Do we still need RHEL in 2023?


When I first started working with Linux, RHEL (and its clone, CentOS) was the 800-pound gorilla in the room. It was a synonym for “serious,” while Linux and all other distributions were considered to be playthings. It was being utilized by everyone in the production process. CentOS was typically used by smaller companies because RHEL was out of their price range.
After that, cloud computing emerged, and I found myself paying less attention to developments in the infrastructure field… Now that I’m back to it again, it seems that quite a few things have been altered.

Reading through various online discussion boards has given me the following impressions:

It would appear that Ubuntu and Debian have taken the initiative in the modern world, particularly in the realm of web development and cloud computing (where CentOS previously reigned). – New projects in technology companies favoring either Ubuntu or Debian as their operating system of choice Many people no longer have faith in Red Hat as a result of the company’s decision to discontinue support for CentOS (yes, I am aware of Stream), the migration of many businesses to Ubuntu or Debian rather than Rocky or Alma, and other factors. – RHEL is the operating system of choice for large companies that are not in the technology sector (like banks, finance, healthcare, etc) – CentOS is the preferred operating system in the scientific community. – RHEL, Alma, and Rocky are the preferred operating systems when used on expensive hardware or when needed for specialized proprietary applications. – RHEL is the preferred operating system for businesses that require a corporate support contract. – Debian and Ubuntu are selected for virtual machine creation in the cloud at a higher frequency than RHEL and its various offshoots. – RHEL being the preferred operating system in regulated industries (such as healthcare and finance) – Ubuntu having more users than Debian

According to what I’ve been reading, it seems like we’re making the transition from an era in which RHEL/CentOS was ubiquitous, utilized for all workloads, and the default (especially CentOS), to one in which this function is now performed by Ubuntu or Debian; RHEL and its derivatives being relegated to specific requirements in specific industries. I say this because it seems like we’re making the transition from an era in which RHEL/CentOS was ubiquitous, utilized for Debian or Ubuntu should be used as the default, with RHEL, Alma, Rocky, or CentOS Stream used only in exceptional circumstances. Similar to the commercial Unices that were available a decade ago: we used to run CentOS as the default operating system, and we would only switch to Solaris or AIX in exceptional circumstances where it was required. Has Ubuntu surpassed CentOS to become the operating system of choice for the majority of use cases?

Are these perspectives accurate? What have you found to be the circumstances? What kinds of things have you come across that are related to this topic?

Personally, I am a big fan of the products that Red Hat has to offer; RHEL and Fedora are my distributions of choice. It would be unfortunate if they were to lose some of their market share.

Many of the individuals who are now managing cloud fleets got their start by learning how to use an Ubuntu distribution. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that they favor Debian or Ubuntu on the cloud. The same dynamics were at play for Red Hat in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the distribution was the de facto standard for desktop use among early Linux adopters. When people of that generation started working, they brought their fondness for Red Hat and CentOS with them to the workplace with them. On the other hand, RedHAT made a mistake when they downplayed their support for desktop use. Between the years 2008 and 2015, the Fedora desktop was, for the most part, inaccessible to novice users during this time period. These people made the switch to Ubuntu because it was much more user-friendly for novices. And because they’ve spent their entire lives with it, they even prefer it when it’s served to them. And it goes without saying that Red Hat did not help its own cause by shifting to the CentOS stream.
Ubuntu is the desktop operating system of choice at my own business, while the servers run a combination of Debian and AlmaLinux. However, the majority of people in this generation favor Debian. As a result, we are gradually transitioning to Debian and Ubuntu as new projects are released.