Linux Distros

Goodbye, CentOS … and welcome back, CentOS 9 Stream

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The last couple of years have been messy for the CentOS project and, coinciding with the final stages of this couple of years, there have been announcements that have shaped the new reality of it, whose outcome is fulfilled, following tradition, when we are ending this year. That’s why we say goodbye to CentOS, as we welcome you to CentOS 9 Stream All in a somewhat figurative way, it should be added.

Recomposing the facts for those who are not up to date, in September 2009 Red Hat announced two releases of its community distribution: CentOS 8, which as always up to that point had been built directly from the source code of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL); and CentOS Stream, a new variant in format rolling release It was never quite clear how it would fit into the project org chart, given the nature of CentOS, whose pillars have always revolved around stability, long-term support, and a professional solution approach.

A year later, last December, we had the answer: CentOS 8 would be discontinued in 2021 to become rolling release. Or what is the same, the usual CentOS, RHEL clone at binary level went down in history and it was replaced by CentOS Stream, whose sole purpose was to serve as a forward for companies that use RHEL and want to get ahead of the new features that it is going to implement. In other words, almost the opposite of what CentOS had been until that moment.

The ‘community’ was quick to react and the forks of RHEL with which to fill the gap left by CentOS began to emerge … and there are still the most prominent, Oracle Linux aside, because this has always been, even though now it has renewed its interest: Rocky Linux, AlmaLinux or VzLinux are the extended ones among those who have decided to say goodbye to CentOS … And among those who the new free RHEL offer does not cover their needs.

However, CentOS has carried on so far and still will for a while. Specifically, a couple of weeks ago the launch of what will be the latest version of CentOS 8 (2111) to see the light. Which is still curious, knowing that CentOS end of support is set for December 31 next, although it will be on January 31, 2022 when the system repositories are closed.

Goodbye to CentOS, then.

And welcome to CentOS Stream, at least for those who need it. Because the distro was already swarming for a while, but now it takes over the entire project. It does so in the wake of RHEL 9, announced just a month ago, with the launch of CentOS Stream 9, born of the Fedora base 34, in turn based on the next major version of Red Hat’s corporate system.

Farewells and figurative welcomes aside, because everything was already known even though it materializes now, it must be recognized that these movements put a definitive end to an era, although in broad strokes nothing has changed or is going to change.

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