Red Hat became the major Open-Source company in the world before being acquired by IBM, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux(RHEL) is the company’s primary offering. It’s an massively popular enterprise-level operating system that supports a various range of open-source technologies such as Ansible automation, virtualization, Hybrid Cloud, and containerization.
This Linux-based OS has exposed how much money a organisation can make by developing free software and supporting it through paid agreements. As the name suggests, Red Hat Enterprise Linux is intended for businesses and organizations. If you want to run your own personal server, registering a copy of Red Hat Enterprise Linux can feel excessive.
Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives that use the exact same code and can run the same apps, as RHEL. In this article, we highlight some of the most popular and widely used Linux distributions based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux(RHEL).
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CentOS stands for Community Enterprise OS. Launched in 2004 as a community-supported OS fully compatible with RHEL, it became a part of Red Hat years later.
It has served as the most well-known way to use what is essentially RHEL without going through the financial hassle of actually using RHEL. 2020 saw the announcement that CentOS was going away in its current form by the end of 2021.
Instead, Red Hat introduced CentOS Stream, a semi-rolling-release version that sees software updates slightly ahead of RHEL, instead of slightly behind. This means that instead of being an identical copy of RHEL, CentOS Stream may contain newer versions of software.
CentOS Stream releases share version numbers and support periods as their matching RHEL release.
A common challenge facing many small businesses is complexity in deployment. Granted, Linux has made tremendous strides with regards to providing easy-to-use and user-friendly distributions.
However, it’s quite a challenge looking for a low-cost data center solution. If you are looking for a server OS that leverages an open-source model to deliver a low-cost and simplified IT experience for small businesses, then ClearOS is one of the options to turn to.
ClearOS is described as a simple, secure, and affordable operating system based on both CentOS and RHEL. It provides an intuitive web-based interface and an application store with over 100 apps to select from. ClearOS is available in 3 main editions: Home, Business, and Community Edition. The home edition is ideal for small offices.
The business edition is tailored for small and medium businesses that prefer the benefit of paid support, while the community edition is absolutely free.
EuroLinux is a Linux distribution of Polish origin. The company named EuroLinux is behind the development of this amazing enterprise-level distro.
So you can see that the developer team is quite experienced in this sector since they have a wide range of software and services related to database and cloud computing.
The source code of this distro is derived from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux project, and hence you will get compatibility with RHEL and the RHEL derivatives. Although it is a commercial distro, the price is relatively less than the competitors.
Getting support from the Red Hat certified professionals is another great benefit.
- It contains a library of addons that adds up to the basic functionalities.
- The system is secure from the core and quite user friendly.
- It has various plans at various price points to fulfill the demand of all customers.
- EuroLinux has proven itself on large scale deployments such as banks, corporate offices, etc.
- You can opt-in for the EuroES or Extended Support for Linux for your organization.
4. Rocky Linux
Rocky Linux emerged in 2021 in the aftermath of the retirement of CentOS as we have traditionally known it and attempts to fill the shoes that CentOS previously wore.
It functions as a downstream, binary-compatible version of RHEL. The name is a tribute to CentOS co-founder Rocky McGaugh. For people looking for an upgrade path from CentOS 7 who have no interest in adopting CentOS Stream, or those looking for a way to stick with what feels like a longer supported version of CentOS 8, you do not need to start from scratch to switch to Rocky Linux.
You can migrate over by running a single script.
5. Fedora Linux
Fedora is the upstream community distribution for RedHat Linux. It’s a general-purpose distribution developed and maintained by the Fedora Project which is Redhat sponsored.
It has a massive community and is mostly used by developers as a hub for developing and testing software packages before they are made available to RHEL or CentOS. In fact, Fedora is considered a bleeding-edge distribution since it always rolls out the latest software packages, drivers, and utilities.
So if you are going to opt for Fedora, rest assured that you will end with the latest software versions. Fedora is well known for its ease of use and customization. It comes with a simple UI and ships with out-of-the-box applications for everyday day use.
This makes it a popular distribution of choice among beginners who are looking to try out a Redhat-based distribution. Fedora also holds security as a top priority and in fact ships with SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) which is a kernel security module that manages access rights.
IT also goes a step further to include a firewall that is already enabled by default. With a very diverse application, Fedora comes in 3 main editions: Fedora workstation for desktop and home users, Fedora Server, and Fedora IoT for IoT ecosystems such as Raspberry Pi.
Rocky Linux was not the only RHEL-based alternative to rise from the end of CentOS. AlmaLinux launched in 2021 as another fully-compatible alternative to RHEL.
The name comes from the Spanish word “Alma,” meaning “soul.” AlmaLinux is community-run though originally created by CloudLinux.
CloudLinux remains a sponsor, alongside other big names like Microsoft, Amazon, and ARM. Like with Rocky Linux, you can convert from CentOS using a single script. If you want commercial support, that is available from TuxCare.
7. Oracle Linux
Oracle Linux is an enterprise-level operating system that is 100% binary compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
It combines the stability and enterprise-grade security of RHEL with the flexibility and added security from Oracle’s development team to provide a formidable and robust low-cost Enterprise option. Oracle Linux is free to download with absolutely no subscription fees and provides all security updates & patches at no cost.
Perhaps the only cost involved is that of support, which is considerably lower than that of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Additionally, Oracle Linux provides more support options than RHEL. Of notable mention is the Ksplice zero downtime patching service that helps you update your system with critical updates without the need for rebooting your server. In terms of usability, Oracle Linux is extremely easy to set up and easier to learn for users not familiar with Linux.
This is because most of the required packages are preloaded by default and can be enabled during installation. With built-in integrations and optimizations from Oracle’s team, Oracle Linux is considered the perfect choice for enterprises running Oracle systems such as Oracle databases.
It also goes without saying that Oracle Linux runs Oracle Cloud. In comparison to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Oracle Linux provides a more flexible and secure option for enterprises using or planning to make a switch to Oracle solutions.
Multi-national tech giant Huawei is behind this commercial distribution.
Since a lot is going on about Huawei, some people might be skeptical about choosing it. But this is a decent distro indeed for enterprise-level deployment. However, it is not yet popular among the general users.
Huawei is using this on its own supercomputer and storage system. But they offer great security and customer support, which will surely help this distribution stand out.
This distro has got security certification various authorities. If you are concerned about data security, then this is a great option.
- In-built Security Advisories section that briefs you about the vulnerabilities of your system.
- The administrators can use the Systemd framework for quickly managing the whole system.
- The Ext4 file system in EulerOSprovides maximum data integrity so that you can use this on storage servers.
- The developers designed this distro to run efficiently on multi-core systems.
- It comes with all the open-source core tools such as Python, Ruby, Java, etc.
Scientific Linux is a variant of RHEL targeting scientists working in experimental facilities, specifically research or work related to high energy and high-intensity physics.
The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) sponsors the project. The project began in 2003 as an effort to create a shared operating system for various labs to use, making it easier for them to share code and collaborate. Over the years, other labs such as CERN and DESY have also utilized Scientific Linux.
Going forward, many labs have decided to embrace CentOS, so currently, there are no more planned releases of Scientific Linux.
Yet the latest release, based on RHEL 7, will continue to receive updates for the remainder of its life cycle, set to end in 2024.
10. Springdale Linux
This is probably the least popular distribution in this article.
But that doesn’t mean it is a bad distro by any means. In fact, the scientists of Princeton University developed this for academic and research purposes.
Springdale Linux was formerly known as PUIAS Linux, however. You will also be surprised to know that it came before CentOS and other modern Red Hat derivatives. But due to the similar Red Hat binaries, you will find the packages compatible with other distributions in this list.
Springdale Linux supports various installation methods, and the developer group is very supportive. Therefore even being a small community, you will get better support.
- Institute of Advanced Study of Princeton University uses this as a daily-driver on their office computers.
- Springdale provides various repositories to get the latest software available for the Linux system.
- This distro uses Unity shell along with the GNOME desktop environment, just like Ubuntu.
- It runs on older computers like a rocket, and you won’t find any kind of lag or stability issues.
- It comes bundled with mathematical software such as Maple, Magma, Matlab, Mathematica, etc.
11. ROSA Linux
This is mainly a Russian distro. The company named LLC NTC IT ROSA developed this distribution based on Red Hat.
There are commercial variants of this distro as well as a desktop version for personal usage. The desktop variant looks pretty beautiful with easy to use navigations. The most interesting part of this distro is that it comes preinstalled with all the necessary software such as a music player, email client, etc.
However, the server edition looks a bit different, supporting scalable multi-core systems, which is a plus point. Although this distro’s initial development started on top of Mandriva (Red Hat derivative), it has become powerful and modern over time.
Besides, it is easier to use than other Red Hat-based Linux distributions.
- The Desktop Fresh edition comes with various desktop environments such as KDE, GNOME, etc.
- The engineers of the developer company provide technical support to enterprise customers.
- You can choose from the latest or most stable kernel, which gives you much freedom.
- The configuration and installation are fast and straightforward.
- There are a lot of server-side tools that come with the package for convenience.
That’s pretty much it! So, there are Best RedHat-Based Linux Distributions.
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