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Fedora seems to bill itself as a client-only OS, in contrast to Ubuntu or SuSE which have both client and servers versions. What is the closest Linux distribution to Fedora that's usable as a server operating system? Or am I misunderstanding the situation with Fedora, and it's a perfectly viable option for using on services such as Linode?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is the server-based version offered by Redhat (the company behind Fedora), for which you can buy their support. CentOS is the version maintained and supported by the open source community. The primary difference, unless you want to buy RedHat's support, seems to be that CentOS unbrands RHEL (replacing the RH artwork) and, I believe, removes non-free software.

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So would rpms that target Fedora work just fine on CentOS and vice-versa? – Benjamin Pollack Jan 9 '12 at 3:06
@BenjaminPollack Yes, they should. – Kevin Jan 9 '12 at 3:14
assuming the dependencies are ok, and such, which they aren't always. – Sirex Jan 9 '12 at 7:51
@BenjaminPollack: Fedora, being a bleeding-edge sort of distribution, will have newer versions of most packages than ship with RHEL or its derivatives. Additionally, Fedora is where Red Hat does its public R&D, figuring out where RHEL is going to go in its next version. Consequently, Fedora often has completely different packages as compared to the newest version of RHEL. As a result, it is fairly common for a binary RPM built on Fedora to fail to install on RHEL. It may even be difficult to rebuild a Fedora-targeted SRPM for RHEL. Best to stick to RPMs made for RHEL or its derivatives. – Warren Young Jan 10 '12 at 1:02

Fedora's unsuitability for server purposes is not related to the software itself, but rather Fedora's short lifecycle. Versions of Fedora are retired after 13 months which means that a system must be upgraded at least once a year in order to be running a supported version. If either running an unsupported version or upgrading this often is not a concern then it is perfectly viable to run Fedora as a server. Otherwise, one should consider running a EL instead.

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Fedora does offer a server version now. As of Fedora 22, you can get images for "Workstation", "Server", and "Cloud".


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