As many might have heard, Redhat (and do not argue that they had no sway in this) is to end the CentOS 8.X support during 2021. This comes as a small (and nasty) surprise since CentOS has always been a downstream rebrand and release of Redhats RHEL. Instead we get CentOS 8 Stream which will be an upstream beta of RHEL with rolling releases. Many bricks were shat when this news dropped.
Many built their applications upon the versioned releases, which did make them come to a grinding halt when suddenly the target OS had no versioning locks and thus became that much harder to support. Others had come to expect that CentOS releases would keep for eight years and be the bastion of the datacenter. Maybe the worst was for those who had started the sometimes complex and cumbersome task of moving onto the already released Centos 8.1.
Others step forward
Luckily there were others who stepped forward; SUSE for instance and Oracle among others. Scrambling for the confused and scared masses who Redhat just abandoned. Although Oracle is mentioned here more ironically than anything else. If the risk is vendor lock-in they should be feared since they are known to be very aggressive on this front. Either way some good alternatives are available, such as Debian, Rocky Linux and Redhat RHEL (which released free licenses for developers).
Simply put, this is good. It is not nice and I really understand the anger from those who had started to use the versioned CentOS 8. But it is good, mostly due to one very simple reason:
Things are moving at an ever accelerating pace
Since I do a lot of lurking in the IRC channel it is quite obvious that people have a tendency to keep the status quo unless forced to change. Some ask for support on outdated or even unsupported versions of the operating system. Many do not even dare to upgrade their infrastructure because “it might break”. This indicates a failure of the people not the product. If your application is written so that you have no other choice then utilize a plus four year old version of an operating system then your money might have been better spent elsewhere. I am not excusing what Redhat did here, they (or the CentOS board) had made a promise to support l CentOS 8.X until end of 2029. My point here is that we are now forced to a steady renewal of our baseline operating system. If you have not had the foresight of having a testing environment now is a good time to set something up. CICD is not only for developers but for everyone and there are several good products out there that can assist in getting started with some type of automation. Proxmox VE for free virtualization (Debian), Ansible for configuration management and Jenkins for pipelines just to name a few. There will be more guides on how to get started with automation and testing of infrastructure in the future. But for now we can just wait and see what happens.