During the configuration phase of a Cloud Server, for example, it is necessary to identify and install the operating system. Currently, the choice falls for the vast majority on Linux, thanks to the broad support offered by the large community and its flexibility.
There are numerous Linux distributions and, below, we will try to illustrate the most used ones for configuring the Clouds.
What is a Linux Distribution?
Linux is one of the most famous and used operating systems, in particular due to its open source nature and why the first representative of the so-called software “free“, therefore distributed with a license that allows its use by anyone and under any circumstances. As Linux itself points out, free software guarantees the freedom to:
- run the program for any purpose
- study the program and modify it
- redistribute copies of the program
- improve the program and publicly distribute improvements
This operating system has countless distributions (or “distro”), which are applications developed by the Community that provide a set of ideal tools to ensure ease of use and optimization of computer resources.
The distros include the Linux kernelwhich is the essential component of the operating system itself, and the utilities of the various packages that make up each distribution.
The five most popular Linux distributions
Below, we propose 5 of the most popular Linux distributions, which can be run temporarily from a CD or USB stick.
Debian is one of the most famous and long-standing distributions, offering high performance and boasting the support of a large community of developers. Its code is supported and can be run on almost any hardware architecture. Introduced in 1993, this distro is appreciated by users for its stability, reliability and for the vast amount of packages it makes available.
Each package comes with a default configuration and the servers verify that it comes from a registered maintainer.
Debian developers, in addition to distro expansion, are involved in Linux projects, some internal and some that include part or all of the community.
One of the most popular distros is certainly Ubuntu, the most used on the desktop. The strengths are mainly four: ease of use, security, frequent updates and customization.
Based on Debian, the enterprise server solution responds to the name of Ubuntu Servers: every single element is programmed to integrate perfectly on the host machine. This distro is flexible, as it allows authentication from any Linux, MacOS and Windows system.
CentOS – AlmaLinux
CentOS is a robust Linux operating system, ideal for enterprise servers, and provides excellent compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The latter, however, has announced that the distro will no longer be supported starting from June 2024: this means that no more updates will be released. CentOS will be replaced by CentOS Stream 9which is currently being used as a pilot release to test updates that will be introduced in RHEL.
If you want to move towards a similar solution, but which will be more reliable in the future, you can contact AlmaLinux. It is a robust operating system, representing a valid alternative to CentOS and being compatible with all RHEL software and applications.
Arch Linux is among the most used Linux distributions, as it represents an extremely stable and lightweight distro. Compatibility with other environments is almost total and already includes useful packages for common activities.
Among its strengths is the customization, leaving users full freedom to maneuver on the configuration, from the programs installed to the graphical interface to use. Arch Linux adopts a “fast” release model (rolling-release in English), according to which the software is always updated to the latest available version.
It currently offers numerous packages, including add-ons, optimized for the x86-64 architecture, which can be integrated with additional resources from a community-managed repository that is constantly growing, both in terms of size and quality.
From a technical point of view, Fedora is a particularly up-to-date repository and much appreciated by those who want to approach Linux. Released in 2003, this distro is sponsored by Red Hat.
With Fedora it is very simple to complete the installation, taking advantage of the flexibility of the various packages you will always be able to benefit from new resources. Flexibility, software and hardware support are top notch. In terms of security, Fedora is also one of the main promoters of SELinux, which stands for Security-Enhanced Linux; it is a feature that provides various security policies, which are missing in most Linux distributions.
Linux and Cloud Servers
As mentioned initially, those who turn to Linux have, in most cases, a project to manage a virtual infrastructure. With this in mind, Shellrent puts forward pre-packaged or configurable proposals according to your needs, with dedicated resources and maximum scalability.
All solutions can be used, optionally, with the Linux distributions Debian, CentOS and Ubuntu. In general, in the absence of particular and specific needs, the decision can also be made by mere personal preference.