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April 21, 2022

What's Next for CentOS Stream

Operating Systems

Back in December of 2020, Red Hat simultaneously announced a shortened end of life schedule for CentOS Linux and a singular focus on the CentOS Stream project. Since then, a lot has changed in the Enterprise Linux landscape, including the rise of new CentOS Linux alternatives and the introduction of the latest major CentOS version in three years – CentOS Stream 9.

In this blog, we dive in on these changes within the Enterprise Linux landscape, including what’s new in CentOS Stream 9, and what users can expect to see from CentOS Stream in 2022 and beyond.

How We Got Here: A Brief CentOS Stream Timeline

To understand what’s next for CentOS Stream, we need to look at what has happened to this point. Most of the major changes for CentOS Stream focus around a singular moment: the December 2020 decision by Red Hat to pivot focus from CentOS Linux releases to CentOS Stream.

Enterprise Linux Event and Release Timeline

 

  • September 2019 –CentOS Stream Announced
  • November 2020 – RHEL 8.3 Released
  • December 2020 – CentOS changes Announced
  • December 2020 –CentOS Stream 9 Announced
  • March 2021AlmaLinux 8.3 Released
  • April 2021 – Fedora 34 Released
  • May 2021 – RHEL 8.4 Released
  • May 2021AlmaLinux 8.4 Released
  • June 2021Rocky Linux 8.4 Released
  • August 2021– Navy Linux 8.4 Released
  • November 2021 - Fedora 35 Released
  • November 2021 – RHEL 8.5 Released
  • November 2021 Rocky Linux 8.5 Released
  • November 2021 AlmaLinux 8.5 Released
  • November 2021  RHEL 9 Beta Released
  • December 2021CentOS Stream 9 Released
  • April 2022 – Navy Linux 8.5 Released
  • April 2022 – Fedora 36 Released
  • May 2022 – RHEL 9 Release Date (Projected)
  • May 2022 – Rocky Linux 9 Release Date (Projected)
  • May 2022 – AlmaLinux 9 Release Date (Projected)
  • October 2022 – Fedora 37 Release Date (Projected)

Since then, RHEL has quickly made true to their promise of focusing on CentOS Stream, using CentOS Stream 9 to push forward their beta release for RHEL 9, and building toward their planned RHEL 9 release in May.

These CentOS Stream releases are derived from the previous Fedora release, with the initial CentOS Stream 9 release derived from Fedora 34. Fedora 35, 36, 37, 38, and beyond will then make their way into RHEL dot releases after they’re proven in the CentOS Stream 9 rolling releases.

The CentOS Stream 9 Release

CentOS Stream 9 marks the first leading major version release for CentOS Stream under the new system indicated by Red Hat and the CentOS community. Derived from Fedora 34, it was used as the foundation for the RHEL 9 Beta, and ultimately as the foundation for the upcoming RHEL 9 GA release.

CentOS Stream 9 Release Date and Lifecycle

CentOS Stream 9 was released to the public in December of 2021. It will be the active CentOS Stream major version until CentOS Stream 10 replaces it. The currently indicated end of life for CentOS Stream 9 mirrors the end of life for RHEL 9, which is estimated to occur in 2027.

Notable Updates

CentOS Stream 9 brought a number of changes from Fedora Linux, with most of the updates centered around support for new technology versions, including:

  • OpenSSL 3.0 support
  • PHP 8.0 support
  • Python 3.9 support
  • GCC 11.2 support
  • GNOME 40 support
  • Curl 7.76.1 support
  • Linux kernel 5.14.x support

Users can read more about the major changes in CentOS Stream 9, RHEL 9, and what they will look like in Rocky Linux 9 here.

What to Expect With CentOS Stream 9 Rolling Releases

CentOS Stream 9 rolling releases will be used as the foundation for RHEL 9.x releases. That means you can expect CentOS Stream 9 rolling releases to contain more or less what will be included in the next RHEL 9.x release.

CentOS Stream 9 will continue to provide rolling releases until the focus shifts to CentOS Stream 10, and the eventual RHEL 10 release.

Looking Forward to CentOS Stream 10 and Beyond

For folks who want to know what to expect in CentOS Stream 10 and the resulting downstream distribution releases, charting the support updates and changes that appear in the preceding Fedora Linux release will continue to be the best way to see upcoming changes. 

In terms of when to expect CentOS Stream 10, we can make an educated guess based on the release cadence for RHEL that CentOS Stream 10 will arrive sometime in Q4 of 2024, or Q1 of 2025, with a RHEL 10 Beta then RHEL 10 GA release arriving soon thereafter.

Of course, as CentOS users are well aware, a lot can happen between now and then. And, given the shifts we’re seeing toward Rocky Linux, AlmaLinux, and Navy Linux adoption, that schedule and the priorities of the CentOS community and Red Hat could very well shift again.

Get Support for Your Enterprise Linux Deployments

Whether you’re using CentOS Linux, CentOS Stream, or have moved onto Rocky Linux, AlmaLinux, or another flavor of Linux altogether, OpenLogic offers technical support, services, and strategic guidance that can help your organization achieve a stable platform for innovation. Talk to an expert today to learn more about how we can help your organization today.

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