The End of CentOS 7 Support is Near: What’s the Best Alternative?

Don’t panic, I know. We can hardly believe it. As if we didn’t already have enough to worry about these days, we now find out that CentOS 7 support will be ending soon. But fear not! Because in this article, we’re going to explore the best alternatives to CentOS 7.

CentOS 7, we’ll miss you!

CentOS 7 has been a real workhorse for those of us working in system administration. Its robustness, reliability, and ability to customize every last detail have been something that all of us who have worked with it have enjoyed. But like everything in life, nothing lasts forever and, unfortunately, this veteran operating system is coming to its end.

Why is support important?

In an ideal world, all tech products would run without bugs and we wouldn’t need security updates. But we live in the real world, and bugs, vulnerabilities, and security threats are a daily fact. So, when an operating system stops receiving support, it means no more patches to fix bugs or close security gaps. It’s like a ship being abandoned by its crew.

Alternatives to CentOS 7

So, what can we do? We can’t keep using an unsupported operating system, that would be an unacceptable risk. So, we need to look for alternatives. Fortunately, we have several options and throughout this article, I’ll tell you more about them.

Debian: The Universal

One of the first options to consider is Debian. This operating system is known for its stability and is a very popular choice in many server environments. Like CentOS, Debian has an excellent support community and a prolonged life cycle for each release, ensuring you’ll have support for a long time.

Debian’s APT package system is a wonder, allowing you to manage updates and software installations with impressive ease. Plus, the vast library of available packages means you’ll always find what you need.

Ubuntu Server: The Favorite

Another very solid alternative to CentOS 7 is Ubuntu Server. While Ubuntu is known for its popularity in the desktop world, its server version is no slouch. Ubuntu Server offers excellent performance, robust security, and incredible ease of use.

The feature I like most about Ubuntu Server is that, unlike other server operating systems, you don’t have to be a Linux expert to get it up and running and maintain it. If you’re a newer system administrator or don’t feel very comfortable with Linux, Ubuntu Server might be an excellent choice for you.

Fedora Server: The Innovator

While it may not be as well-known as Debian or Ubuntu, Fedora Server is an option to consider. This operating system is known for always being on the cutting edge of technology and often introduces new features before other operating systems.

If you like being on the forefront of technology and don’t mind dealing with occasional issues, Fedora Server might be an intriguing option. However, be aware that its life cycle is shorter than Debian or Ubuntu, so you’ll need to be prepared to upgrade more frequently.

Rocky Linux: The Heir

What if I told you there’s an alternative to CentOS that aims to be as similar as possible? That’s where Rocky Linux comes in. This operating system is a fork of CentOS, meaning it’s based on the same source code. Essentially, Rocky Linux aims to provide the same experience as CentOS.

If you loved the CentOS experience and are saddened by the thought of having to learn to use a new operating system, Rocky Linux might be the perfect solution for you. Plus, being a community project, you can be assured there will always be people willing to help you out.

openSUSE: The Balanced One

Last but not least, we have openSUSE. This operating system is famous for its balance between stability and new features. openSUSE gives you the option to use the Leap version, which focuses on stability, or the Tumbleweed version, which updates more frequently and gives you the latest features as soon as they’re available.

If you like having control over your options and prefer a balance between new features and stability, openSUSE might be an interesting choice.

How to Choose the Best Alternative to CentOS 7?

We’ve talked about several alternatives to CentOS 7, but how can you know which one is best for you? Well, here are some points that will help you make that decision:

Your comfort level with Linux

If you’re an experienced system administrator who feels comfortable working with Linux, you can opt for any alternative. However, if you’re new to this or prefer something that requires less experience, Ubuntu Server might be a good choice.

Your long-term support needs

If you need an operating system that will provide you support for many years, Debian and Ubuntu are excellent choices. On the other hand, if you prefer to stay up to date with the latest innovations and don’t mind upgrading frequently, Fedora Server might be an interesting choice.

Your experience with CentOS

If you loved CentOS and are saddened by the thought of having to learn to use a new operating system, Rocky Linux might be your solution. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a fork of CentOS and strives to provide a similar experience.

Your personal preferences

At the end of the day, the best alternative to CentOS 7 for you will depend on your personal preferences. The important thing is that you feel comfortable and secure with the operating system you choose. Remember that every operating system has its strengths and weaknesses, and what works for one might not work for another.

In the end, my friend, while we’re saddened to say goodbye to CentOS 7, the world of Linux operating systems is broad and diverse. There are many excellent alternatives out there waiting for you to discover. Good luck in your search!

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