The CentOS End of Life | What CentOS EOL Means?

CentOS is reaching its EOL. Find out what this means for your infrastructure and how to prepare for a seamless migration.

Updated: 04 Apr, 24 by Lisa P 22 Min

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What happens when a trusted companion approaches the end of its journey? With the recent end-of-life announcement for CentOS, many in the tech sector were forced to confront this subject. If you work as a sysadmin or own a server, you may be wondering what this means for the future of your infrastructure. In this blog post, we'll look at the ramifications of CentOS EoL dates and what you can do to ensure a seamless transition for you and your servers.

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CentOS end-of-life status indicates the end of official support and updates from the CentOS project. In practice, this implies that no additional security patches, bug fixes, or software upgrades will be released for the operating system. Without continued support, CentOS systems are more exposed to security risks and compatibility difficulties. Businesses and server managers who rely on CentOS have considerable hurdles and must plan carefully to ensure the stability and security of their systems.

What if I use CentOS 8?

Centos EoL what does the end mean for users centos 8? If you're currently using CentOS 8, the end-of-life notification may have come as a surprise, as CentOS 8's support lifespan was shockingly short. With this development, CentOS 8 customers are left with few options. They can either continue to use CentOS 8 without official support, potentially exposing their systems to security risks, or they can look into alternative solutions such as migrating to CentOS Stream, switching to another Linux distribution, or exploring enterprise options such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) or its downstream derivative, AlmaLinux. 

What if I use CentOS 7?

On the other hand, if you're using CentOS 7, the end-of-life announcement doesn't cause immediate alarm because CentOS 7 will continue to receive updates and support until its anticipated end-of-life in 2024. However, it is critical to begin planning for the eventual move to a supported platform well in advance to avoid last-minute rushes or disruptions to your operations. Whether you want to migrate to CentOS Stream, upgrade to CentOS 8 (if possible), or investigate alternative distributions, having a well-planned migration strategy is critical to ensuring the continuity and security of your system.

Several alternate pathways are emerging. One major development is the emergence of community-driven CentOS alternatives like AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux. These distributions seek to provide a stable, long-term support alternative to CentOS by remaining compatible with existing CentOS deployments while providing ongoing upgrades and security patches. Additionally, CentOS customers may consider shifting to other well-known Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Debian, or Fedora, each with their own set of benefits and community support.

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CentOS was very popular for a variety of compelling reasons, the most notable of which was its stability, being open source, being free, and having fewer updates. Here, we explain more why CentOS was so popular:


CentOS's success stems from its reputation for dependability, making it the preferred choice for servers and enterprise environments. CentOS was derived from the same source code as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and thus inherited RHEL's rock-solid performance and reliability. CentOS was prized by system administrators for its consistent release cycle and long-term support, which ensured that key systems experienced little downtime and maximum uptime.

Having an Open Source OS

CentOS, being an open-source operating system, emphasized openness, flexibility, and community engagement. Users had complete access to CentOS's source code, allowing them to change, customize, and redistribute it to meet their requirements without being bound by restrictive licensing agreements. This open nature spurred innovation and allowed people to contribute to the project, resulting in a thriving ecosystem of developers and fans.

It Was Free

CentOS's cost-effectiveness was a key factor in its adoption. CentOS, as a free alternative to commercial Linux versions, enabled enterprises to better utilize their IT budgets.

Had Fewer Updates

Furthermore, CentOS's less regular update schedule than some other distributions resulted in fewer disruptions to production settings, lowering the administrative burden involved with managing frequent updates and patches.

CentOS's end-of-life can be linked to a combination of resource restrictions and shifting priorities within the larger enterprise Linux ecosystem. While CentOS was a pillar of the open-source movement for many years, new commercial factors and user expectations demanded a rethinking of its position and viability. There are two major reasons that CentOS end of life happened:

Too Much for Too Little

Over time, CentOS grew in popularity as a downstream rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), providing users with a free, stable option with long-term support. However, maintaining such a project necessitates substantial resources, both in terms of infrastructure and personnel. As CentOS's user base grew, the project's demands expanded disproportionately to the resources available, causing strain and difficulty in satisfying user expectations for rapid updates and support.

Side Project Hindrance

CentOS was created by volunteers to provide a free version of RHEL. It operated independently of Red Hat, relying on volunteers and little resources to survive. However, when IBM acquired Red Hat, things changed. Red Hat created CentOS Stream, which is more closely related to RHEL development. This meant less attention and support for the previous CentOS. With this change, CentOS was unable to maintain its previous style of operating due to a lack of expertise and resources.

The CentOS EOL dates for various releases are as follows:

  • CentOS 6: November 30, 2020
  • CentOS 7: June 30, 2024
  • CentOS 8: May 2029 (planned)
  • Early End of Life: December 31, 2021

Some reasons show CentOS EoL is a big deal:

  1. Longevity and stability: CentOS has a reputation for long-term support and reliability. Many enterprises, particularly in enterprise environments, rely on CentOS for key infrastructure. The unexpected EoL declaration meant that CentOS 8 would no longer get security upgrades, bug patches, or new features as planned. This put enterprises in a difficult situation, especially if they had already spent time and resources adopting CentOS 8.
  2. Compatibility with RHEL: CentOS is a popular free alternative to RHEL. With the transition to CentOS Stream, the compatibility between CentOS and RHEL became unclear. This modification sparked worries about potential compatibility difficulties, making it more difficult to ensure seamless transitions between development, testing, and production environments.
  3. Community trust and perception: The CentOS project had a solid reputation and was widely trusted by the open-source community. The abrupt transition to CentOS Stream, combined with the shortened support horizon for CentOS 8, resulted in a loss of trust and generated concerns about the project's future direction. The announcement caught many people and organizations off guard, causing annoyance, anxiety, and feelings of betrayal.
  4. Migration challenges: Despite the lack of official support, some users opted to continue with CentOS 8 and explore alternate community-supported solutions. Others switched to alternative Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Debian, and even paying RHEL subscriptions. Migrating to a new operating system necessitates work, potential compatibility concerns, and reconfiguration of current systems, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
  5. Ecosystem impact: CentOS has a huge and thriving ecosystem of software packages, community-driven projects, and third-party technologies that support it. The EoL announcement upended this ecosystem, causing uncertainty for developers, system administrators, and users who rely on CentOS-specific tools and repositories.

The switch to CentOS 8 Stream has raised arguments and worries in the community, with some questioning if it is a feasible road ahead or a false hope. This transition from the conventional CentOS paradigm to a rolling-release variant closely connected with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) development has prompted concerns about the platform's future stability, dependability, and long-term supportability. Users are wrestling with the implications of CentOS 8 Stream for their server infrastructure and want to know how it differs from previous CentOS releases.

Upstream vs Midstream

To understand the distinctions between upstream and midstream in the context of CentOS and CentOS Stream, let's define them:

  • Upstream: In software development, "upstream" refers to the project's initial source. It is where the main development and decision-making occur. Upstream projects generate the underlying code, features, and updates that are then used in downstream projects.
  • Midstream: The term "midstream" is not commonly used in software development. However, it might be understood as a transitional step between upstream and downstream processes. In the context of CentOS Stream, midstream refers to the CentOS Stream distribution that gets updates and changes from Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) upstream development before incorporating them into RHEL.

In the case of CentOS Stream, it serves as a link between RHEL's upstream development and CentOS's downstream releases. CentOS Stream receives updates and modifications before RHEL, giving consumers a preview of what to expect in future RHEL releases. This contrasts with the conventional CentOS paradigm, in which CentOS lagged behind RHEL and tried to provide a reliable and fixed version of RHEL.

Announcement & PR

The announcement and public relations efforts surrounding CentOS changes, such as the shortened support timeframe and the transition to CentOS Stream, sparked dissatisfaction and betrayal among users and organizations. The perceived lack of communication and collaboration compounded the negative response from the community, emphasizing the significance of community engagement. The CentOS project attempted to clarify and answer concerns, clarifying the rationale for the modifications and underlining the benefits of CentOS Stream. However, the first announcement and PR response had a huge impact on CentOS's perception and uptake, resulting in a loss of confidence that the project must rectify.

Official Clarification

The CentOS team responded to the community outrage by issuing official clarification via multiple communication channels. They clarified that CentOS Stream is an upstream development branch of RHEL that is closely connected with its development but does not serve as a drop-in replacement. They provided instructions on migrating from CentOS 8 to CentOS Stream and emphasized the need for increased community interaction. However, the impact of the clarification on restoring trust and support from dissatisfied users is unknown.

Understanding the best CentOS alternatives in 2022 is critical for consumers planning their migration away from CentOS 8 end of life and adapting to the shifting landscape of enterprise Linux. By selecting appropriate alternatives, users can reduce the risks associated with maintaining an unsupported operating system, such as security vulnerabilities and compatibility difficulties, assuring the server infrastructure's continuity and integrity. Here are the best CentOS 8 End of Life Migration Options:

1- Ubuntu

Centos EoL what does the end mean for users of Ubuntu? CentOS EoL does not directly impact users of Ubuntu, as Ubuntu is a separate Linux distribution maintained by Canonical Ltd. Ubuntu, with its user-friendly interface and huge package ecosystem, is a popular choice for both desktop and server deployments. It provides regular releases with long-term support (LTS) versions, which ensure stability and security updates for an extended duration.

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Pros and cons of Ubuntu


  • User-friendly interface and extensive community support.
  • Regular releases with long-term support (LTS) versions.
  • Large software repository with a wide range of packages.


  • Some users find it less stable compared to CentOS.
  • Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, offers paid support for enterprise users.

2- Debian

Debian is well-known for its stability and devotion to free and open-source ideas. It serves as the foundation for several Linux distributions, including Ubuntu. Debian, with its rigorous testing procedure and big software library, is a dependable solution for both desktop and server applications.

Pros and cons of Debian


  • Renowned for stability and commitment to free and open-source principles.
  • A rigorous testing process ensures reliability.
  • Large community and software repository.


  • Releases may be less frequent compared to other distributions.
  • Configuration and setup may require more technical expertise.

3- Oracle Linux

Oracle Linux, developed by Oracle Corporation, provides enterprise-class support and is compatible with Oracle products and services. It is built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), making it an appropriate choice for enterprises that require seamless connection with Oracle applications and infrastructure.

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Pros and cons of Oracle Linux


  • Enterprise-class support and compatibility with Oracle products.
  • Based on RHEL, ensuring compatibility and stability.
  • Comprehensive documentation and technical support from Oracle.


  • Requires paid support for access to updates and patches.
  • Some users may be wary of vendor lock-in with Oracle products.

4- OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE is a flexible and feature-rich Linux distribution that may be used for a variety of purposes, including desktops, servers, and containers. It has two major editions: Leap, which follows a regular release cycle with reliability in mind, and Tumbleweed, a rolling-release alternative for customers who want the most recent software upgrades.

Pros and cons of OpenSUSE


  • Flexible and feature-rich distribution suitable for various use cases.
  • Leap offers regular releases with stability in mind, while Tumbleweed provides a rolling-release variant.
  • Strong focus on community involvement and collaboration.


  • Not as widely used in enterprise environments compared to CentOS or RHEL.
  • Community support may vary depending on the edition.

5- AlmaLinux

Following the announcement of CentOS 8's end-of-life, AlmaLinux developed as a community-driven successor. It seeks to provide a 1:1 binary-compatible alternative to CentOS, ensuring continuity for users and enterprises who rely on CentOS's stability and long-term support.

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Pros and cons of AlmaLinux


  • 1:1 binary-compatible alternative to CentOS.
  • Community-driven project with long-term support.
  • Offers continuity for users transitioning from CentOS.


  • Relatively new compared to other distributions, so the community and ecosystem may still be growing.
  • Some users may prefer the backing of a larger corporation like Red Hat.

6- Rocky Linux

Rocky Linux, founded by a CentOS co-founder, intends to fill the hole created by the shift to CentOS Stream. Rocky Linux, like AlmaLinux, attempts to provide a smooth migration path for CentOS customers by providing a stable and dependable platform with long-term support and compatibility with existing CentOS deployments.

Eager to Dive Deeper? 🤿 Discover the essentials behind this powerful OS in our detailed guide, What is Rocky Linux. Perfect for enthusiasts and professionals alike!

Pros and cons of Rocky Linux


  • Founded by the co-founder of CentOS, ensuring continuity and compatibility with CentOS deployments.
  • Community-driven project with long-term support.
  • Focuses on stability and reliability for enterprise use.


  • Similar to AlmaLinux, it may still be in the process of growing its community and ecosystem.
  • Relatively new compared to established distributions like CentOS or RHEL.

7- CentOS Stream

CentOS Stream signifies a transition to a rolling-release approach that is closely connected with the development of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). It provides users with continual upgrades and features that are consistent with RHEL's development, as well as a platform for early testing and feedback on future improvements. CentOS Stream is appropriate for those who need access to the most recent features and innovations while remaining compatible with RHEL.

Pros and cons of CentOS Stream


  • Provides continuous updates and features closely aligned with RHEL development.
  • Offers a platform for early testing and feedback on upcoming changes.
  • Maintains compatibility with RHEL, making it suitable for users requiring access to the latest features.


  • The rolling-release model may introduce more frequent updates and potential stability concerns compared to traditional CentOS releases.
  • Some users may prefer the stability and predictability of traditional CentOS releases.

8- Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a high-end, commercially supported Linux distribution noted for its reliability, security, and wide ecosystem of certified applications and hardware. It provides long-term support and regular updates, making it an excellent solution for mission-critical enterprise situations that require reliability and maintenance. RHEL gives customers access to extensive documentation, technical support, and enterprise-grade capabilities, assuring a stable and secure platform for mission-critical workloads.

Pros and cons of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)


  • Premium, commercially supported distribution known for stability, security, and extensive ecosystem.
  • Long-term support and regular updates ensure reliability for mission-critical environments.
  • Access to comprehensive documentation and technical support from Red Hat.


  • Requires paid subscriptions for access to updates and support, which may be a barrier for some users.
  • More expensive compared to community-supported distributions like CentOS or Fedora.

9- Fedora Server

Fedora Server is a community-driven Linux distribution supported by Red Hat that serves as the upstream development platform for RHEL. It allows users access to cutting-edge features and technology, making it ideal for experimentation and innovation. Fedora Server provides a platform for developers, system administrators, and hobbyists to test and contribute to the most recent Linux innovations, as well as a robust and reliable base for server installations.

Pros and cons of Fedora Server


  • Provides access to bleeding-edge features and technologies for experimentation and innovation.
  • Community-driven project sponsored by Red Hat, serving as the upstream development platform for RHEL.
  • Offers a stable and reliable foundation for server deployments.


  • Releases may be less stable compared to LTS versions of other distributions.
  • Focus on innovation may result in more frequent updates and potential compatibility issues.

10- Cloud and Container-Based Solutions

Cloud and container-based technologies, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Docker containers, provide adaptable and scalable ways to deploy applications and services in modern, distributed settings. These platforms use virtualization and containerization technologies to improve agility, scalability, and resource efficiency, making them ideal for cloud-native applications and microservice architectures. Users can take advantage of the benefits of cloud and container-based solutions to easily deploy, maintain, and scale their infrastructure, while also benefiting from cloud computing's flexibility and low cost.

Pros and cons of cloud and container-based solutions


  • Easily scale resources up or down based on demand.
  • Deploy applications across multiple environments seamlessly.
  • The pay-as-you-go pricing model reduces upfront costs.


  • Dependency on specific providers and technologies may limit flexibility.
  • Managing cloud and container-based environments can be complex.
  • Effective cost management requires careful monitoring and optimization.

While the announcement of CentOS's end-of-life may first cause alarm for consumers and businesses who rely on the platform, it is vital to note that alternatives exist. The open-source community is vibrant and robust, with several alternative distributions and solutions available to fulfill a wide range of requirements. Whether you want to use CentOS Stream for continuous updates that are closely aligned with RHEL, look into other established distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, or Fedora, or embrace cloud and container-based solutions for flexibility and scalability, there are options to meet every need. So, while the end of CentOS as we know it signifies a transition, it also provides an opportunity for experimentation and creativity. Rest comfortable that the open-source culture of collaboration and adaptation will ensure enterprise Linux's long-term viability.

CentOS's end-of-life status means that the distribution will no longer receive CentOS project upgrades such as security patches and bug fixes. This renders CentOS-based systems open to security concerns and compatibility issues.

The end of life alternative to CentOS is CentOS Stream, which transitions to a rolling-release model closely aligned with the development of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). CentOS Stream provides continuous updates and features, serving as a platform for early testing and feedback on upcoming changes.

CentOS is being phased out due to a shift in focus to CentOS Stream and changes in the CentOS project's partnership with Red Hat. The decision seeks to give users with continuous updates and features that are more closely aligned with the development of RHEL, as well as to facilitate collaboration and input between the CentOS and RHEL groups.

This means that CentOS 6 will no longer receive security patches, bug fixes, or other updates from the CentOS project, leaving systems running CentOS 6 vulnerable to security risks and compatibility issues.

Lisa P

Lisa P

Hello, everyone, my name is Lisa. I'm a passionate electrical engineering student with a keen interest in technology. I'm fascinated by the intersection of engineering principles and technological advancements, and I'm eager to contribute to the field by applying my knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems.