A customizable distro with better support

Distro Walk – EuroLinux

© Photo by DeepMind on Unsplash

© Photo by DeepMind on Unsplash

Article from Issue 269/2023

EuroLinux offers enterprise class software with support from real engineers for a fair price. Bruce talks to the developers behind this RHEL-based distribution.

Based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), EuroLinux [1] is a Polish-based commercial distribution that sells support from engineers and offers specialist editions, including a free community edition and editions for Raspberry Pi, containers, the cloud, and desktops. In keeping with the company's philosophy, my questions were answered by leading developers.

Linux Magazine (LM): Tell readers about the founding of EuroLinux.

EuroLinux (EL): EuroLinux was founded in 2013 by a group of individuals who had been selling and supporting commercial open source software since 2000. Our company's name originates from the name of its first product, which was the EuroLinux operating system.

LM: Does the distribution have any connection to the campaigning organization [2] of the same name?

EL: We don't have a direct relationship, but we share many values. The emergence of our products is also in line with their goals, such as platform neutrality, restriction of patents in software, freedom of licensing, and no vendor lock-in.

LM: How does EuroLinux differ from other distributions based on RHEL?

EL: There are many elements that distinguish EuroLinux from other distributions both through our technical and business elements. We have our own EuroLinux Gaia build system, which is not dependent on git.centos.org (used mainly by the CentOS Stream and younger enterprise Linux distributions). As an organization, with the help of our build systems, we offer the service of rebuilding and customizing the system for the customer, even in a closed environment. We are also the only clone that has a release (RPM release tag) of modular packages compatible 1:1 with RHEL. We are creating special versions of systems – publicly available ones include, for example, an image for Raspberry Pi or EuroLinux Desktop. EuroLinux Desktop is an extended version of the distribution designed for individuals and organizations that use Windows or macOS on a daily basis and are looking for a stable operating system, with a long and known life cycle, that looks like a Microsoft and Apple solution. [In addition], EuroLinux is offered as a complete solution. It is not divided into a series of paid elements. Therefore, the customer who purchases our product and support services does not pay for additional system modules such as HA, Load Balancer, or additional filesystems. We are also distinguished by a simple, friendly licensing system that does not limit the use of systems in virtual or cloud environments. The number of CPUs or cores does not affect the price of support.

LM: What are EuroLinux's goals and philosophy?

EL: The values that guide us are encapsulated in our motto:

  • True product: We build the EuroLinux product stack based on proven, well-known, and widely used open source projects. As a result, we create enterprise-class software for use in the most demanding environments, ensuring stability and security. We provide and support complete, ready-to-use products that include standard modules to extend their core capabilities.
  • Real Support: Our support division is made up of specialists with the highest certifications and the practical knowledge needed to provide professional customer service. The foundation of "real support" is facilitated through direct access to engineers and architects. Our aim is to keep support simple – a conversation between a real engineer and a client.
  • Fair price: The price of our products does not depend on the number of processors in a machine. Nor do we impose licensing restrictions on the number of virtual machines running on a physical server. Nor do we make the customer dependent on our solutions, but allow them to freely choose their support and software provider. For us, the element of fair price is also a business model that maintains flexibility and openness to negotiation, including flat price unlimited subscriptions. That allows the customer to significantly reduce the costs associated with infrastructure upkeep.

User freedom is also a very important element of our ethos. Users can freely use the free public available version of the system and switch to the paid version at any time they choose. Conversely, they can use the paid, supported version and switch to the free version without any consequences. They will then receive only standard updates to the system, which are identical to the paid versions, including repository addresses.

LM: How specialized are EuroLinux's various products?

EL: We have nine products, all of which are directly compatible with well-known and popular solutions found in enterprise environments and act as a drop-in replacement. In most products available to the public, one of the goals is to keep maximum compatibility with the upstream projects. This principle is quite similar to the Linux kernel's principle of not breaking userspace, even when, for example, some compilation flags or features are enabled or disabled. When it comes to the custom distributions, among the things that we change are bootchain, boot keys, additional kernel patches, different kernel versions, changes to the cryptographic policies and used algorithms, additional software, software removal, custom repositories, and more. It depends greatly on the customer's needs.

LM: What services does the company provide?

EL: The most notable services are our potential to build a customized Linux distribution tailored to our customers' requirements; the professional, unequaled support infrastructure; and our authorized training courses.

With the help of the proprietary EuroLinux Gaia tool, we enable customers to create dedicated Linux systems. Anyone can order their own Linux distribution from us, branded with a unique logo and sets of changes. We will produce it and maintain it (updates/custom patches) for up to 10 years.

Further, we support customers and users who are migrating their systems to EuroLinux. We provide scripts to automate the migration process and offer migration support. Additionally, technical support services are offered at three levels. Premium support is provided 24/7, and Standard support is provided 8/5. Basic support includes only installation support for the system or solution.

LM: How is EuroLinux organized? How are decisions made? How do the company and community interact?

EL: We have a board-led, team-based traditional organization. However, we operate a competency-based decision making ethos, where the technical decisions are made by those in the specialized technical team. Only company-wide or executive decisions are made at the board level.

EuroLinux's core team consists of a group of a dozen developers. Other employees of the company and group companies focus on work in project and product mode. A key element in building and maintaining (updates/patches/custom patches) is the heavy use of automation processes implemented in EuroLinux Gaia. This allows us to maintain agility and speed of system development and testing. At the moment we produce five basic versions of the system (EuroLinux 6 ELS, EuroLinux 7, EuroLinux 8, EuroLinux 9, and EuroLinux Desktop) and additionally several special use distributions.

We collect feedback from users and customers in a structured and regular manner, including through the partner channel. We also strive to seek out and realize responses to user requests. Each person has the opportunity to submit a proposal for change or their comments both through direct messages and openly on the GitHub platform. On the flip side, we engage through our social media and direct channels, our developments, and upcoming projects with our community.

At the beginning of each quarter, we publish our EuroLinux System Roadmap. In this post, we report on the work done over the last quarter, but most importantly it contains information about our development plans. Our roadmap largely reflects the needs reported by EuroLinux users.

LM: What features make the EuroLinux Desktop edition stand out?

EL: EuroLinux Desktop (Figure 1), like its server sibling, is based on the source code of RHEL 9. This means that it is compatible with RHEL, but it also includes additional functionality, extensions, and facilities.

Figure 1: Eurolinux's Desktop edition. Photo courtesy of EuroLinux

The changes we've made primarily concern the system's appearance and usability. To this end, we used Gnome extensions. They come preconfigured in the system and are available immediately after installation, "out of the box." They significantly affect the perception of the software, but do not revolutionize it. All this is done to preserve the stability and security of the enterprise Linux family (RHEL, EuroLinux, CentOS), while making the system easier to use for those accustomed to Windows or macOS. [For instance:]

  • The translucent dock at the bottom of the screen is modeled after the latest versions of these systems. As the dock is permanently visible, in the EuroLinux Desktop we have disabled the now redundant overview mode and the Gnome hot corner function, which displays said mode when you mouse over the top left corner of the screen.
  • EuroLinux Desktop allows icons to be placed on the desktop by default, although the popular Gnome window manager does not provide such functionality by default.
  • When you right-click on the wallpaper, additional menu items appear (including New Text Document). We have also added icons for notifications from instant messaging or email programs. EuroLinux Desktop lets you switch day/night themes with a single click on the moon icon in the dock and allows you to set a schedule for automatic theme switching based on the time of day.

We integrated the system with the Flathub repository. This provides easy access to more than 2,000 free apps. They are downloadable from the Software application. So you can install them with a single click – analogous to the Microsoft Store or App Store.


In many ways, EuroLinux is a case study in the position of commercial distributions. On the one hand, EuroLinux carefully breaks down products and services for customers. On the other hand, EuroLinux remains continually aware of the expectations of the community. Not only does it continue to offer a download version, but its use of developers for support seems likely to appeal to open source advocates. It is a balancing act of which EuroLinux seems well aware.


  1. EuroLinux (company): https://shop.euro-linux.com
  2. EuroLinux (activist organization): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EuroLinux

The Author

Bruce Byfield is a computer journalist and a freelance writer and editor specializing in free and open source software. In addition to his writing projects, he also teaches live and e-learning courses. In his spare time, Bruce writes about Northwest Coast art (http://brucebyfield.wordpress.com). He is also co-founder of Prentice Pieces, a blog about writing and fantasy at https://prenticepieces.com/.

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