CentOS is NOT dead. Please Stop Saying It Is (at least until you read this)

Benjamin Porter
13 min readDec 12, 2020
Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

Note: I work for Red Hat, but I work on OpenShift stuff and am NOT a part of RHEL or CentOS in a professional capacity. I am a community member, and have been for almost 10 years now, much longer than I’ve worked at Red Hat. I have run CentOS in personal production for years and rely on it. Everything I am about to say is my opinion alone, and is not an official statement from Red Hat in any way. As employees we are allowed (and encouraged!) to participate in the community, and that is what I am doing with this blog post. This post will not make public anything internal.

Since the news broke Tuesday about the changing role of CentOS (aka the death of CentOS) my inbox and chat have exploded with questions. Until now I’ve said very little because I was still processing it myself. I make great effort to think rationally and logically, eschewing the type of emotional thinking and knee jerking that pervades much of our society today. I think I’m ready to talk.

My initial reaction to the news was anger, and a feeling that Red Hat was doing something evil to the community, which is a distinctly un-Red Hat thing to do. Many others inside and outside of Red Hat had the same reaction as well, and we had some hard conversations and debates about what was going on. I grieved the loss of CentOS, which seemed pretty much dead given what was said. It seemed obvious (via Occam’s Razor) that CentOS had cannibalized RHEL sales for the last time and was being put out to die. Statements like:

If you are using CentOS Linux 8 in a production environment, and are
concerned that CentOS Stream will not meet your needs, we encourage you
to contact Red Hat about options.

That line sure seemed like horrific marketing speak for “call our sales people and open your wallet if you use CentOS in prod.” (cue evil mustache-stroking capitalist villain).

Thankfully, my (and many other’s) first reaction was not correct. I’m not saying the original announcement was wrong, but given that the vast majority of people interpreted it the same way that I did, I think it’s fair to say it was incredibly misleading and used phrasing and descriptions that have multiple meanings which can be easily taken in a way different than the writer…

Benjamin Porter

Ben Porter is a Software Engineer/Architect who specializes in distributed applications (like web apps). He is currently Head of Engineering at Ameelio.org