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CentOS Linux & CentOS Stream 8

What was CentOS Linux 8?

The CentOS Project is a community-driven free software effort focused on delivering a robust open source ecosystem around a Linux platform. Packages contained in CentOS Linux are built from source code from the RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution. More information on the CentOS project can be found upstream at the CentOS website.

Change of end-of-life of CentOS Linux 8

On the 8th of December 2020, the CentOS Project announced it was shifting its focus from CentOS Linux to CentOS Stream, starting with the latest version, CentOS Linux 8. Support for CentOS Linux 8 will end at the end of 2021, and support for CentOS Stream 8 will continue until 2024. Prior to this announcement, CentOS Linux 8 was slated to be supported until 2029.

What's the difference between CentOS Linux and CentOS Stream?

Currently, CentOS is a rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). In order to build RHEL, Red Hat engineers take a Fedora release, perform all their QA tests and assemble all the changes they want to make in their internal repositories. They rebuild all their packages and produce a new release of RHEL. Once this process is done, they push their sources to the CentOS public git repository. At this point, the CentOS project takes these source RPMs, rebuilds them and produces a new release of CentOS.

With CentOS Stream, Red Hat is doing their development work out in the open. They will continue to take Fedora releases and perform their QA on them, but now they will assemble all their changes publicly as CentOS Stream. Every 6 months or so, Red Hat will take CentOS Stream and rebuild it as a new RHEL point release. Once that is done, the sources of this new RHEL point release are rebuilt to produce a new CentOS release. This last step will now stop at the end of 2021.

CentOS Stream will be more up-to-date than RHEL, whereas CentOS has traditionally lagged behind.

Does this mean that CentOS Stream is RHEL's QA?

No, Red Hat will continue their internal QA workflow. CentOS Stream will get the updates that have passed that QA process.

Can a CentOS Linux machine be upgraded to CentOS Stream

Yes, migrating from one to the other is simply a matter of changing the repositories you get your updates from.

For more details on how to do this, please refer to our CentOS Linux 8 to CentOS Stream 8 migration article.

Will we still have 10 years of support?

No, the major implication of this change is that support for major releases is shortend to 5 years. New major CentOS Stream releases should come out regularly with an overlap of 2-3 years, providing an upgrade path.

After 2024, CentOS Stream 8 will no longer be maintained.

How is CERN going to adapt to this?

CERN and Fermilab have been evaluating a number of options in view of the sudden change of end of life of CentOS Linux 8 in December 2020 and the move to Stream. A migration path for servers already running CentOS Linux 8 is being provided to CentOS Stream 8 for those needing this release and latest features. Continued support for existing workloads on Scientific Linux 7 and CentOS 7 will be maintained as previously planned. We are evaluating a number of scenarios for future Linux distributions such as community editions or academic licence options over the next 12 months as the shorter Stream lifecycle is not compatible with a number of use cases for the scientific program of the worldwide particle physics community.

References:

Release status

  • CentOS Linux 8 @ CERN was initially introduced via an ASDF session on the 12.12.2019
  • CentOS Linux 8 reached it's end of life on the 31.12.2021, it is no longer supported at CERN
  • CentOS Stream 8 was made available at CERN on the 01.04.2021 and is currently a supported operating system, until 31.05.2024

How does CERN use CentOS Stream 8?

System updates

CentOS Stream 8 updates are staged

  • A 'production' repository is provided, which most systems will use and is updated once per week (except for critical security vulnerability patches)
  • A 'testing' repository is also provided which is updated daily
  • Snapshots of CentOS repositories are performed daily and can be found at this URL
  • The 'cern-yum-tool' is a new package that can be used to easily switch between 'production', 'testing' or 'snapshot' repositories
  • The 'yum-autoupdate' package is provided for automatic (distro-sync) updates (the same as CC7).

Modified packages

Note: Unless otherwise stated above, CentOS Stream 8 packages (rpms) are the very same packages released by the upstream CentOS team.

Deployment / Howto