In an surprising announcement earlier this week, Crimson Hat killed off the free-as-in-beer CentOS variant of their flagship distribution, Crimson Hat Enterprise Linux.
The announcement—which clearly acknowledged “CentOS Stream shouldn’t be a alternative for CentOS Linux”—left hundreds of CentOS customers shocked and bewildered. In lots of circumstances, CentOS customers had migrated to CentOS 8—which they anticipated to obtain assist till 2029—solely to seek out out that their “until-2029” distro had grow to be an “until-2021” distro just some months after they’d put in it within the first place.
I am unable to faux that is excellent news for CentOS customers, however I can provide some excellent news: CentOS is likely to be lifeless, nevertheless it’s far out of your solely possibility for a “rebuild” distro that is binary-compatible with RHEL. Let’s check out just a few of the most probably 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 Crimson Hat to contemplate migrating to CentOS Linux’s “not-replacement,” CentOS Stream. However regardless of Crimson Hat CTO Jim Wright’s bald-faced declaration that Stream shouldn’t be a alternative for CentOS Linux… for an terrible lot of customers, it very simply might be.
Earlier than this week, the connection between CentOS Linux and Crimson Hat Enterprise Linux was, successfully, “it is the identical factor, however with out the branding and the assist.” In a number of methods, that relationship will proceed to be true. CentOS Stream and Crimson Hat Enterprise Linux will nonetheless monitor very carefully to at least one 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 y 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 following, however its main model is secure and tracks Fedora’s. A CentOS Stream 8 consumer will not be pressured to dogfood RHEL 9 code any sooner than a CentOS Linux 8 consumer would have.
What’s misplaced right here is the power to manage whenever you carry out a minor model improve in your system. A consumer on RHEL 8.x can resolve after they’re able to improve to RHEL 8.y, whereas a CentOS Stream 8 consumer will seamlessly and robotically move by the states which can be frozen to grow to be RHEL minor releases.
In case you’re the sort who would pull the set off on a CentOS minor launch on the day it launches, this can be a no-brainer—simply migrate to Stream and be carried out with it. It can 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 simply occur robotically.
In case you want minor-release management in addition to main—otherwise you’re simply too mad at Crimson Hat to need to proceed utilizing a product below their direct management and are decided to maneuver downstream—learn on. I’ve received 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 one hundred pc software binary suitable with Crimson 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 is likely to be your new dwelling. The distro has been round for some time, and it is received the backing of one of many world’s largest IT corporations. Then once more, transferring to Oracle since you discovered Crimson Hat’s governance arbitrary and oppressive is a reasonably odd flex.
Oracle Linux as a alternative for CentOS most likely makes essentially the most sense for outlets 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 obligatory for manufacturing use.
Nevertheless, the CloudLinux OS maintainers have introduced that they’re going to be releasing a 1:1 alternative for CentOS in Q1 2021. The brand new fork can be a “separate, completely free OS that’s absolutely suitable with RHEL 8 and future variations.”
There are just a few upsides to this upcoming fork. CloudLinux OS has been round for some time, and it has a reasonably stable popularity. The brand new fork they’re saying will not be a giant problem for Cloud—they’re already forking RHEL frequently and monitoring adjustments to take care of the total CloudLinux OS. All they actually need to do is make sure they separate out their very own branding and extra, license-only premium options.
This must also be a very simple improve for CentOS 8 customers—there’s already a very simple one-script migration path from CentOS to the total CloudLinux OS. Changing from CentOS to “the brand new fork” ought to be simply as easy, and with out the registration step obligatory for the total Cloud Linux.