Red Hat heralds the end of regular CentOS releases: Version 8 will be discontinued at the end of 2021. Then CentOS Stream takes over according to the rolling release principle.
The 8.x version series of the free RHEL Klon CentOS will be discontinued at the end of 2021. Instead, it continues with CentOS Stream, a variant of the Linux distribution that has been available since September 2019 and is like a “rolling release” constant updates and thus fresher packages than Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).
CentOS will no longer be fully compatible with the RHEL model, however. From this point on, it will become a kind of harbinger of the upcoming RHEL -Develop version. On an installed system, CentOS 8 is switched to Stream via a migration of the repositories. However, Stream also has its own installation media that is updated approximately every month.
CentOS 7 will continue to be maintained
CentOS has been fed from the freely available RHEL source packages since 2004. RHEL itself is only available through a subscription for developers or paying customers. Up until now, a new RHEL version was always followed by a CentOS version a few months later. This brought the same innovations and software versions as the RHEL version, but dispensed with the trademarked content and certified security policies of Red Hat/IBM, under whose aegis the development of the previously independent CentOS has been for seven years. According to an announcement in the CentOS blog, this procedure is now over.
However, the CentOS version series 7.x remains untouched, which will continue to receive updates until the regular end of support in June 2024. Cent OS 7.9 will thus be the last release to be created from the RHEL sources. Many companies have bet on CentOS 7 in anticipation of a long lifespan. Therefore, the CentOS developers do not want to discontinue the distribution prematurely. It is also not possible to bring version 7 to CentOS Stream because the version differences are too big.
New RHEL clone “Rocky” in planning
CentOS founder Greg Kurtzer has meanwhile announced a new RHEL clone called Rocky and has already registered the appropriate domain rockylinux.org. Interested fellow campaigners are currently gathering in the Freenode IRC network in the channels #rockylinux and #rockylinux-devel.
Kurtzer was recently no longer a permanent member of the development team and instead was involved in projects on Kubernetes and high-performance computing employed. The clone he is planning should, like CentOS, follow the release frequency of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Its sources will continue to be published to comply with the terms of the GNU General Public License.
The name “Rockylinux” is a tribute to the late CentOS co-founder and one-time maintainer Rocky McGough.