company. It can be used to host any kind of application, including web (Apache, etc.), database (MySQL/MariaDB), messaging (Zimbra, etc.), and so on. 
  •  You get enterprise-class features on a community platform without having to pay anything extra for them since all RHEL-related functionality is included in CentOS by default.
  •  You can get enterprise-class support from Red Hat for any problems related to CentOS.
  •  It has a shorter release cycle than RHEL, so you get an updated version of CentOS 7 a few months after the new version of RHEL is released. 
  • It allows you to run the same kind of applications that are supported by RHEL on your local system, so if your company has chosen CentOS for deployment in servers, you can be assured that it will work when shifted to production environment without needing any further change or patching in the setup.
  •  It provides a portable operating system, which means that the same operating system can be deployed on multiple different types of hardware.
  •  It lets you manage server resources with ease by partitioning, installing, or removing software, managing disk space usage efficiently, and taking advantage of other kernel features.

Should you get CentOS?

Now you have a good understanding of what CentOS is all about. If you are trying to get hold of a Linux-based operating system, we can recommend you look at CentOS. This is an enterprise-class operating system that is available for you to consider. Therefore, all the support that you expect to receive from an operating system will be available with it. You will never come across any frustrating situations when you are using CentOS in day-to-day life.

CentOS will also be able to help you experience amazing cost savings. That’s because Linux deployments usually tend to be cost-effective. You can continue to save thousands of dollars in the long run as you continue to use CentOS.

The steps or effort you have to spend to maintain CentOS is an easy thing to do. All the production upgrades are available to you in an easy-to-use path. On the other hand, you will never come across any complex situations when you are using CentOS. Even if you come across such an unmanageable situation, all you have to do is look at CentOS documentation. The documentation will provide all the support you need on how to overcome the challenges you have to face when you are using CentOS. Hence, you will be able to keep peace of mind and install CentOS.

Please take a look at the other distributions of Linux and compare them with CentOS. Based on that, any person can decide whether to go ahead with CentOS or not.