CentOS (Community Enterprise Operating System) is the Project affiliated with RedHat, initially released in the month of May 2004 under FOSS (Free and Open-Source Software) & General Public License.
CentOS released the versions according to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) life cycle which is Commercial under RedHat EULA (End User License Agreement).
The Presence of both Operating system (CentOS & RHEL) are similar expect the missing of official support from RedHat for CentOS. Many Companies from start-up to developed companies using CentOS without any issues. The CentOS repositories are also updated regularly by the community.
RedHat was acquired by IBM in the month of October 2018 for 34 billion USD. In the second week of December RedHat announced the discontinuation of CentOS Stable Releases (CentOS 8) on 31st December 2021. So, no more CentOS releases similar to RHEL releases.
CentOS Stream originally announced in the month of September 2019 is going to be a continuous release of RHEL which provides updates as soon as they are developed and verified.
CentOS using by many organizations from development to Production environment since the release was stable like RHEL and people used as an alternative to RHEL. But now the release going to be a rolling release which is a continuous software delivery platform, and it will get updated from top to bottom (User-Space/Kernel/Services etc) and this type of release is different from Standard releases and cannot be used in Production.
Most of the companies migrating and moving their on-premises servers/VMs to Cloud Environment. Moving to cloud, the best alternative to CentOS is Amazon Linux AMI by AWS and it is getting familiar and many organizations started using.
Let’s check the other alternative to CentOS
Oracle Linux – By Oracle Corporation, started in the month of October 2006 and the latest release 8.3, It is same like RHEL/CentOS and still available under GPL License
Ubuntu Linux – By Canonical Ltd, started in the month of October 2004 and the latest release Ubuntu 20, It is similar to RHEL/CentOS with few differences and available under FOSS, GPL License
CloudLinux OS – By Cloudlinux Inc, started in the month of January 2010 and the latest release is CloudLinux 20. It is similar to RHEL/CentOS with a modified Kernal based on the OpenVZ kernel.
RockyLinux by RockyLinux Foundation, started in the month of December 2020 and the code is available in GitHub https://github.com/rocky-linux/rocky. It was started by the original founder of CentOS Mr Gregory Kurtzer and the name selected for Linux from co-founder’s name Mr Rocky McGaugh. It is available under FOSS, GPL License
ClearOS (formerly ClarkConnect) by the Software Company ClearCenter, Starting date unknown and the latest release 7.8, It is completely based on CentOs/RHEL and available under FOSS, GPL License