Last week, the Red Hat team announced the death of CentOS, the Linux distribution dedicated to servers and workstations. In his statement, the Red Hat representative said “that during next year they will go from CentOS to CentOS Stream, which comes just before a remake by RHEL. »
CentOS Stream will continue to serve as an upstream branch (growth) from Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The company adds “that at the end of CentOS Linux 8 (rebuilding RHEL 8) your best option will be to migrate to CentOS Stream 8, which is a small delta of CentOS Linux 8, and has regular updates. like traditional versions of CentOS Linux.
Karsten Wade from Red Hat, Senior Community Architect and CentOS Board Member, defended the decision to remove CentOS in favor of CentOS Stream, saying the two projects were "antithetical" and Stream is a satisfactory replacement in most cases.
CentOS Linux is later than Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), while CentOS Stream, is upstream, a late-development version of what will soon enter RHEL (unless issues are discovered).
All CentOS variants are free and CentOS Linux is understandably popular as it combines RHEL stability with free availability. For example, based on Linux usage statistics for W3Techs websites, CentOS has an 18,5% share, compared to Red Hat's 1,5%.
Wade explained the need for CentOS Stream as a way to facilitate community contribution to RHEL. He also said that "as a project, trying to do two antithetical things at the same time would mean doing both things wrong", implying that this was the reason for the abandonment of CentOS Linux.
Confirmed that the decision was motivated by Red Hat, that he "approached the CentOS project with his plan" but said that "the CentOS board of directors has joined."
Recognizing that the absence of CentOS creates an availability gap, Wade stated that he was confident that Stream can cover "95% (approximately) of current user workloads"And referred to an article by Stef Walter, Director of Linux Engineering, describing Stream as RHEL with a continuous delivery model, saying," The goal of continuous delivery is to make every release as stable as the last. ».
Wade He also said that Red Hat will make additional solutions available, which probably means more affordable licenses for RHEL in certain scenarios.
“Over the past few weeks, I have read and listened to the reactions and responses of many people to our news about the future of the CentOS project. I see a lot of surprise and disappointment, and I also see people worried about the future and how it will affect them, their livelihoods and the ecosystem in general. I feel a strong sense of betrayal from people, I understand.
“I'm not sure if the story I'm going to share here will help you or not, but thank you for reading it and understanding what I have to say. This history, I think, is necessary to understand where we are today. From there, I'll be available on the CentOS developer list and on Twitter if you want me to give you more details on why I think everything is going to be fine.
“I have been a member of the board of directors of the CentOS project since its inception. I also participated in the consensus decision we recently announced about the project's change of direction. I have cared about this space for a long time, during my 19 years at Red Hat and before that. I have been involved with the Fedora project since the early days, leading the documentation project and serving on the Fedora board, among other roles. I led the Red Hat team that brought the CentOS project closer to Red Hat in 2013/2014, and as a result of that work, I was awarded a seat on the CentOS board, where I was Red Hat Liaison and Board Secretary until spring of 2020 ”.
What does the community think?
The truth is that she's particularly upset that CentOS 8 support has been reduced.
"People are complaining that you suddenly kill CentOS 8, which was released last year with the promise of binary compatibility with RHEL 8 and security updates until 2029," said a netizen in a comment to Wade's message.
Keeping an open source project like RHEL involves a complex balance of business and community considerations. Red Hat's success depends on its ability to handle this. Red Hat relies on the work that others give it freely. Similarly, those who create free distributions from the work of Red Hat engineers are, in a sense, based on this commercially supported entry.