CentOS Project shifts focus to CentOS Stream

Posted by: mstauber Category: General

RedHat as owner of CentOS has just announced a new and unexpected future for CentOS 8. This is what we know and what we'll do.

Here is what we know so far:

Until yesterday the CentOS.org page still said that CentOS 8 would be supported until May 31, 2029.

Well, that was yesterday.

Today's news is:

CentOS Linux 8, as a rebuild of RHEL 8, will end at the end of 2021.

Rich Bowen of RedHat made this in his announcement, which you can read in full here.

What does this mean for the future of BlueOnyx and BlueOnyx 5210R on CentOS 8 in particular:

BlueOnyx has been available on CentOS since CentOS 5, but as the CentOS project never was without issues and unpredictability. Therefore we've never been fully "married" to it. It's always been more of a matter of convenience than one of choice. We even departed briefly from CentOS during the CentOS 6 days and favored Scientific Linux 6 instead. Since then we kept our eyes and ears open for alternatives and also contemplated contingencies.

We're of course not the only ones who depend on a trustworthy 1:1 open source rebuild/fork of RHEL. Many other projects do so as well.

As you might recall: CentOS was originally started by Lance Davis, Gregory Kurtzer and Rocky McGaugh and their initial release was in 2004. As is with such projects, they evolved, leadership shifted and none of these three have been with the CentOS project for quite some time. Instead it was governed by the CentOS Governing Board and and in 2014 ownership of CentOS was even transferred outright to RedHat. Which now employs most of the CentOS head developers, too.

And they just made the business decision that turns CentOS 8 from a stable RHEL8 clone into a test-bed for future RHEL8 technologies. In other words: After 2021 we can say bye-bye stability and "welcome to the minefield of half-assed ideas and implementations".

With current and older CentOS released we had sort of a guarantee that something compiled on (say) CentOS 6.0 would still run fine 8-9 years later on CentOS 6.10 when the whole OS went EOL. This guarantee is now out of the window for CentOS 8 when it becomes "CentOS Stream".

As we're not the only ones "miffed" about this shoddy and short sighted treatment by RedHat/CentOS we should be able to see alternatives pop up soonish.

Bottom line: Don't worry about 5210R.

We're good. Until the end of 2021 you won't see any drastic changes.

Before the end of 2021 we will have narrowed down which path we'll take with 5210R and we're currently considering several options that will make sure that existing (and future) installs of 5210R will be usable long beyond the end of 2021 and ideally until the originally promised EOL of May 31, 2029.

And like mentioned above: We're not the only ones whom RedHat pulled the rug out from under our feet.

In fact Gregory Kurtzer (co-founder of CentOS) had this to say:

I am considering creating another rebuild of RHEL and may even be able to hire some people for this effort. If you are interested in helping, please join the HPCng slack (link on the website hpcng.org).

Greg (original founder of CentOS)

The Slack discussion channels where he's organizing a CentOS reboot under a new name has (in just a few hours) already assembled quite an illustrious group of co-conspirators and they're in the process of hammering out the details. It looks like the name "RockyLinux" has already been decided on, honoring the deceased co-founder of CentOS, Rocky McGaugh. We'll have to wait and see where this goes.

But like said: There is currently a lot of justified outrage over this outright betrayal by RedHat and it affects so many other open source and commercial projects that this *will* result in alternatives. One way or another.

At the worst: BlueOnyx 5210R depends only on a limited subset of RPMs from the CentOS 8 / RHEL8 repos. If push came to shove, then I'd be prepared and ready to decouple 5210R from the CentOS 8 repositories and would serve all OS related updates out of the 5210R-OS-Updates repository by doing rebuilds of RHEL8 SRPMS. But this won't be necessary until the new projected EOL of CentOS 8 at the end of 2021.

Ideally: Once a suitable and promising challenger emerges that 1:1 replaces CentOS 8 w/o reinstall we'll simply publish a BlueOnyx YUM update that switches 5210R from using the CentOS repos over to the repos of the new OS that serves as a drop in replacement of CentOS 8.

So let's wait a bit and see how the dices fall. The next couple of days and perhaps weeks will tell, but one way or another we'll get 5210R to the originally projected EOL of May 31, 2029. We'll keep you posted on these ongoing developments.

Follow-up #1: An update on the situation is now available here.

Follow-up #2: A script to convert CentOS 8 based BlueOnyx 5210R to AlmaLinux 8 is now included in BlueOnyx 5210R.

Dec 8, 2020 Category: General Posted by: mstauber
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