The Red Hat extended family

Alternatives and Derivatives

Besides the Workstation and Server editions, Fedora also offers spins – images with a desktop environment other than Gnome, such as Cinnamon, Plasma, or Xfce [9]. Also available from the download page are Labs, or images for specific purposes, such as neuroscience or games, or Alternatives for testing or different architectures [10].

In addition, two dozen Fedora and RHEL derivatives also exist, often overlapping and derived from both [11]. Some, like VzLinux, Springdale Linux, and Oracle Linux, are built from RHEL source packages, like CentOS and its successors. Other Fedora derivatives include Network Security Toolkit (NST): Berry Linux, which is the Fedora equivalent of KNOPPIX and useful as a live rescue disk, and Ultramarine Linux, which includes enhancements not found in Fedora, ranging from alternative desktops to proprietary sound codecs. Perhaps the most interesting is Qube OS, which assigns applications to security domains that are listed and color-coded in the desktop menu. The result is an easy-to-use secure system, but at least 16MB of RAM is needed because of the additional overhead.

Which to Choose

If you think that these descriptions emphasize open source politics and preferences, you are right. The codebase in most of these distributions is much the same, although both AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux are already showing signs of differentiating themselves. For this reason, deciding which distribution to use is likely to be based on other factors. A single user who wants to follow the latest developments in Linux might prefer Fedora, while a corporate user might prefer CentOS Stream for the latest innovations with more testing. Similarly, a traditionally minded corporate user might prefer RHEL's behavior, while AlmaLinux or Rocky Linux appeal equally to both home users and corporate users who prefer a more community-oriented approach than Red Hat has chosen. For the time being, for many, such considerations may be more important than any technical considerations.

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