CentOS

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CentOS
Centos full.svg
CentOS 7.0 GNOME.png
Default GNOME desktop in CentOS 7.0
Company / developer The CentOS Project
(Affiliated with Red Hat)
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Free and open source software
Initial release 14 May 2004; 10 years ago (2004-05-14)[1]
Latest release

7.0-1406 (7 July 2014; 13 days ago (2014-07-07)[2]) [±]
6.5 (1 December 2013; 7 months ago (2013-12-01)[3]) [±]

5.10 (19 October 2013; 8 months ago (2013-10-19)[4]) [±]
Marketing target Free computing (desktops, mainframes, servers, workstations)
Available in Multilingual
Update method Yum (PackageKit)
Package manager RPM Package Manager
Supported platforms x86-64, x86 with PAE support
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux)
Default user interface GNOME and KDE (user-selectable)
License GNU GPL and various others
Official website centos.org

CentOS (abbreviated from Community Enterprise Operating System) is a Linux distribution that attempts to provide a free, enterprise class, community-supported computing platform which aims to be 100% binary compatible with its upstream source, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).[5][6] In January 2014, it was announced that CentOS was officially joining forces with Red Hat while staying independent from RHEL,[7] under a new CentOS Governing Board.[8]

The first CentOS release in May 2004, numbered as CentOS version 2, was forked from RHEL version 2.1AS.[1] As of versions 5.10 and 6.5, CentOS officially supports x86-64 and x86 architectures (with Physical Address Extension (PAE) required for the latter), while a beta release is expected to be available for the PowerPC architecture.[9]

History[edit]

Originally, CentOS Linux (before it was thus named) was a build artifact for cAos Linux. Several of the cAos contributors at the time were merely interested in this build artifact for their own use, citing difficulties in collaborating with other noteworthy RHEL clones of the time.

In June 2006, David Parsley, the primary developer of Tao Linux, another Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) clone, announced that it would be retired and rolled into CentOS development. Tao users migrated to the CentOS release via "yum update".[10]

In July 2009, it was reported that CentOS's founder, Lance Davis, had disappeared in 2008. Davis had ceased contribution to the project, but continued to hold the registration for the CentOS domain and PayPal account. In August 2009, the CentOS team reportedly made contact with Davis and obtained the centos.info and centos.org domains.[11]

In July 2010, CentOS overtook Debian to become the most popular Linux distribution for web servers, with almost 30% of all Linux web servers using it,[12] although Debian retook the lead in January 2012.[13]

In January 2014, Red Hat announced that it would sponsor the CentOS project in order to establish a platform well suited to the needs of open source developers that integrate technologies in and around the RHEL-based operating system.[14] As the result of these changes, ownership of CentOS trademarks was transferred to Red Hat,[15] who now employs most of the CentOS head developers; however, they work as part of the Red Hat's Open Source and Standards team, which is separated from the RHEL team.[7] A new CentOS Governing Board was also established.[8]

Design[edit]

RHEL is available only through a paid subscription service that provides access to software updates and varying levels of technical support. The product is largely composed of software packages distributed under free software licenses and the source code for these packages is made public by Red Hat.

CentOS developers use Red Hat's source code to create a final product very similar to RHEL. Red Hat's branding and logos are changed because Red Hat does not allow them to be redistributed.[16]

CentOS is available free of charge. Technical support is primarily provided by the community via official mailing lists, web forums, and chat rooms. The project is affiliated with Red Hat but aspires to be more public, open, and inclusive. While Red Hat employs most of the CentOS head developers, the CentOS project itself relies on donations from users and organizational sponsors.[7]

Versioning and releases[edit]

CentOS releases[edit]

Before version 7.0, CentOS version numbers have two parts, a major version and a minor version, which correspond to the major version and update set of Red Hat Enterprise Linux that was used to build that version of CentOS. For example, CentOS 6.5 is built from the source packages of RHEL 6 update 5 (also known as RHEL version 6.5), which is a so-called "point release" of RHEL 6.[17]

Starting with version 7.0, CentOS version numbers also include the third part that indicates monthstamp of the source code the release is based on. For example, version number 7.0-1406 still maps this CentOS release to the zeroth update set of RHEL 7, while "1406" indicates that the source code this release is based on dates from June 2014. Using the monthstamp allows installation images to be reissued for (as of July 2014) oncoming container and cloud releases, while maintaining a connection to the related base release version.[18]

Since mid-2006 and starting with RHEL version 4.4, which is formally known as Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0 update 4, Red Hat has adopted a version naming convention identical to that used by CentOS (for example, RHEL 4.5, or RHEL 6.5).[19]

CentOS version Architectures RHEL base Kernel CentOS release date RHEL release date Delay (days)
2.1 i386 2.1 2.4.9 14 May 2004[1] 17 May 2002[20] 728
3.1 i386, x86-64, IA-64, s390, s390x 3.1 2.4.21-15 19 March 2004[21] 23 October 2003[20] 148
3.3 i386, x86-64, IA-64, s390, s390x 3.3 2.4.21-20 17 September 2004 3 September 2004 14
3.4 i386, x86-64, IA-64, s390, s390x 3.4 2.4.21-27 23 January 2005 12 December 2004 42
3.5 i386 3.5 2.4.21-32 10 June 2005[22] 18 May 2005 23
3.6 i386 3.6 2.4.21-37 1 November 2005[23] 28 September 2005 34
3.7 i386, x86-64, IA-64, s390, s390x 3.7 2.4.21-40 10 April 2006[24] 17 March 2006 23
3.8 i386, x86-64 3.8 2.4.21-47 25 August 2006[25] 20 July 2006 36
3.9 i386, x86-64, IA-64, s390, s390x 3.9 2.4.21-50 26 July 2007[26] 15 June 2007 41
4.0 i386, x86-64, various 4.0 2.6.9-5 9 March 2005[27] 14 February 2005[28] 23
4.1 i386, IA-64, s390 4.1 2.6.9-11 12 June 2005[29] 8 June 2005 4
4.2 i386, x86-64, IA-64, s390, s390x, alpha 4.2 2.6.9-22 13 October 2005[30] 5 October 2005 8
4.3 i386, x86-64, IA-64, s390, s390x 4.3 2.6.9-34 21 March 2006[31] 12 March 2006 9
4.4 i386, x86-64 4.4 2.6.9-42 30 August 2006[32] 10 August 2006 20
4.5 i386, x86-64, IA-64 4.5 2.6.9-55 17 May 2007[33] 1 May 2007 16
4.6 i386, x86-64, IA-64, Alpha, s390, s390x, PowerPC (beta), SPARC (beta) 4.6 2.6.9-67 16 December 2007[34] 16 November 2007[35] 30
4.7 i386, x86-64 4.7 2.6.9-78 13 September 2008[36] 24 July 2008[37] 51
4.8 i386, x86-64 4.8 2.6.9-89 21 August 2009[38] 18 May 2009[39] 95
4.9 i386, x86-64 4.9 2.6.9-100 2 March 2011[40] 16 February 2011[41] 14
5.0 i386, x86-64 5.0 2.6.18-8 12 April 2007[42] 14 March 2007[43] 28
5.1 i386, x86-64 5.1 2.6.18-53 2 December 2007[44] 7 November 2007[45] 25
5.2 i386, x86-64 5.2 2.6.18-92 24 June 2008[46] 21 May 2008[47] 34
5.3 i386, x86-64 5.3 2.6.18-128 31 March 2009[48] 20 January 2009[49] 69
5.4 i386, x86-64 5.4 2.6.18-164 21 October 2009[50] 2 September 2009[51] 49
5.5 i386, x86-64 5.5 2.6.18-194 14 May 2010[52] 31 March 2010[53] 44
5.6 i386, x86-64 5.6 2.6.18-238 8 April 2011[54] 13 January 2011[55] 85
5.7 i386, x86-64 5.7 2.6.18-274 13 September 2011[56] 21 July 2011[57] 54
5.8 i386, x86-64 5.8 2.6.18-308 7 March 2012[58] 21 February 2012[59] 15
5.9 i386, x86-64 5.9 2.6.18-348 17 January 2013[60] 7 January 2013[61] 10
5.10 i386, x86-64 5.10 2.6.18-371 19 October 2013[62] 30 September 2013[63] 19
6.0 i386, x86-64 6.0 2.6.32-71 10 July 2011[64] 10 November 2010[65] 242
6.1 i386, x86-64 6.1 2.6.32-131 9 December 2011[66] 19 May 2011[67] 204
6.2 i386, x86-64 6.2 2.6.32-220 20 December 2011[68] 6 December 2011[69] 14
6.3 i386, x86-64 6.3 2.6.32-279 9 July 2012[70] 21 June 2012[71] 18
6.4 i386, x86-64 6.4 2.6.32-358 9 March 2013[72] 21 February 2013[73] 15
6.5 i386, x86-64 6.5 2.6.32-431 1 December 2013[74] 21 November 2013[75] 10
7.0-1406 x86-64[76][a] 7.0 3.10.0-123 7 July 2014[18] 10 June 2014[77] 27

Add-ons releases[edit]

Software Collections (SCL) is a repository providing a set of dynamic programming languages, database servers, and various related packages that are either more recent than their equivalent versions included in the base CentOS system, or are available as official CentOS packages for the first time.[78]

Packages available from the SCL are not replacing the default system tools provided with CentOS. Instead, a parallel set of tools is installed in the /opt directory, and can be optionally enabled per application by using the supplied scl utility. For example, the default versions of Perl or MySQL remain those provided by the base CentOS installation.[78]

Add-on name Architectures Base CentOS version CentOS release date RHEL release date Delay (days)
Software Collections (SCL) 1.0[79] x86-64 6.4, 6.5[80] 19 February 2014[80] 12 September 2013[79] 160
Developer Toolset 2.0[81] i386, x86-64 6.4 N/A[82] 12 September 2013[81] N/A

End-of-support schedule[edit]

In accordance with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Life Cycle,[83] CentOS 5, 6 and 7 will also be supported for ten years.[84] Previously, CentOS 4 had been supported for seven years.[85]

CentOS Version Release Date Full Updates[86][87] Maintenance Updates[86][87]
Old version, no longer supported: 3 19 March 2004 20 July 2006 31 October 2010
Old version, no longer supported: 4 9 March 2005 31 March 2009 29 February 2012
Older version, yet still supported: 5 12 April 2007 Q1 2014 31 March 2017
Older version, yet still supported: 6 10 July 2011 Q2 2017 30 November 2020
Current stable version: 7 7 July 2014 Q4 2020 30 June 2024
Legend:
Old version
Older version, still supported
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release

Releases without upstream equivalents[edit]

LiveCD and LiveDVD images contain a bootable compressed file system, created by a set of custom scripts[88] using a kickstart configuration file.[89]

These live images can be also installed to hard disk, thus obtaining a fully functional CentOS installation. The set of packages installed that way on a hard disk can not be adjusted during the installation, as that is a simple transfer of the image existing on CD/DVD, to a hard disk. After booting from hard disk, yum can be used for adding or removing packages.[90]

MinimalCD images are containing a minimum of packages needed to have a functional installation, with no compromises made regarding security or network usability. These minimal images use the standard CentOS installer, with all of its regular features minus the selection of packages. Yum can be used after installation for adding or removing packages.[91][92]

CentOS version Release name Architectures RHEL base CentOS release date
4.7 Server i386, x86-64 4.7 17 October 2008[93]
5.1 Live CD i386 5.1 18 February 2008[94]
5.2 Live CD i386 5.2 17 July 2008[95]
5.3 Live CD i386 5.3 27 May 2009[96]
5.5 Live CD i386, x86-64 5.5 14 May 2010[52]
5.6 Live CD i386, x86-64 5.6 8 April 2011[54]
6.0 Live CD i386, x86-64 6.0 25 July 2011[97]
Live DVD i386, x86-64 6.0 27 July 2011[98]
Minimal CD i386, x86-64 6.0 28 July 2011[92]
6.1 Live CD i386, x86-64 6.1 9 December 2011[99]
Live DVD i386, x86-64 6.1 9 December 2011[100]
Minimal CD i386, x86-64 6.1 9 December 2011[101]
6.2 Live CD i386, x86-64 6.2 20 December 2011[102]
Live DVD i386, x86-64 6.2 20 December 2011[102]
Minimal CD i386, x86-64 6.2 20 December 2011[68]
6.3 Minimal CD i386, x86-64 6.3 9 July 2012[70]
Live CD i386, x86-64 6.3 15 July 2012
Live DVD i386, x86-64 6.3 15 July 2012
6.4 Minimal CD i386, x86-64 6.4 9 March 2013[72]
Live CD i386, x86-64 6.4 22 May 2013[103]
Live DVD i386, x86-64 6.4 22 May 2013[103]
6.5 Minimal CD i386, x86-64 6.5 1 December 2013[74]
Live CD i386, x86-64 6.5 1 December 2013[74]
Live DVD i386, x86-64 6.5 1 December 2013[74]
7.0-1406[104] Live CD x86-64 7.0 7 July 2014[18]
Gnome Live x86-64 7.0 7 July 2014[18]
KDE Live x86-64 7.0 7 July 2014[18]

Architectures[edit]

CentOS supports only the x86 architectures:[9]

The following architectures are not supported by CentOS (as of version 6):

A Live CD version of CentOS is available at mirror.centos.org. A Live USB of CentOS can be created manually or with UNetbootin.

CentOS images are also available on Amazon's EC2 cloud, in form of prebuilt and already published AMI images.[105][106]

Repositories[edit]

There are several additional repositories provided by the CentOS project, offering software packages that are not included in the default base and updates repositories:[107]

  • CentOS Extras – contains items that provide additional functionality to CentOS without breaking its upstream compatibility or updating the base components.
  • CentOSPlus – contains items that actually upgrade certain base CentOS components, changing CentOS so that it is not exactly like the upstream provider's content.
  • CentOS-Testing – serves as a proving ground for packages on their way to CentOSPlus and CentOS Extras. Offered packages may or may not replace core CentOS packages, and are not guaranteed to be functioning properly.
  • CentOS-Fasttrack – contains bugfix and enhancement updates issued from time to time, between the regular update sets for point releases. This repository does not provide security updates.
  • CR (Continuous Release) – makes generally available packages that will appear in the next point release of CentOS. It is performed on a testing and hotfix basis, until the actual point release is formally made available in form of ISO images.[108]
  • debuginfo – contains packages with debugging symbols generated when the primary packages were built.
  • contrib – contains packages contributed by CentOS users which do not overlap with any of the core distribution packages.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As of July 2014, there is an ongoing effort to provide installation images for i386, ARM and PowerPC as well.[18]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]