Oracle Linux: A better alternative to CentOS

We firmly believe that Oracle Linux is the best Linux distribution on the market today. It's reliable, it's affordable, it's 100% compatible with your existing applications, and it gives you access to some of the most cutting-edge innovations in Linux like Ksplice and DTrace.

But if you're here, you're a CentOS user. Which means that you don't pay for a distribution at all, for at least some of your systems. So even if we made the best paid distribution in the world (and we think we do), we can't actually get it to you... or can we?

We're putting Oracle Linux in your hands by doing two things:

  • We've made the Oracle Linux software available free of charge
  • We've created a simple script to switch your CentOS systems to Oracle Linux

We think you'll like what you find, and we'd love for you to give it a try.

Switch your CentOS systems to Oracle Linux

Script and instructions on GitHub


Wait, doesn't Oracle Linux cost money?

Oracle Linux support costs money. If you just want the software, it's 100% free. And it's all in our yum repo at Major releases, errata, the whole shebang. Free source code, free binaries, free updates, freely redistributable, free for production use. Yes, we know that this is Oracle, but it's actually free. Seriously.

Is this just another CentOS?

Inasmuch as they're both 100% binary-compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, yes, this is just like CentOS. Your applications will continue to work without any modification whatsoever. However, there are several important differences that make Oracle Linux far superior to CentOS.

How is this better than CentOS?

Well, for one, you're getting the exact same bits our paying enterprise customers are getting. So that means a few things. Importantly, it means virtually no delay between when Red Hat releases a kernel and when Oracle Linux does:

Delay in kernel security advisories since January 2018: CentOS vs Oracle Linux; CentOS has large fluctuations in delays

So if you don't want to risk another CentOS delay, Oracle Linux is a better alternative for you. It turns out that our enterprise customers don't like to wait for updates -- and neither should you.

What about the code quality?

Again, you're running the exact same code that our enterprise customers are, so it has to be rock-solid. Unlike CentOS, we have a large paid team of developers, QA, and support engineers that work to make sure this is reliable.

What if I want support?

If you're running Oracle Linux and want support, you can purchase a support contract from us (and it's significantly cheaper than support from Red Hat). No reinstallation, no nothing -- remember, you're running the same code as our customers.

Contrast that with the CentOS/RHEL story. If you find yourself needing to buy support, have fun reinstalling your system with RHEL before anyone will talk to you.

Why are you doing this?

This is not some gimmick to get you running Oracle Linux so that you buy support from us. If you're perfectly happy running without a support contract, so are we. We're delighted that you're running Oracle Linux instead of something else.

At the end of the day, we're proud of the work we put into Oracle Linux. We think we have the most compelling Linux offering out there, and we want more people to experience it.

How do I make the switch?

We've published a script and instructions on GitHub. Try it out: script on GitHub.

What versions of CentOS can I switch? can convert your CentOS 8, 7 and 6 systems to Oracle Linux.

What does the script do?

The script has two main functions: it switches your yum configuration to use the Oracle Linux yum server to update some core packages and installs the latest Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. That's it! You won't even need to restart after switching, but we recommend you do to take advantage of UEK.

Is it safe?

The script takes precautions to back up and restore any repository files it changes, so if it does not work on your system it will leave it in working order. If you encounter any issues, please raise an issue in the centos2ol GitHub repo.

Switch your CentOS systems to Oracle Linux

Script and instructions on GitHub