CentOS has been effectively killed

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 Linux is dead—and Red Hat says Stream is “not a replacement”.

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%.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Rocky Linux is Finally Ready as a CentOS Replacement with 8.4 Stable Release
    Rocky Linux 8.4 is the first stable release ready to take on CentOS as an alternative. Ready to take it for a spin?

    One of the most anticipated release in 2021 — Rocky Linux, as an alternative to CentOS, is finally here with its first stable release 8.4 (Green Obsidian) ready for production use.

    If you have been keeping up with the news, it was interesting to see that Rocky Linux 8.3 release candidate was not slated for a stable release. Instead, it was followed by another 8.4 RC 1 release, which finally made its way to the general availability.

    Now that it is here as a CentOS replacement, potentially dropping the need to switch to CentOS Stream,

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    CentOS replacement Rocky Linux 8.4 arrives, and proves instantly popular
    Rocky Linux 8.4 is the first general availability release of the new enterprise Linux distribution.

    Rocky Linux was kicked off by CentOS co-founder and supercomputer veteran Gregory Kurtzer in December after CentOS’s Linux parent company, RedHat, announced it would shift focus from CentOS Linux to CentOS Stream.

    It turns out that Kurtzer’s decision has been a popular one. Besides quickly building up an army of hundreds of contributors for the project, Rocky Linux 8.4 – which follows the May 18 release of Red Hat’s RHEL 8.4 – was downloaded at least 10,000 times within half a day of its release.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Rocky Linux 8.4 took seven months for the newly formed community to release, and is available for x86_64 and ARM64 (aarch64) architecture hardware in various ISOs.

    “Sufficient testing has been performed such that we have confidence in its stability for production systems. Free community support is available through the Rocky Linux Mattermost, IRC, and forums. Paid commercial support is currently available through CIQ,” Rocky Linux notes in a blogpost.



  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    I used to use CentOS a lot. Even did a cyber hardening for quite many CentOS 7 and CentOS 8 servers.

    CentOS as we used to know is now dead, if you don’t like current “rolling release” situation, use AlmaLinux, Rocky Linux, Oracle Linux or if you want to pay licenses you can use Red Hat.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    From https://www.facebook.com/126000117413375/posts/5183041128375890/
    While my dev VM is running with Rocky Linux, I wanted to make sure production VM CentOS Linux 8 stayed up to date as CentOS 8 is going to EOL soon. So I switched to CentOS Stream for now https://www.cyberciti.biz/howto/upgrade-migrate-from-centos-8-to-centos-stream-conversion/ The end goal is to convert the legacy app to Podman but it will take time. Once my app is containerized, I will no longer be restricted by the underlying operating system dance. It will also save other headaches that I have right now. But, for now I am getting updates and patches. So I am happy.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:


    CentOS 8 is about to EOL month-end. It is straightforward to migrate from CentOS 8 Linux to Rocky #Linux 8. I did it in under 10 minutes. Here is my post about my experience. https://www.cyberciti.biz/howto/migrate-from-centos-8-to-rocky-linux-conversion/


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