Benefits of CentOS vs Debian?

A 5 star hangout for overworked and underpaid system admins.
Posts: 1
Joined: 2019/10/03 13:00:14

Benefits of CentOS vs Debian?

Post by raoul123 » 2019/10/03 13:01:25

Hello, I am quite new to the linux world and would love to breath life into an old macbook of mine with linux. I have had little experience with CentOS and Debian other than in cloud based workloads run off of AWS. From my experience, Debian deems to be a far more supported OS with apt-get, and just general online support. Are there aspects of a CentOS based OS that I should be considering? And in general, coming from macOS, are there any distros you guys would personally recommend?

Posts: 722
Joined: 2017/02/22 15:08:17

Re: Benefits of CentOS vs Debian?

Post by tunk » 2019/10/04 12:06:49

CentOS is based on Red Hat and the main benefit is long term
support/updates. I haven't used Debian much, but my impression
is that there's more software/packages available. If you're
going to use it as a server I suggest that you select CentOS.

Posts: 373
Joined: 2014/06/10 19:13:41

Re: Benefits of CentOS vs Debian?

Post by owl102 » 2019/10/05 10:01:54

  • Released and supported by a company (Red Hat)
  • Supported as Server OS by most vendors
  • Updates contain bug fixes as well
  • Has point releases which update some appllications (Gnome, Libre Office, ...)
  • 10 year life cycle:
  • Small repositories provided by CentOS, epel repository compensate this for some amount, rpmfusion needed for multi media stuff
  • QA: Fedora as kind of "beta" version tested by the community, afterwards QA from Red Hat takes over and do futher testing/bugfixing before releasing it as RHEL/CentOS.
  • Does not have an upgrade path
  • Released and supported by the community
  • "stable" means stable versions, so even bug fixes will not be applied unless they are "server relevant" or "security relevant". For example in one Debian version the ntfs driver was buggy, this was not fixed. Debian 8 used Gnome 3.14 but did not take over all the bugfixes RedHat has done for the release of Gnome 3.14 for RHEL/CentOS 7.2.
  • Some packages are quite outdated. Since Debian is supported by the community, every package is dependant on the free time of its maintainer. If he is busy otherwise, his packages usually don't get updated.
  • Has point releases, too, but Debian basically uses them only for releasing new ISO files. (No updated applications like in CentOS)
  • 3 year life cycle, if the community has resources a LTS version will be offered afterwards:
  • Quite big repositories offered by Debian. There is a "backport" repository where some applications are offered in new versions. Updating all via backports is neither recommended nor supported, it is meant for updating selected packages only.
  • QA: Debian unstable/Sid -> Debian testing -> gets "frozen" 1/2 year before release -> Debian release (Every bug not found/fixed by this QA method will not be fixed except it is either server or security relevant. See above.)
  • Does have a (good) upgrade path
Of course this list is incomplete. Which one do I recommended as Desktop OS? Neither of them.

I love CentOS as Desktop OS (and use it that way on some computers), it gives you a very stable and solid Desktop experience with a life cycle of 10 years, but with limited applications in the repositories only. Sometimes one has to take packages from Fedora (Do not try this at home!) or compile them for yourself. EPEL starts empty when a new CentOS version is released, and will only be populated over a long time / years. Therefore usually x.2 is a good point to start with a new CentOS version, at this stage EPEL usually already contains the most needed stuff. Furthermore CentOS require some basic knowledge before it can be used as Desktop OS since all the epel and multimedia stuff needs to be installed for yourself. (After installing CentOS some basic things will not work out-of-the box: NTFS, exfat, audio, video, smartphone connections via MTP, ...) But it all of this is no problem for you, I would go with CentOS.

Debian as Desktop OS is a no-go for me. Having a buggy Gnome version (although RedHat has fixed many bugs), having a buggy ntfs driver, having a buggy whatever for 2 years is not acceptable for me. I used to have Debian as main Desktop OS but I was simply annoyed by finding out the problems (and living with them for 2 years) after a new Debian version came out.

Alternatives as Desktop OS: Fedora or Ubuntu

Currently I use Fedora as main Desktop OS, it has some bumps from time-to-time (and very much updates during the short life cycle), but otherwise it's ok. I have no experience with recent Ubuntu versions but I have heard from multiple sources that recent versions have improved by a large amount.
German speaking forum for Fedora and CentOS:

User avatar
Posts: 267
Joined: 2013/12/18 15:04:03
Location: xfs file system

Re: Benefits of CentOS vs Debian?

Post by KernelOops » 2019/10/06 06:04:52

I agree with the above assessment but I'd like to add some of my thoughts. Debian has unconventional and not very unix-friendly way of naming and storing /etc configuration files and other package files. I found the CentOS method more intuitive.

I also had much better success with yum/dnf than with apt-get. It seems apt-get couldn't uninstall everything unlike yum/dnf which could completely wipe a package and leave no trace behind.

My only real complaint is gnome 3, with its terrible user interface, but that is easily avoided by using a Fedora Spin, I prefer Cinnamon.
I love my computer - all my friends live there.

User avatar
Posts: 38
Joined: 2014/12/03 19:58:02

Re: Benefits of CentOS vs Debian?

Post by Errosion » 2019/10/08 18:40:35

I think a decision also needs to be made on whether you are wanting to use it for a server or a desktop environment. Both will provide different benefits. Unless what you look for in a desktop environment is the same as a server environment.

The previous post detailing some of the differences is solid.

As my personal preference, I don't particularly care for CentOS (or Debian) as a desktop environment. As a server environment, I feel better working around in a CentOS environment, over a Debian. Again, as others have stated, CentOS feels more intuitive to me. But that is probably because I use CentOS in the workplace and have been using Red Hat for years.

As a desktop environment, I prefer Ubuntu or Mint. I feel both do well to make the UX easy and for something I am using on the regular, I want an easy UX.

But again, what I do on my personal desktop is very different than what I would do on my work desktop. So the preferences are different.

Posts: 7
Joined: 2019/11/01 17:21:30
Location: Brighton, UK

Re: Benefits of CentOS vs Debian?

Post by anthonynorth » 2019/11/03 13:52:42

I've worked with both for many years (as server OS's) and there are obviously strong and weak points to each but overall my preference is CentOS. CentOS is more stable and should be your first choice in a mission critical environment. The layout and naming of configuration files etc is more traditional and will be more familiar if you've worked with unix for some time.
Where Debian wins is that upgrades between major versions is supported and entirely feasible. With CentOS you are basically required to build a new server and migrate. Major versions of CentOS are supported for 10 years so that is a consolation.


Return to “CentOS Social”