What is CentOS?
The Linux distribution CentOS is an official fork of RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Because it’s community-driven, it has always been popular among developers who liked the stability and mandate of enterprise-class software without paying for it. After RedHat announced that they would be ending their support for CentOS 8 and instead focusing on their own built in stream version, this left everyone involved in an uncomfortable situation.
A Little History
The history of CentOS is that it started in 2004, and from early on each release of the commercial product Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) used to create a corresponding version of CentOS. The availability of open source CentOS Linux meant that anyone could rapidly install a free version of CentOS for any use, including development and production applications.
What Happened to CentOS?
The CentOS project has announced that their long term support will end as of 2020. We are past that time now. This means that users can no longer receive full updates
for the CentOS 7 operating system, now users will receive only maintenance updates. CentOS 8 will not receive any updates anymore as of December 21st, 2021.
CentOS was originally created as a free and open source alternative to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It is based on the same codebase and is compatible with most Red Hat software. Many businesses choose CentOS for their servers because it is a stable and reliable platform. The end of long term support may cause some businesses to reconsider using CentOS in the future.
Cutting it shorter, it means that RedHat has decided to focus their energy on their other project, which is CentOS Stream (read further below) instead of working on keeping CentOS stable for production. Essentially, this means they are ending CentOS and it can no longer be used as a production environment.
What Was It Like Before The Announcement?
Before RedHat announced the end of life for CentOS as we know it, we had a cycle of rolling releases. What does it mean, actually? It means that before the announcment, RedHat Enterprise Linux is developed from Fedora through CentOS Stream. So, RHEL was developed from the upstream – Fedora, and then RHEL downstreamed to CentOS as we knew it.
Now, the situation is a little bit different. The main and most crucial difference is that now CentOS is becoming CentOS Stream, which is a development area, that is designed to develop and test new features for RHEL.
If you understand this right, your mind should scream a big no when you think of setting up CentOS Stream as your production operating system. If you are further intersted in this, then read more about it below.
What Should You Do?
If you’re using CentOS, you need to be aware that your system has reached its end of life. That means that there will be no more security updates or support for the operating system. So what should you do? The best option is to switch to a different operating system, and the sooner the better. But if you can’t or don’t want to do that, you can continue using CentOS, but you’ll need to be extra careful about security. Be sure to keep your software up to date and run a good antivirus program. Personally, we would advise you to move to a new and supported operating system.
What Are Your Options?
If you’re running CentOS 7, you may be wondering what your options for when it will reach its end of life. You can either switch to a different Linux distribution, or you can continue using CentOS 7 but without support or security updates. If you choose to stay with CentOS 7, you should take some steps to protect your system.
However, we do not recommend staying in an unsupported system. You have options to keep up your work without moving to RedHat Enterprise Linux, and we’re here to lay them out for you.
The cPanel Option
If you choose to move forward to a new and supported operating system, you should know your options. If you are using cPanel at the moment, we would recommend an operating system that is backed and recommended by cPanel, which is AlmaLinux.
AlmaLinux is a community-driven project that picks up where CentOS left off. It is fully compatible with all of the existing CentOS software and infrastructure. AlmaLinux also offers Long Term Support for users who need stability and security. Bonus fact for cPanel/WHM administrators – It is backed by cPanel, and if you need to migrate from CentOS 8 to AlmaLinux 8, you’re in luck because cPanel has released a documentation to help you with that. If you’re not a cPanel user and you still like AlmaLinux, you can also migrate from CentOS 8 to AlmaLinux 8 easily enough with their migration guide. I know I did with my own production (Yes, the one hosting this site).
The Non-cPanel Option
Mainly, there are many alternatives to replace CentOS’s job as an operating system. We’re here to give you the most voted, backed and stable. For those of you who are not using cPanel, you can use Rocky Linux.
Rocky Linux is a CentOS alternative that has been gaining traction lately. It was created in response to the end of life for CentOS. It was founded by Gregory Kurtzer, who was also the co-founder of CentOS. Rocky Linux aims to be binary compatible with CentOS so that users can easily transition to it. So far, Rocky Linux has been well-received by users and developers alike. Similarly to AlmaLinux, Rocky Linux also has its fare share of backers, between them you’ll find Google Cloud, arm, vmware, Microsoft Azure and many more.
The CentOS Stream Option
If you need to consider your options for a production environment, skip this part.
CentOS Stream is a new distribution that is used as a development platform for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). It is based on Fedora, but with some modifications. CentOS Stream is designed to be used by developers who want to test new features before they are integrated into RHEL. It is also useful for users who want to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the Linux world.
The end of life for CentOS 7 is approaching. In January 2024, support for the operating system will officially end. That means that users will no longer receive security updates or patches. For those who rely on CentOS for their servers, this can be a major problem. Thankfully, there are a few options available. One is to upgrade to a newer version of CentOS, such as CentOS Stream. Another is to switch to a different Linux distribution altogether. The important thing is to plan ahead and make sure your servers are still supported after January 2024.