back to article Lansweeper finds a lot of CentOS Linux out there

Lansweeper's scans of its customers' networks found an awful lot of Linux boxes facing imminent end of life, with no direct upgrade path. This, for clarity, is a very bad thing. The latest survey shows that there is rather more use of CentOS Linux 7 than one might reasonably expect. Although we'd definitely dispute Lansweeper' …

  1. Orv Silver badge

    We've been migrating all our CentOS 7 systems to Ubuntu. We moved a few things to Springdale Linux 8 but the future of all the RedHat repacks is looking pretty shaky.

    The one thing I miss is having visibility into all of the systems' update status via Spacewalk Server. Ubuntu really doesn't have an equivalent.

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

      [Author here]

      > Ubuntu really doesn't have an equivalent.

      Well, it does: Landscape. But it's not free and it's not FOSS.

    2. penfoold

      Not from Canonical but Uyuni will handle Ubuntu

      Whilst it's not from Canonical, Uyuni from the openSUSE community will handle Ubuntu and with it moving to a container-only version could even run on Ubuntu!

      1. Orv Silver badge

        Re: Not from Canonical but Uyuni will handle Ubuntu

        I'll have to look into that. At one point I researched handling Ubuntu patch management with Spacewalk, but support for that wasn't well-documented or maintained.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    …if Linux is free and open source and customisable, what is the lock in and concern? Genuine question here. Can’t you just upgrade the Kernel and other parts and carry on regardless? Asides the enterprise level support, why would you suddenly pay for RHEL?

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

      Re: But…

      [Author here]

      I can't tell if this is trolling or ignorance or both.

      No, you can't.

      If you have any 21st century Linux distro, it draws its components from repositories: online libraries of components. To upgrade, you get newer versions from the repositories of a newer version.

      There is no newer version here. The next version, CentOS Linux 8, was killed off 2 years ago. It's gone.

      Are you proposing they make their own? Conservatively that would take hundreds of people years of work, and they have 3 weeks. No. Not possible. A foolish idea.

      There is CentOS Stream, but it's a different distro with different goals.

      CentOS Linux was the free version of RHEL. CentOS Stream is more like a free ever-changing beta of the next point release of RHEL. Either Stream or RHEL, they would still have to switch distros, but in the case of RHEL to one that you must pay for every machine, and in the case of Stream to something faster-moving, faster-changing and not equivalent.

      They could switch to one of the free rebuilds, such as Rocky Linux, Alma Linux, Oracle Linux, or EuroLinux... but RH stopped sharing its source code so they are all just slightly different. It's going to be quite a lot of work. Stuff will break. Stuff will need reconfiguring.

      And the successor distros, the version 8.x ones, are all nearing EOL anyway. Really they are now going into security-patch-only mode. You're faced with a tonne of work to move to something nearly dead already.

      The v9.x family are a big jump ahead and frankly _most_ things will break.

      You may as well dump your established fleet of machines and start over... and if you do that, why stay in the family of the distro vendor who shafted you by killing off their free product line? The downstreams are all looking uncertain now and RH may yet find a way to really kill them all.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But…

        It certainly wasn’t trolling. Ignorance is perhaps a bit harsh of a word, but I’m used to that kind of response from “The Linux Community”… ;)

        Thanks for the detailed explanation. Asides from the abrupt first line, it was helpful, though a little surprising, to be honest, that a distro can theoretically be broken just as easily as when Microsoft decides a product is end of life. Feels a little … un-Linux to me.

        1. Yankee Doodle Doofus Bronze badge

          Re: But…

          > "Feels a little … un-Linux to me."

          Yes, it feels that way to many of us. Red Hat is in the doghouse with a huge portion of the FOSS community. That said, even with distros which align with the true spirit of open source, such as Debian, upgrading from one major version to the next can be a huge undertaking for organizations with a large number of servers and/or workstations. Custom applications, services, and configurations will quite possibly break in some way.

      2. Necrohamster Silver badge

        Re: But…

        If someone writes " Genuine question here" and you respond with "I can't tell if this is trolling or ignorance or both.", I'd question your reading comprehension skills.

        Or maybe you just like throwing out snarky replies? Either way, not a great look for the article's author.

        1. ICL1900-G3

          Re: But…

          I agree... I enjoy your articles more than any, Liam, but you were harsh in your response, and I'm disappointed. The Op admitted his lack of knowledge in the post and, for anyone not familiar with Linux, I think it was a perfectly reasonable question.

          1. Necrohamster Silver badge

            Re: But…

            We learn by asking questions. That's not ignorance.

            Ignorance is when someone thinks they're better than the people reading their articles.

            1. Yankee Doodle Doofus Bronze badge

              Re: But…

              > "We learn by asking questions. That's not ignorance."

              Unless they've changed the definition, asking a question is admitting ignorance, as ignorance is merely lack of knowledge. Ignorance is nothing to be ashamed of, unless it's willful in nature. I'm ignorant about a great many subjects, we all are. We can and should try to reduce our ignorance when we can, especially in subjects that directly affect us, but we only have so much time, unfortunately.

              Ignorance is automatically assuming that pointing out ignorance is an insult. Liam did come off a bit harsh there, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on his intent.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But…

        It's not like there was a direct upgrade path anyway.

        I was in the process of getting ready to upgrade a few CentOS servers when the announcement happened. Attempting an upgrade in place was already a no-go, all kinds of things would break from CentOS 6 to 7, going to 8 was going to be a huge mess, and with 9 being killed... well, it made no sense.

        I didn't technically have to replace the hardware... but it was getting old enough to be flaky anyway. So Ubuntu won, even though I'd been using RH-based distros for decades.

        I'm now thinking about Devuan for the next migration, because systemd sucks.

        I don't think RH will find a way to kill the other distros. There are all sorts of ways to keep getting patches to repackage, RH can try to play whack-a-mole but there are always more moles.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But…

      In theory, you can take over and upgrade, maintain, and support all the open source bits of the end-of-life distribution yourself. In reality, you're just screwed.

    3. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: But…

      You absolutely can.

      You could even grab the latest Rocky, Alma (or any other) kernel and dump that directly onto the install.

      If you need to run more recent software than the CentOS 7 userland allows, then a chroot with a more recent distro is always available.

      It won't be "supported" but generally CentOS was chosen with self-support in mind anyway. Linux is a mess; and one of the *advantages* to this is that "maintenance" of this nature is always an option.

      I'm not sure why other commenters suggested otherwise...

      1. Orv Silver badge

        Re: But…

        The problem with Rocky, Alma, Springdale, etc. is they were all relying on RHEL to do the engineering work, and then just building their own distribution versions of the resulting packages. Now that stream is cut off, and it's not clear that any of those groups have the manpower to maintain the code base, backport security patches, etc. on their own.

        1. karlkarl Silver badge

          Re: But…

          > all relying on RHEL to do the engineering work

          No. The FOSS community did the engineering work.

          Release management isn't too taxing, that's why there are loads of free distros around.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But…

          They don't have to.

          They just have to keep creating more fake accounts to grab the package sources, then 'break' the (illegal, GPL violating) 'contract' if they get 'caught'.

          RH can try to play whack-a-mole all they want, there will always be more moles. And RH IS breaking the law anyway, the GPL makes it illegal to restrict distribution to anybody who has the software.

  3. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

    The anchor of proprietary software

    My previous orkplace supplied a salutary lesson that shitty proprietary software ruins everything, even on Linux. We ran an obscure data warehouse package which only ran on Oracle and had a reporting interface which required not only Internet Exploder but ActiveX. Those of us in IT had begged and pleaded TPTB to upgrade, but doing so was considered too big a risk and expense, which meant that we continued to accrue technical debt at an alarming rate since the package depended on increasingly-ancient versions of Oracle and RHEL, which became unsupported and starting showing up in increasingly dire ways on our security reports.

    Ironically, migrating the Windows server-side components to later versions of Windows proved relatively straightforward. Go figure.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just use Oracle Linux

    Can't believe I'm saying this but Oracle Linux is basically doing what CentOS did: repackaging RHEL. Sure they have a paid option to compete with IBM, but it's not compulsory. If you can't migrate to Ubuntu and you're stuck in RPM land, Oracle Linux is probably your best bet right now.

    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: Just use Oracle Linux

      Many people will suggest that the only bet that involves Oracle, is that you will end up paying for it eventually.

  5. wolfetone Silver badge

    "What happens next?"

    Pat Mustard: "4 months before the EOL the bomb will be armed. But then you go 4 months over the EOL, then it'll be BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCHHHHHHH"

    Internet: "Sorry what did you say there the line was bad?"

    Pat Mustard: "IT'LL GO OFF!"

    Internet: "Jesus! DOUGAL!"

    1. Qwerty44

      Re: "What happens next?"

      They'll do it on your doorstep! ;)

  6. Tron Silver badge

    An OS should be more solid than this.

    As long as the anti virus and firewall is up to date, barring a major exploit of a flaw in a component part, EOL should not mean EOL, just end of official support.

    Given the often questionable, manipulative and even abusive nature of some OS providers and some software providers, this sort of thing should make people consider how much exposure to the toxic elements of the tech industry they should allow their business to have. Is there a case to go back to paper for entire chunks of your office work? And for the things you will still need (e-mail etc), how resilient is your usage? For example, how easily can you change e-mail provision? Is your e-mail backed up in a generic format that will survive moving to a different product? Vendors are not reliable and really don't care about their customers. Can they flush your business with a click of their mouse? You need a Plan B for a loss of service or a malware attack. Could your Plan B be cheaper, easier and more resilient, and better suited to your daily operations? Is it time to consider tech as a bonus or luxury for some aspects of your business, rather than something that your staff cannot function without? Yes, I am questioning the digital transition and suggesting more paper-and-pen-based activity instead, on a tech website.

    1. Yankee Doodle Doofus Bronze badge

      Re: An OS should be more solid than this.

      > "barring a major exploit of a flaw in a component part..."

      And there is the issue. These happen, regularly. Yes, anti-virus and firewall will help, but that doesn't mean you should feel ok about getting online with Debian 7, any more than you should with Windows 7.

    2. stiine Silver badge

      Re: An OS should be more solid than this.

      Not necessarily, but if Lansweeper ID'd your CentOS 7 installation, it means you have your web server configured incorrectly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: An OS should be more solid than this.

        Exactly this! And we all hope it is your "web server". But this would not be a fault in the OS no matter the age or support status.

  7. karlkarl Silver badge

    "CentOS 7 updates until 30th June, 2028"

    All good.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No good. Costs money.

      CentOS wasn't just free as in freedom, but also free as in beer.

      Alma or Rocky are the choices if you don't want to migrate to another distro.

  8. Snarkmonster

    Not sure who Lansweeper's customer base is, but if Ubuntu and CentOS are it's top two, I don't think it's major enterprise locations.

    From the folk I've talked to on CentOS, Rocky Linux seems to be the path forwards.

  9. mmccul

    "EOSL" is years past full support

    Really, RHEL 7 (and CentOS 7) hit EO (full) SL in 2019. That's when Red Hat stopped promising to create fixes that Red Hat deemed less than what security teams call "crits and highs". Sounds not too horrible, but there are exploits that can get access to your system that officially are only a "moderate". Red Hat is who decides what gets a fix, not you.

    A few months ago, a few security issues went around that Red Hat said were outside support scope, but we were required to fix immediately because of the security (and compliance) impact.

    Now, Red Hat uses the term "End of Full Support" (which hit on 2024-05-31 for RHEL 8). The description Red Hat gives for what they provide on the ESL license shouldn't inspire anyone with confidence, especially when you read between the lines: Support will not delete the documentation or the patches, and if something seems super-critical and they can't pretend otherwise, they'll provide a fix. Other than that? Good luck, you shoulda upgraded before 2019. (I remember when CSRs were more honest. They'd admit they'd just delay your ticket for two weeks, do no work on it, then say they can't reproduce it, then close the ticket.)

    So, really, it's a bit disingenuous to claim the ESL truly "extends support". It extends the maintenance support, mostly, but you shouldn't be counting on that for a production (or development) system.

  10. HandleBaz

    Live another day

    At this point, I think the only three distros you can rely on being there in five years are Arch, Ubuntu and RHEL. The latter because they want your money, and the first two because nerds and activists.

    1. ibmalone

      Re: Live another day

      Of course it all exists because of nerds and activists in the first place.

    2. McBread

      Re: Live another day

      SuSE has been chugging along forever so I would add SLES to the list.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Live another day

        And Slackware as well. Source distributions also exist. Which are an excellent option for anyone who can put forth a little more effort.

    3. Yankee Doodle Doofus Bronze badge

      Re: Live another day

      Ubuntu is in both camps. They want your money and also have a big group of nerds advocating for them. I don't know much about the finances of the group directing Debian, but if nerds and activists can keep a distro alive, I think it's safe also. Plus, Canonical (Ubuntu) would likely throw them some extra resources if needed just to keep from having to switch to another base for their products.

      1. Dave559

        Re: Live another day

        Debian is the mother of and upstream to so many distros, and more true to the Free Software roots that so many people regard as very important, that I perhaps see more chance of it still being around in the long run. Ubuntu is indeed/still quite a good distro, but, as many comments here (and elsewhere) show, many people really aren't very happy with its increasing snappification and annoying "Ubuntu Pro" requesters, and, realistically, if you are familiar with one Debian-based distro it's not really that hard to switch to another one if you need or wish to.

        (I use both Debian and Ubuntu, for different purposes. ;-) )

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forth (Rail) Bridge time...

    One of the many plates I'm spinning is the process of getting loads of CentOS 6/7 servers (one way or another) onto RHEL 8. We lost a lot of time due to some inertia about what we were originally going to move to until last year someone up top decided we'd pay RH for RHEL (and Satllite and Ansible Application Platform).

    Though even as we've just started to move to RHEL 8, as the article points out 8.10 is lurking and possibly we should be looking at 9! Hopefully all the infra we've built (and all that Ansible!) to handle this sort of thing should be able to handle moving to 9 without any problems.

  12. jnuyens

    For large enterprises, we build the Project78 software tool to perform massive automated in-place migrations from Red Hat 7 and CentOS 7 to RHEL8 and Rocky Linux 8. We've upgraded now more than 15.000 systems in this fashion; a mix of VMs and physical machines.

  13. Libertarian Voice

    Centos was used on several raster image processor boxes for the print industry. They won't be upgraded because they can't be upgraded due to all sorts of proprietary software on them and so batshit crazy licensing agreements and ways of licensing hardware. Neither will the printers be replaced because they are too expensive. I had to hack a Fiery DFE a couple of weeks ago to try and find out what was wrong with it, it was running Debian Squeeze; the machine was not brought to market until 2016. EFI are an embarrassment. They only changed the default password from Fiery.1 a couple of years ago, and even then only because they were forced to by law.

    1. VicMortimer Silver badge


      Since when is a default password illegal?

      (First thing I'd do is change it back to Fiery.1. I HATE printers with management passwords set to anything but the default. They're printers, quick and easy access is more important than security. Worst case somebody runs it out of toner or paper.)

  14. jaypyahoo

    CentOS or RHEL enterprise users should either move to OpenSUSE where upgradea to Major versions are easily and safely done. Or move to FreeBSD/NetBSD servers where backward compatibility is better

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