The CentOS Project announced that CentOS Linux 8 would be the last free CentOS Linux and ends in 2021. And the replacement would be the CentOS Stream.
CentOS (Community Enterprise Operating System) is a free and open-source community supported Linux Distribution. In a nutshell, you can say it is a free version of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). RHEL is a commercial Linux distribution with Paid support from Red Hat.
CentOS is the free version for those, who are technically sound enough to configure the distribution on their own instead of getting a paid support from RHEL.
Well, this is over.
With this announcement, the development focus moves to CenOS Stream, replacing CentOS 8 by the end of 2021. The current CentOS Linux and CentOS Stream are not identical. CentOS Stream works as a rolling release based distribution. It is going to be a “testbed” for RHEL and always will be as a development distribution.
The problem is, many users use CentOS today in production machines, mostly in servers. Many small and medium enterprises use the rock-solid enterprise-grade CentOS for servers and development machines as they are free. Now, they need to rethink their strategy whether to continue using the new CentOS stream or migrate over to something else. Because you can not run a critical server with a development Linux distribution.
What are the alternatives to CentOS?
Looking at the Linux market at the moment, not many Linux distribution provides a solid server flavor. Only two Linux distribution is the ideal replacement for Cent OS at the moment if someone is looking to migrate.
Ubuntu Server editions with their LTS flavor can be the best alternative. Ubuntu is already dominating the desktop market. Their servers are used widely and have well established free support channels.
Another alternative could be the Oracle Linux from Oracle. Oracle Linux is compiled straight from RHEL source code with Oracle branding. And it is free. It features the “Unbreakable Kernel” with additional features. Oracle Linux also available for the desktop with GNOME and servers as well.
CentOS – True replacement – Rocky Linux ?
However, the original creator of CentOS started a new Linux Distribution project named “Rocky Linux” after this development. The new Linux Distribution is at a very early stage at the moment. Learn more about Rocky Linux here.
If you are running CentOS 7 or CentOS 8 today on desktop or production servers, then it is wiser to start assessing the impact of this. It is also worth noting that this move comes after IBM acquires Red Hat in July 2019 with $34 billion.
Having said that, it is going to be trouble for some users and businesses. For general users, it may not impact much unless you run a core development box running out of CentOS. For more information refer to the official post. Also, check out the FAQ for more details
Download CentOS Stream
.iso files for CentOS Stream is available to download from the following page. You can go ahead and try the CentOS Stream Linux distribution.
Read more about CentOS