Where do I go now that CentOS Linux is gone? Check our list

In an surprising announcement earlier this week, Pink Hat killed off the free-as-in-beer CentOS variant of their flagship distribution, Pink Hat Enterprise Linux.

The announcement—which clearly acknowledged “CentOS Stream shouldn’t be a alternative for CentOS Linux”—left 1000’s of CentOS customers shocked and bewildered. In lots of instances, CentOS customers had migrated to CentOS 8—which they anticipated to obtain help till 2029—solely to search out out that their “until-2029” distro had turn into an “until-2021” distro just some months after they’d put in it within the first place.

I can not faux that is excellent news for CentOS customers, however I can supply some excellent news: CentOS may be lifeless, however it’s far out of your solely choice for a “rebuild” distro that is binary-compatible with RHEL. Let’s check out a number of of the almost definitely choices under.

1. CentOS Stream

I do know, I do know—put the pitchforks down! Many now-former CentOS customers are a lot too mad at Pink Hat to contemplate migrating to CentOS Linux’s “not-replacement,” CentOS Stream. However regardless of Pink Hat CTO Chris Wright’s bald-faced declaration that Stream shouldn’t be a alternative for CentOS Linux… for an terrible lot of customers, it very simply may very well be.

Earlier than this week, the connection between CentOS Linux and Pink Hat Enterprise Linux was, successfully, “it is the identical factor, however with out the branding and the help.” In a number of methods, that relationship will proceed to be true. CentOS Stream and Pink Hat Enterprise Linux will nonetheless observe very intently to 1 one other. The brand new relationship works like this:

  • RHEL model x.0 forks from Fedora
  • CentOS Stream model x forks from RHEL model x.0
  • Growth work for RHEL x.1 is completed in CentOS Stream model x repos
  • RHEL x.1 forks from CentOS Stream model x

  • RHEL model y.0 forks from Fedora
  • CentOS Stream model y forks from RHEL y.0
  • Growth work for RHEL x.2 is completed in CentOS Stream model x repos
  • Growth work for RHEL y.1 is completed in CentOS Stream model repos
  • RHEL x.2 forks from CentOS Stream x
  • RHEL y.1 forks from CentOS Stream y

And so forth. So, whereas CentOS Stream is one thing of a rolling launch, it is a restricted one—it rolls from one minor model to the subsequent, however its main model is steady and tracks Fedora’s. A CentOS Stream 8 person will not be pressured to dogfood RHEL 9 code any sooner than a CentOS Linux 8 person would have.

What’s misplaced right here is the power to regulate once you carry out a minor model improve in your system. A person on RHEL 8.x can determine after they’re able to improve to RHEL 8.y, whereas a CentOS Stream 8 person will seamlessly and routinely move by the states which might be frozen to turn into RHEL minor releases.

If you happen to’re the kind who would pull the set off on a CentOS minor launch on the day it launches, it is a no-brainer—simply migrate to Stream and be accomplished with it. It is going to successfully be the identical expertise you are used to, with much less work. You will not have to do the minor-release upgrades in any respect any extra, they only occur routinely.

If you happen to want minor-release management in addition to main—otherwise you’re simply too mad at Pink Hat to need to proceed utilizing a product beneath their direct management and are decided to maneuver downstream—learn on. I’ve bought extra choices for you. A few of them are even good!

2. Oracle Linux

Sure, Oracle. Right here we go together with the pitchforks once more, proper? Nicely, Oracle Linux is 100% software binary appropriate with Pink Hat Enterprise Linux. It is a “rebuild distro” based mostly on RHEL’s sources and never a lot else, identical to CentOS Linux was.

If all you want or need is a free-as-in-beer distro that tracks RHEL exactly, Oracle Linux may be your new residence. The distro has been round for some time, and it is bought the backing of one of many world’s largest IT corporations. Then once more, shifting to Oracle since you discovered Pink Hat’s governance arbitrary and oppressive is a fairly odd flex.

Oracle Linux as a alternative for CentOS most likely makes probably the most sense for retailers which have already got a big Oracle presence.

3. Cloud Linux

CloudLinux OS is a RHEL rebuild distro designed for shared internet hosting suppliers. CloudLinux OS itself most likely is not the free alternative for CentOS anybody is in search of—it is extra akin to RHEL itself, with subscription charges essential for manufacturing use.

Nevertheless, the CloudLinux OS maintainers have announced that they’re going to be releasing a 1:1 alternative for CentOS in Q1 2021. The brand new fork will probably be a “separate, completely free OS that’s absolutely appropriate with RHEL 8 and future variations.”

There are a number of upsides to this upcoming fork. CloudLinux OS has been round for some time, and it has a fairly strong fame. The brand new fork they’re saying will not be an enormous problem for Cloud—they’re already forking RHEL recurrently and monitoring adjustments to keep up the complete CloudLinux OS. All they really want to do is make sure they separate out their very own branding and extra, license-only premium options.

This also needs to be an easy improve for CentOS 8 customers—there’s already an easy one-script migration path from CentOS to the complete CloudLinux OS. Changing from CentOS to “the brand new fork” ought to be simply as easy, and with out the registration step essential for the complete Cloud Linux.

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