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Recently, the CTO of RHEL announced some massive news regarding the upcoming changes to the CentOS project in terms of its future development plans. In short, CentOS 8 is being discontinued, with a new distribution - CentOS Stream taking its place.

What is CentOS Stream?

CentOS Stream is a distribution that was planned to be released alongside the regular CentOS operating system. The original project was developed in parallel with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, shortly known as RHEL.

Similarly to Fedora, which initially served as a testing space, prior to updates going to RHEL, CentOS Stream will contain a rolling preview of what can be expected to roll out with the upcoming changes that will be performed by RHEL. This new OS is very close to Fedora, but more polished.

What happened with CentOS 8?

It was assumed that CentOS Stream would become a separate distribution that can be utilized by developers as a platform to roll out and release daily or timely updates. 

When the development platform was announced, RedHat published an article where they discussed the future of the CentOS project. They stated that CentOS Stream would become a separate parallel project, and while the article did contain a few signs, hinting at recommending users to switch to the CentOS Stream project, the article did not mention that support for the regular CentOS project would be ceased.

However, in December of 2020 RedHat released a statement, noting that their focus and resources will be shifted to the development of the CentOS Stream project. It was also stated that the new platform would not act as a substitute for the traditional CentOS project, but would rather be a new and innovative platform that can better support new projects, features and implementations.

Are there any CentOS 8 alternatives?

The current CentOS 8 project will be supported until the end of 2021, instead of its previously announced EOL year, which was 2029. It is recommended that users make the switch from the regular CentOS project to CentOS Stream by the end of the year.

On the other hand, CentOS 7 will continue to be supported until the end of the RHEL 7 lifecycle which should be approximately by the summer of 2024. This makes CentOS 7 a good short-term substitute for CentOS.

If you have not upgraded your OS and are still using CentOS 7, you still have plenty of time to make a decision on how you want to continue moving forward. However, for those that are using CentOS 8, you are probably concerned by the news regarding the upcoming changes.

Currently, there is concern and criticism that the Stream project will not be as stable as the ported RHEL community distribution, but would rather be an experimental platform with a new update policy. This has consequently led to people searching for viable alternatives to their beloved CentOS version. 

Generally speaking, there are a number of options that you can choose from as such an alternative.

Option 1 - Rocky Linux

Rocky Linux is a community-driven project led by the CentOS founder. Currently, we at VPSBG offer Rocky Linux as an operating system for both our VPS and Dedicated servers.

Option 2 - AlmaLinux

Another free, open-source RHEL fork, supported by the CloudLinux team that has substantial backing in the face of companies like cPanel and Amazon. This makes this distribution very trusted and is also why we support AlmaLinux as an OS option for our servers.

Option 3 - Switch to a Debian-based system

Yet another alternative that you can turn to, is to make the switch to a Debian-based system such as Ubuntu. The OS has quite the resume and is trusted worldwide by developers for all sorts of projects and endeavors.

While these news are quite impactful when it comes to the industry, they should not be a cause for major concern. There are plenty of options out there when it comes to projects, operating systems and distributions that you can choose from that will fill the void, which is going to be left by CentOS 8.

Additionally, there will inevitably be even more changes that will come in the future to the ever-changing, and ever-prevalent nature of the field.

If you are unsure which option to go for and whether any of the aforementioned operating systems would be a good fit for you, do not hesitate to contact us! We will be glad to help you by giving you a consultation for free!

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