The CentOS Project announced in December that they were shifting their focus from CentOS Linux towards CentOS Stream. CentOS Linux was essentially a free RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) version. CentOS Stream will use the development branch. Users who depended on CentOS stability will be affected. Anyone who wishes to learn Linux will feel the effects.
Add to that changes to CentOS 8’s support lifecycle, and the involvement of an IBM corporate giant, it’s easy for the open-source community to be upset. The majority of the community response has been negative. There are always two sides to every story. RedHat and CentOS put a positive spin on the matter.
We’ll help you understand the details of CentOS’s changes so that you can form your own opinion.
Who are involved: RedHat, CentOS, and IBM
Let’s first look at who was involved before we get into the details. The changes directly affect the CentOS community, developers and users. Three organizations play a crucial role in the story.
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Start trainingCentOS. CentOS is the most popular Linux operating system. It was released in 2004. There is also The CentOS Project. This project is the driving force behind CentOS Linux and CentOS stream operating systems.
RedHat. RedHat is an open-source software company whose business model revolves round open source software. This includes the popular RHEL operating systems that CentOS Linux is a downstream of. RedHat and CentOS “joined hands” in 2014. Although formal announcements used terms such as “joining forces”, most people viewed it as RedHat purchasing CentOS. RedHat is the owner of the CentOS trademarks and contributes large amounts of resources to the project. RedHat also has a significant presence on the governing boards.
IBM. RedHat was announced by International Business Machines (IBM), a computing giant, to be purchased for $38 billion in 2018. The deal was completed in 2019.
This means that CentOS, which stands to Community Enterprise Operating System, is controlled by RedHat. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that RedHat will not act in the open-source community’s best interests, it is used by narratives suggesting that the CentOS Stream decision was made with commercial motives. It is worth noting that there has been no evidence to suggest that IBM had any direct influence on the CentOS Stream decision. According to publicly available information, RedHat is the decision maker here.
CentOS Linux was a Rebuild for RHEL
CentOS was previously a rebuild of RHEL’s stable version. This meant that CentOS was RHEL, but without branding or enterprise support.
CentOS Linux is very popular because it is essentially RHEL without the cost. It is also widely used in many production, testing and learning environments. CentOS Linux is very popular in web-hosting. According to W3Tech’s data on Internet-facing servers, CentOS ranks third among Linux operating systems. It regularly trades places at second with Debian.
CentOS is also a popular choice within the scientific community. In 2019, Fermilab, the accelerator laboratory and particle physics center in the United States, announced that they would instead use CentOS 8 to develop Scientific Linux 8. CentOS 8 would be a better platform for high-energy Physics computing, so the idea was to focus efforts on CentOS.
CentOS was also a popular choice for learners and developers. CentOS is a great option if you are looking to get a RedHat certification before you can deploy to an RHEL server.
Simply put: For a long time