RHEL, CentOS and their clones: the best alternatives

RHEL, CentOS and their clones: the best alternatives

We have been telling you for a long time that Red Hat’s decision to turn CentOS  into a rolling release distribution  had established itself in the community. What for many years had been the free alternative of reference to what RHEL offered, suddenly changed its philosophy and many companies, which had relied on CentOS for all kinds of projects, found themselves in the “gap” of, in the medium term , look for alternatives.

This situation was widely echoed by our MuyLinux colleagues, who a few months ago recommended us some interesting alternatives for companies , citing in this field distributions such as SUSE Linux Enterprise, Ubuntu, Debian or even RHEL itself (“mother” of CentOS) as Red Hat decided to make it a free distribution for any production environment with fewer than 16 machines.

During this period of time, the number of forks  and clones of RHEL itself have also multiplied  , with the aim of recovering that spirit of CentOS that had worked so well in recent years. These are the most interesting:

Rocky linux

Rocky Linux is a RHEL clone that was announced right after Red Hat decided to end CentOS as a production system. The project quickly achieved an impact by showing clear intentions to target the corporate sector and thanks to the support of Gregory Kurtzer , co-founder of CentOS.

As its developers explain, its latest version is “fully compatible 100% compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.4” and the sponsors of this project include companies such as AWS or Google Cloud.

Rocky Linux 8.4 Download


VzLinux is a system maintained by Virtuozzo, a virtualization services company with a long history behind it. The same happens with VzLinux, whose use internally (including its clients) has been constant for more than 20 years.

Virtuozzo describes VzLinux as “a free multipurpose distribution optimized to run on bare metal servers, virtual machines or containers. It is designed to support intensive business-grade applications and workloads.

A distribution for which Virtuozzo has already prepared the migration process from CentOS “without downtime”, and which it boasts of its speed of update with respect to RHEL and in comparison with CentOS.

VzLinux 8.4 Download

Alma Linux OS

AlmaLinux OS is an open source, community driven project that is intended to provide an alternative to the stable version of CentOS.

The creators of the distribution emphasize that it is an operating system that is 1: 1 compatible with RHEL 8 and that it also has the direct involvement of developers, academic institutions, research organizations and technology companies.

In other words, it is not that Alma Linux is based on RHEL as may be the case with other distributions that inherit the spirit of CentOS, but that it is an exact clone.

Among the companies supporting the development are AWS, ARM or Equinix, as well as CloudLinux , its parent company.

AlmaLinux OS 8.4 Download

Oracle Linux

Like CentOS at the time, Oracle Linux has been committed for almost three decades, to offer an exact copy of what Red Hat offers with RHEL in each of its releases.

Migrating from CentOS to this distribution also has the advantage that we are talking about a distribution that is maintained by a large company such as Oracle, so it is difficult in the short term we are going to find the problem of a lack of update in the different packages.

Although it is a completely free distribution, it also offers its own support service and here it is true that interested companies will have to pay an “Oracle fee” that starts at 1,080 euros per year per server.


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