back to article The new generation of CentOS replacements – plus the daddy of them all: RHEL 8.6

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.6, Alma Linux 8.6 and Rocky Linux 8.6 are all out now, for various platforms. RHEL version 8.6 arrived on May 11, and is the latest update to 2019's RHEL 8, codenamed "Ootpa." RHEL point releases are relatively neat affairs compared to, say, Ubuntu's short-term support releases. 8.6 is a step up …

  1. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Devil

    Rocky Linux seems good enough to me depending on your use case

    I had some good experience testing Rocky Linux last year. The only down sides are the GUI (do not like much) and the use of RFC1918 addresses internally (which I had a hard time locating to change them to something else). it's a built-in wut dun it. I forget what exactly but it irritated me.

    hint, grep -r "192[.]168" /etc

    Otherwise basic setup was simple enough and "it just worked"

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Scrolling down the Alma Linux page reveals the availability of 3rd party commercial support. Given the shared heritage it seems likely that the same supplier would be able to support either and very likely other providers might.

  3. VoiceOfTruth

    It was sad to see Centos go

    What replaced it? Two new distros. Four candles.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: It was sad to see Centos go

      well, it's not really "gone" just EOL'd in its original form, and re-defined as "stream"

      but yeah this is old news now. centos.org is pretty straightforward about it.

    2. Lon24 Silver badge

      Re: It was sad to see Centos go

      Yep - will two identical (in theory) downstream distros lead to a race to beat the other (if only days) which is a temptation to cut corners. Not a good thing for a distributions whose USP is stability.

      Hopefully they will resist and downloaders will trust the one that takes more time - if only to see if the other hits an unexpected issue.

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: It was sad to see Centos go

        -> Yep - will two identical (in theory) downstream distros lead to a race to beat the other (if only days) which is a temptation to cut corners.

        This is a worry of mine. Hopefully it won't lead to a "we got there first" mentality. It is a pity they can't join forces, and stop the duplication of effort.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It was sad to see Centos go

          Exactly this issue which keeps on repeating across open source. For sure, diversity is cool, but at the end of the day people want and need excellent products. Rocky need to remove their egos and work with Alma, or they create a joint venture with a new name.

          1. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: It was sad to see Centos go

            The aim of both these two distros is to be 100% clones of RHEL. There should not be a smidgen of difference between them except the branding. I cannot think of a worse case of duplication of effort in the Linux world.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: It was sad to see Centos go

              Once upon a time there were several RHEL clones of which Centos was one. Then Centos became the "official" clone and the others closed down. This seemed all very well until Centos stopped being Centos As We Know It and become a stage between Fedora & RHEL itself which is exactly what its users didn't want. Now we have two RHEL clones again. Given past history, if I were dependent on such a thing I'd regard that as very welcome second sourcing.

              Second sources used to be something manufacturers looked for. Then JIT became popular so second sources would have been what you call a waste of effort (some people say the same thing about backups). With the supply chain issues we have now it wouldn't seem such a waste of effort any more.

              1. Youngone Silver badge

                Re: It was sad to see Centos go

                VoiceOfTruth is consistent in his view that there should only be one Linux distro.

                I don't agree with him, and as you have pointed out, there are good reasons to have more than one, but at least he is consistent.

                1. VoiceOfTruth

                  Re: It was sad to see Centos go

                  -> VoiceOfTruth is consistent in his view that there should only be one Linux distro.

                  As usual I am subject to misquoting. I am not sure if penguins can read.

                2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: It was sad to see Centos go

                  "but at least he is consistent"

                  So is a stopped clock.

          2. Vikingforties
            Coat

            Re: It was sad to see Centos go

            Ralmacky? Ralmocky? Ralmoacky!

    3. TrevorH

      Re: It was sad to see Centos go

      Red Hat decided to turn CentOS into a beta version of the next version of RHEL so it has become unstable and pretty much continually broken. Rocky and Alma were set up to replace it outside of Red Hat and both aim to release the same thing that CentOS used to : a clone distro of RHEL minus hte RH branding and logos.

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: It was sad to see Centos go

        Oh I know the story.

      2. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: It was sad to see Centos go

        I have been testing CentOS Stream on a non-production machine and have had exactly zero problems with it. Can you provide some detail about how it is "continually broken"?

    4. rcxb1

      Re: It was sad to see Centos go

      CentOS wasn't the first or only during its time. Scientific Linux hung around the longest and had rebuilds of RHEL out before CentOS did.

      Alma and Rocky aren't the only ones left standing, either. VzLinux, MIRACLE LINUX and Oracle Linux are around, too.

      It might be good that CentOS got pushed off the cliff. They were taking a very long time after RHEL to release their rebuilds. Now we've got multiple entities moving much more quickly than CentOS ever did.

  4. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Ive updated my VPS to Oracle Linux version 8.6 in the last couple of days. So that is another alternative to RHEL, although as obviously Oracle is involved a lot of people will probably want to avoid it.

  5. pavel.petrman Silver badge

    Probably a stupid question: Why Kernel version 4.18?

    Why use 4.18 (non-LTS) with all that patching and backporting, when the very next version 4.19 is LTS and supported up to 2024?

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

      Re: Probably a stupid question: Why Kernel version 4.18?

      [Author here]

      For compatibility. For drivers, for hypervisors, for 3rd party code that is *known* to work with that particular version.

      That's what people pay for. If you buy $1M of database that says it works on RHEL 8 with kernel 4.18 and you still want to run it 5 years later, then you want the same distro but with updates. Or else you may end up needing to pay another $½M for a newer version...

      ... and repeat until broke.

      This is the core business of RH and SUSE: paying expert engineers to fix and maintain specific known-good versions of core programs so that they _keep working_ come what may. You fix bugs and security issues but you only need to change versions when you want.

      1. pavel.petrman Silver badge

        Re: Probably a stupid question: Why Kernel version 4.18?

        That is understandable, of course. But the Kernel roadmap is surely known to IBM (I'd go as far as suggesting they have some say in that matter as one of the sponsors). The LTS version is some two month older than the non-LTS, yet in my understanding offers huge benefit in not having to do all the work. Of course they need to fix one particulat version. I'd understand it if it were somewhere far between the LTS versions, but I stoll don't understand why LTS but one.

        1. emfiliane

          Re: Probably a stupid question: Why Kernel version 4.18?

          You're really confusing something here: 4.18 is an LTS version in the Red Hat ecosystem, and 4.19 is already out of support in the Red Hat ecosystem. Red Hat doesn't really care what the core kernel situation is, since they have their own support, development, and patching teams.

          Yes, it might have made support a little simpler if they had waited, but 4.19 didn't exist when RHEL 8 was cut and wouldn't exist for a couple more months. They're so close to each other that most of the work is just transferring security patches straight over from 4.19 updates to 4.18 updates, it's not like they're completely different kernels.

          And, well, they may even see a business opportunity in having a little bit of lock-in on an otherwise unsupported version.

  6. Tubz

    This why Linux is a mess, so many flavours and variations of variations of flavours, yes it gives options, but not to businesses that want to see a long term path, Windows gives this in most cases.

    1. Adair Silver badge

      So then such businesses should use Windows (or whatever OS+stack that mostly closely meets their needs)!

      Why do people assume that Linux, and FLOSS in general, is there to meet their particular needs?

      Actually, that's exactly what they are there for—assuming you have the time and resources to make it fit your needs. That's the point. Unlike the proprietary stacks you do genuinely have the freedom to hack the stack to make it fit. Just because a lot of us don't have the skills, time, etc. to do that doesn't mean Linux, etc. owes us anything—after all, we're not actually paying for all this stuff, even though we are happy to use it, and moan about it!

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

      Not really, no.

      RH supplies a "long term path" for businesses who want or need continuity. That is good.

      They charge for it; good for them. Someone needed to find a way to pay for this; RH did.

      They provide the source code; also good for them. Not all companies follow the law.

      Other rebuild it and give it away; good for those companies, good for the users, and good for RH in that it grows their community.

      Before CentOS was "official" there were already multiple RHEL rebuilds: White Box Linux, Scientific Linux and others.

      Now there are again.

      And there's Oracle if you want cheaper corporate support.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "And there's Oracle if you want cheaper corporate support."

        There's a sentance I never thought I'd read.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Do you mean Windows with its Home, Enterprise, PoS and Server flavours (I may well have missed some, it's not my bag)? Look on RHEL and its clones as the Linux equivalent of Windows Server. And very specifically they offer a long term path.

      Does anyone have any recent figures for the relative share of internet servers for Linux and Windows Server? And are there any instances of Windows in the top 100 supercomputers?

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        -> And are there any instances of Windows in the top 100 supercomputers?

        Are there any instances of Linux on the desktop worth mentioning? The usual 1% with figures massaged upwards to 2% sometimes. Do you really think it matters to Joe User if a supercomputer runs Linux? So what? He's never going to have that hardware.

        1. Adair Silver badge

          -> And are there any instances of Windows in the top 100 supercomputers?

          Are there any instances of Linux on the desktop worth mentioning?

          ---

          The real questions are: who cares, and why does it even matter—desktop, server, or whatever?

          The point is the FLOSS gives people options they don't have under the proprietary coshes. FLOSS has it's own cosh, people either learn to live with it, or they need to move on. Grizzling about it, or being a mouth-frothing evangelist for that matter, says loads about ther person concerned, but almost nothing about the true value of FLOSS.

  7. DR_EVIL30564

    AlmaLinux... We choose you..

    after much testing, internal discussions, looking at support packages should we need them, we chose AlmaLinux to be our replacement for CentOS.

    So far, it's been dead simple to use the provided scripts to upgrade our CentOS 8 server VMs to AlmaLinux with no issues and minimal downtime.

    1. dboyes
      Meh

      Re: AlmaLinux... We choose you..

      They're also much more cooperative than the Rocky guys in terms of platforms and CPU architecture support. The Alma guys have non-Intel versions because of that exact issue.

  8. Rich 2

    Excellent

    Two more versions of Linux!!

    ‘cos we were running a bit short on those, weren’t we?

    1. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: Excellent

      The worst thing about these two is they aim to be exactly the same. Perhaps they will have different wallpaper.

      The duplication of effort here is not good. Was there some falling out or not seeing eye-to-eye that caused the need for two new identical versions? Was there ever a hatchet in the first place, let alone a need to bury it?

      1. druck Silver badge

        Re: Excellent

        Duplication of effort? How about the 9 posts you've made on this article for a start.

        1. VoiceOfTruth

          Re: Excellent

          That rather pales into comparison with building a new Linux distro.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Excellent

            Yes, one would hope the Alma and Rocky folks are indeed putting more effort into their releases than you've been doing with your repetitive posts. In nearly every thread that even mentions Linux, it seems.

            It's almost like you've got a personal grudge or something. Whatever the reason, it's tiresome.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Excellent

      "‘cos we were running a bit short on those, weren’t we?"

      Yes. We really were running short - zero, in fact - on clones of RHEL for those who need to run long term server versions but don't need to pay for commercial support. And that amounts to a lot of servers doing heavy lifting on the internet. You've probably used some of them without knowing it.

  9. petef

    EOL

    IMHO the biggest sin by CentOS was reneging of the end of life for CentOS 8, cutting short support by 8 years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: EOL

      Yes, but I think blame is properly put on Red Hat for that change, rather than CentOS.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: EOL

        That blame might fall broadly on I'm being massaged for 42 beeellion USD manglement and some greedy redhat execs.

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