What is CentOS?

What is CentOS

CentOS, also called Community ENTerprise Operating System, is an open source project. It  releases 2 distinct Linux distributions, Stream and Linux.  If you are interesting in learning more about those, keep reading and we’ll give you more. Let’s get started.

CentOS Stream is the upstream development platform for upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux product releases. CentOS Project discontinues updates and releases of Linux distribution between the time of 2021 and 2024. If you are a Linux distribution user, you need to choose a migration path. CentOS Linux 8 updates was ended in December 2021. Linux 7 will end on June 30, 2024.

CentOS Stream vs. Linux

Both CentOS Stream and Linux are open source Linux distros and versions. They are  part of the overall enterprise Linux ecosystem. Stream distribution serves are the open source development platform and they work for upcoming releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. And also Linux distribution comes from source code that released by Red Hat. This Linux versions reflected major versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

There are some similarities. Both have similar functionality, compatibility, and bug fixes. Both of them use RPM package manager system also. Stream distribution follows shortly before the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and is continuously provided as source code that is converted into minor versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Stream distribution makes development source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux available for community members to contribute and test code in collaboration with Red Hat Enterprise Linux engineers. Members of your community, as well as Red Hat partners and ecosystem developers, can download, customize, submit, and suggest changes for patches. Those patches may be included in the next minor release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Linux distribution is used for development and deployment. And also it doesn’t have a contribution model. 
The Red Hat Enterprise Linux’s open source development cycle is,

  1. Fedora: The upstream project.  Future Red Hat Enterprise Linux major releases are based on this project.
  2. CentOS Stream: It is a preview of upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux minor versions.
  3. Red Hat Enterprise Linux: The official, and fully supported enterprise operating system product.
  4. CentOS Linux: A community-supported and -produced Linux distro comes from source code released by Red Hat.

CentOS vs. Red Hat Enterprise Linux

While CentOS is an open source project, Red Hat Enterprise Linux is an enterprise open source product. Not only Linux distribution and Red Hat Enterprise Linux but also Stream distribution are different. They have many technical, support, and developmental differences between these distributions.

  • There are many technical differences. For example variances in binary execution paths. 
  • The support structures of these distributions are different. Stream distribution and Linux distribution support is provided by the other users and contributors. But Red Hat Enterprise Linux is supported by engineers and staff.
  • The way they invite, test, and commit source code modifications are different in each distribution. While Red Hat Enterprise Linux contributions are channeled through Stream distribution , It contributions are  suggested by anyone.  but the contributions are accepted and committed by only the Red Hat engineers. Linux distribution doesn’t have a contribution model.

Is CentOS going away?

The CentOS Project discontinues updates and releases of Linux distribution between the time of 2021 and 2024. Therefore if you are a Linux distribution user, you need to choose a migration path. Because Updates for Linux 8 ended in 2021 December and Linux 7 updates will be end by June 30, 2024. CentOS Community contributors and users will continue to collaborate on Linux distributions as part of the Stream project. CentOS Stream project is an important part of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux development process.

CentOS SIGs will continue activities within the community which based on the groups’ members and organizing leaders. CentOS Stream will continue being the open source development platform. It also will continue being the main development pipeline of Red Hat Enterprise Linux minor releases.

CentOS Stream 8 is a part of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 development process. Its updates will continue with the full support phase of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 lifecycle. Stream 9 was launched in 2021 as part of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 development process.

end the life of CentOS

CentOS Linux source code remains publicly available at git.centos.org, but CentOS Linux 8 releases will end in December 2021. Organizations and communities offering operating systems similar to Linux distribution such as Rocky Linux, Amazon Linux 2, Docker and AlmaLinux. Founded by CentOS co-founder Gregory Kurtzer, Rocky Linux will continue to make distributions similar to Linux distribution . The CentOS Board of Directors has decided to end the life of Linux distribution according to the following schedule:

  • Linux 7 distribution updates will continue with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 support lifecycle through June 2024.
  • Linux 8 updates ended December 31, 2021.
  • Linux 9 won’t be launched.

Can I use Red Hat Enterprise Linux for free?

You can use Red Hat Enterprise Linux for free. It provides access to several program\s without any cost. Some of them are,

  • Individual developers can sign up for Red Hat Developer subscription with no cost.
  • Red Hat customers may qualify for a Red Hat Developer subscription for teams with no cost.
  • Open source projects, communities, and other nonprofit software groups who engaged with open source may qualify for Red Hat Open Source Infrastructure program with no cost.
  • Academic institutions and non-profit research institutions can access Red Hat Enterprise Linux at a reduced rate through the Red Hat Academic Program.

Start using Stream distribution

It is an upstream open source development platform. It gives you chance to develop, test, and contribute to a continuously delivered distribution. Stream lets users contribute to the development of the next version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux as an option between Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux also . It also let users to test supported software and hardware in advance of the release.

The primary RHEL + 1 development occurs in Stream distribution . It includes the kernel and user space components. You can follow one from below two ways to start using Stream distribution.

To migrate from CentOS Linux 8 to Stream 8, use the following commands.

[root@centos ~]# dnf swap centos-linux-repos centos-stream-repos

[root@centos ~]# dnf distro-sync

Download CentOS Stream here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is CentOS better than Ubuntu?

CentOS is a more stable distribution than Ubuntu. Its because package updates are less frequent. This becomes a disadvantage. If you want the latest version of a application or software, you will have to install them manually.

Why is CentOS so popular?

The main reason is It is highly reliable and stable for enterprise workloads. And also it is a free variant of the well-trusted Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Another advantage is each major version serves or up to 10 years with free security updates for 7-10 years. It also need less support and its lightweight.

What is CentOS good for?

If we have small clients, it’s better to use CentOS.  The installation is easier and it’s very stable and reliable. It is recommended for faster security patching. The applications running on it don’t need to update often. And also the cost is also very less than compared with other Linux distributions. 

Read more;

Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide

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