CentOS is gone, but RHEL is now free for up to 16 production servers | GeekComparison

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enlarge / CentOS was the best way to get free RHEL compatibility. CentOS is now gone, but Red Hat is expanding the free options for RHEL further than ever before.

Last month, Red Hat caused a lot of consternation in the Linux enthusiast and small business world when it announced the discontinuation of CentOS Linux.

Long tradition – and ambiguity in Red Hat’s posted terms – led users to believe that CentOS 8 would be available until 2029, just like the RHEL 8 it was based on. With Red Hat’s early termination of CentOS 8 in 2021, eight of those ten years are gone, leaving thousands of users stranded.

CentOS Stream

Red Hat’s December announcement of CentOS Stream, which was initially billed as a “replacement” for CentOS Linux, left many users confused about its role in the updated Red Hat ecosystem. This week, Red Hat clarifies the broad outline as follows:

In summary, we are making CentOS Stream the collaboration hub for RHEL, with the landscape looking like this:

  • Fedora Linux is the place for big new OS innovations, thoughts and ideas – essentially this is where the next big version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux is
  • CentOS Stream is the continuously delivered platform that will be the next minor version of RHEL.
  • RHEL is the intelligent operating system for production workloads, used in nearly every industry in the world, from cloud deployments in mission-critical data centers and localized server rooms, to public clouds and to the remote edges of corporate networks.

While CentOS Stream can be considered suitable and perfectly suited for enthusiasts and home workers, its lack of a long, well-defined lifecycle made it unsuitable for most production use and especially production use by stores that chose a RHEL compliant distribution in the first place.

New Free, Cheap and Simplified RHEL Access

Beginning February 1, 2021, Red Hat will make RHEL available for free for small production workloads, where “small” is defined as 16 systems or less. This access to RHEL’s no-cost production is through the recently expanded Red Hat Developer Subscription Program, and it comes with no strings attached — in Red Hat’s words, “this is not a sales program and no sales representative will follow.”

Red Hat is also expanding developer subscription availability for teams and individual users. Going forward, RHEL subscribers will be able to add full development teams to the developer subscription program for free. This allows the entire team to leverage Red Hat Cloud Access for simplified deployment and maintenance of RHEL on major cloud providers, including AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

Given the prior public outcry over the early demise of CentOS 8, we’ve approached Red Hat for clarification on availability guarantees, in particular whether any assurance has been given that the terms of the free use in small production will remain valid for the duration of general support. for the RHEL version they cover. After some deliberation, this was the official answer:

A Red Hat subscription gives you access to all available versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, except those with extended support. This access ends when the subscription ends, as does access to all related documentation, support, services, patches, etc., so it is important to consider the subscription separately from the platform.

The Red Hat Developer program is not a fly-by-night or quickly produced program; it has been around since early 2015 with support for multi-system deployments as of 2018. The big change today is that now a small number of production systems can be included in the subscription for individuals, but the program itself is tried and true. We never removed anything from the program, just added to it, which is highlighted by today’s announcement.

The Individual Developer Subscription is currently set up as an annual subscription. Renewals will be a simple process that is as close to “clicking a button” as possible. We don’t plan to end this program and we’ve designed it to be sustainable – we want to continue to provide access to the users who want to use RHEL. The main reason we need a subscription period is because it is legally difficult to offer unlimited terms worldwide and as new laws come into effect, for example the GDPR, we need to be able to update the terms and conditions. This is similar to how our customers buy Red Hat subscriptions for fixed terms, not forever.

Our intention is to keep small production use cases as a key part of the Red Hat Developer program and Individual Developer subscription to bring enterprise-grade Linux to more users.

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