Wednesday, 09 December 2020 08:56

Red Hat kills off CentOS; users frustrated, angry and annoyed Featured

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Red Hat kills off CentOS; users frustrated, angry and annoyed Courtesy Red Hat

Less than a year and a half after it was bought by IBM, the biggest open source company Red Hat has killed off CentOS, once an independent project but since January 2014 a part of Red Hat itself.

In an announcement on Tuesday, Red Hat's Rich Bowen said CentOS Linux 8, as a rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, would be decommissioned at the end of 2021.

Instead, Bowen said, "The future of the CentOS Project is CentOS Stream, and over the next year we’ll be shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, to CentOS Stream, which tracks just ahead of a current RHEL release."

This means that CentOS will stop being a stable distribution, but instead will serve as a testing ground for Red Hat. Support for CentOS 7 will continue, but support for CentOS 8 will end on 31 December 2021.

Red Hat has long maintained two distributions, Fedora and RHEL, the former being free and the latter requiring a licence which costs in the thousands.

For a long time, CentOS served as a means whereby people could use RHEL without the costs of support. It was merely RHEL with the trademarks, the only thing which was copyrighted, removed.

CentOS users have not taken kindly to the decision, with one saying: "This is dumb. The entire premise and the only reason anyone uses CentOS is because it's rebuilt RHEL. Congratulations on undermining that, nitwits."

Another said: "What an unprecedented betrayal of a FOSS community. Looks like my decades of using RHEL/CentOS are coming to an end because they simply can’t be trusted."

A third, Sam Callis, wrote: "I have been using CentOS for over 10 years and one of the things I loved about it was how stable it has been. Now, instead of being a stable release, it is changing to the beta testing ground for RHEL 8. And instead of 10 years of a support you need to update to the latest dot release. This has me, very concerned."

And a fourth, Jason, echoed similar statements, saying: "This is disappointing and frustrating. If I wanted something that tracked ahead of RHEL, I would use Fedora. I use CentOS because it tracks after RHEL, with all of the benefits thereof.

"That said, how is CentOS Stream different from Fedora since they both track ahead of RHEL and therefore seem to meet the same need, and how does it provide value for us, the end users?"

Another user, Matt Phelps, accused Red Hat of a breach of trust. "This is a breach of trust from the already published timeline of CentOS 8 where the EOL was May 2029. One year's notice for such a massive change is unacceptable. Move this approach to CentOS 9."


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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