Choose between Fedora Server and Ubuntu

I used to have CentOS 8 on my server, which turned out to be not the best option given the recent changes in governing of the CentOS project. So, I want to upgrade and I am a bit undecided to choose between Fedora Server 34 and Ubuntu 20.04. I love Fedora, but I saw something on Fedora Server’s web page that concerned me a bit:

Fedora Server is a short-lifecycle, … to make use of the latest technologies available in the open source community.

Does short-lifecycle mean my support will soon reach EOL and I might have upgrade problems? I’m not sure if that will be as easy as upgrading my Fedora Workstation to upgrade the server to a higher version. Also, does the fact that the latest software are available on Fedora Server mean that it might not be as stable as Ubuntu LTS versions?

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That means that you need to regularly upgrade (not just update) to the next Fedora version. One Fedora version (such as Fedora 35) is maintained for about 1 year with new releases every 6 months (so, optimally, you upgrade every 6 months, and if you want to have it as stable as possible, you may keep always one version behind). After the year, there will be no longer update support, which means that you have to upgrade (e.g. 35 → 36). Obviously, an upgrade is more complicated than an update, and you should be aware that there can be issues with it.

The life cycle is not related to the system’s stability. I do not see a stability disadvantage of Fedora against Ubuntu. However, Ubuntu LTS is maintained for a longer period than Fedora.

Nevertheless, I do not understand why the change of CentOS to CentOS stream (if this is the issue you mean) is a problem while changing to Fedora is not.

If you want to focus on what CentOS used to be, RockyLinux and AlmaLinux are alternatives with longer life-cycles.

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Do you mean CentOS is still usable and updated regularly? As far as I understand Red Hat dropped support for it. I had some issues installing some software on it like wireguard, so thought maybe switching to something with more regular updates and support might be good.

Fedora Life Cycle: Fedora Linux Release Life Cycle :: Fedora Docs and End of Life Releases :: Fedora Docs
→ Life time until EOL: 13 months (new release every 6 months) —> lot’s of maintenance and upgrade work

Ubuntu Server: set it up, apply security updates (unattended-upgrades), let it run for 10 years

Centos = CentOS Stream 9: continuous-delivery distribution providing each point-release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

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Absolutely
Centos 9 stream is just a upstream of rhel 9
So cent os stream 9 have all enterprise features and slightly newer packages thn rhel.
It is good stable and no issues there.
And if you don’t have issues with short lifecycle then fedora server is a good option as this have a more updated packages than rhel or centos 9 steam
It is totally upon you and if you still want the centos what it have been since then alma and rocky are 2 options
I hope it will clarify
Fedora rawhide
Fedora beta
Fedora stable
Cent os stream
Rhel beta
Rhel stable

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You don’t even have to get CentOS Stream 9. CentOS Stream 8 will be updated until May 31st, 2024. So you can just turn your CentOS 8 to CentOS 8 stream, which is not more than an upgrade. This is easy and there are lots of quick guides:

Google search , e.g., How To Migrate To CentOS Stream 8 From CentOS Linux 8 - OSTechNix

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Concerning the wireguard issue you mentioned, be aware that CentOS 8 is based on kernel 4.18 while wireguard was not incorporated into the kernel before 5.6 (it seems that there is not yet an official backport to 4.18; I don’t know if there will be one).

So, you can use the following installation instructions to add it yourself: Installation - WireGuard . It contains specific instructions for CentOS 8, that extend it with the Wireguard capability (the repo that is mentioned, epel, is from our community : ).

However, if you want to make use of wireguard, it makes probably sense to upgrade to CentOS Stream 9, which has a sufficiently new kernel that incorporates wireguard by default and without modifications.

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CentOS and CentOS Stream were (almost) parallel projects. RedHat chose to drop CentOS with version 8, and now CentOS Stream is the one that remains active.

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I think you are right. The problem is due to CentOS 8 using a lower kernel version (4.8) than supported by Wireguard.

So, given my Fedora experience I like the idea of moving to Fedora 34 from the current CentOS 8. Now, if I install Fedora Server on the VPS, can I use the dnf-system-upgrade plugin to easily upgrade to newer versions?

Yes, I found it easy to convert from CentOS 8 to CentOS 8 Stream using “dnf swap”. But, seems like my issue is due to the old kernel version used in CentOS 8.
Furthermore, I cannot apparently upgrade from CentOS 8 to CentOS 9 with ease (a difference with Fedora ecosystem). So, a fresh OS install seems inevitable.

CentOS Stream will continue to get updates newer than CentOS. However, AFAIK upgrading to CentOS Stream 9 will require a reinstall since the dedicated server releases do not do major version upgrades using the dnf-system-upgrade path as is done in fedora.

I do not know what the most recent kernel for CentOS is.

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Upgrading Fedora:
https://docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/quick-docs/dnf-system-upgrade/

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I don’t know the demands of your server, but if the old CentOS 8 model was working for you, Rocky Linux 8 is the spiritual successor (it’s even run by the original creator or CentOS). I’m using Rocky on a web app in production, and it’s completely stable.

If you need newer kernel features, then CentOS 8 wouldn’t work anyway. Personally, I’d prefer Fedora server over Ubuntu if you’re fine with the release upgrades, but that’s a matter of preference. Ubuntu server is fine.

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I have centos stream 9 installed in gnome boxes and it’s based off fedora 34 and uses kernel 5.14

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