September 25, 2023

Rocky Linux vs. CentOS: A Comparison to Determine the Victor

Sanjana Kumari


In the world of Linux distributions, choices abound. Among these choices, Rocky Linux and CentOS have emerged as powerful contenders, offering robust solutions for various purposes. This article dives into a detailed comparison of Rocky Linux vs. CentOS to help you determine the victor in the battle of these two open-source giants.

As a free and open-source alternative to CentOS, the relatively young operating system Rocky Linux has grown in popularity. It is built using the RHEL source code and offers users a secure, dependable, and stable environment for business applications. Since its debut, Rocky Linux has received much praise as one of the top alternatives to CentOS, whose official support was discontinued by Red Hat in 2020. Rocky Linux intends to offer customers a feature-rich, user-friendly experience that is ideal for both individual users and companies, with a focus on stability, performance, and support. Before learning more about the new Linux version and comparing Rocky Linux to CentOS, we have a special offer for you.

Describe Rocky Linux.

In response to Red Hat’s declaration that the development method for CentOS would change, the free and open-source enterprise operating system distribution Rocky Linux was developed.

The benefits and drawbacks of Rocky Linux are as follows:

It is intended to be a direct replacement for CentOS, a very well-liked operating system. Rocky Linux will so seem familiar if you are already familiar with CentOS.

  • It is concentrated on enterprise characteristics and stability. So it might be beneficial for servers.
  • Gregory Kurtzer, the original founder of CentOS, supports it. There is therefore knowledge behind it.
  • As is the case with every new open source project, the future is yet unclear. There’s a danger it won’t get up enough speed.
  • It may lack some flexibility for desktop use or newer technology previews because it is concentrated on enterprise functions.

Describe CentOS.

Based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) source code, CentOS (Community Enterprise Operating System) is a free and open-source enterprise-level operating system distribution.

The open-source community holds CentOS in high respect for its reliability and security. RHEL, which is renowned for its enterprise-grade dependability and support, benefits from the intensive testing and development that goes into it. Due to its simplicity of use and vast software package library, CentOS is also well-liked among system administrators and developers.

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Background: CentOS and Rocky Linux

Before delving into the comparison, let’s briefly introduce both contenders:

CentOS: CentOS, short for Community ENTerprise Operating System, has been a cornerstone in the Linux world for over a decade. It has been known for its enterprise-level stability and reliability, often serving as a free alternative to the more expensive Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

Rocky Linux: Rocky Linux is a newcomer to the Linux scene, emerging as a direct response to the discontinuation of CentOS Linux by Red Hat. It aims to fill the void left by CentOS and provide a robust, community-driven, and CentOS-compatible alternative.

Key Features of Rocky Linux

High Compatibility with CentOS

One of Rocky Linux’s primary goals is to maintain binary compatibility with CentOS, ensuring that applications and services designed for CentOS can seamlessly transition to Rocky Linux.

Community-Driven Development

Rocky Linux boasts a strong community of developers and contributors, making it a genuinely open-source project. This community-driven approach ensures rapid development and continuous improvement.

Long-Term Support (LTS)

Rocky Linux provides long-term support, giving users the stability and reliability needed for critical server environments.

Key Features of CentOS

Historical Significance

CentOS has a long history of being a go-to choice for server deployments, thanks to its impeccable track record in terms of stability and security.

Enterprise-Level Stability

CentOS has been trusted by enterprises worldwide for its robustness and consistent performance. It’s often seen as a cost-effective alternative to RHEL.

CentOS Stream

The introduction of CentOS Stream marked a shift in CentOS’s development model, with a focus on staying ahead of RHEL development. This move, however, left some users seeking a more traditional CentOS experience.

Installation and Setup

Rocky Linux Installation

Rocky Linux offers a straightforward installation process, making it accessible to both beginners and experienced users. The installation wizard guides you through the setup, ensuring a hassle-free experience.

CentOS Installation

CentOS also provides a user-friendly installation process, with options for various desktop environments or a minimal server setup.

Package Management

DNF Package Manager in Rocky Linux

Rocky Linux uses the DNF package manager, known for its efficiency and dependency resolution capabilities.

YUM Package Manager in CentOS

CentOS historically used YUM as its package manager, though CentOS Stream introduced a shift toward DNF.

User Experience

Desktop Environments

Both Rocky Linux and CentOS offer multiple desktop environments, allowing users to customize their Linux experience to suit their preferences.

Command-Line Interface

For those who prefer the command line, both distributions provide robust terminal experiences with access to extensive command-line utilities.


Security Updates and Patches

Both distributions prioritize security updates and timely patches to keep your system protected from vulnerabilities.

Community Support for Security

Rocky Linux and CentOS benefit from active communities that share security best practices and solutions.

Performance and Resource Usage

Resource Efficiency

Rocky Linux and CentOS are known for their resource-efficient nature, making them suitable for a wide range of hardware.

Performance Benchmarks

Detailed performance benchmarks can help you make an informed choice based on your specific needs.

Community and Support

Community Forums and Resources

Both distributions have active forums, wikis, and documentation to aid users in troubleshooting and learning.

Commercial Support Options

For enterprises seeking professional support, various companies offer commercial support for both Rocky Linux and CentOS.

Use Cases

Server Deployments

Both distributions excel in server deployments, ensuring stability and security for critical applications and services.

Development Environments

Developers will find an array of development tools and libraries available on both Rocky Linux and CentOS.

Cloud Compatibility

Both distributions have cloud images available, making them suitable for cloud-based deployments.

Migration from CentOS to Rocky Linux

If you’re considering migrating from CentOS to Rocky Linux, we’ll explore the steps and challenges involved.

User Feedback and Popularity

Discover what the Linux community and users have to say about their experiences with Rocky Linux and CentOS.

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Choosing between Rocky Linux and CentOS boils down to your specific requirements and preferences. Rocky Linux shines with its commitment to CentOS compatibility and community-driven development, while CentOS retains its historical significance and enterprise stability. Evaluate your needs and resources to determine which distribution aligns better with your goals.


  1. Is Rocky Linux a direct replacement for CentOS? Rocky Linux aims to be a direct replacement for CentOS, providing compatibility and stability.
  2. What are the primary differences between CentOS and Rocky Linux? Differences include the development model (community-driven for Rocky Linux vs. CentOS Stream for CentOS) and the timeline of updates.
  3. How do I choose between Rocky Linux and CentOS for my server? Consider your need for compatibility, long-term support, and your comfort with the development model when making a choice.
  4. Can I migrate my existing CentOS servers to Rocky Linux? Yes, migration paths and tools are available to transition from CentOS to Rocky Linux.
  5. Which distribution has better performance? Performance can vary depending on your use case, so it’s essential to benchmark both distributions for your specific needs.

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