A couple of things

Story: CentOS Replacements For Your Production Linux ServersTotal Replies: 0
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Mar 14, 2021
12:16 PM EST
So, some facts:

1. This action comes from Red Hat and has nothing to do with their IBM owners. In other words, this was going to happen irrespective of the acquisition.

2. CentOS used to be independent. Since Linux is FOSS and Red Hat wanted to only be FOSS, anyone could take even Red Hat's support patches and use them to maintain their own "enterprise" Red Hat clone. There were more than one, but one stepped on Red Hat's trademarks which broadly include any color of clothing item someone would place on their head (yes, their legal team is that evil). Mind you, a lot of this "knee jerk" lawyering up, came after Red Hat almost lost (and in all fairness DID lose) their Red Hat trademark after allowing widespread use for years by others. Nobody really challenged that Red Hat lost their trademark and IANAL, but my limited knowledge of law here says those made victims by Red Hat could have won their case.

3. CentOS was acquired by Red Hat. IMHO, as a CYA move so they could do what they are doing right now.

4. CentOS isn't going away, it's just evolving into a preview of Red Hat next. The idea is that CentOS is the launch platform for what will be in the next enterprise RHEL release. It's not intended to be high risk. However, for those dependent on (especially) proprietary software and drivers, those pieces might break.

So, in other words, if beyond 2021, you stick it out with CentOS, you will now be moving away from an RHEL clone and now you'll be on a preview path towards the next RHEL release. What will that be like? It's sort of unknown. Time will tell if the platform will be stable enough for corporate workloads, or if there will be many "oops" along the way.

Option #1 (safer bets):

One of the founders of the original CentOS project has formed Rocky Linux, which has gained some sponsorship. It will be the old school CentOS style you knew and loved.

CloudLinux, which was a CentOS like internally used project has now opened theirs up and made it into an old school CentOS style alternative.

Oracle has made their RHEL clone "free" and comes with easy conversion utility to switch your existing CentOS 8 boxes over to their distribution. Choosing this one may make your throw up in your mouth a little bit... but many might go this route.

Other possible (but maybe riskier) RHEL-like, SpringDale Linux and HP's ClearOS

Option #2, kicking RHEL to the curb (IMHO, because they deserve this)

Ubuntu (Canonical). This a distribution created by "the ignorant" and built on Debian. I can't over emphasize ignorant because it was very noticeable early on that they didn't want to understand what Debian was/is.

Debian. I'd say this is a good choice for people very comfortable with babysitting their distro. While not a helpless as something like Gentoo, you'll be required to do a bit more work to keep your Debian platform "ready" for enterprise use.

openSUSE Leap. These guys were doing enterprise Linux long before Red Hat. And arguably Red Hat didn't even have their act half way together until RHEL 5. Now, to be honest openSUSE really didn't exist, it was just SUSE, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) is still a thing. But openSUSE LEAP is very CentOS like thing except with regards to SLES. So, it's not Red Hat, and therefore it might not have a much closed source support from non-FOSS vendors, but in some circles, it's the better enteprise platform. SLES still dominates in the mainframe arena, was the OS used by IBM's Watson and is the OS for SAP installations. What I like about SLES is that they "think" more enterprise (what an enterprise might really do with Linux). If there's problem with this one it's "proof" of SLES like stability, there's a ton of varied opinion on this.

Other... There are lots of distros. Most of "the other" category come of Debian or even Ubuntu based distros. openSUSE also has Tumbleweed for those that want to ride the extreme front side of all that is "new", and armed with openSUSE/SUSE's excellent testing harness, it's actually remarkably stable, but since your dependent packages will be updating to latest and greatest, some things might not work (higher risk). There's also Intel's very high performance Clear Linux, which like Tumbleweed, is a forever rolling (forward) distribution. Clear Linux is known to be the "fastest" Linux distribution.

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