Oracle Linux is Graded B....should this change?

I’m exploring different distros to replace CentOS, I did this for over almost two years now and for my surprise, Oracle Linux seems to be the winner…

I know…the dark side. Oracle. It just rings a bad name when it comes to open source, but I have used this distro for 2 years now for several replacements, and I’m surprised how well it works. And it’s still free for years now, so at least Oracle is indeed keeping its promise with the open-source community. Probably the only product I have ever used from them.

It boots faster than Rocky and Alma. The repos are faster, Alma was on the slow side or even times out or is just terrible slow. The security updates and versions also come faster.

Example, Oracle Linux 9.4 was released almost a week before Rocky Linux 9.4 in May. And the same has been true for at least 2 years now when it comes to security patches and major releases. They are always just a 2 or 3 days behind Red Hat when it comes to patches.

I tested it even with the non RHEL kernel, the Unbreakable Kernel which is the default, the script installation works fine without issues. Granted, I did not do any deep tests, but from my initial installation everything seems to work fine out of the box with Virtualmin.

I’m curious why it’s not on the Grade A supported distro. In particular because Alma Linux seems to be slowly going away from being a compatible Red Hat distro in terms of binaries, and they will only be API compatible in the future. This basically leaves people with either Rocky Linux for a bit by bit bug clone or CentOS stream, which is what people tried to move away from.

Even now that CentOS 7 is EOL, Oracle Linux 7 still is supported for a few more months, which means they support their releases even longer than the other distros.

My point is. Should the developers maybe not consider making it a Grade A distro tested and supported with Virtualmin?

Oracle has poisoned every OSS relationship they’ve ever had. MySQL, Jenkins, Java, everything Sun created. Give it time. (Also, I’m not sure they really have kept their promises WRT their Linux. Its existence was kinda premised on killing Red Hat with Red Hat’s own software. They kinda succeeded in killing CentOS, with Red Hat’s cooperation. Billion dollar companies making a mess of things fighting over million dollar contracts.)

It’s not Grade A because I’m not going to test on Oracle Linux or maintain test systems with Oracle. And, I’m not going to do those things because I don’t trust Oracle. I have limited time on this earth, I’m going to spend it working with people I like and trust (I have grown ambivalent about the Ubuntu folks over the years, but I guess we’re stuck with them as long as they’re the most popular desktop Linux).

Edit: Money could change my mind. But, the size of “money” in this context is probably much larger than anyone reading this would be comfortable with.


See where Oracle is on this ranking page. Is RH ‘down there’? Sure, but we are interested in server market here and RH has variants. Just no way to avoid RH in the server space.

That list is nonsense. Always has been. I’ve never even heard of about a third of the top 20. There’s nothing interesting to gain from that, because it’s so detached from reality.

MXlinux is not bad at No.1 (using it as dual boot on PC) but its aimed at desktop users.

Oracle Linux is a RHEL variant. It’s basically Red Hat Linux out of the box just like Rocky Linux, and also free and open source. Can this change in the future? Yes, but so far, it has been a few years, and they actually partnered with SUSE and other entities to keep it open source. They basically try to sell their cloud and additional software; hence their OS is free, as they need something on which to run all that, plus they expect some people to upgrade to their support plans, which again is entirely optional but still nice in case someone needs it in the future.

In the worst-case scenario, if they decide to disable their repos, nothing stops someone from just switching to the same Rocky Linux repos since the packages are basically the same. Just like you can switch an existing CentOS distro with a simple script to Oracle Linux, the same would be true if they decide to poll some shenanigan in the future. So far, it works. I despise Oracle just like anyone else, but it’s probably the only thing that I use from them, besides MySQL.

I’ve said what would change my mind.

Barring sponsorship on the order of a few thousand bucks a year, minimum, Oracle will not become a distro we are testing or one that we’re particularly eager about supporting. We won’t stop you from using it, but I’m not going to recommend it (and if you have problems we can’t reproduce on Rocky or Alma, we’re not going to be able to help).

If a bunch of paying customers (who add up to a few thousand dollars a year in subscriptions) asked for it, that would probably also make a compelling case.

Understood just to inform anyone that I downloaded the latest Rocky Linux 9.4 and Oracle Linux 9.4, Virtualmin fails and suffers from errors on the installation process failing some lines, but it still does trough, at least the installer does on Rocky Linux. No errors on Oracle, quite ironic :blush:

Both do show repo errors after it’s installed, complaining about some packages related to python not being the best packages compatible. This happens after installation when you try to run an update. Initially, I thought it was just Oracle, but Rocky also has the same errors. I guess it must be something related to 9.4 which is very new and just released last month. I did the tests multiple (5 or more on each distro) with the same results, every time with a new scratch install.

As for the grade A supported distros, CentOS 7 is already EOL so that will probably removed from the list in the future. Which only leaves Rocky and Alma as supported grade A RHEL server compatible systems (free) since RHEL is obviously paid. But as I stated before, Alma Linux is actually moving away from being binary compatible or a RHEL variant like Rocky Linux, this means it will be even less compatible over Rocky, RHEL or Oracle in some future.

Guest tools for virtualization like Xen (which Cloudmin also uses) actually work fine in Oracle, but they don’t Rocky either, using same fedora RPM. So there is that as well. I will stick to Oracle Linux for now since I need them to run inside VM’s and hence they play better, probably because Oracle tests them in their own cloud which is also Xen (or was at least in the past).

Either way, as long as both Rocky, Oracle, Alma or any other distro remain binary compatible and are built from the Red Hat sources, it should really not matter, they should work more or less the same as they are same packages, same paths, same configs, but just with a different name or repo.

I would actually go with openSUSE if it was supported, I wish more software developers supported that distro since its quite nice and is also targeted as a server distro. Its now also 100% free even and direct build from their enterprise version, similar to what CentOS was to Red Hat.

Ubuntu, I consider this a more desktop OS, but it seems to be the popular server choice in Europe. I would not use Debian on servers unless they are VM’s because its very picky on hardware. Fedora, Stream, etc. I don’t want to be messing all the time with bugs and new versions. I actually want the longest supported distro if possible, in terms of security updates. Installation and setup, as well data migration, is a pain; hence I rather focus on the software inside, not the operating system. Red Hat/CentOS was the longest supported distro (except with CentOS 8 they screwed people) but now it actually seems OpenSUSE seems to be the longer supported distro in terms of years, I think I read it was 15 years, which is impressive.

Rocky Linux is nice, but I have a bad feeling about it. The reason is the same person that created it is the one that actually was behind selling CentOS to Red Hat, and it seems this is focused on a similar path, to partner or sell eventually. The reason I say this is that then the project was first announced, I and other people I know were involved, I mean from day one. The person behind, tried to pretend it would be all community based, even suggesting everyone to create a logo for example but actually, they already had the logo created and designed before they even posted that in their community. Why do I mention this? Because it was all marketing and fake.

They were never going to accept a design created by the community, they just tried to pretend they were so open that people could influence the project from day one. This gives me a bad feeling, similar to how some corporations like HashiCorp release open-source projects and change the license. You are either open source or not, my point it that I suspect Rocky Linux is in a similar boat which does not make that different from a corporate controlled OS like Red Hat, Oracle or OpenSUSE. Sure, it might not be a corporation, but it’s still entirely controller by a few persons they might sell tomorrow just like they did with CentOS in the past. They are getting more and more aligned to corporate distros as time goes by so that is also something to watch. Not saying it’s a bad thing, just that is something to consider.

Have you reported it? If there are problems installing on a supported OS, we’ll fix it. (We can’t fix problems with upstream packages, in general, though. But, any of our packages or our config steps should run without error as long as it’s a freshly installed supported OS.)

Everything Alma is plenty fast, they came out with recent openssh regesshion patch before RHEL

Ubuntu and Debian are grade A OS.

Also there are plenty of Grade A OS to select from, we don’t need any more, Virtualmin team have limited resources.

I would be ok with there being less OS supported if it freed up resources, but I might not be popular for saying that.:smiley:

to true :wink: but I for one had not heard of Oracle Linux (so at least it has been a heads up)
as for less OS, how does one pick the rejects - obviously without losing users.
but agree that adding yet another OS simply cannot be justified without big bucks injection.

The current Grade A list is exactly what I had in my head, but I would drop support for Grade B.

From a developers point of view this might make things a lot easier but this might be an issue from a business point of view, however a lot of other panels only allow you to install on one or two OS.

If your developer/software testing tools pass on Rocky Linux and Red Hat, there is no reason they would not pass on any other distro that is basically the same but with just a different logo and brand name. In the end, this is what Rocky Linux does and CentOS did. They don’t build or code anything at all. Its just repackaging what Red Hat does, like Oracle, Alma Linux and all others, its the same binaries (or should) since those projects try to remain as close to Red Hat as possible. That is the whole reason they exist. Otherwise, nobody would use them.

I’d like that, too, but the one I’d want to get rid of (Ubuntu) is unfortunately now the most popular.

Yeah, I’m inclined to be more discouraging about Grade B systems. Ilia went on a bit of a tear of making the installer work on a bunch of others (because it’s easy to make it work on any RPM or deb based distro, it’s just hard and time-consuming to maintain over time), but I don’t think it helps us make a better product to try to keep up with all the bullshit of every random distro out there, especially some of the really bad ones, like Amazon Linux (which is historically so sloppily maintained as to be dangerous, IMHO, it has all the negatives of a non-LTS Ubuntu release or CentOS Stream, but with even worse compatibility over time…rolling releases are pretty bad choices for servers). Some Grade B OSes are riskier than others…we should probably have a Grade C for those.

Anyway, every new OS and version we support is an opportunity cost. Everybody wants everything all at once. We’re a tiny team, working part-time. We try to focus on things that help the most people, and things that people who value our work enough to pay for it want. If we spend time/money making sure Oracle Linux is a grade A experience, it is time/money we’re not spending on new features, fixing bugs, better automation, etc.

If you want something that isn’t what everyone else wants, you have a couple of ways to get it: Do it yourself, or pay us to do it. Committing to support another OS is a big ask, even if it is very similar to others we already support. It means we maintain devel/test VMs with that OS (which costs money), it means we test on that OS (which costs time), it means we monitor updates for that OS to stay on top of things that might impact Virtualmin or security of Virtualmin users (which costs time).

Sorry to be crass, but I’ve been clear. We’re not being talked into make Oracle Linux a Grade A supported OS. You can’t argue me into it, repeating that you want it won’t change my mind. You can pay us to do it, or you can take responsibility for it yourself. Or you can take your chances on a Grade B OS. Depending on your technical abilities, that may be a reasonable choice.

Supporting more OSes is not free. I’m unwilling to pay the cost for Oracle, a company I don’t like or trust. If someone else wants to incentivize it, we can be convinced.

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I’m fine with whatever classification you give the OS as long as there is nothing in the scripts or configuration that checks for a specific distro or tries to break something, unless it’s a specific OS like Rocky Linux only. Example:
cat /etc/redhat-release

Will obviously give different result in Rocky, Alma, Oracle, etc. Some scripts actually do this and if you edit them or change them they work fine. That was my point. Not if it’s officially supported. I’m fine with being graded C if that is the case, as long as there is nothing purposely made in the code or configurations to check for specific distros while doing actions.

I’m not demanding anything, it was just a suggestion since CentOS 7 is now dead, and it frees a slot in that installer list and the docs. I would not consider CentOS Stream as a replacement for A, as you mentioned, rolling releases are bad, not only for servers, but even desktops, I don’t want them. Likewise, I don’t need something that breaks on every update but being able to stick to major releases. Doing 8.0, 8.1 every couple of months in periodic releases is preferred in every possible sense for servers, not just for developer software as well but also users. I actually hate this trend in all pieces of software, even browsers that just keep updating automatically or using date releases. I get it, for security reasons, but for a server or IT, or companies, automatic updates are a nightmare, and nothing, except critical security patches, should roll out that fast. It’s difficult to pinpoint versions if they are too fast. For security or small updates there are always just builds instead of bumping major releases. I don’t like this rolling releases trend. I guess for desktop or some environments it might be ok. For servers, even kernel updates requie a reboot, so the less you reboot the better.

There are many people claiming CentOS Stream is even better than the old CentOS, I don’t buy it. If that was actually true IBM which now owns Red Hat would be selling that for its enterprise users and not the slower Red Hat release.

Ubuntu is indeed very popular. I don’t think we can get rid of it for servers, in the past, it was rarely used on servers, but the trend if growing (sadly) since I don’t like how Ubuntu does its stuff on server software and services.

We never try to break anything. We have more than two decades history of jumping through hoops to work for as many people as possible.

We try to warn folks off of bad decisions, but we’re not going to stop anyone from doing anything they want. Hell, you have the code. You can literally do anything with it, as long as you adhere to the terms of the license (GPL for Virtualmin and modules, BSD for Webmin/Usermin).

That would be my last straw with you… Your attitude is one, but support for for something my clients and I use? and pay you pro subscription for… well… you can make your own decision…
Ubuntu is the only distribution that hasn’t been an ahole to the public.
You seem to be forgetting who sold centos out… I would never trust Rocky with a ten foot pole and Alma? No and never…

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Not sure why as I rarely have issues with them and I see less issue’s in the forum with these 2 compared to other OS’s. But we all have our biases I guess.