If you know me, you likely know where this is headed. But before we get there, lets chat a little bit about the bomb that IBM RedHat dropped on the Linux community the other day. As soon as the news hit, and my cell phone went off like crazy I wanted to put this out there ASAP , but decided to take a few days to digest what IBM Red Hat’s bomb really means to the Linux community first.
A bit of history and how we got here
The bomb! Centos as we know it > /dev/null
On December 8th 2020, CentOS (Which is controlled by IBM Red Hat) announced the bomb. “CentOS Linux 8, as a rebuild of RHEL 8, will end at the end of 2021.” The 2021 date is 8 years earlier than planned, with 2029 being the original published date for the end of development on the CentOS 8 distribution. This means if you have CentoOS 8, and you want to continues using a stable and predictable release , the CentOS team is there to “encourage you to contact Red Hat about options.” Guess what option they want you to pay for?
What did CentOS offer for their new direction if you do not want to pay for your OS? They are “shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to CentOS Stream, which tracks just ahead of a current RHEL release”. Remember Fedora, where new technology is constantly being introduced and withdrawn, where change is normal and expected. That is basically how the community looks at CentOS Stream. This one change basically destroyed the ability for Enterprise system administrators to use CentOS 8 and beyond in production, and dev and test and QA environments. This is why CentOS AND RHEL users are angry.
SO what next? Already there are several projects that are trying to fork CentOS to replicate the effort, and provide a stable distro that tracks RHEL, with predictable release schedule and a stable organization to back up the project. A concern you should have with the multitude of forks being introduced this week, is picking the right one. You have no idea what new distros will fail or succeed. Some of these forks will take years to stabilize, and users need a solution now… and here is where I say what everyone is expecting…
Have you looked at Oracle Linux yet?
Oracle Linux tracks RHEL, so OL 8.3 is basically the same as RHEL 8.3, or CentOS 8.3. It’s used by over 86% of the Fortune Global 100, making it one of the most popular Linux options in the Enterprise. Since Oracle has bet their Operating System farm on OL, you know it will be supported regardless what other bomb shells IBM Red Hat drops on the users, because Oracle has the pockets (and lawyers) to keep it moving.
Did I mention OL is free? Free to download, free to distribute and free to patch! Yes, DISTRIBUTE ( I can give you a copy for free, no lawyers required), and free to patch ( No need to register your system to patch it, or pay any fees) and also free to download. There is no license fee to get OL!
Yes, Oracle has a paid support offering, that is a lot less expensive that RHEL, and due to the FREE model to download and patch, you can easily use OL for free in your non-production systems and still have paid support for your production systems… on the SAME distribution. It has also been VERY stable, as it has been available since 2006. They even support ARM these days ( Raspberry PI anyone?), and have several public mirrors where you can download it, if you don’t want to download it from here; http://yum.oracle.com/oracle-linux-isos.html
There are several cool things you get if you pay for support, but all of these are well above and beyond what RHEL offers with their support, and includes a few technolgoies like;
· KSplice, this lets you patch kernel and user space libraries while running
· DTrace which came over from Solaris and gives you real time view into kernel and application internals.
· OEM, Enterprise Manager to monitor the OS, logs and more
If you are on CentOS, it’s really easy to move to OL, look on the BLOG here for some directions, they are basically about the same as moving from RHEL. Best of all, when you move, you keep everything the same, so all your apps continue to run. Remember, OL tracks RHEL just like CentoOS tracked RHEL.