Choosing my new server’s operating system

In my last post, I explained that my system SSD crashed and was no longer recoverable. That meant I had to reinstall my server OS, and that left me with the choice of which OS to choose. The crashed server was running CentOS Stream 8. There have been a lot of critiques on Red Hat for replacing the traditional CentOS images, which always lagged behind a bit in updates, with CentOS Stream. CentOS Stream will use the packages which are to deployed in the next point-release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, so CentOS Stream 8 will, at this moment, contain packages which are meant to be part of RHEL 8.7. So instead of lagging behind, the stream-versions of CentOS are slightly ahead of RHEL.

Before running CentOS 8 Stream, I ran Fedora on my server. That was the result of needing the most recent version of KVM at the time, as that was my virtualization engine of choice when I first installed my server. Red Hat developed KVM and Fedora is their bleeding edge operating system, so it was the logical choice at that moment. Fedora, however, prevented me from installing Domino on my host OS, as the kernel was simply too new. I therefore needed to turn to a bit more conservative OS, and CentOS 8 Stream was the ideal candidate for that. Still pretty much up to date with the latest versions, but with a more conservative kernel.

Between installing CentOS 8 Stream and now, CentOS Stream 9 became available. A newer kernel and newer versions of a lot of packages, while also offering support till at least 2027. Domino 12.0.2 will support 5.x kernels, so that wasn’t a problem either. I decided to take the dive and install CentOS 9 Stream on the new SSD I bought.

The reason I share this, is because this choice had quite some consequences, which will become clear in the next articles. I tend to be a bleeding edge type of guy, but this comes at a price in the form of issues and incomplete documentation, which is often focussed on older versions.

I couldn’t help but notice that the community in general doesn’t look too favourable at the CentOS Stream versions. That, for example, became clear when I wanted to download it from my usual CentOS mirror: The FTP site of my former university. They have all the previous CentOS versions, all the way back to CentOS 2.1, but no CentOS 9 Stream. Seeing that they do have Rocky Linux 9, which appeared far more recently, that seems to be a conscious choice.