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Moving to Ubuntu


December 12 2020

This blog is about why I am changing the Linux distribution I use from CentOS to Ubuntu LTS.

==CentOS broke a pinky promise==

I have been a RedHat user since 1996. While the RedHat → Fedora Core change was annoying, I was able to get back on track with CentOS. CentOS, in its community-operated days, had issues with taking a long time making new releases available, but was a good stable operating system which worked well for me: I had a number of OpenVZ nodes running CentOS 6 from the early 2010s which were in operation, and up to date with security patches, until I finally moved on from OpenVZ this year. The long-term support policy made it that much easier to keep running my own online servers while being both a single parent and working full-time jobs in offices.

This year, I went to a lot of effort to get CentOS 8 up and running on servers on my home network. After a lot of work, I got three machines running CentOS; while it was challenging to get the particular setup I like going, I figured it was something I could keep running until 2029, since, when I installed those servers, CentOS made a pinky promise that they would be updated with security patches until May 31, 2029.

However, CentOS went back on their pinky promise, and will only support CentOS 8 until December 31, 2021, breaking a promise they made with the open source community of CentOS users. I do not like broken promises; when Sourceforge started putting adware on some of their Windows downloads, I stopped using them to host MaraDNS releases for years, I only fairly recently forgave Sourceforge (long after they both apologized and changed management to one who promised to not ever do something like that again) and started hosting Mara there again.

Yes, Rocky Linux shows a lot of promise, and could very well become what CentOS was a decade ago, but the annoyances I had with delayed releases back when CentOS was a community operating system is an experience I would prefer to not go through again.

That in mind, I am moving over to Ubuntu. In my experience, most smaller companies prefer using Ubuntu over CentOS/RHEL. While it does not have the long-term support timelines CentOS has (five years instead of 10 years), there are a lot more packages for it and it’s easier to find and install something I want to use. With CentOS, I have to go to a lot of bother to compile and install packages from random places on the Internet to get a system which works for me. With Ubuntu, I should be able to spend a lot less time doing that, using apt-get instead (Debian has a huge repo of packages, including, yes, MaraDNS). I have been feeling like I am going against the grain using CentOS instead of Ubuntu for a while now.

Canonical has, as far as I know, never gone back on a promise for extended support the way Red Hat has. Unlike CentOS, there is an official Raspberry Pi version of Ubuntu (I can even choose between 32-bit and 64-bit), and a number of different versions for mainstream systems.

I am looking forward to being an Ubuntu user instead of a CentOS user.

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