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CentOS 7 now available as one of the distributions for testing/exam.
Any one who has a different distro and would like to switch to CentOS7 can submit a request in your Portal to 'change distribution' and select CentOS7
I wish they would add Debian as an option as I do not really like having to test on Ubuntu due to it possibly throwing me off due to Upstart, etc.. but my worry might be unfounded, idk..
You certainly can do the class on any distro you are comfortable with.
We have a firewall between exams and course development, so I don't have a specific knowledge of exam contents, but for every new distro they add to the exams there are a log of costs and Q&A etc, so it is not practical to go to Debian as more people numerically are on Ubuntu. Personally, I also would much rather use Debian without getting into holy wars.
As far as upstart goes, given the fact that both Ubuntu and Debian are moving to systemd, if I were designing exams I can't imaging using Upstart questions. But I don't design the exams :)