Friday, December 18, 2020
Last week, on December 8, US-based software company Red Hat announced plans to shift their focus away from CentOS in favour of CentOS stream.
Started in 2004, CentOS has been a free-of-cost free/libre open source software which provided binary-code compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) — Red Hat’s GNU General Public Licensed paid operating system. Gregory Kurtzer told Wikinews he started CAOS Linux around the time when Red Hat announced End of Life for their Red Hat Linux in favour of subscription-based Red Hat Enterprise Linux. CAOS was succeeded by CentOS when Rocky McGaugh, a developer of CAOS rebuilt the source code of RHEL to provide a monetarily free alternative. CentOS was absorbed into Red Hat in 2014, with Red Hat gaining the trademark rights of “CentOS”.
Red Hat also sponsors the development of the Fedora operating system. Until now, software development took place on Fedora, which was later adopted in RHEL, which the Red Hat maintained and provided support for, for those customers who had RHEL subscription. CentOS would then follow RHEL’s release cycle to provide the same features free of cost, but without the support.
Stream was announced in September 2019, just two months after Red Hat was acquired by IBM. CentOS Stream’s development cycle had new features added to it before the features became a part of RHEL. Stream receives more frequent updates, however, it does not follow RHEL’s release cycle.
With CentOS Stream, developments from the community and the Red Hat employees would take place beforehand on both Fedora, and Stream as a rolling release, before those features are absorbed into RHEL. CentOS followed the release cycle of RHEL and therefore it was a stable distribution. Features available in CentOS were tried and tested by Fedora, and then RHEL maintainers.
Red Hat’s Chief Technical Officer Chris Wright wrote in the announcement “CentOS Stream isn’t a replacement for CentOS Linux; rather, it’s a natural, inevitable next step intended to fulfill the project’s goal of furthering enterprise Linux innovation.” Since the announcement was made, many people expressed their anger on Internet Relay Chat (IRC), Reddit and CentOS project’s mailing list. CentOS 8’s End of Life (EOL) has been moved up from May 2029 to December 31, 2021, while CentOS 7 is expected to receive maintenance updates through June 2024, outliving CentOS 8.
Soon after Red Hat’s announcement, Kurtzer announced his intentions to develop Rocky Linux, to fill the role CentOS had been playing for so long. Kurtzer said Rocky Linux was named after Rocky McGaugh. “Thinking back to early CentOS days… My cofounder was Rocky McGaugh. He is no longer with us, so as a H/T [hat tip] to him, who never got to see the success that CentOS came to be, I introduce to you…Rocky Linux”, Kurtzer wrote. Wikinews discussed with Kurtzer the beginning of CentOS, and future of Rocky Linux.
While no formal date of release has been announced for Rocky Linux, Kurtzer said they are planning to release the CentOS replacement before the end of life of CentOS 8. Kurtzer also said Rocky Linux will run on both x86-64 and ARM-based processors, and CentOS users would be able to convert their OS to Rocky Linux just by running a single command.
Saying Rocky Linux is for the community, Kurtzer said he “take[s] the responsibility of ensuring that all decisions are in favor of the community and the project and free from corporate control” including his own company. Talking about the attention from the userbase Rocky Linux has received, Kurtzer said, “I have never seen an open community come together this fast and be this passionate about working together towards a common goal.”