Re: I don't get it....
So - "there maybe 3 versions of a patch as they tinker with the final version"
So - CentOS Streams 8 today -> RHEL 8.4 in about April; How do I know what version of packages I've got in six months time - where's my kernel version going to be, what do I build my hardware compatibility for my 30G interconnect on? What level of package churn do third party repositories like EPEL now need to cope with?
Some things - like your university cluster - run isolated, no updates from the outside world for a couple of years. For all other systems, maybe you _should_ run yum update once a week / once a month to be patched against security problems - but the point was that CentOS provided RHEL level stability. The kernel version you installed on day 1 would still be the same major kernel version on day 3650. The major version of GCC would still be essentially the same ten years later.
CentOS Streams gives that stability for six months plus all the development / debug artefacts. For the first five years or so of the Red Hat release cycle, with each point release you get added features / preview releases / features which may or may not get into RHEL next major version available which people may or may not adopt. Now you've got that degree of instability every day with the added uertainty that tomorrow it will change unpredictably.
Fedora - 13 month supported cycle -> cherry picked CentOS Streams - 6 month supported cycle -> stabilised expensive Red Hat on a five year support until the next one. CentOS had a large silent community of users - most of whom could do their own support - and a small cadre of repackagers maintaining a build infrastructure and a small group doing SIGs
Red Hat engineers have taken on the build infrastructure for Fedora and CentOS: Red Hat as a whole has lost goodwill and isn't gaining the community of savvy users as paying customers necessarily. They've opened up outside contribution to CentOS Streams to a community of ?? - people whose work will be monetised by a for-profit they can't control who will charge them for their own code.
All of the repackagers - Oracle, AWS, Rocky Linux and others - now have a harder job so Red Hat gain in one way but lose massively in potential customer base. It's not necessarily malice that's done this but it might be incompetence and lack of appreciation of why people used CentOS and what the value proposition was. Attempts to find out now are too little, too late.