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I am newbie server developer who is preparing a new service. I looked for some server hosting services, and the company I chose supports only CentOS 5.8 and 6.2.

So I wanted to try it on my local VM, but I discovered the versions are deprecated, and no longer supported from CentOS team. As far as I know, one reason for choosing for CentOS is its long term support, so I am confused now.

I have used Ubuntu on my VM, and Ubuntu has explicit policy for long term use called LTS. I am expecting something like that on CentOS.

What version should I choose for long term production use, and should I upgrade the system version when newer version comes out? What kind of installation and management pattern is expected on CentOS?

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Bad server hosting company. Good ones should always use the most current (minor) version. – Nils Mar 11 '13 at 13:52
up vote 3 down vote accepted

CentOS is a repackaging of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The versions are essentially the same, CentOS has a policy of strict binary compatibility with RHEL.

What Red Hat does is to cut a version, say 6, or RHEL, and releases an installer for that as RHEL 6.0. Bugfixes and (rarely) version updates accumulate, and RHEL 6.0 + all updates get backed into RHEL 6.1 some 6 months after the first release of RHEL 6.0, and so on. It is not that 6.2 isn't supported anymore when 6.3 comes out, it is just that it makes no sense: Install CentOS 6.0 from the original media today and apply all updates, and what you have is CentOS 6.3. Just getting the 6.3 installation media means much less updates, that's all.

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This said, there is some gnashing of teeth over at SF because some large database vendors restrict their support to RHEL 6.2... – Deer Hunter Mar 9 '13 at 18:07
@DeerHunter, CentOS has no support. No wonder <large database vendor> doesn't give support on unsupported operating systems. – vonbrand Mar 9 '13 at 18:35
Yea, right, but it is more crazy to think of supporting RHEL 6.2 and not doing the same for RHEL 6.3. CentOS is off the table for serious stuff. – Deer Hunter Mar 9 '13 at 18:40
@DeerHunter, they have done whatever checking makes them confortable with guaranteeing stuff on 6.2. And CentOS is off the table for "we pay somebody to be able to push blame around" serious use, that's all. – vonbrand Mar 9 '13 at 18:46
Either it is supported, or it works. But never both. – Nils Mar 11 '13 at 13:49

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