Overview of CentOS
CentOS is an enterprise-grade Linux distribution that strives to achieve full compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), which is also its upstream source. Compatibility with RHEL means that CentOS works flawlessly with the plethora of RHEL-certified software and hardware solutions.
CentOS was first released in 2004, and it overtook Debian to become the most popular Linux distribution for web servers in 2010. Red Hat recognized the importance of CentOS when the company decided to sponsor it in 2014.
Just like RHEL, CentOS uses the RPM package management system and YUM, a libre and open-source command-line package-management utility that allows automatic updates, package and dependency management on RPM-based distributions.
Overview of Ubuntu
Ubuntu is a popular Linux distribution based on Debian. Available in several editions, Ubuntu is offered for personal computers, servers, Internet of Things devices, and the cloud. It was first released in 2004 by Canonical, a UK-based computer software company founded and funded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth.
Ubuntu uses the same package management system, deb, as its parent distribution. While Debian packages are not guaranteed to work on Ubuntu due to potential library version discrepancies, most packages work just fine or can be modified to work with minimal effort.
However, such modifications are seldom necessary because most developers package their software products for Ubuntu to cater to its wide user base.
What’s the Difference?
We’ve already mentioned that CentOS and Ubuntu both use a different package management system, but that’s just one of many differences between the two Linux distributions.
CentOS users who switch to Ubuntu are often surprised that there’s no administrator on Ubuntu. Instead, root privileges are granted through the ‘sudo’ command, which has its pros and cons.
Generally, CentOS is considered to be more stable than Ubuntu, but both CentOS and Ubuntu are ready to support demanding workloads and the needs of large enterprises. The difference in stability comes from the fact that CentOS has a slower release cycle than Ubuntu, offering packages that are behind the bleeding edge of software development.
Last but definitely not least, the Ubuntu community is considerably larger than the CentOS community. System administrators who are just learning the ropes can benefit from a wealth of tutorials, books, courses, and other educational and training resources when they decide to go with Ubuntu.
CentOS and Ubuntu are popular Linux distributions that can be found on many mission-critical servers around the world. While CentOS is compatible with RHEL, Ubuntu benefits from the solid foundation provided by its parent distribution, Debian. In practice, businesses and organizations that need to be closer to the bleeding edge of software development choose Ubuntu, and companies that value stability and security above everything else choose CentOS.