Published Wednesday 3rd April 2024

CentOS 7 End of Life

Everybody running CentOS 7 servers should already know by now, but just in case you missed it, CentOS 7.9, which was released on 7th July 2014, will reach end of life (EOL) on 30th June 2024, ten years after release and as per its originally scheduled lifecycle.

The CentOS Project also released CentOS 8 on 24th September 2019 but announced in December 2020 that focus would be shifted towards their newer CentOS Stream release and support for version 8 would be dropped prematurely, giving CentOS 8 a new EOL of 31st December 2021, which is now long gone. In a nutshell, if you're running a CentOS server you now only have a couple of months left to migrate to something else.

CentOS Stream, the CentOS Project's main focus as of December 2020, is supposed to be a rolling release but it's still built around Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and is thus still versioned to match. I.e. CentOS Stream 8 is built to match RHEL 8, and CentOS Stream 9 is built to match RHEL 9, so both have EOL dates since RHEL itself reaches EOL, and this somewhat defeats the point of a rolling release. With Gentoo Linux for example, a true rolling release, if you'd installed twenty years ago you'd still be running the latest 'version' now, as long as you'd been keeping up with your system updates, but if you install CentOS Stream 9 today, which is the latest version, then your system will reach EOL on 31st May 2027 and you'll need to migrate again.

Furthermore, historically CentOS has been an open source rebuild of RHEL, which effectively means it has the same stability and performance as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but without the cost of an enterprise Linux license. CentOS Stream however, is basically the RHEL development release. RHEL is built from CentOS Stream, so some changes made to Stream might not make it into RHEL because they're not considered stable updates, or if they do make it in, it's because they've been tried and tested for long enough in Stream. Personally, I don't like the idea of production servers running bleedin' edge, development-release versions of any software and thus cannot recommend migrating your servers to CentOS Stream.

Shortly after the CentOS Project's announcement in December 2020, one of the original founders, Gregory Kurtzer, announced Rocky Linux, in response to the premature end of life for CentOS 8. Rocky Linux would be the new open-source RHEL downstream rebuild, and as one of the original founders, it was safe to expect Rocky to share the same original goals, and to work very similarly to CentOS.

The first version, Rocky Linux 8 built from RHEL 8, was released in April 2021, and in May 2021 we replaced our only CentOS 8 server with Rocky Linux.

Almost 3 years on, this server is still going strong and won't reach EOL until 31st May 2029. Rocky, like RHEL and CentOS, offer a 10 year lifecycle and the latest version, Rocky 9 released 14th July 2022, thus doesn't reach end of life until 31st May 2032.

After 3 years running as a production server alongside our other CentOS 7 servers, I can confidently confirm that Rocky Linux is so very similar to CentOS that you're unlikely to notice the difference from an administrative perspective. Any instructions you follow for setting something up in CentOS will apply to Rocky, and you'll find it to be just as stable.

If you still need to replace your old CentOS server, I'd strongly advise replacing it with Rocky Linux. Or if you just want to run your websites without having to deal with the hosting and server management duties yourself, get in touch and we'll gladly take the reigns and manage the hosting for you.

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Ric is a senior web and game programmer with nearly 30 years industry experience and countless programming languages in his skillset. He's worked for and with a number of design and development agencies, and is the proprietor of QWeb Ltd. Ric is also a Linux server technician and an advocate of free, open-source technologies. He can be found on Mastodon where he often posts about the projects he's working on both for and outside of QWeb Ltd, or you can follow and support his indie game project on Kofi. Ric also maintains our Github page of useful scripts.

Blog posts are written by individuals and do not necessarily depict the opinions or beliefs of QWeb Ltd or its current employees. Any information provided here might be biased or subjective, and might become out of date.

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