Life After CentOS - Support for Rocky Linux

Posted on April 27th, 2021 by Adam Sweet

In December 2020, the CentOS projected announced the end of CentOS Linux as a downstream drop-in replacement for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Its replacement is CentOS Stream, a rolling release distribution sitting upstream of RHEL development. While the move to being upstream of RHEL in the development process, the loss of some of the surety offered by the Red Hat QA process and the change to a rolling release dismayed many, it was the announcement that the end of life date for CentOS 8 would be brought forward to December 2021 - a full 8 years earlier than was announced at the time of release, that left many CentOS users to consider their options. CentOS 7 is still supported until 2024, but those currently running CentOS 8 have had their product lifecycle cut drastically short. So what options are available for systems running CentOS 8?

This Ars Technica article gives a great rundown on the alternatives to CentOS. For those in a fast moving devops environment, CentOS Stream actually makes sense. For sure though, you need to do something by December 2021.

Following the Stream announcement, Red Hat announced new programmes to provide RHEL free of charge to users and developers that met certain criteria. In the first of these, Red Hat offered up to 16 RHEL licenses for small workloads through it's developer program . In another, they announced access to free RHEL licenses for Open Source non-profit organisations . If you meet the criteria for one of those programmes, they may be the way to go for you, however continued use of those licenses depends on your continued eligibility.

In the days after the CentOS Stream announcement, original CentOS founder Greg Kurtzer announced his intention to start a new community run RHEL fork called Rocky Linux , named as a tribute to CentOS co-founder Rocky McGough. Greg felt that the end of CentOS Linux as a community led, traditional release lifecycle version of RHEL left a gap in the market and having left the CentOS project in the late 2000s, the time was right for a new Linux OS. With Greg having already succeeded once with CentOS, many felt that Rocky Linux had the credibility to be the natural successor to CentOS, resulting in a project that has gathered such pace that a first release candidate is expected on April 30th 2021 - a mere 4 months from the announcement of the intention to start the project and numerous well-known sponsors including AWS have already pledged sponsorship. 

At Transitiv we offer support, consultancy, training and development for most popular versions of Linux and BSD and are happy to announce we will be offering day one support services for Rocky Linux when the first official release is launched. We will update our product support pages accordingly once it is available.

To support the Rocky Linux project and our local Wolverhampton Linux User Group, we are proud to sponsor a talk given by Rocky Linux founder Greg Kurtzer and Director of Operations R. Leigh Hennig on 28th April 2021. Details of the event can be found here.

We look forward to supporting this exciting new Linux distribution and wish them every success with their release candidate due in just 3 days at the time of writing.

If you need advice regarding which Linux distribution is right for you and how to migrate before the end of CentOS Linux, get in touch!