OS Support - the numbers are in


  • Hi all,

    It’s been over a year since we’ve began monitoring what OSs are being used by FOG out in the wild.

    Overwhelmingly, it’s just three. Ubuntu, Debian, and non-stream CentOS.

    Seeing how small our developmental support group is, and considering the future, I recommend we focus on just two of the three. Debian and Ubuntu. I suggest we discontinue support for all others. I don’t feel bad for recommending this at all, it’s by the numbers.

    Dev users on what I’ve recommended:
    249 on Ubuntu
    165 on Debian

    Concerning CentOS - it’s been declared that CentOS Stream is the future of CentOS. However, we see 3 users on CentOS stream, and 122 on the older CentOS 7 & 8. The FOG dev community is clearly not adopting CentOS stream, so I believe support efforts can be focused elsewhere.

    I know there’s a volunteer who has offered to restructure the installation scripts. This is as good a time as any.


  • One option for limiting support to reduce workload would be to limit to LTS branches only. So only 18.04 and 20.04 for Ubuntu and skipping the intermediary releases and dropping those that go out of support by their vendor (eg ubuntu 14.04, 16.04).

  • Moderator

    @JJ-Fullmer said:

    Also, if we’re going to focus the installed on ubuntu and debian, might we look at creating and publishing an apt package to make installs even easier?

    @wayne-workman said

    on the fog package idea, it’s complicated. I’m of the opinion that a self-contained VM image would be better. I will create this some day, I’ve just not gotten around to it yet.

    While I find this a great idea I am sure it will take another person alone to set this up and keep it up to date! Creating packages for Debian/Ubuntu and also RHEL/… (as we would like to keep that too) is complex in itself and then you have all the stuff around it to provide official package repos which people can use to install from, key management and all that. No chance we can manage that with the people working on FOG right now.


  • These are great replies. Reading the reasoning for keeping the RPM functionality makes sense because there’s no effort there - other than the effort to cleanup/rewrite all of it. I didn’t realize the amount of work needed for new Debian releases? Seems like it’s just always worked without issue. Ubuntu is another story, of course. So all these others like Arch, Mint, CentOS Stream - I’d suggest to remove code which is specific to these.

    on the fog package idea, it’s complicated. I’m of the opinion that a self-contained VM image would be better. I will create this some day, I’ve just not gotten around to it yet.

  • Developer

    @george1421 said in OS Support - the numbers are in:

    Finally on my campus we are slowly moving away form Centos to Debian as the platform of choice for new installs of linux.

    Just wanted to chime in that my campus is almost exclusively Debian as well. except fog, because i installed it on Ubuntu when i was just getting started, and because Ubuntu is for beginners*.

    Personally i have preferred Debian over CentOS because of the incredibly stable Enterprise Linux that is RHEL/CentOS has always been so slow to get performance/feature enhancements.
    I prefer Debian over Ubuntu because it doesn’t break things as often changing things for the sake of change, lol.

    *(joking, obviously. mostly.)

  • Moderator

    @tom-elliott said in OS Support - the numbers are in:

    I’m of the belief we keep centos/rhel support.
    You’re right that many may not be using CentOS anymore, but I still believe it’s far more stable than even ubuntu/debian. People Seem to be using it because it is supported, but please don’t forget all the changes we have to make to our installation scripts each new release of Ubuntu/Debian.
    Compared to RHEL, we rarely need to make any major adjustments it seems in my experience.
    Plus, the installer seems to work for Rocky/Alma, because these are following with RHEL as well. Removing the one installation portion that seems to actually just work with limited intervention seems like a bad move. Plus it still allows the administrators to use different variants of linux.
    Limiting specifically to Ubuntu/Debian would leave all of that out. Now, of course, the scripts could be cleaned up and should be, but I’m not kidding about each new Debian/Ubuntu release still has so many new issues that we still need to make up for.

    I fully consent to what Tom wrote.

    RHEL/CentOS/Alma/Rocky all work the same in terms of the FOG installer scripts and are much less labor-intensive than Ubuntu/Debian.

    Off topic: We have started to migrate all our CentOS 8 servers at work over to Alma and it works great! Not much trouble migrating fully installed and configured server systems. Same should apply when moving to Rocky as they provide the same sort of migration scripts.

  • Moderator

    @jj-fullmer said in OS Support - the numbers are in:

    Also, for those 122 of us on the older CentOS 7/8, would this change to the installer make it so we need to move distros for future updates?

    First let me say that Centos and RHEL is dead to me, so I might get a bit snarky… IBM has done to RHEL/Centos what its done to every other fine product its acquired.

    Well with the end of support for real centos 8 ending in just a few days I don’t see any additional development work needed to maintain support for that. I can see value in saying that FOG only supports “currently maintained operating systems”. With centos 7 running til 2024 I think over time, system attrition we will also see a drop in support for centos 7. For FOG there probably isn’t a reason to change its installer base since the OS is pretty well fixed/non-changing now. There shouldn’t be a lot of dev overhead needed here. I’m also waiting to see if the RHEL forks pick up like rocky mount. So I wouldn’t throw out the rpm install bits just yet.

    The other question is about the other mainstream OS like Arch and its forks. Should that be officially supported?

    Finally on my campus we are slowly moving away form Centos to Debian as the platform of choice for new installs of linux. To me Ubuntu could likely be sucked into Microsoft and then where would we stand? (that embrace, extend, extinguish bit… and all that).


  • @jj-fullmer @Wayne-Workman I’m of the belief we keep centos/rhel support.

    You’re right that many may not be using CentOS anymore, but I still believe it’s far more stable than even ubuntu/debian. People Seem to be using it because it is supported, but please don’t forget all the changes we have to make to our installation scripts each new release of Ubuntu/Debian.

    Compared to RHEL, we rarely need to make any major adjustments it seems in my experience.

    Plus, the installer seems to work for Rocky/Alma, because these are following with RHEL as well. Removing the one installation portion that seems to actually just work with limited intervention seems like a bad move. Plus it still allows the administrators to use different variants of linux.

    Limiting specifically to Ubuntu/Debian would leave all of that out. Now, of course, the scripts could be cleaned up and should be, but I’m not kidding about each new Debian/Ubuntu release still has so many new issues that we still need to make up for.

  • Testers

    @wayne-workman My first instinct is to say “whoa there, lets not abandon centos and its enterprise grade security”.
    But at the same time, I’m still using CentOS 7 for Fog and never took the time to upgrade to 8 as I’ve read in this forum and other places of troubles. I didn’t even know there was a thing called CentOS Stream (keeping up with windows constant OS version upgrades takes up all my OS research time). So, despite my instinctive hesitance I’m all for this idea, simplifying development requirements for the win.

    However, there are many that were taught the mentality in various ways that RHEL = better for business, and ubunutu = for linux beginners. This isn’t a true statement, especially nowadays, it is a mentality that still exists though. So if we’re going to discontinue native installer support for CentOs, I think we should write something up for our public pages, like on the fogproject.org download page, to help not deter users with this old thinking of ‘RHEL is better for business’ engrained in their soul. Just my 2 cents.

    Also, for those 122 of us on the older CentOS 7/8, would this change to the installer make it so we need to move distros for future updates?

    Also, if we’re going to focus the installed on ubuntu and debian, might we look at creating and publishing an apt package to make installs even easier?

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