CentOS 5.6 Finally Arrives: Is It Suitable for Business Use?

The CentOS project released CentOS 5.6 on Friday April 8 a mere five days short of three months since Red Hat released Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6. Meanwhile CentOS 5.x users have been without security updates, and CentOS 6 probably won’t roll in until RHEL 6 hits the six-month mark. Can the CentOS project be relied on for anything but hobby usage?

Once upon a time, the CentOS project looked like a great alternative to RHEL or Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for small companies or organizations that had little money to pay subscription fees. Binary compatibility with RHEL but a small lag in updates and no support — not a bad deal for cash-strapped organizations and users who want to be familiar with RHEL but don’t want to shell out upwards of $350 a year just for a RHEL subscription.

The project, on its front page, says that it’s “enterprise-class,” and says it has advantages over other “clone projects” thanks to “quickly rebuilt, tested, and QA’ed errata packages” and “developers who are contactable and responsive.” Let’s look at these claims in the light of recent CentOS activity.

Enterprise-class is partially true, as the project takes great pains to be binary compatible with RHEL. So let’s give half points for that one. The other half of “enterprise-class” is that updates arrive in a timely fashion, which is notably false for the 5.x series. If I understand correctly, there have been a handful of updates prior to the…

(from Linux Magazine)

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