On Tuesday, Red Hat CTO Chris Wright and CentOS Community Manager Rich Bowen each announced a massive change in the future and function of CentOS Linux. Moving forward, there will be no CentOS Linux—instead, there will (only) be CentOS Stream.
CentOS Stream, founded in 2019, is “a rolling preview of what’s next in RHEL.”
. A rolling-release Linux is one that’s constantly being updated. CentOS Stream tracks just ahead of a current RHEL release. This may sound like CentOS will be RHEL’s beta, but CentOS denies this.
This reminds me of the always “beta” and maybe no production ready Fedora Linux. Fedora is a Linux distribution developed by the community-supported Fedora Project which is sponsored primarily by Red Hat, a subsidiary of IBM.
CentOS Linux users are angry.
CentOS has been a very widely used rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). CentOS is an extremely popular server operating system in its own right. I have used them, developed software for them, done cyber security hardening for them and built systems using them. The fixed-release model is the one most server Linux distributions have historically used.
In near future CentOS is no longer the production quality server OS we used to know and like. CentOS Linux 8 will end in 2021. CentOS shifts focus to CentOS Stream which is not the same. Red Hat and IBM effectively killed CentOS Linux 8 as we used to know it. CentOS Linux 7 will be supported few years longer. Red Hat doesn’t see CentOS Stream as a production server.
The current version of CentOS is CentOS 8, itself built atop RHEL 8. Normally, CentOS enjoys the same ten-year support lifecycle as RHEL itself—which would give CentOS 8 an end-of-life date in 2029. This week’s announcement puts a headstone on CentOS 8′s grave much sooner, in 2021. (CentOS 7 will still be supported alongside RHEL 7, through 2024.)
Even though Red Hat and IBM killed CentOS Linux 8, not ALL hope maybe lost. There is a new project Rocky Linux as the 100% rebuild of RHEL. It is a work in progress with no ETA. However, some challenges remain. Let’s see if this leads to anything useful.
What are alternatives for server Linux?
Ubuntu is the most popular Linux server operating system with 47.5%, CentOS is number two with 18.8% and Debian is third, 17.5%. RHEL? It’s a distant fourth with 1.8%.