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Debian vs CentOS: Linux Distro Comparison

CentOS and Debian are on top of the list on Linux distributions. While having loads of choices from the list of Linux distros, choosing the right one might be a challenge. In this article, we will take the top two distros: Debian vs CentOS and run a thorough comparison.   

Centos Tutorials Debian Tutorials Jan 26, 21 by Nisal N 9 min Read
Debian vs CentOS: Linux Distro Comparison

Introduction

Choosing one of them can be a difficult task as both have their advantages in many aspects. CentOS is an open-source Linux distribution that is used by big enterprises for server building. It is mainly supported by a large community and Red Hat Enterprise.

On the other hand, Debian is also open-source and backed by members under the Debian project. Debian is the largest community-driven open-source Linux distribution.

Before getting into the difference between Debian and CentOS, we shall learn about both the distributions briefly.

What is Debian?

Debian is considered to be the oldest Linux-based distribution as it was launched in 1993. It is an open-source operating system created by individuals with common interests to develop this free OS.

To install Debian, you can buy the CD-ROM distributions of Debian or burn your CD-ROMs from the image available over the internet. Click here to download the installation image file for Debian.

Debian ensures security and stability to your system. Debian uses two types of kernels- Linux kernel and FreeBSD kernel. Debian is a commonly used OS for personal and network servers and is a base for other Linux distributions.

Features of Debian

  • Debian comes with a wide range of installers as compared to other distributions.
  • Its community members still maintain Debian.
  • It comes with an easy installation package.
  • With Debian, you can use any software available for the distribution.
  • Debian supports multiple hardware architectures.
  • Debian can be easily transitioned between new and old technologies.
  • Debian comes with well-integrated packages.
  • It adapts easily during an upgrade to the new release.
  • Debian is by far the most secure and stable Linux distribution available to date. It has its bug tracking system to resolve issues.

Advantages of Debian

  • As Debian is the oldest version, it has a much mature community.
  • Debian's tested version is as stable as other distributions, and even Debian's stable distribution is rock-solid stable.
  • Debian offers the largest repository for the software as compared to any other Linux distribution.
  • Debian's tools intend to do recursive system upgrades.
  • The Debian package will notify you to install another package if required for working; it is up to you to install it.
  • The system works on a policy that allows it to maintain the distribution in a distributed manner.
  • Debian has a stable branch which tests packages before release.
  • It is known for being consistent and maintains a highly secure system.
  • It supports almost every available Kernel maintained CPU instructions set.
  • The installation is minimal, thus making it easier for server resources and its security.

Disadvantages of Debian

  • New software needs to be upgraded to get a stable repository. Still, sometimes it is difficult to get the latest features and software updates as fast as it is available for other distributions.
  • If you are an experienced person to work at the terminal end, then interacting with the system is easy. It gets a bit challenging for new users to get them working for the first time and is less user-friendly.
  • It does not have an enterprise version like other distributions that offers you to work with large companies and their projects.
  • Debian offers you an extended support cycle that even your hardware will probably get recycled before its support cycle ends.
  • Though Debian works well with VMs, it still faces unexpected issues like sudden reboot, and server clock stuck, etc.

PS: You can check out our article where we go neck to neck between Debian and Ubuntu Linux distros.

What is CentOS?

CentOS was released in 2004 and has been an open-source software. It is an enterprise-class Linux distribution supported by the Red Hat community. It is considered to be the replica of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and is commonly used in the IT world on a large scale.

Being similar to RHEL, it allows you to develop in a more dominant and the best Linux distribution. CentOS is the most popular distribution when it comes to server environments.

Due to RHEL support, CentOS ensures enterprise-level security, thus making it safe for users. It is highly customizable and stable.

Features of CentOS

  • It comes with many security in-built features that help protect from cyber-attacks using SELinux. It helps to reduce the vulnerabilities of privilege escalation attacks.
  • Many organizations prefer it due to its extended support cycle.
  • It uses the Yellowdog Update manager package manager that keeps your system up-to-date. This feature ensures that you can easily add or remove features from your application irrespective of your application phase.
  • CentOS comes with a great and simple document that allows you to install and configure CentOS on your system efficiently.
  • It can support multiple management platforms like cPanel, WebMin, Docker etc.

You can check out these articles on how to install:

Advantages of CentOS

  • CentOS is a complete workhouse with the stable distribution.
  • You can ensure easy updates of the system and security with YUM.
  • It allows you to install multiple PHP versions that are available for different users.
  • As it has Red Hat backup, most of Red Hat's instructions work the same for CentOS, like a package manager.
  • It comes with built-in management tools for containers.
  • CentOS comes with RPM package compatibility that allows easy machine setup for development.
  • It has a customized command line that ensures easy automation of new instance deployments.
  • It has Docker compatibility.
  • It can even provide high performance on the average hardware.
  • It ensures easy and quick deployments.

Disadvantages of CentOS

  • It may not work well for a desktop (GUI) Linux distribution.
  • While working, it may get complicated due to the C/C++ libraries dependency issues.
  • It is a cumbersome job to install and uninstall the packages in RHEL.
  • It has a weak user interface.
  • It comes with a small user base as compared to other distributions.
  • It lacks robust driver support as compared to other distributions.
  • You may face issues while configuring network interfaces.

Head-to-head Comparison of Debian and CentOS

Both Linux distributions are great and are commonly used based on their features. Both of them are used to run millions of applications and used by many developers. Still, both are used in different scenarios and are different from each other in many aspects.

Parameters

CentOS 

Debian

Community 

Supported by the Red Hat community.

Supported by Debian individuals.

Market Presence

CentOS has a large market due to its user-friendly nature.

Debian lacks market presence due to its terminal end usage.

Architecture Support

CentOS does not come with multiple architecture support.

Debian has multiple architecture support as compared to other distributions.

Release Cycle

New updates and upgrades usually take time, thus making it stable.

It has a release cycle of 2 years, thus giving it enough time to fix bugs.

Version Upgrade

It is better to install a new CentOS version rather than go for upgrading the older version. This task is cumbersome.

Debian can be easily upgraded from one stable version to another.

User Interface

CentOS has a complicated GUI.

Debian comes with user-friendly applications and GUI.

Package Manager

CentOS uses YUM as its package manager.

Debian uses apt-get as its package manager.

Package Number

CentOS has limited packages.

Debian has a vast amount of packages in its default repository.

Key Differences between Debian and CentOS

  • If you want up-to-date packages, you should consider using Debian as it provides an easy and effortless transition from one version to another version compared to CentOS.
  • CentOS comes with a complicated GUI still easy to manage as compared to Debian. So if you are handy with CentOS, then there is no way you should move to Debian.
  • If you use these distributions as a server, you should select CentOS as long-term support and updates.
  • Debian is mostly preferred by experienced users who want to work as an admin. In contrast, a business person mostly prefers CentOS who wants a stable and secure Linux distribution for their applications.

Conclusion 

Both Linux distributions, Debian and CentOS, are commonly used and preferred by many developers based on their business needs. Both distributions handle different scenarios and are suitable for various applications.

It is up to the developer

s which distribution suits well for their development. There is no doubt that both distributions are preferred to install on their server. Today, CentOS is being used to run several servers more than any other distribution to run servers. If you consider the ease to work, CentOS has more stability and features than Debian.

You can order your very own Linux VPS server from 1gbits. Go check it out and let us know what other differences you saw in CentOS and Debian.

author img

Nisal N

Computers has always fascinated me since I was a kid and here we are. I love travelling for 2 reasons: the first one to see a new part of the world and second (the most important one) to experience the rich culture hidden among the country and people. I'm pretty good at cooking but very poor when it comes to baking.

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