In a surprising turn of events, the open-source community received a significant jolt when the CentOS Project announced the end of life for CentOS in 2020. CentOS, a popular Linux distribution known for its stability, reliability, and long-term support, has been a go-to choice for countless users, businesses, and organizations worldwide. This announcement has left many in the tech industry contemplating implications and seeking alternatives. This blog post will explore the reasons behind CentOS’s end-of-life decision, its impact on the community, and potential alternatives for CentOS users moving forward.
The Legacy of CentOS
For nearly two decades, CentOS has played a crucial role in the world of Linux distributions. It was known as a reliable, free, and community-driven operating system that aimed to provide a stable platform derived from the downstream source code of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). CentOS offered long-term support, security updates, and a platform that was compatible with RHEL, making it an attractive choice for businesses and individuals seeking stable and enterprise-grade Linux distribution without the associated costs of RHEL subscriptions.
The End of the Road
The bombshell announcement came in December 2020 when Red Hat revealed its plans to shift focus from CentOS Linux to CentOS Stream. CentOS Stream, as described by Red Hat, is a rolling-release Linux distribution that serves as a “development preview” of what is to come in future RHEL versions. This change meant CentOS Linux would no longer be a downstream clone of RHEL, but rather an upstream development platform. This decision, which was intended to improve collaboration and contribute to RHEL’s development, left many users concerned about the future of CentOS as a stable and reliable distribution.
The Impact on the Community
The announcement of CentOS reaching its end-of-life profoundly impacted the open-source community. Businesses, organizations, and users who relied on CentOS faced a significant challenge. The decision to shift focus to CentOS Stream, a rolling-release distribution, instead of continuing with the traditional CentOS Linux raised concerns about the stability, compatibility, and long-term support that CentOS had been known for. The sudden change left many users needing clarification about the future of their CentOS-based systems and searching for alternatives. The trust and confidence in CentOS as a reliable platform were shaken. The decision prompted organizations to evaluate their options carefully, weighing factors such as migration efforts, compatibility with existing systems, and long-term support guarantees.
Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux: Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux are two new open-source Linux distributions that appeared as viable replacements for CentOS. They are 1:1 binary compatible RHEL forks. But Red Hat recently announced that “CentOS Stream will now be the sole repository for public RHEL-related source code releases. For Red Hat customers and partners, source code will remain available via the Red Hat Customer Portal.” Consequently, this curtailed the accessibility of RHEL source code for downstream RHEL-derived operating systems. As a response, AlmaLinux has redefined its approach, opting for ABI compatibility, ensuring that software designed for RHEL operates seamlessly on AlmaLinux. This strategy veers away from a strict 1:1 compatibility paradigm. In contrast, Rocky Linux maintains its stance, confident in its ability to provide an operating system that replicates RHEL with meticulous bug-for-bug compatibility.
Oracle Linux: Oracle Linux is another RHEL derivative that offers free and paid support options. It aims to provide a robust, enterprise-grade Linux distribution with predictable releases and long-term support. However, the limitations imposed on the RHEL source code also had repercussions for Oracle. Nevertheless, Oracle remained dedicated to achieving the highest level of compatibility possible with RHEL.
Ubuntu LTS: Ubuntu’s Long-Term Support (LTS) iterations, exemplified by the likes of Ubuntu 20.04, offer a blend of stability, essential security updates, and extended assistance. With its robust community and extensive usage, Ubuntu stands as a dependable preference for a multitude of users.
AppViewX’s Migration from CentOS to Ubuntu
AppViewX has chosen Ubuntu as an alternative to CentOS due to its stability and strong community support. Starting from the 2022.1.0 FP3 Version, AppViewX is transitioning our on-prem server OVA from CentOS to Ubuntu. To assist our existing CentOS customers, we have prepared a comprehensive migration guide that outlines the steps to migrate to the RHEL/Ubuntu operating system. Our dedicated support team can provide assistance and clarifications during the migration process.
At AppViewX, our commitment to delivering a stable and secure platform remains steadfast. Ubuntu’s reliability, robust community, and long-term support make it an excellent alternative for our customers previously reliant on CentOS. We appreciate the trust and support of our customers, and we are confident that this migration will ensure a seamless experience with our OVA while maintaining the high performance and reliability standards that AppViewX is known for.