Which Linux Distribution should I choose?

Which Linux Operating System to Choose?

In a survey carried out in November 2020 Unix based operating systems made up 71.8% of all web server operating systems with Windows only making up 28.2% of this.  At Fraction Servers we offer both Windows hosting and UNIX/Linux server operating systems, this article focuses on the different flavours of UNIX operating systems available and the advantages/disadvantages of each.


CentOS (Community Enterprise Operating System) was first released in May 2004 and is a fully functional fork of it’s upstream source Redhat Enterprise Linux.  CentOS is our most popular operating system with our customers and it is belived that over 30% of all linux web servers run it.

Many of our customers opt for cPanel/WHM control panel on their server and currently CentOS is the only operating system on which this can be installed however cPanel are currently working on Ubuntu support for their control panel though this release is not expected for sometime.

Whilst CentOS is free to use as a derivative of RHEL it has basically respected the entire design of the commercial operating system, therefore offers great stability aswell as support with long term operating system support for security updates and patches mainted for a decade after the initial release.  CentOS supports the vendor’s redeployment strategy and gets full industry support.

CentOS was not started by Red Hat. It was a community project since the beginning. After Red Hat started sponsoring the development, the trademark and ownership of CentOS was transferred to Red Hat in 2014, around 10 years after its creation.

In September 2019, Red Hat announced CentOS Stream, a rolling release version of CentOS The idea was to use CentOS Stream as a midstream between the upstream development in Fedora and downstream development in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

On December 8th 2020 Redhat announced that the CentOS community would be “changingfocus” from traditional CentOS Linux, to CentOS Stream, the response to this was negative.  The latest stable release CentOS 8 has suddenly had its life cut short to the end of 2021 instead of the earlier projected date of May 2029. The older CentOS 7 will still be supported till 2024! Soon thereafter, CentOS founder, Gregory Kurtzer announced a new project to continue the original CentOS focus, which became known as Rocky Linux


Fedora was launched in 2003 when Redhat was discontinued, Fedora is developed by Fedora Project and Red Hat allowing its contributor community to innovate quickly with new technologies, packages and features. Only a small subset of packages found in Fedora are included in the commercially supported Redhat Enterprise Linux. Fedora contains software distributed under various free and open-source licenses and aims to be on the leading edge of free technologies.

Differences between Redhat Enterprise Linux and Fedora
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Fedora


Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a commercially supported product by Red Hat and provides service level agreements that is important for enterprise customers. This support involves product assistance as well as prioritization of bug fixes, feature requests, certified hardware and software.

Fedora is supported by a wide community of developers and users but it is not commercially supported by Red Hat. Red Hat does sponsor a number of resources and their developers contribute heavily to the Fedora community.


A new version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux comes out every few years and is supported for up to 10 years and can even be extended to 13 years or more with additional subscriptions.

Fedora has a large number of software packages available for installation, extra repositories can be added to the system, so that software not available in Fedora can be installed easily.


Red Hat Enterprise Linux updates are more conservative and generally focus on security and bug fixes, these are the ones enterprise customers demand and are supported by Red Hat.

Fedora’s Updates Policy is more liberal compared to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.


A new version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux comes out every few years and is supported for up to 10 years and can even be extended to 13 years or more with additional subscriptions.

New Fedora releases are available about every six months and every release gets updates for about 13 months.

Ubuntu is based on Debian and comes in three editions. Desktop, Server and Core. Ubuntu is named after the Nguni philosophy of ubuntu which means “humanity to others.”  Ubuntu has (LTS) releases which are long term supported releases for five years with new versions being released every six months this means LTS versions are released every two years.  Ubuntu packages are based on packages from Debian’s unstable branch, which are synchronised every six months and uses Debian’s package format and package manager (APT).

The date of Ubuntu releases can easily be identified by the year and month of the release for example Ubuntu 20.04 LTS being released in April (04) 2020, somewhat confusingly releases are also given alliterative code names using an adjective and an animal (e.g. “Xenial Xerus”).  There are a number of variants available for Ubuntu such as Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu


Debian was first released in September 1993 with version 0.01, making it one of the oldest operating systems based on the linux kernel, with at the time of writing the latest version being Debian 10.7 released in December 2020.

The project is ran by a team of volunteers and follows three foundational documents the “Social Contract, the “Debian Constituion” and the “Debian Free Software Guides”.  There are three distributions of Debian Stable, Testing and Unstable.  Stable is made by freezing Testing for a few months where bugs are fixed and packages with too many bugs are removed.

Stable is recommended for applications requiring production-level stability and security (servers, firewalls etc).  A new stable branch of Debian gets released approximately every 2 years. It will receive official support for about 3 years with update for major security or usability fixes.