back to article CentOS Stream 9: Understanding the new Red Hat OS release for non-Red-Hat-type people

Red Hat has released CentOS Stream 9, the first major version since the company badly shook its community by announcing it was ending traditional CentOS a year ago. This is the second release of the new CentOS Stream distro, and presumably the IBM subsidiary hopes it will offer a more appealing migration path for CentOS users …

  1. stiine Silver badge

    No thanks.

    I'm migrating off of CentOS starting in Jan 2023. I've been using CenOS, unsupported, since version 5.5.

    icon isn't a burning bridge, but it'll do.

    And while I may not have been able to contribute code, I've opened my share of bug reports against CentOS in the last decade and I hope that helped someone other than just me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No thanks.

      Both my company and all the sane clients are migrating to other distros asap instead of any RedHat derivatives. Who knows what else these absolute morons invent next? Betting on Titanic not sinking? You lose.

      IBM is trying to squeeze money from CentOS-users and the morons in RedHat are saying a lot of horses**it to cover it up.

      They've miserably failed: The "gimme money" is so blatant no amount of talk can hide that.

      When millions of CentOS users disappear to other distros, RedHat have to write all their own fixes and *that* costs a boatload of money, work they've so far got for free.

      That means also that the quality of RHEL and all derivatives will plummet: It's obviously clear that IBM doesn't let them have enough people to keep the quality: IBM wants *profit*.

      Profit is the opposite of quality.

      Also, RedHat doesn't have anything to take it from. Too bad, that means that the headcount will plummet. A lot. Death spiral is guaranteed and we don't participate in that. It was nice while it lasted.

      So far I haven't seen a single fix done by RedHat personnel: It's always a community favor done in CentOS, not RHEL. Obviously RedHat bean counter refuses to see that: He's paid not to acknowledge community in the CentOS.

      1. brendanhh

        Re: No thanks.

        "They've miserably failed: The "gimme money" is so blatant no amount of talk can hide that."

        Why is it so unreasonable that your business should be expected to pay for the cost of maintaining software that keeps your servers stable ? It's obviously working well for you otherwise you would have migrated away from it long ago.

        Is it not arguable that the "gimme money" in this equation, in the inverse form, is coming from successful businesses who are demanding that stuff which costs money to create and build be supplied for free ?

        "So far I haven't seen a single fix done by RedHat personnel: It's always a community favor done in CentOS, not RHEL."

        Just under 9% of all the submissions to the Linux kernel in recent times have come from Red Hat or IBM. That is one small part of the distro, but there are literally *hundreds* of projects under their umbrella that they pay to keep maintained, some of which are commercial products that they open sourced. Where do you think they get the money to sponsor those contributions or pay for their employees to contribute to them ?

        1. martyn.hare

          It's unreasonable because...

          There's so many projects out there which do the same thing for free. Eventually these companies will have to compete with truly free offering maintained by collaborations between nation states. Just look at the EU, UK and soon to be US mandates for software purchased using taxpayers money to be licenced for taxpayers to use (effectively meaning open source has to be used).

          At some point, the next logical step will be for countries to cut out the "agile" crap (which private businesses are pushing to try to stay relevant) and just make stable, reliable software which is well-maintained and not suffering from featuritis.

          I will be migrating most, if not all of my customer server systems to Debian, even if it is technically less secure than RHEL and sometimes lagging behind on fixes. Once complete, a good old unattended-upgrades nightly reboot will keep things snappy.

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Re: It's unreasonable because...

            Agile when done well (meaning: implemented in the right way, in the right places, and supported by the org) is a powerful methodology. The problems start when it's applied as a one-size-fits-all, is used as an excuse for poor planning or is deployed without support from the business, meaning it's just a vanity project. Then it turns into a disaster.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: No thanks.

          when you have options, if there is value added to paying for support, go for it. The salary of your own Linux guru vs paying RH for their expertise is one of those choices the bean counters make.

          So if you do not need support, use CentOS or Rocky or one of the others. RHEL if you need support.

          And maybe RH should start making it more valuable to buy the support... (not by taking away competing distros but by offering more and more services)

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: No thanks.

      I recently installed the latest Rocky Linux and it "worked out of the box", though I ran into a problem caused by one of the pre=installed packages (it was using a hard-coded IP address for something and it happened to match the IP of my intarwebs gateway - fixing that was a bit of a pain but a recursive grep for the IP address in /etc found the files responsible and I changed them, all good). Mostly I need to stay current and informed which is why I installed it in a VM for testing/eval.

      Unfortunately no Mate support, though. There are some instructions in various places (that I did not try) to install Mate but it's not officially part of Rocky, which tries to track RHEL as faithfully as they can like CentOS used to. And on the official IRC channel it's a friendly bunch of people.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No-one sane runs Streams in any business use

    "including smoothing the way for people to jump to Stream."

    No-one sane uses Streams in any kind of actual work. it might be OK at home computer, as Fedora replacement. "Continuous changes" means there's no way to *test* anything against anything else for a significant time. Typically cycle from testing OS-version in development to production takes months. As it should.

    Now: have a stream of changes weekly or daily with no version numbers or *actual package of rpms*: How do you know you've same set of packages you tested against? By listing them all, one by one? Utter lunacy.

    Just like putting Fedora, with alpha-level of stuff into production. It's just not done. Obviously the ElReg hasn't realized a bit of that by statement above: It really doesn't make any sense: it's like running windows 11 home edition as business critical application platform: No-one sane does that.

    1. AdamWill

      Re: No-one sane runs Streams in any business use

      "Just like putting Fedora, with alpha-level of stuff into production. It's just not done."

      Hah, you might be surprised about that.

      1. FrankAlphaXII

        Re: No-one sane runs Streams in any business use

        Yeah, Amazon does exactly that. It's Linux for AWS is based on Fedora, and they've never said what sub-version but I suspect that its rawhide (don't quote me on that, but if you're going to do things in an insane manner, why hold back? Might as well go full batshit).

        That's kind of what's always stopped me from using AWS except as a backup, production stuff on very unstable code is a recipe for things like last week.

        1. sto6

          Re: No-one sane runs Streams in any business use

          Some folks (in bed with Amazon cloud) value close binary compatibility between amazon-linux and an Amazon-free distro they'll run elsewhere.

          IIRC amazon-linux 1 & 2 were "largely" downstream of RHEL(aka Centos) 6 & 7 (7 was downstream of Fedora 19).

          But since the Streams, they cut out RH, going further upstream?: "... Amazon Linux 2022 will be based on Fedora 35":

    2. simpfeld

      Re: No-one sane runs Streams in any business use

      I would tend to agree with you. With that, it really surprised me that CERN are using Centos Streams 8:

  3. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Alternate view.

    Bringing CentOS in house killed off all of the other RHEL clones because who wouldn't use the (and as near as doesn't matter also guaranteed) official clone.

    At some lightbulb moment RH spotted this and realized by moving CentOS from utterly stable to slightly better than Beta would give all the users two options, Pay to stay the same or try a migration with it's unknown level of risk - aka the Microsoft model.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alternate view.

      "Pay to stay the same or try a migration with it's unknown level of risk -"

      So, summarized: f**k off to the non-paying customers providing 80% of the fixes.

      When those those customers leave the quality *will* plummet as it's obvious IBM demands profits and it's not going to invest a penny more to RedHat.

      With millions of CentOS users missing, they have to write fixes themselves. That's not cheap.

      Which means it's not "stay the same" as the company itself has totally different business model now: "Squeeze as much as you can from customers". Same as IBM. Or Microsoft.

      No-one is a customer of either of them if they have a choice. CentOS users have several choices: Migrating from RHEL/CentOS to other distros is not *that* hard. Probably easier than migration from CentOS 7 to 8. I think commenter forgot that even staying with RH *is not trivial*.

      Many of our customers are already doing that in development environments, piece of cake for developers. Those migrations will eventually flow into production and then it's goodbye RH: It was fun while it lasted.

      Downward spiral for RH started at RHEL7 when they decided to incorporate systemd, a spawn from Microsoft hell with binary registry and all. This is just more of the same: microsoftication of whole company and their products, providing shitty, expensive products just by market share.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Alternate view.

        "it's goodbye RH: It was fun while it lasted."

        You probably meant "it was fun while it was free for me". Freeloaders are complaining and arguing they did work on bug reporting... sorry, your so called work don't support anything, and that's why companies like Red Hat don't give a s*** about you abandoning the ship

        1. ibmalone

          Re: Alternate view.

          Hey, if anonymous Red Hat supporters want to respond to any potential customers with abuse then good luck with that. It's long been the hallmark of the unbalanced one man software company, I'm sure it'll scale well.

          Anyway, RedHat's business model always rested on stuff that was free to them too, that's how the rebuilds existed and continue to exist. They post code, good. Some of the rest of us post code too you know. Filing a bug is often pretty futile unless you are willing to take it upstream yourself and run the tests, and they'll certainly be happy to update the package once you and the actual authors have worked to fix upstream code. So I suppose you're right, they don't care about you abandoning ship, since they'll still be taking advantage of that anyway. At least until they find that the people who are willing to pay for it when needed, because that's the environment and toolset they are used to working in, have all got used to a different environment.

    2. PC Paul

      Re: Alternate view.

      Embrace, Extend. Extinguish. It worked for MS, but I was deeply saddened by RedHat doing it.

      I was expecting it though, ever since IBM moved in. At my company half the product teams are moving to Alma but many others are leaving RedHat entirely for Ubuntu/Debian. If you can't have the slow-but-steady stability of CentOS and don't want to pay then the RedHat-sphere doesn't really offer much now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Alternate view.


        My last CentOS system will move to Alma over Christmas. Shame really. CentOS did what it said on the tin very well and was very stable.

        So far, Alma is proving a very suitable replacement.

        That is IBM's own fault. not surprising really (I was an IBM'er for 19years)

  4. Conyn Curmudgeon

    I used to prefer CentOS for legacy LAMP servers and stability and then Debian or Ubuntu for less stable but other more interesting projects. Like most sane I.T peeps you use whatever tool is appropriate for a job. Windows for games, Linux for servers, Wii-U for Zelda BOTW, Macs for pretending to know IT, etc, I have a toolbox full of all of the above and each are great for something different. CentOS' rug pull forced my hand in to the "never use RH again" camp despite being a yum trumps apt guy. Now firmly Ubuntu LTS. I have also sat here and consumed far too many beers. NN all you nerds, live long and prosper Luke

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yum trumps apt ... I'll agree on that.

      But RH basically committed a suicide when they sold themselves to IBM.

      Owners obviously got a truckload of money but, all of the greedy vultures out there, to *IBM*?

      As bad as selling whole thing to Oracle or Microsoft.

      Anyway, the "we want profit and we want it *now*!" from the new owners is showing again. And, as usual, the beancounters in IBM have *no idea* how the relation between RHEL and CentOS was actually working.

      Nor does the RH spokesperson here, either. Or he lies to present some made-up BS to cover the planned *money grab* behind this.

      These morons obviously believe that most, or even significant part, of CentOS users move to RHEL and pay the license.

      While it's trivial to move to other distro. They must be *really* stupid at IBM. And greedy as hell. But that's a given when it's the IBM.

      1. brendanhh

        "yum trumps apt ... I'll agree on that."

        I'd like to understand this better. Yum is like wading through treacle compared to apt. Haven't tried dnf in anger but I don't get the sense it is much better.

      2. Nick Porter

        One sub postmaster's story

        Red Hat did not "sell themselves" to IBM. Red Hat was a publicly traded company and they were bought out, and there was nothing they could have done to prevent it. This is pretty basic stuff, and the fact that you don't understand it really undermines any other arguments you might be making.

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge

        anti-business sentiment may get you upvotes, but people do not work for free. Money has to come from somewhere and pay for the development. Though I think Poettering should not be paid for what HE did to Linux (systemd, pulseaudio, etc.) the reality is that people who work on Linux often need paychecks.

        So there you go. And the more talented you are, the more pay you should get (based on the value of your work, of course).

        That being said, IBM is traditionally good at marketing, and that may be a great benefit to RH. Down side, they are going to want to be paid somehow. So IBM hardware with RHEL is a likely solution they would offer, bundled because it all makes sense.

        And I still think that if RH needs more money, they just need to add enough value to their offerings that people are willing to pay for them.

        Or else, Rocky Linux is starting to look pretty good.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "CentOS Linux was not open source, was not a collaborative project, and was not really a community in any meaningful way..."

    Well, first, it certainly was open source; that's why it was able to exist in the first place. That it was neither collaborative nor a community is true, and gets us to the heart of the matter: what people want from software.

    Enterprise IT shops want software that their bosses tell them to buy, and they want a golden support contract with it no matter the cost. They are on the hook for delivering reliable services and when things go TITSUP they want a throat to choke and they want it now. Evolving the software itself slowly isn't merely acceptable, it's preferable. Whether there's any community around it is largely irrelevant; they're paying for support so they don't need a disqus forum somewhere, and they don't care whether kids at home can play along.

    The kids at home don't care about support because they couldn't afford it anyway, and it makes little sense to buy support for something that's not being used to generate revenue. A community-based alternative is nice when things go wrong, but there are a hundred other free, open source OSs out there so if CentOS were really broken (which of course meant that RHEL was broken too and those enterprise IT shops were busy choking RH throats), they could always use something else.

    Everyone else really just wants it to cost nothing. If they can have something identical to RHEL that costs nothing, that's best -- they're freeloading on the enterprise IT shops when it comes to getting things fixed. But they don't have time to contribute anything anyway; these are mom and pop shops with one or two "IT guys" who are usually too busy to do anything but extinguish the biggest fire they happen to know about. They haven't got any budget so they aren't going to buy support from anyone, either.

    This is the classic "we're losing out on all this business!" story we've heard time and again from pretty much everyone selling goods with a marginal cost of zero who find people freeloading. In reality, the mere fact that a lot of people were freeloading (in terms of support, where a support ticket led to a software fix) doesn't mean there was much or even any lost business there. Those people weren't going to pay for your support contract anyway, and by ending their freeloading all RH/IBM have done is convince them to use someone else's (also free) product instead.

    Is that good for the business? Bad? Mostly it's probably neither. Some will make the case that it's bad because it shrinks the body of professionals familiar with the RH tools and ecosystem, but the reality is that most IT pros adapt to whatever the shop that's hired them is using. I suppose it's good in that they don't need to bother building CentOS any more, but by creating Stream instead (which no one wants) they're actually investing more without getting anything from it, so that doesn't seem like much of an argument either. The revenue needle isn't going to move, because everyone who wanted RHEL support and was willing/able to pay for it was already doing so.

    In the limit, new rebuilds will exist again and life will go on for everyone pretty much as it has, because most people care about neither support nor community: they're just using whatever seems most convenient to do their jobs, as long as it doesn't cost anything. It's a pile of packages of free software, not a church.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Enterprise IT shops want software that their bosses tell them to buy, and they want a golden support contract with it no matter the cost. They are on the hook for delivering reliable services and when things go TITSUP they want a throat to choke and they want it now."

      No. That's old school thinking and obsolete now when "golden support contract" from *anyone* doesn't provide actual support whatsoever. Those exist only to make money and only MBAs buy them, not IT people.

      You get actual support from Microsoft (or RHEL) if you are DOJ or DOD. Otherwise: Good luck.

      Even for enterprise level of users: If internal support can't solve it, it's not solved.

      Then you just want reliable services from lowest bidder and CentOS has been by far the best on that since 1990s as tens of thousands of enterprises use RHEL and CentOS is 1:1 clone.

      It's confirmed to be a stable platform which really doesn't *need* a support contract. Which obviously is something RH is going to change by forcing the Streams, i.e. Fedora, i.e. alpha level packets to business users too.

      Unless they pay RHEL-tax. One of my client calculated that whole development team can do a month work for migrating to other distro by the yearly price of RHEL support contract.

      Obviously, it won't take a month of work to migrate from CentOS. RH/IBM bean counters haven't realized that, at all.

      They will.

      " The revenue needle isn't going to move, because everyone who wanted RHEL support and was willing/able to pay for it was already doing so."

      Yes. I think this is a major point RH/IBM morons aren't getting at all. Not one CentOS 7 user is *migrating* to RHEL 8, it costs too much. As money and as work.

      Streams is by definition unstable stuff, like Fedora: No-one wants that even near to production.

      What's left? Migrate to Debian, perhaps.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ..."golden support contract" from *anyone* doesn't provide actual support whatsoever.

        Of course it doesn't, but the big IT shops with big budgets still pay for them. We all laugh at IBM's ever-shrinking revenue, but people are still giving them $75 billion a year and most of that is for support contracts. Almost all of the RH reporting segment is support contracts and that's been growing. So it's not what reality is but what the customers think it is that matters. They have money and they want to spend it on this, so they do. The support is nothing (how could it be? IBM fire their best engineers and hire mostly the dregs) but the throat to choke is worth a lot to an IT director. That they could get better support for 1/10 the price by hiring a few generalist engineers is not within their ability to consider, much less accept. Obsolete thinking? Sure is!

        The reality that I think most rank and file operations staff have come to understand is that if you are not a government behemoth or one of "the hyperscalers", you don't get any kind of customer service at all from anyone for anything ever, whether you pay for it or not. It's no more true in IT than anywhere else; that's pretty much just life in the 21st century: no one is willing to work for anything if it's not going to result in a tremendous immediate windfall. Everyone else exists only to be locked into some kind of useless subscription and sucked dry. The idea of patiently caring for thousands of customers who give you a profit and expect value in return just sounds too much like work.

        1. brendanhh

          "That they could get better support for 1/10 the price by hiring a few generalist engineers is not within their ability to consider, much less accept"

          I'm all for hiring decent generalist engineers to run internal IT, but do you really think they're going to have the skills to track down, for example, a kernel panic that turns out to be an obscure device driver bug ? If they have the skills to go on LKML, find a patch and apply it, you're not going to keep them busy working in support for long ..

      2. brendanhh

        "Even for enterprise level of users: If internal support can't solve it, it's not solved."

        The person who wrote this doesn't work in the real world.

        "internal support" even at large, global corporations is generally competent enough to investigate problems and apply patches etc. They're generally not software engineers, and even if they have good SW background, they're not going to delve into the source code to get to the bottom of problems. They're not going to do security fixes either.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " If they can have something identical to RHEL that costs nothing, that's best -- they're freeloading on the enterprise IT shops when it comes to getting things fixed"

      You seem to forget that said "freeloaders" provide almost all bug reports and most of the bug fixes as community service to *CentOS*. RHEL gets them as a byproduct.

      For free and as such, it's the RH which is actual freeloader and community does most of the work here. Now RH is ditching that work and it will bite them in the bottom later.

    3. keithpeter Silver badge


      You missed out a category of user (or 'consumer' in RHELspeak) who do need stability &c but who don't have huge budgets, although they do have some budget for IT people.

      Here is the most recent activity I could find...

      So Red Hat will see some contributions to stream 8 from a user group who do use quite chunky hardware and who do have a number of installed nodes. There could well be a jump to Alma/Rocky or whatever after that.

      @Reg and all

      Don't forget PUIAS Linux, now Springdale Linux. Has been around a long time and is carrying on.

      1. brendanhh

        "You missed out a category of user (or 'consumer' in RHELspeak) who do need stability &c but who don't have huge budgets, although they do have some budget for IT people."

        "don't have huge budgets" is quite often code for "not willing to pay for decent IT" and it can be heard within the boardrooms of the largest and most profitable corporations in the world. There is a difference between not being able to pay for something and not wanting to pay for it, and I suspect that RH/IBM and other suppliers caught in a similar place are looking to challenge exactly where the dividing line is.

        1. keithpeter Silver badge

          In the HEP community last time (RedHat Linux to RHEL, free to download to paid subscription, and suddenly announced) the total licencing cost for the cores in use at Fermilab/CERN alone was many (like 10^x) times the cost of hiring staff to recompile the SRPMs. Hence Scientific Linux.

          Budgets are set on timelines not far off an RHEL version lifetime. A step function increase when not expected is difficult to deal with.

          1. brendanhh

            I am sympathetic to this but surely people in senior roles must see that there are risks associated with building infrastructure based on what is essentially a donation from a publicly traded corporation that could be withdrawn at any time.

            1. keithpeter Silver badge

              A public company that makes arbitrary changes to its own published support roadmap part way through a cycle for no apparent reason in terms of profit or turnover must expect to find less trust being placed in its future roadmaps, and thus erosion of the value of its core OS.

              As I have posted in other threads, if CentOS 8 had been allowed to reach EoL with a definite shift to Stream from 9 onwards there would have been time to plan for this and probably less consternation.

              As it happens, Fermilab/CERN are looking at CentOS 8 Stream which will mean plenty of contributions or at least bug reports...

    4. BOFH in Training

      I recall reading that before Adobe went all SaaS with it's software, it tended to close an eye to individuals pirating the Photoshop, etc. Simply cos when they end up working in a company which needed those skills, the company buys the original software.

      And of course it builds up a userbase with the skills to use the expensive software, which makes it easier to convince companies to pay for it, simply cos "everyone knows Photoshop".

      Let's see if this changes for RHEL.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      CentOS most certainly was a community - it had a community of users. Typically RedHat have tried to redefine "community" for their own purposes.

      It also was a collaborative project - it had collaborators involved in taking the RedHat sources and producing a non-branded equivalent. It also brought people in to collaborate on those sources, feeding back to RedHat, who would not have paid for RH licenses in the first place.

      Weasel words, my friend, weasel words.

  6. JamesTGrant

    It’s also hard to actually give RH money

    CentOS is (was) easy to download and install and away you go. Same with Ubuntu and most of t’others.

    Signing up to register with RH takes too long, then you have to wait before you’re accepted. Then (I gave up here) the paperwork begins. It seems to be actually really hard to ‘buy’ RHEL - which suggests that they are totally dependent on old school firms with purchasing depts with vendor account managers etc etc rather than more modern dev companies who are now used to a far simpler/quicker s/w acquisition process. Even the comparative simple Microsoft s/w license process seems slow and cumbersome and there are people you can call (if you wanna), or well established resellers with decent web shops, and have a paid licence in less than 10mins (once your mind has calmed down from the per-mcguffin or per-doodad license options. The MS license acquisition process is easy compared to dealing with RH

    So, it is hard for folk using CentOS to migrate to RHEL, technically this should be trivial but administratively it’s a total pita. If RH/IBM were sensible (I don’t think they are) then they would have streamlined the process before making any announcement. ‘Just click here to continue and enter your card details here’ sort of thing.

    1. Crypto Monad Silver badge

      Re: It’s also hard to actually give RH money


      With a CentOS server, any update is a "yum/dnf" away. With RHEL, you're into a quagmire of installing licence keys before you even get access to the repositories. Why pay for something that makes your life *harder*?

      You can get the same sort of issue with Ubuntu, but only in very limited circumstances: e.g. you really want to keep an old Ubuntu 16.04 server running and you want to pay for extended maintenance. The core product is properly free and without artificial barriers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It’s also hard to actually give RH money

        with RHEL you pay for support, not for updates...

    2. jdoe123

      Re: It’s also hard to actually give RH money

      I heard a similar reason why RHEL licensing procedure was harming adoption. With the boom of virtual machines, licensing has become a constant chore.

      In any case, I use several tools that you have to license for and they require either RHEL or SLES. Cadence rectified and allowed CentOS 7 (basically, they removed a warning message!). You are still on your own if you do not use a sanctioned version.

  7. James Anderson

    In the cloud only free software makes sense.

    Paid for licensed software negates all the advantages of running applications in the cloud.

    Business booming -- fire up another instance and clone the software -- but not if you need to get a another set of licenses.

    Trust IBM to spork billions on a company with a dead business model.

    1. brendanhh

      Re: In the cloud only free software makes sense.

      The licensing model is evolving to deal with this. RH will charge you per CPU core to subscribe to Openshift, which includes the right to run various other RH software stacks (including RHEL itself).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In the cloud only free software makes sense.

        They also do it for VMs, like vmware, pay for use, if you are taking the service provider licensing model. Pay for use per hour, up to a max limit per instance. Cheaper on the software side if your usage fluctuates or is below a hardware threshold than buying support for each bit of hardware.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fedora -- "free" and unsupported -- but still excellent.....

    Quote (El Reg): "The Reg has liked Fedora for a long time."

    Quote (AC): "Streams is by definition unstable stuff, like Fedora."



    Well.....Like El Reg, I've liked Fedora for a long time.

    And before that I liked Red Hat through the retail versions (from RH5.1 through RH9).

    The transition to Fedora was a nightmare here at Linux Mansions. None of the early Fedora versions were any good.....

    .....but then came Fedora last stable and useful.

    My experience since then disagrees somewhat with Quote #2 from AC.....your mileage will vary. I usually test the latest Fedora on one machine for a week or two, and then, if all goes well, update all the others.

    For reference, these are the Fedora releases that I've had trouble with: F10, F14, F16, F25.

    Since I adopted 64-bit images with the excellent F24, only F25 has proved to be problematic.

    My ONLY gripe is Gnome 3 -- Gnome 3 is a piece of s**t! Here at Linux Mansions, XFCE rules!



    This personal experience seems pretty good for an unsupported OS and the application packages which come with it!!

    1. Liam Proven Silver badge

      Re: Fedora -- "free" and unsupported -- but still excellent.....

      [Author here]

      Just FWIW, to clarify the apparent ambiguity.

      When I said that the Reg liked Fedora, that mainly refers to the site's previous Linux reviewer, Scott Gilbertson. I haven't had the pleasure of meeting him myself.

      I'm the new staffer on this beat, although I've been freelancing for the Reg for over a decade. I personally don't like Fedora and never have.

      By way of full disclosure: I worked at Red Hat for a short time and subsequently at SUSE for a long time.

      I had at least one close colleague and friend at SUSE who was a big Fedora fan and was able to explain why, clearly and coherently. The issues he found important are things I never encountered; the things I didn't like, he had never seen. That is the nature of Linux. By comparison, I like openSUSE a lot more, but I had significant problems with that. When I told the responsible teams, they had never seen the issues I described, or thought all distros did that.

      "Happy Linux users are all alike; every unhappy Linux user is unhappy in their own way."

      1. YetAnotherXyzzy

        Re: Fedora -- "free" and unsupported -- but still excellent.....

        I was about to comment on how odd it was that there was no mention of SUSE or openSUSE in this discussion. If you're a CentOS refugee wanting to stay in the RPMverse, you could do a lot worse.

  9. VicMortimer


    I ran CentOS on my servers for years.

    Last year, I was in the process of testing CentOS 8 to replace my really good but annoyingly no longer getting security patches CentOS 5 along with the hardware it was running on that was getting pretty old.

    It was being a PITA, so incredibly different from the wonderful 5 release. So things got delayed.

    And then this stream thing happened. That was the kick in the pants I needed to nope out.

    Everything is running on Xubuntu now, because yes, I absolutely DO want a GUI on my servers (no, they don't boot into the GUI) and because Gnome sucks now.

    I'm not even remotely tempted to go to Rocky Linux at this point, I'm done with RH-based distros.

  10. brendanhh

    is production support really evil corporate profit-taking ?

    There have been a few Reg articles about CentOS and the decisions around it coming from IBM-RH.

    I see people under articles like this one saying things like "I manage hundreds of servers running CentOS in production but I guess now I'll have to switch, so get stuffed Red Hat". I find it difficult to believe that there are many shops running a large server estate without any support. I see comments above claiming that the need for support is in imaginary one dreamt up by the MBAs/suits, that it never provides value etc. I am sure that is the case in some places (and is very obviously the case in big behemoths like the amazon/google/facebooks of this world) but in my opinion it's just not the general reality. Sysadmins don't have time to chase down security patches and other fixes, that's why they're running CentOS in the first place - it clearly provides value that does not exist elsewhere.

    What a lot of this "debate" seems to amount to is the frankly unreasonable position that business IT should not have to pay the cost associated with keeping their platform maintained, secured, patched and tested for up to ten years. I can certainly understand arguments around corporate greed and profit taking etc but there is a flipside which is that people who are running revenue-generating businesses feel that they are entitled to get this stuff for nothing. That just isn't sustainable. IT software providers should be treated like any other supplier and not simply expected to give stuff away.

    Those of us who have been around for a little while will remember when things were a lot worse. It's not that long ago when people had to routinely pay for things like compilers, revision control tools and so on as well as their operating systems, not to mention the off-the-charts cost of enterprise servers to run it all on. I am glad we are living in a more enlightened times, but there is no such thing as a free lunch. If your business is making money and you have technology in the back office keeping it running, you should quite reasonably expect to have to make a contribution to the effort that goes into keeping it there.

    I also note the argument that CentOS is built off the backs of community contributions highlighting bugs etc. Again, I have no doubt there is a degree of truth to this, but I would like to see evidence that the community is the substantial contributor here. I would also mention that RH-IBM combined are, next to Huawei, the largest contributor to the Linux kernel and undoubtedly other major open source components as well. I am not suggesting that people should bend the knee and worship IBM, but they could have made different choices. Instead they have rightly identified the benefits of working with and supporting open source rather than trying to simply extract wealth from it. I am pleased to see in recent years that even Microsoft have come to this realization. Overall, I think this is good for those of us who work in IT.

    Finally, this is deja vu all over again. All of these arguments were made back when Red Hat killed the original free Red Hat Linux distribution. Like it or not, that single decision, more than any other, is probably responsible for propelling them to success as a major enterprise IT provider. I am glad that they are in charge and not others I could think of.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: is production support really evil corporate profit-taking ?

      we ran both RHEL and CentOS in production. All the customer facing systems were RHEL. The internal ones were CentOS. If we saw a problem with one then we knew that it would be the same for the other.

      It worked very well.

      now we run RHEL and Alma. Job done.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rocky Linux

    Rocky Linux is led by Gregory Kurtzer, founder of the CentOS project.

    1. simpfeld

      Re: Rocky Linux

      Rocky does look to have the community behind it. I have switched home machines over to this and it's working fine.

  12. razorfishsl

    We just eradicated all our centos machines and will be starting on the other paid RH systems shortly.

    Clearly they cannot be trusted to honor their commitments.

    We spent a lot of time & money moving to 8, only to get shit on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, so you paid nothing to RH, but now will pay for others... RH should be crying over loosing your zero revenue

  13. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    RH Developer Subscription

    Years ago, I switched over to Centos in order to build familiarity with the platform to find my way round RHEL at work. With the EOL of Centos 8, have signed up for a Developer Subscription...,

  14. gordonmessmer

    > The original Red Hat Linux (RHL) was released in May 1995, making it one of the oldest distros, but the company killed it off after version 9 in 2003

    It's hard to understand why, every time Red Hat improves their processes, the press describes it as Red Hat "killing off" a product. Looking back, does anyone actually miss RHL? Does anyone think that Fedora and RHEL aren't better products overall, or that they don't address different needs much better than RHL did? Were there any RHL users for whom Red Hat's products became *less* accessible?

    > Fedora tends to be pretty bleeding-edge compared to most regular-release-cycle distros

    Does it? That hasn't been my experience, personally, and as an organization, Fedora tries very hard to produce a reliable, problem-free distribution. Take it from project lead Matthew Miller:

    > The new shiny that works in Fedora, when it ends up boring and stable, goes into RHEL

    That's arguable. Red Hat tends to fork RHEL from a version of Fedora that's about 6 months old, but from my perspective, "boring" is still a way down the road. Features become "boring" during the RHEL lifecycle, not before it. (And "stable" happens before release in Fedora.)

    > But it's still FOSS, meaning that RH is legally required to make the source code available. So anyone – not just customers – could download Red Hat's source code

    That's actually not true. Red Hat isn't "legally required" to release any code other than that covered by the GPL, and they're only required to release that code to their customers, not to everyone.

    The fact that they *do* release all of their code publicly is a mark of their commitment to the ideals of Free Software, not a legal requirement. They go well above and beyond the simple requirements of the licenses, and I think they deserve a great deal of recognition for that.

    > Theoretically, if you didn't want to pay for lots of RHEL licences, you could pay for one copy, get official support for it, but run all your other boxes on CentOS, and save a packet. You only get official support for one copy, but all the same methods and tools work on all of them.

    I've said this before, but:

    Support-me-when-something-breaks is a very narrow definition of "support", and not the one that I think you'll find discussed among decision makers who select RHEL. Support isn't something that exists only during incidents, support is a relationship. It's periodic meetings with your account manager and engineers. It's discussing your plans and your pain points regularly, and getting direction from them. It's the opportunity to tell Red Hat what your needs and priorities are, and helping them make decisions about where to allocate their engineers time to address the real needs of their customers. It's setting the direction for the company that builds the system that sits underneath your technical operations. That kind of support is what makes RHEL a valuable offering.

    > Presumably, it didn't tempt many CentOS Linux users to cross the Stream

    I got exactly the opposite impression. Red Hat's partners decided that Stream was a better model, and they were focusing on that product.

    1. keithpeter Silver badge

      "Red Hat isn't "legally required" to release any code other than that covered by the GPL, and they're only required to release that code to their customers, not to everyone."

      That was my understanding as well.

      The Red Hat project has contributed mightily to the Linux kernel over the years and to many applications that provide the Linux operating system functionality.

      I suspect that part of the pearl-clutching reaction to Red Hat rendering CentOS 8 EoL years earlier than the published 10 year lifetime is a realisation that Red Hat's new owners could turn off the oxygen tap at any point by simply not publishing the source code.

      A bit like a cartoon character that runs off a cliff but keeps on running along in the sky until they look down...

  15. ayay

    CsntOS Stream 9 subscription

    CentOS Stream 9 has subscription-manager by default. Makes no sense to me.

  16. trev101

    I am RHCSA qualified and used CentOS for projects we didn't need to pay for support. CentOS was reliable and stable. These servers are now moving to Ubuntu LTS. RedHat have made a tactical blunder by reducing their client base in RedHat universe and pushing the existing users to other solutions.

  17. LordHighFixer

    Returning to Slackware.

    Slackware, arguably one of the oldest distributions available, is still going strong. All of the previous issues about package managers and updates have been addressed, and it is stable.

    The only catch is you have to understand linux, be able to live without systemd, and configure your systems without a GUI.

    But if you can not handle that, are you really a linux admin, or just a linux user?

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