The Great CentOS Linux Migration: How We Got Here and What’s Next
The recent news regarding Red Hat’s decision to limit access to the source code of their Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution has garnered considerable attention. "It is wise to make sure security and IT compliance aspects are addressed. Perhaps more open source Linux distributions will appear in the near future and offer another alternative to CentOS Linux."
Starting in 2004, right from its inception, every iteration of the commercial RHEL offering triggered a corresponding release of CentOS. These iterations mirrored RHEL, albeit with modifications to eliminate the Red Hat branding and other minor updates. The presence of open source CentOS Linux facilitated swift installation of a free RHEL variant, rendering it accessible for diverse purposes spanning from development to production environments.
In January 2014, Red Hat joined the CentOS project. Under a new CentOS governing board, they became the main sponsor and driver of the CentOS project. They continued to be an open source downstream alternative to RHEL.
On December 8, 2020, the CentOS project and Red Hat set a new end-of-life (EOL) date for CentOS Linux 8. They shifted focus and investment into a new Linux distribution, CentOS Stream, with a rolling release model. EOL means that the community stops releases regardless of the severity of a bug or a vulnerability. Today, CentOS versions 6 and 8 are already EOL, and version 7 is the last, with EOL set for June 30, 2024. This announcement immediately sparked new projects to fill the CentOS gap. New open source projects such as Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux took off quickly, gaining contributors, sponsors and users.