As you probably already know, the CTO of RHEL announced massive changes in the future of the CentOS project. Long story short, CentOS 8 as we know it is dead. From now on, there will only be CentOS Stream.
What is CentOS Stream?
CentOS Stream is a distribution that was planned to be released alongside regular CentOS. The latter one has been developed in parallel with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). In the beginning, there’s Fedora, where everything new is rolled out and tested, and then it goes to RHEL. CentOS Stream is a rolling preview of what's next in RHEL. Just like Fedora, but more polished.
Okay, what happened with CentOS 8?
It was assumed that CentOS Stream would become a separate distribution as a platform for developers with daily and rolling-release updates. When the development platform was announced, RedHat published an article where they talked about the destiny of the regular CentOS. They stated that CentOS Stream would become a parallel separate project, and while the article contained a few hints with recommendations to switch to CentOS Stream, no one said that they would stop developing and supporting regular CentOS. However, in December of 2020, RedHat released a statement saying their focus and resources will be shifted to the further development of CentOS Stream. It is noted that the new platform is not a substitute for a regular CentOS, but rather a different platform for future innovations.
What are my options here?
The current CentOS 8 will be supported until the end of 2021, instead of its previously announced EOL in 2029. Users are recommended to migrate to CentOS Stream by the end of the year. As for CentOS 7, its maintenance support will continue until the end of the RHEL 7 life-cycle, approximately, summer of 2024.
If you did not upgrade and are still on CentOS 7, stay where you are, you still have a few years of stable and supported Linux distribution - plenty of time to decide on what to do next. Now, if you are using CentOS 8, you are probably concerned about this news.
There is criticism that the Stream project will not be as stable as the ported RHEL community distribution. So if you would like to continue with the same life cycle as CentOS was until now and you are not up for experiments with the newly introduced updates policy, you have several options to consider in the future:
Rocky Linux - community-driven, CentOS-like, the project is led by the founder of the CentOS project (maybe the new real “CentOS”?);
The AlmaLinux - a free open-source RHEL fork supported by the CloudLinux team;
Switch to a Debian based system, like the ever-popular Ubuntu.
These are major changes in the industry, but you don’t need to panic. There are plenty of good enough options that you can try and the industry will not be left with limited options.
If you are questioning yourself about what OS and what should be your next moves, do not hesitate to contact us - we will be glad to help and consult you for free.