Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but CentOS-Stream is no longer a full-blown clone of the very stable Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), the development is now a parallel thing, and the upstream is now Fedora and not RHEL.
As an example: When CentOS 7.0 was release (July 2014), the project announced Maintenance updates until the end of June 2024. This is great, great if you want a stable server infrastructure that can handle workloads for a long time.
See the difference?
Shift away from a ten (10) year stretch to not even five (5) years! And to be honest: Who will start a production service on a brand-new release? Most will need a while to adopt.
And when CentOS (now Stream-8) was announced end of September 2019, the project announced maintenance updates until end of May 2029! This is now reversed!!! And on the CentOS-Mailing-List the end of support for CentOS Stream-8 was calculated to end of May 2024:
CentOS Linux 8 is the source code from released current RHEL 8 .. for > now 8.3. The EOL of CentOS Linux 8 is 31 DEC 2021
CentOS Stream 8 is the source cdoe from what be RHEL + 0.1 .. so > currently 8.3 + 0.1 = 8.4. It will EOL in 31 MAY 2024
In general, the community has shown a lot of emotions! As expected, here is one of my (personal) favourites:
I do NOT agree completely, but in large parts this is correct! There are incredibly good ones.
But is it time to panic now?
I don’t think so! But is CentOS-Stream something we can trust as a stable and long term supported Linux distribution? Well, that is something that everyone needs to decide for themselves. I, personally, will keep an eye on CentOS-Stream, but I think it’s time to shift to something else.
What are the alternatives?
If you want to stay compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), you should take a closer look at:
Oracle Linux might be the best choice for someone who would keep it Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) compatible. They have a lot of experience. But there is Oracle behind this distribution. A commercial company, which might change their mind and decides to transform Oracle Linux into a commercial, but cheaper, alternative of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)! My level of trust in Oracle is limited when it comes to open-source projects (hint: MySQL! Does that ring a bell for you? no? See above, the reaction of nixCraft).
Or switch towards the Debian style:
Both, Debian and Ubuntu LTS, have a support lifecycle of 5 years (Long-term Support). Some releases also get an extended Long-term Support, for example Debian 8, Jessie, had an official Long-term Support until end of June 2020, but the extended Long-term Support will go until the end of June 2022. And Debian 8, Jessie, was released in April 2015!
And in my case, I use Linux for servers! I don’t need a fancy desktop that supports all the latest and greatest third-party software. In this case, Ubuntu might be the better selection!